Sunday, August 7, 2016

Heading for Palau

We checkout out of Sorong, Indonesia on Wednsday, and left Sorong on Thursday morning. We spent Friday doing some boat maintenance on a shallow beach on the north coast of Batanta.

Early yesterday (Saturday) morning, we left that pretty anchorage to head north and east toward Palau.

Our first leg was planned to be 45 miles to an anchorage on the southeast end of Waigeo. We had originally envisioned this leg to be the typical Indonesian drift (motorsail). However, a strong monsoon trough moved in a couple of days ago, and we had big winds from the SSW. This made our planned anchorage untenable, but also gave us a speed boost, so we ended up going about 62 miles, going on around the east end of Waigeo, and found a nice anchorage on the north coast.

We had 20-25 knots most of the day, and with the main down to the 3rd reef, 2 reefs in the jib, and the wind aft of the beam, we were easily reaching 7-8 knots. It was good experience for us all--it had been so long since we actually sailed that we needed a refresher. And the new crew are soaking up the terminology and the sail handling.

None of our friends have been in this part of Waigeo, so for the first time, we had no waypoints or tracks to follow! But thanks to GoogleEarth and SASPlanet, we had some usable satellite photos. Good thing, because the chart is vague and way off in this area.

I have been learning how to make satellite charts from SASPlanet--it's not hard but something I haven't done before. Doug on Rigel gave me his SASPlanet program with about 4GB of cached sat photos, which have much better photos of this part of Indonesia (Nokia DGSat). I had made a few maps a week or so ago, so when I blithely tried to make a few maps of the east and north coast of Waigeo, I was surpised to find some problem between GE2KAP and SASPlanet. With Paul (the GE2KAP creator) and Terry on Valhalla's help, I tried a few things, but haven't solved it yet. It may be a Windows issue.

Fortunately we already have good cartography of the stops we plan for the trip to Palau. Our plan is make the jump to Ayu Islands (about 60 miles north of here) tomorrow. This is an Indonesian group of atoll-like islands. I think there is one village. I am sure we will be welcomed for a day or two stop there. The next stop after that is a single overnight NNE to Helen Reef, a tiny atoll at about 3N 132E. This atoll is owned by Palau, and is staffed by 3-4 rangers who live there and protect the reef from poachers (usually Filipino and Indonesian fishermen). If we have good enough weather, we hope to spend a few days there, diving and snorkeling. The final leg is a double overnight NNE to Palau. So we think we won't be in Palau until around 18-20 August.

It looks like the monsoon winds are dying down today, so we are hoping for only 5-10 knots behind us for our first leg tomorrow. We'll be leaving at the crack of dawn to give us an early afternoon arrival, as we've got about 5 miles of reef-strewn passage to get from outside the reef to the anchorage inside the reef.
At 8/7/2016 7:55 AM (utc) our position was 00°08.52'S 131°14.39'E

No comments:

Post a Comment