Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Java Sea

Hi everyone,
This morning we traversed Selat Sapudi and entered the Java Sea. We're now over the continental shelf and sailing in about 70m of water. Quite a contrast to most of our sailing to date where we've been "off soundings".

The nice breeze we had last night lasted until we approached Selat Sapudi, when it gradually died. We ended up motor-sailing through the strait for a couple of hours. For several hours while clearing away from the strait we were in water only 20m deep and had to dodge many fishing boats. Once the water deepened to 20m there were lots of commercial vessels.

A light S wind appeared as we cleared the strait and we elected to sail WNW. We tried the asymetric for a short while but it didn't help us much in the sloppy seaway. Then we had to get rid of it in a hurry when a LPG carrier came tearing down on us. My scan of the horizon wasn't as good as it should have been while trying to get the asymetric working. Oops. Anyway, we got it down and gybed to pass behind the ship (which showed no sign of having seen us). Later in the day we had to change course to pass behind a small cruise ship / big ferry which again showed no interest in giving way to sail.

As the day went by the wind gradually backed around to the E. We motored for a further couple of hours when it went very light from the SE. We are now sailing in a 6-8 knot E wind, with the apparent wind on the beam and doing 4 knots through the water. In the afternoon we sailed past many fish traps. A bizarre incident occurred when I looked up from my book for my 2 minute check ahead to find a fish trap only 2 boat lengths (20m) ahead. Simultaneously the VHF came to life with "careful careful careful". Really! I grabbed the tiller and we missed the trap. I have no idea who transmitted the warning or if it was intended for us. The nearest craft was a fishing vessel 0.5nm away. Always happy to accept "guardian angel" advice! :)

The sun has now set and we're waiting for moonrise to occur shortly. Who knows how many fish traps are passing by unheralded!

We hope to arrive at Bawean Island sometime tomorrow afternoon. Kakadu is about 15nm east of us, having had to free a fishing net from their rudder in the Selat Sapudi. I expect they'll have closed the range by dawn.

Trust all's well where you are!

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