Saturday, 28 October 2006

Singapore

Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore - L.Frank Baum
We departed Batam at 0900 on the 19th October to face the smog and challenge of the Singapore Straits; Keith with a very sore throat from karaoke! Crossing the Straits is interesting to say the least; there is one ship every few minutes in limited visibility and they have the right of way.
Smog and big ships
Playing dodgem
And ducking behind another

We had confirmed a berth with One 15 Marina, which was free owing to its ongoing construction on Sentosa Island. To enter the Marina, you first have to clear Quarantine and Immigration at Singapore's Western Anchorage. This involves the skipper getting aboard the Immigration vessel with papers and without incident. We finally tied at up 1500.
Immigration alongside
Don't think the tourists saw much either
The following day we travelled to OSDC (One Shop Document Centre) for our Port Clearance and returned in time for a BBQ hosted by the Marina. Met lots of wonderful people from Hong Kong, an exceptionally opulent charter yacht 'Ruling Angel' and other similarly large expensive motor yachts. We were in seriously expensive company here.
The Marina under construction
We had been to Singapore before (flying) so boat bits were the main focus before having fun.
We checked out Farrar Park for VDO instruments and found our water temperature and oil lights and an hourmeter. Installing these gauges caused the ignition key to break so back to Farrar Park to the locksmith.  Keith also oiled the stays and repaired the Genoa.
Three gas cylinders were filled (picked up and dropped off to the dock), new oil filters purchased and a new port light installed. Chinatown means food, a new wide angle lens and CD discs. Imagine also running into a previous work colleague from Charles Darwin University; what a small world.
Food and shoppping
Sentosa is a fun island and we took the time to cruise the luge, visit the pirate ship and the Sky Tower (the highest observation tower in Singapore) and check out the view from the cable car.  I flatly refused to enter the car with a see through floor!
View from the cable car
The tourist memento
We loved the luge
The Marina offered free transport to and from Vivo City regularly so it was far too easy to spend money in this vibrant city. We guaranteed a return as Terrance the Marina Manager promised us drinks at the new Clubhouse.


May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!

Friday, 13 October 2006

The end of Indonesia

Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another - John Dewey
The skies remained smokey with ABC News reporting both Singapore and Malaysia were also affected. After helping Michael from 'Renaitre' retrieve his sunken outboard, it was off for some quiet time skinny dipping and experiencing tropical paradises at Mesanak and Pakaul.
Rescuing the dropped outboard
The beaches were strewn with fresh coconuts filled with refreshing milk. We managed to bottle another batch of wine and clean up the last of 'Mrs Parrotfish' costume remnants.
Mr Crusoe and fresh coconuts
Secluded anchorages
Nongsa Point Marina was our first marina in 4 months and time to indulge in some culinary delights (Smoked Salmon breakfast).
The fast ferry traffic was a taste of what to come in the Straits
 
Breakfast in comfort

There is always a myriad of boat jobs to undertake in a marina; cleaning the boat, shopping, laundry, changing electronics to Singapore time but there was also time for swimming and happy hours with Bony Mahoney in the bar.
Singapore across the Straits
Swimming between boat jobs

During the shopping it was the first time seeing security in action checking underneath all vehicles. At the bar it was the first time ever Keith decided to join the karaoke competition.
Our first foray through Indonesia was not to be our last, and we would return again to this spectacular country.

May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!

Monday, 9 October 2006

Equator



“With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere” – C.S.Lewis

Leaving Serutu for the 252nm passage to the equator, all 8 yachts were busy making preparations for the ‘Equator Party’. Tientos provided the Certificate for all new Shellbacks and each crew was busy creating their own unique outfit. On Tientos, Lea became ‘Mrs Parrotfish’, and Keith was the ‘Wild Man of Borneo’. 
Certificate for Shellbacks
 A large oil rig tender ‘Babanet’ bound for Australia called up for a chat; another container ship regaled the fleet with ‘We are sailing’, and Tientos enjoyed a steady 7kts across the South China Sea until turning on the iron topsail with 50nm to go.  Just for a startling change, Tientos was the first to anchor at 0830.
Katani playing catchup
When everyone had anchored Katani II offered their large deck for the party and with everyone bringing drinks and food, a wonderful morning involved everyone toasting King Neptune.  
Crews of Ice Maiden, Tientos and Katani II
Plane Sailing receiving their Certificate
Katani II surrounding King Neptune from Ice Maiden
A fight for Certificates
King Neptune welcomes the crew of Alb
King Neptune
Re-anchoring after the party behind Kentar, there was not a soul to be seen for the next 48 hours, as we all caught up on sleep.
Peaceful anchorage behind Kentar




 May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Bali to Serutu



“Raise your sail one foot and you get ten feet of wind” - proverb

From Bali to Raas was a nightmare for all 5 yachts that departed Lovina. We reduced sail as we were literally flying amidst severe swell and wind of 25+ astern. Others had shredded sails and minor damage after this leg. A rogue wave soaked the cockpit (and the crew) and, after going the long way around the island, we finally anchored the following morning. A fast tidy up was required as sundowners were aboard Tientos that night
Trading boats are everywhere plying between islands
Between a visit from the local police and fishermen selling their catch, book swaps, morning teas and sundowners, we alternated yacht visits over the next 3 days as everyone waited out the weather. We then committed the cardinal sin of leaving on a Friday!
Another sunset
An overnighter saw us anchored in a flat anchorage on the north of Bawean. This gave us the opportunity to stock up at the local market and enjoy the tranquillity of this peaceful island. 
Bawean Anchorage
Polisi not interested in yachts checking in
Parents love photos of their kids
The smoke from Borneo was beginning to affect us all and after it was decided we would head directly to Serutu, a few other yachts decided they would join us.
The fleet in smoke
This passage gave us some fantastic sailing; goose-winged we reached over 7 knots which is a great speed for the old girl (that is Tientos by the way).  Once again, rather than going west around Serutu, we decided to cut through the strait between the two islands. Radio calls from other yachts said to drop our main before we hit the strait but we were going so well (for a change)… with seas as tall as the mast, we were funnelled through the strait and spat out the other side! Memo to self, pay attention to those who have gone before! The fastest main dropping ensued as night approached and we followed anchor lights to a well deserved anchorage.
 Serutu anchorage

Vic and Marge (Ice Maiden) and Graeme and Lorraine (Katani II) were promised Eggs Benedict upon arrival at Serutu, so a great champagne breakfast for them, then dinner for the solo sailors, Michael (Renaitre) and Peter, temporarily solo on 'Cool Change'.

May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!