Sunday, 16 March 2014

Bali Marina Day 4

Hi everyone,
Today was my final day here, so it was spent sorting out the boat for its stay here for the next month or two:

  • Finished cleaning and drying the cushions and upholstery
  • Polishing stainless steel
  • Rigging backup mooring lines
  • Opening all lockers in the cabin and head so air can circulate
  • Lifting all cushions off their bases so air can circulate
  • Spraying dilute oil of cloves over anything liable to become mouldy
  • Emptying and cleaning the fridge
  • Closing all sea-cocks and gas valves
  • Giving the engine a final run and then closing its raw water inlet sea-cock
  • Packing my full 40kg luggage allowance

Tony and Pat from UK yacht Full Flight invited me to join them for lunch.  We ate at a nice place in Serangan, a 15 minute drive away.  Both before and after lunch I helped Tony and Pat load and setup GoogleEarth charts in OpenCPN, and sold them my near-new spare USB GPS since theirs was unreliable.

Tomorrow morning I fly home to Perth and back to work.  It's great to have the boat 1000nm closer to home.  Looking forward to the next leg!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Bali Marina Day 3

Hi everyone,
Another day in paradise!  More jobs expunged from the to-do list...

  • Replaced engine throttle and gear-shift morse cables with shorter cables
  • Filled water tanks from 19 litre "galons"
  • Obtained 10 litres of engine oil
  • Visited Carrefour supermarket to buy washing sponges, canned fruit & Bali coffee beans
  • Local mechanic took a look at our engine alignment and shaft seal, and declared them OK
  • Started cleaning the upholstery/cushions using AutoGlym
  • Start researching anchorages in the Montebello and Abrolhos Islands

The morse cable replacement made a huge difference to the "feel" of the engine controls.  The old cables were at least twice as long - needing two full loops - and the friction in the system was significant.  The new ones were a perfect fit.  Most importantly the gear shift cable is now properly connected, compared to the old one which relied on elastoplast!

The local mechanic's opinion offers comfort about the movement in the PSS shaft seal bellows.  I will replace the seal and have the engine alignment checked when we get home to Fremantle.

AutoGlym is an interior shampoo which works well for us.  In addition to having Royal appointments from HM the Queen and HRH the Prince of Wales it is used by Aston Martin, Jaguar and Morgan!  Suffice to say it just works.  ;)

Not much more work to do before "leaving on a jet plane" on Monday morning.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Bali Marina Day 2

Hi everyone,
Today was a busy cruising day - more boat maintenance in an exotic location.

Engine Compartment with "bling"
Here's what I got done...

* Restowed kit to free up space in the quarterberth - it's a long time since we've seen the cushion!
* Cleaned saloon area, including galley and navstation
* Transferred 60 litres of diesel from jerries to main tank to fill the latter
* Arranged refill of three diesel jerries (Rp9,700/litre + Rp200,000 delivery)
* Partially refilled main water tanks from 80 litres in jerries
* Arranged delivery of four 19 litre "galons" of potable water
* Cleaned engine of V-belt dust
* Refitted oil pressure sensor to avoid V-belt wear (my mistake!)
* Replaced engine V-belt
* Chenged engine fuel primary and secondary filters
* Chenged engine oil and oil filter
* Test-ran engine following service
* Collected laundry and dropped off more
* Fitted sound insulation panels to walls and roof of engine compartment
* Oversaw local man Herman who cleaned the hull underwater while I was servicing the engine

Craftsman Marine do make good-looking engines
(or perhaps I've been aboard too long!)
As you can see, most of today's activities were engine related, making sure the boat is ready for a quick escape when we return for the next leg of our voyage home.

Trust you're having as much fun where you are! ;)

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Bali Marina Day 1

Hi everyone,
Today was a busy day with a bunch of jobs attended to:-
  • Sorted out food stocks and made list for initial restocking
  • Packed various items for return to Perth (some foodstuffs, alternator from old engine etc)
  • Visited Harbour Master and cleared into Benoa (no visits to Customs/Immigration required)
  • Arranged laundry
  • Sunned some of the cushions
  • Deflated and stowed dinghy
  • Arranged outboard motor repair
  • Bought "pulsa" (credit) for mobile phone and used some pulsa to buy data plan
  • Food shopping for immediate needs and restocking of some items for next passage
  • Obtained quote for hull cleaning and guarding services while the boat is unattended
  • Cleaned forepeak and head compartment
  • Cleaned forward half of engine compartment and checked oil/water/belts
  • Went "mining" in the main cockpit locker to extract all buried fenders and rigged them
  • Checked lazarette bilges (all clean & dry)
  • Rigged the deck awnings
  • Added photos to Nongsa to Benoa blogs
The outboard motor had been out of service since leaving Phuket.  It was stored the wrong way up while the refit was underway, leaking oil.  I also forgot to run the carburettor dry before shutting it down prior to the reft.  A local mechanic here at the marina had it running well within an hour.  The work cost Rp300,000 which is about A$30.  The same work would probably have set me back A$200 at home.

The engine checks revealed the V-belt is very badly worn.  It has been throwing off black bits since first installation, but is now _very_ badly worn.  I can only presume I have not had it tight enough.  I have two spares so will fit one before leaving Bali.  I'll also change the oil, oil filter and fuel filters so we have 100 hours of running for the next passage.

Twas a busy but fun day!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Bali International Marina

Hi everyone,
We arrived at Benoa at 1030 today after 10 days and 1 hour at sea. Overall it was a great trip and the boat performed really well.  Here's our track, with zigzags showing we worked for the miles in the light downwind conditions!

Zen Again Track (in green)
Here's a quick summary of the passage...

* Distance Logged = 926nm
* GPS Distance = 1034nm
* Average boat speed = 4.3knots
* Free miles (from current) = 108nm
* Engine Hours = 38hours (all in gear)
* Percent Motoring = 18%
* Wind Range = 0 to 35 knots
* Damage = Boom gooseneck bracket pulled out of mast
* Loss = my favourite pair of pliers!

Our motor down the east coast of Bali was interesting. The current varied between 3 knots in our favour to 3 knots against us. Happily it was for us more than agin us. There were quite a few ferries darting across to/from Lombok, but little other traffic. The entrance channel to Benoa is well marked and easy to navigate.

Bali Volcano
Another wanna-be thunderstorm
Approaching Benoa
Bali Marina ahead (the big powerboat is moored at the marina)
Staff at the marina were ready to help us into the pen. The marina is small and constructed of concrete sections. The finger jetties have slatted wooden walkways over the concrete floats. It's all somewhat dilapidated. The "club house" has a nice restaurant but the showers are pretty disgusting. To top it off the marina is currently downwind of an extensive rubbish tip which is very smelly.

However, our purpose is to leave the boat somewhere safe, and the marina appears to be so. It is surrounded by land so the only wave action is from passing traffic. The staff are all very friendly and helpful.

Zen Again resting in the pen
Zen Again at Bali Marina with clubhouse in background
Robert and I had lunch at the cafeteria and the food was excellent. Soon after Robert departed to find better accommodation and I got to work cleaning up the boat.

Towards Bali Morning Day 10

Hi everyone,
We have been motoring all night in very calm conditions. Right now we are at 08 35.5S 115 27.2E, heading 230 at 4.5 knots. There is a light SW wind blowing at less than 5 knots, lots of cloud around and there's light rain falling. We have 18nm to go to Benoa. I'm checking the shaft seal every few hours and no leaks so far.

Yesterday evening we took the decision to press on through the "minefield" of fish traps. There was a good moon so visibility wasn't bad. We switched back to 2 hour watches from the three hours we've been using since Day 2. That worked out well. It was actually very pleasant watching the north shore of Bali pass by. We motored through a large fleet of fishing boats off the coast, many of them with powerful lights running despite being quite small wooden trimarans.

As we entered the Lombok Strait (between Bali and Lombok) the 1/2 knot of tide with us gradually increased to 3 knots. Very nice. Then we passed a tide line and abruptly the tide turned against us. For a while we had 3 knots against us, but over a couple of hours it reduced and is now in our favour again. Lucky timing so far, but we're not there yet!

The next blog will hopefully be from Bali Internatinoal Marina!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Towards Bali Afternoon Day 9

Hi everyone,
A few hours after the preceding blog the wind died out to a flat calm. So it was time to try the motor. We've now been motoring for most of the day and so far so good - no sign of any water in the engine bilge. We're checking it regularly. Right now we are in position 07 57.5S 115 14.7E, heading 130 at 4.5 knots.

Glassing Out
There has been no wind at all from mid-morning until now, and we are motoring along still with a nice 4.5 knot "apparent head wind". This afternoon we started passing big fish traps, the kind which are about 3m *1.5m rafts with "masts" on top with a flag. They are moored in 900m of water! Happily they are widely spaced but we'll have to be very careful tonight.

During the afternoon we motored under a cloud and just as we got under it, it dumped torrential rain on us with no wind. Another nice clean off for the decks. Speaking of cleaning, I spent a couple of hours today washing and polishing the stainless steel on deck. One less job to do when we're in the pen.

Deck washing!
We have less than 80nm to run to Benoa - just a short Fremantle to Bunbury trip!

Towards Bali Morning Day 9

Hi everyone,
This morning we're at 07 20.7S 114 29.7E, sailing at 3 knots on a course of 070. And we're in the Bali Sea!

Last night we transited the Sapudi Strait. Happily we jagged the timing and we had the tide with us. We only had 2 to 3 knots of boat speed so if the 2 knots of tidal current had been against us it would have been a slow transit! In the middle of the strait there were small overfalls and eddies which made the water very noisy. Only little waves of about 0.25m but many of them were breaking (which made the noise). There was a lot of bioluminescence in the water too. All very speccy.

An hour or so after clearing the strait a thunderstorm passed overhead. We had about 30 minutes of torrential rain, thankfully with only 15-20 knots of wind. The lightning and thunder were very impressive. At one stage I was watching a bird flapping around our masthead when I clearly saw a lightning bolt start right above us and spread out in all directions. I'm sure that's what I saw because it took five seconds of blinking to remove the image from my eyes. Another time I caught a flash while looking aft and again it took many seconds for the silhouette of the pushpit and vane gear to wipe itself out. Happily no damage at all and the sails and deck are now quite clean.

We're now sailing close-hauled on the best angle we can do towards Bali. The wind is of course coming straight from Bali at the moment. We have about 135nm to go.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Towards Bali Afternoon Day 8

Hi everyone,
We've had a relatively quiet day today after the boom bracket repairs earlier in the day. The wind has swung back from SW to WNW and has been between 6 and 12 knots all day. The repair seems to be holding up very well. Currently we are at 06 45.1S 114 06.7E, heading 140 at 4 knots. We have 180nm to go to Benoa

Unfriendly cargo ship who insisted we "take his stern"
We had our second beer of the trip this afternoon to celebrate the successful repair. For dinner we are going to have Lamb Rogan Josh stew.

In a few hours we will pass through the strait into the Bali Sea. Hopefully there will be wind on the other side. On checking the charts I see the western half of the passage is a prohibited area. My thoughts went to marine habitat protection or some such but no, it is an old minefield! Better keep out of there. We'll be following the track we used in 2012 which was on the eastern side.

Trust all's well where you are.

Towards Bali Morning Day 8

Hi everyone,
What a night! Shortly after sending the preceding blog I went on deck and shook out the first reef since the winds following the squall were abating rapidly. A few minutes later I started hearing strange noises and noticed the boom was moving. The gooseneck fitting had pulled away from the mast entirely. The squall was the first strong winds we'd sailed in since our refit. On this passage I had been visually checking the mast fittings, but hadn't checked bolt tightness with a screwdriver. Apparently a big mistake. We are currrently at 06 09.6S 113 39.7E heading 140.

By that time it was dark and the sea quite lumpy so we decided to take down the main, lash everything down as best we could and wait until morning. With that done we sailed on under the headsail only at 2-4 knots all night. Quite a few squid boats about and a few cargo ships. We both spent our watches dreaming up cunning plans on how best to effect a repair.

In the morning we figured out the best plan and set to work. We removed the detached bracket from the boom and found all 10 bolts used to secure it. All 10 tapped holes in the mast had been completely stripped. We "bulked up" the bolts with gas tape and fitted the bracket to the mast with the bolts pushed through their holes. We secured the assembly in place with sail repair tape. We then used about 15 metres of VB cord to lash the bracket tightly to the mast and to provide a base for the final securing with hose clamps. We connected several hose clamps to each other, forming four long clamps in all. These were fitted around the mast over the top of the VB cord. The result looks pretty strong and we're very pleased with the result - the main is back up and our speed is back up to 5 knots in 12 knots of SW wind.

The Jury-Rigged Repair
When we finished the boat was surrounded by a large school of fish jumping out of the water. Natural applause! ;) We have about 60 miles to run to the passage E of Madura Island, and 230nm in total to Benoa. Just a Geraldton!

Jumping Fish
Trust all's well where you are.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Towards Bali Afternoon Day 7

Hi everyone,
What an eventful day! We are currently at 05 13.8S 113 06.2E, doing 6 knots on a course of 140. The wind is 15-18 from the WSW.

The morning started well with a WNW wind of about 15 knots. We were broad reaching along to the N of Bawean Island, timing our gybe to head for the passage W of Kangean Island. We had current with us so allowed for that in the timing of our gybe. We gybed and "bingo" we were broad reaching straight towards the waypoint 200 or no nm away. Then the sky got black.

We gradually shifted down through the gears from full main and No 2 to single-reefed main and No2 to single-reefed main & part-furled No 2 etc etc until we were under double-reefed main and staysail (=storm jib), close-reaching in a 30-35knot SW squall. The boat went really well as did the crew. Twas quite good fun really. The boat impaled one way which gave the side decks a thorough wash. Another wave side-swiped us and gave the cockpit a good drenching. Happily I was out of the way in the companionway at the time.

Sailing under double-reefed main and staysail (storm jib)

Double-reefed Main
The squall passed after an hour or so and we shifted back up through the gears to now having a single-reefed main and full No 2.

The fact that the squall brought SW winds caused me to change from the passage W of Kangean Island to the one we used in 2012 which is further west (E of Madura Island). We don't want to have to beat to Bali after reaching the Bali Sea so this seems a sensible change to our route. No doubt the wind will outsmart me again!

We skipped happy hour today since it was a little wet outside. I had mexcan style rice and Robert had baked beans for dinner. Amazing how much one can eat when one suddenly gets some exercise!

Towards Bali Morning Day 7

Hi everyone,
We had a relatively windy night and are now at 04 47.0S 112 16.8E, heading 080 at 4.5knots. The wind got over 20 knots at times and with a single reefed main and the No 2 headsail we made great progress. The winds weren't forecast but were welcome. I think they were associated with thunderstorms which were all around us, albeit quite distant. Like last night we saw lots of white flashes, but this time we could see the flashes illuminating distant thunderclouds.

The cargo vessel traffic seems to have died out overnight. I suspect most of the big ships go south of Bawean but we're going north. There were more fishing vessels about, but still far less than we experienced in 2012. Back then we saw fleets numbering over 50 at a time, but this time half a dozen is more the norm.

We're starting to see a little more wildlife as we progress eastwards. Quite a few flying fish yesterday, which I hadn't need previously on this passage. This morning Robert saw a school of 0.5m fish jumping out of the water, so there were bigger fish chasing them. During a reefing maneouvre last night we had a black sea bird - a tern perhaps - flying around the rig and around us while we were reducing sail. He was within reach while I was busiy winching. Perhaps he wanted a rest/ride, but his timing was bad.

We have 345nm to run to Benoa, with our next waypoint 220nm away being the channel west of Kangean Island which takes us from the Java Sea to the Bali Sea. Sounds like progress!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Towards Bali Afternoon Day 6

Hi everyone,
We've had very nice winds today, the strongest since our first day out. They got up to 18 knots or so for a while, still out of the WNW-W. We are currently at 04 41.8S 111 21.6E, doing 6 knots on a course of 130.

We had hoped to get into a position from which we'd have one long broad reach past Bawean Island but it looks like we're going to be gybing every few hours, zig-zagging our way along. On the tracker that might look strange since it only plots one position per hour.

The stronger winds gave us good boat speeds pretty much all day. For an hour we had a reef in but shook it out when the wind started to decrease again. Now we have about 12-14 knots of wind and the boat is moving along nicely.

First Reef
We have about 100nm to go to our waypoint off Bawean Island. From there it's about 300nm to Benoa.

Trust all's well where you are.

Towards Bali Morning Day 6

Hi everyone,
We had a good sail last night with the wind holding up until about 0500 when it fell from 10-12 knots to 5-8 or so. The wind has now built to 8-10 knots from the WNW, we're heading 140 at 4.5 knots in position 04 38.1S 110 42.7E.

We had to deal with lots of traffic last night. Mainly cargo ships for which we had to change course for two. AIS said they were going to come within a mile when they were still 10 miles away.  Our AIS doesn't actually tell us whether they'll pass ahead, behind, to port to to starboard. In the past I've tried using the graphical display to work that out, but at 10 miles range it's difficult. So instead I now carefully monitor the bearing to the other vessel. If it moves one way consistently then I can alter course by 10 degrees the other way. A few minutes later I check the CPA (closest point of approach) to confirm it has increased to over a mile. Simple but I hadn't previously thought of the old fashioned "measure the bearing" approach.

The sky was quite clear last night so we had a good view of the stars, apart from a couple of hours when two squid boats were nearby. They lit up the area for miles with their very bright lights. Another interesting phenomenon was flashes of light which appear to be lightning beyond the horizon. No thunder, just flashes of white light. The loom of lightning.

The wind forecasts for the next few days show it should hold in around the 10 knots mark, becoming W sometime today. We'll see what really happens.

We have now logged 501nm for the passage so far and have 430nm to run towards Benoa. All downhill from here! ;)

Friday, 7 March 2014

Nongsa Outbound Afternoon Day 5

Hi everyone,
We've had a great day's sailing today, which helped us get over the concern about our engine shaft seal. All the weather forecasts said we should expect slightly higher winds once we cleared the passage between Borneo and Belitung, and so it has been. We are currently doing 4.5 knots on a course of 140 at 03 48.5S 110 06.5E.

We spent the morning trying out sailing directly downwind with the jib goosewinged. This afternoon we switched to a broad reach with the jib just working well on the leeward side. I prefer the latter since the boat is more stable, sails faster and rolls less. I think our VMG towards the next waypoint is better despite not pointing at it directly. It is fun experimenting with different sail settings and figuring out what's fast.

For happy hour we had a soft drink with crackers and cheese. Our cheese supply is running low, but we have enough crackers to last for months. For dinner we had Stag Chilli with Mexican Beans, followed by chilled Pineapple Pieces. Two courses!

We are very close to the half-way mark from Nongsa to Bali, so tomorrow the blog titles will changing from "Nongsa Outbound" to "Towards Bali". "Bali Inbound" would be tempting fate. So far we have logged 445nm and we have 490nm to go to Benoa.

Trust all's well where you are.

Nongsa Outbound Morning Day 5

Hi everyone,
We motored until about 2100 yesterday evening when a nice WNW breeze filled in enough to allow us to sail. We had an interesting night with quite a lot of traffic passing by. We are now sailing at 3 knots on a course of 130 at 03 21.3S 109 38.0E.

This morning I checked the engine as I always do after a run. I found a small amount of water (less than 50ml) in the bilge under the shaft seal. The seal has never leaked before. As a result we're going to try to minimise our use of the engine, just in case it worsens. When the wind lightens we plan to run the engine and watch the seal carefully, and measure any water leakage after the run. We'd rather keep the engine for essential things like entering marinas etc. That's the bad news. The good news is that the WNW breeze is holding in, and has increased a little.

We're now running goosewinged directly for our next waypoint 400nm away - the passage through the islands 100nm north of Bali. The No 2 headsail goosewings poleless very well with the reaching sheet.

Last night we were passed by the Mighty Servant 3. It was either a mobile oil/gas platform or a ship lifter carrying a rig. We spoke to them briefly on the radio since they came quite close as they overtook us.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Nongsa Outboutnd Afternoon Day 4

Hi everyone,
This evening we are motoring SE at a steady 4.5 knots. There's a very light NW wind of about 4 knots, so there's not much apparent wind at all! We are at 02 30.2S 109 05.4E where the sea is pretty flat, the horizon is very hazy and there are a few ships about but none close by at present. We're hoping to see some stars tonight - they always make night watches more interesting and cheerful.

This morning we motored for 5 hours. After that we sailed, making 2 to 3 knots of boat speed until mid-afternoon when the wind died further and we couldn't get more than a knot of boat speed. So the engine went on at 1500 and has been on since.

We stuck to the sailing for the first 300nm and were lucky to have good sailing conditions for so long. We now have about 600nm to go to Bali, which is about the range we have with the fuel onboard. We'd like one day's decent sailing to keep some "insurance" in the tank but are in a good position fuel-wise overall. The engine is running very well and the insulation panels fitted at Nongsa were certainly worth the effort.

Each day we have a short "happy hour" at the 1500 watch change. Today we had crackers and our last fresh tomato, with a soft drink. At the 1800 watch change we normally have a cooked meal but tonight we went straight to dessert and each had a large bowl of pineapple pieces which we had pre-chilled in the fridge. They were excellent. Funny how food becomes so important on a boat and small treats are relished!

Nongsa Outbound Morning Day 4

Hi everyone,
We had a very quiet night last night with very light winds. Battled to keep up any speed at all under sail. Plenty of cargo ships coming past since we're crossing the shipping lane between Borneo and Belitung. It was a dark night with a layer of high cloud so no stars to look at.

This morning the winds have stayed just as light (3-4 knots) so we are under motor for the first time since day 1. We're making 5.5 knots and steering 120, current position is 01 59.5S 108 31.4E.

We still need to husband our fuel so probably won't motor all day. Hopefully some wind will appear!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Nongsa Outbound Afternoon Day 3

Hi everyone,
Another pleasant day aboard. The winds this morning were quite light but this afternoon they swung gradually to the NNW and freshened to 10-12 knots. We are currently at 01 23.5S 107 54.7E doing about 5 knots. Earlier in the day we were struggling to do 3 knots at times but we're moving along nicely now.

Today we've seen a steady stream of cargo ships since we're approaching the passage between Borneo and Belitung islands. We expect to get through there tonight and tomorrow morning, and then will be heading for Bawean Island.

On the wildlife front we went through an area with lots of seaweed this morning. This afternoon we saw a sea snake - tan and brown in colour and about 0.6m long. It was gently swimming along and seemed unperturbed by our passing close by.

Trust all's well where you are.

Nongsa Outbound Morning Day 3

Hi everyone,
Another night at sea and we are now at 01 04.8S 107 03.4E, sailing along gently at about 4 knots with a NNE wind of 6-8 knots. During the night we passed several fishing boats with the closest being a few hundred metres away. A few ships passed with the closest at about a mile. We picked up most cargo vessels on AIS about 20nm away.

During the night we passed several floats which appeared to be anchored. Presumably pots or nets under them but happily we didn't snag any of them. This morning, during twilight, we passed a large metal drum which would have done the paintwork no good at all had we hit it. We ran over a bamboo pole a moment ago, so it's all happening. The bamboo may have knocked off some barnacles.

So far we have logged about 220nm. We have about 100nm to run to our next waypoint between Borneo and the island of Belitung. That's just short of half way to the island of Bawean, and one third of the overall distance to Bali.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Nongsa Outbound Afternoon Day 2

Hi everyone,
We've had another good day aboard. Wind gradually lessened from around 15 knots this morning to about 8 knots at present. We are at 00 38.8S 106 17.1E, heading 120.

It was a nice sunny day with scattered cumulus clouds passing by. Quite good visibility now. Perhaps half a dozen ships passed by, most some distance away. We passed about a dozen fishing vessels, most of which were anchored with nets nearby. There's frequently no other vessel in sight.

Food wise, we're starting to get hungry enough to cook! We just finished a very nice Stag Chilli with rice, and for happy hour we had cheese and biscuits with a soft drink. Apart from during the middle of the day the breeze is actually quite cool, so it's very nice out in the cockpit in the early morning and late afternoon for breakfast and dinner.

No other news to report. All well aboard and we're steadily putting the miles behind us.

Trust all's well where you are.

Nongsa Outbound Morning Day 2

Hi everyone,
We had a pleasant night aboard with the NE wind holding in beautifully at 10-15 knots. We are currently at 00 16.6S 105 38.7E - in the southern hemisphere!

The thick haze we experienced all the way from Port Dickson is now gradually disappearing, so last night we started to see the stars quite well. We could see the Big Dipper to port and the Southern Cross to starboard - very nice.

Traffic was fairly busy in the evening but thinned out this morning. We had to change course to sail around a large ship anchored and showing "not under command" lights. At the same time we were racing a tug and barge, trying to get ahead of him and cross his bows. We eventually did. There were a few fishing vessels but not many. We're now sailing along on an empty sea, although on AIS we can see several cargo ships to our north in the Archipelagic Shipping Lane. They are lanes which all ships can use to transit through the Indonesian Archipelago.

For an hour or so last night our two USB GPS receivers both suffered from loss of signal. They are the GPSs we use on the laptop. The two Garmin chartplotters which have built-in GPS receivers were fine, although one did show lower than normal signal strength. The USB GPSs are mounted under the side deck so it's not surprising they lose signal first. Within an hour the satellite positions improved and all receivers were happy again.

The wind has now swung a little, from NE to NNE, putting it a little further aft of the beam. Very nice sailing.

Trust all's well where you are!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Departed Nongsa Point

Hi everyone,
We departed Nongsa Point Marina at 0930 today after obtaining our port clearance and topping up the "pulsa" (aka credit) on my phone. Our stay at Nongsa was very pleasant.

We are currently at 00 36.7N 104 29.2E, making 7 knots on a course of 150M. The wind is 18-22 knots from the NE, making this a nice beam reach. We have a single reefed main and No 2 jib up. Zen Again is loving it.

We have had a variety of conditions already. We departed in a 12-15 knot NE breeze and once around the point had a nice reach down the channel east of Batam Island. We had up to two knots of assistance from the tide as the wind gradually faded away in the lee of the island to our east. We spent several hours with boat speed of less than 3 knots but with the tide still assisting us. Eventually we ran into a "hole" and had to motor for half an hour. Then we found wind again. Since then we've been sailing along very well.

Trust all's well where you are.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Nongsa Point Day 3

Hi everyone,
Today we took care of the final set of jobs preparing the boat for the passage across the Java Sea towards Bali.  These included:
  • Topping up the main fuel tanks and refilling the emptied jerry cans;
  • Fitting sound insulation panels to the front, side and rear access panels to the engine; 
  • Downloading detailed GRIB files for next week or so;
  • Setting up our PredictWind Satellite Communicator to email us routing recommendations;
  • Fitting the Aries wind gear water vane; and
  • Hacking off yet more barnacles.
The last item was terminated at the now time-honoured milestone of my becoming sufficiently tired to let one of the barnacles draw blood.  After stemming the slightly spectacular blood flow and applying antiseptic I went for a swim in the resort pool which was very refreshing.

Robert and I had lunch at the resort - a three course meal with one free drink for S$13.  Excellent value.  It's a nice day here at Nongsa with very little cloud and a reassuring wind which lasts all day and night but is strongest in the afternoon and evening.  Enjoying a lazy afternoon with the to-do list empty of priority items.

Zen Again at Nongsa Point
We have arranged for our port clearance to be issued tomorrow morning, and as soon as that's aboard we'll depart Nongsa Point towards Bali.  We currently expect to take a break at Bawean (Google it to find it), but may stop earlier if we need more fuel.  Hopefully the wind will be as forecast - about 10 knots or so.  Or more please hughie!  It looks like the westerlies are gradually fading away but we hope they'll last another month for friends who are doing the same trip then.

Trust all's well where you are.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Nongsa Point Day 2

Hi everyone,
We had a pleasant day at Nongsa Point today.  I spent this morning working on the to-do list which included:
  • Check engine overall, and oil and coolant in particular (all OK)
  • Fill water tanks and secure filled jerry cans in forepeak
  • Fill fuel jerry cans and stow in cockpit locker
  • Attempted to connect gps/instrument data to laptop (failed due to driver incompatibility)
  • Rigged shock-cord to hold checkstays forward when not in use.
This afternoon Robert and I took the resort bus to the Megamall in Batam City where we did some provisioning,  I bought an Indonesian SIM for my phone and we enjoyed a good coffee at Starbucks.

Impressive new Telcomcel tower in Batam City
This evening Robert and I hung out at the resort bar with a colourful bunch of expat Scottish, Irish, Swedish and Dutch folk.  They are working here on oil & gas projects, movie animation and boat design & construction.  Apparently the population of Batam has grown from less than 10,000 to over 1 million in about 30 years.

We have a few more jobs on the to-do list prior to departure and currently plan to depart on Monday.