Sunday, March 26, 2017

Day 5 - Sangihe to Siau Island

We had another long day hop planned, so we had to be up early. We planned a 5am departure. However, at 4am the drag alarm went off, and we were underway, with the mooring still tied on!! We had gusty winds to 20 knots in the harbor, coming in from the saddle in the mountain. I had put an anchor alarm with a very short radius. When we got the Garmin fired up, we could see that we were dragging the buoy along the shore, out to deep water. Fortunately our boat wasn't in immediate danger. We got the engines started quickly and the nav computer fired up. We were worried about dragging into another buoy behind us, and getting tangled up in that, but managed to avoid that.

The biggest problem was getting Dave's $50 fancy stainless steel clip off the mooring buoy. 45 minutes later we had finally backed towards shore and managed to drag the damned buoy back up the slope, so we could get the buoy hauled high enough to get the clip off. Otherwise, Dave was going to make me dive for it in the dark!! Fortunately, our Garmin chart was both detailed and accurate, which made the whole process easier.

But, it's a good thing we got underway early. Today's target was Siao island, about 55 miles away. We are hustling along trying to meet up with Ariel IV in Bitung (just had a radio contact with them... they are at sea, about 26 miles away from us, expecting landfall tomorrow morning for Bitung).

We had wind today from every point of the compass and from 0 knots to about 20 knots. We had helping current and adverse current. We were able sail for a few hours without the engines on, but because we were trying to keep our speed up, going dead downwind in light air, we ran one or both engines most of the day. We did make about 100 gallons of fresh water in 3 hrs of motoring...

Unfortunately a big squall hit about the time we arrived at Siao. So the spectacular view of the volcano was hardly visible through the rain.

We ended up anchoring in the lee of the two little islands on the SE side of Siao. We motored up to the big pier and tried to ask for suggestions on anchoring, after we found that the fishing boats we had thought to be anchored were really on moorings in 90 ft of water. They invited us to come in to the dock, but with a 6 ft tidal range and a concrete dock, we weren't doing that. The guy then said "right there". So we anchored just off the pier. There is a pretty good current running in the slot between the two islands. I'm not crazy about the anchorage, but it's getting dark and there's just no time to find an alternate spot. I tried to convince Dave to head out before it got full dark, and just make an overnight to Bitung, but he wouldn't budge. We could just sail slowly along and arrive in daylight. "Too much debris in the water, too many fishermen with unlit nets and FADs". (Yeah, but, you're not the one who will stand anchor watch all night...)

But it WAS nice to have a quiet dinner-and-a-movie without worrying about running over some poor fisherman.

Anchor position: 02°40.54'N 125°27.08'E

We are hoping for a quiet night, and plan an early departure at "first sparrow fart" (a British sailing term). We have 77 miles to go to the Bastianos anchorage at Bitung... another VERY long day. Most likely we will get in after dark.

Lessons (re-)learned today: (a) Never pick up someone else's mooring, no matter how new and hefty it looks. And no matter how badly you want to avoid anchoring. (b) If you want to sail, go on the windward side of the island!!

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