Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mortai to Wayag

With the prevailing winds right now light SE, we waited a few days in Morotai for the wind to go a little north of east. We're using the GFS GRIB files from Saildocs, and they indicated a 2 day period of mostly ENE winds at under 10 knots. Not really sailable at that speed, to go 150 miles in 36 hours, but at least not on our nose.

We had a nice quiet night at Zum Zum island, a place where General MacArthur made his headquarters for a few weeks while planning the next phase of the planned assault on the Philippines. Nothing left of that except a couple of (unmaintained) statues, which we had gotten pictures of when we visited a few days before.

Zum Zum is only a couple of miles from the town anchorage, but it was night and day difference. We had a quiet night off a nice beach. Near sunset, after the rains, we could see the smoking volcano near Tobelo on Halmahera.

John on s/v Sapphire had stayed at the town anchorage and reported having loud karaoke until 3am, and then the call to prayer from several mosques at about 5:30am. He was happy to be going to sea to get some sleep!!

We 3 boats motored out of the Morotai lagoon around 7am. Because of the early morning low-light conditions, we opted to go out around the small island at the SW end of the lagoon. But Evia Blue took the shortcut, going just around the SW end of the main island, and reported no less than 15 meters deep, but he said he could see shallower reef to the south.

After an hour, the wind came up enough to where we put our main up and got a little boost from the wind. Throughout the day the wind varied from S to SE to E to NE and back, all at less than 10 knots. I think we were able to turn the engine off and sail for a couple of hours. Around 4:30pm we were rounding the NE tip of Halmahera, where we had an option to stop overnight and wait for better winds. But the wind forecast still showed that the best chance of ENE winds would be overnight and the next day, so we kept going.

At one point during the day, Dave went below and found water on the floor of the galley. Fortunately he tasted it and it was fresh water and not salt. He tracked it down to a leak under the sink where the Seagull filter was plumbed in. As he was mopping it up, he checked the bilge and found the bilge under the galley completely full of fresh water! So we must have lost a lot of water. Without a working watermaker (yet), this is a bit of a problem. There are no water supplies where we are headed, and we have been working hard at collecting water whenever it rains. Fortunately, our new hardtop we had made in Samal is 130 sq ft and designed for catching water (I don't think I blogged about this, but I did Facebook about it).

As we rounded the point, there were massive rain showers in toward shore. It was all I could do to get Dave to keep going rather than drive toward the rain showers.

Several times during the day, we encountered big logs floating. We managed to avoid all but two. One was sticking up high enough to hit the underside of the bridge deck with a big klunk. Fortunately, no damage.

Late in the day, Jan on Evia Blue hooked a marlin, but he got off.

On my watch, we had beautiful conditions... full moon and light winds which were almost sailable. We were motoring along easily on one engine at moderate RPMs.

Sometime during Dave's watch (1-6am), we had a squall and the winds got up to about 25 knots. A little bit exciting for a little while, but then the winds died again. Unfortunately, the NE winds never really materialized, or were so light that our boat speed changed the relative winds to almost on our nose.

By mid morning, we were only 25 miles from our destination, when the current picked up, going from SE to NW... almost on our nose. With the wind dying, and motoring against 2-3 knots of current, our forward speed slowed to sometimes 2 knots. The GPS started showing arrival at our destination, Wayag, as being after dark. Fortunately, there are 2 small islands 12 miles north of Wayag. We finally arrived at about 4:30pm, and found a nice anchorage in a large bay with a sand beach and a very healthy reef. Winds zero and seas flat. We had a nice snorkel and not 50 yards from our boat found a large coral head with a Manta Ray "cleaning station". Dave and I hovered in teh water for 10 minutes watching a large manta circle the coral head, with 20-30 small fish swimming around the ray's body and mouth, cleaning parasites.

Dave and I enjoyed sitting up on deck in our new "deck chairs" (4 plastic chairs purchased in Morotai) and watching the sunset. We had a nice dinner of yellowfin tuna sashimi, crackers, and cheese. (Tuna purchased in the market the day before). If I hadn't been so lazy, we would have had a salad too.

Dave laughed when I said "This is almost as good as the Bahamas." But of course, so different... Evia Blue had a local boat come alongside. But the people in the boat spoke no English and we don't speak any Indonesian. And apparently they weren't there to trade (there's a universal language for "I give you this, and you give me something else"). They left without communicating anything.

We had a nice quiet night last night, catching up on the sleep we missed on passage.

We are getting ready to get underway this morning, but paused for a few minutes for a passing rain shower. We just ran the starboard water tank dry this morning, but the port tank is full (around 60 gallons) and we have 20 gallons in jugs on deck. We managed to catch about 3 gallons of rainwater, which helps a little (our usage averages about 7 gallons a day when we are not working hard to conserve water).

PS, for those of you who have emailed us using our boat email address in the past, it has changed. New boat, new callsign. New callsign is WDI5677. But we are also able to receive email from our regular email addresses via Shadowmail.

At 5/25/2016 9:00 AM (utc) our position was 00°18.30'N 129°51.50'E

No comments:

Post a Comment