Monday, March 27, 2017

Day 6 - Siau Island to Bitung

Par for the course, I was up at 2am with an anchor alarm going off in my ear. When I turned on the GPS in the cockpit, it was obvious we were still stuck to the bottom, but swinging in the rising wind and swirly current more towards shore. The sounder mounted on the starboard (outside) hull was saying 35 feet. (When we first anchored, we'd been hanging in 100 ft). It's no telling what the port hull would have been reading--we don't have a transducer there. But I envisioned the reef top right there... I cranked the rudders to starboard to let the current take us out a bit, and that helped. It was high tide, so with our 3' draft and a 6' tidal range, we probably could have swung completely over the outer reef without a problem. But still... I dozed in the cockpit until it was time to wake Dave at 4:30.

So we were up at the crack of dawn again. We had 77 nm to go to get to Bitung. We motorsailed all day in light conditions, with both engines going at cruise speed, to make the 77 miles from Siang to Bitung. With our tiny 27 Hp Yanmars, we only motor at about 5-5.5 knots.

And we made it! With .5-1.5 knots of helping current, wind from the NNE-NE at 8-12 knots, and all our sails flying, we finally dropped anchor in the lee of Serena Besar next to Ariel IV and, another boat (Making Time), in Bitung Harbor at 6:15pm.

Ariel IV got into Bitung early yesterday, as they had continued to sail through the night. We have only had a brief conversation, but they have talked to Making Time and already gotten lots of diving and check-in advice. Eric & Birgitta from Ariel IV were going over to the other boat for drinks and info, so we're sure they'll have the full scoop this morning.

As usual in Indonesia, the anchoring dance has to do with finding someplace to anchor in less than 100 feet where you won't swing into a reef. Here it was made a little more complicated because there's a pretty stiff current, and we're not sure whether it reverses or not. We also wanted to anchor a good ways away from the two monohulls--cats and monos behave very differently in wind/current situations.

We must have done a good job because the anchor alarm didn't go off once all night! But at 5:30am, the intruder alarm in the cockpit went off...fortunately it was just a flapping towel. It's daylight enough now that I can see that we did a good job anchoring--we are positioned perfectly, and this is a pretty little spot, though there is quite a bit of current at times. Bastianos Dive Resort is about a mile south of us. After we get cleared in and talk to Making Time, we'll decide exactly where and how we'll go diving and whether we'll move to the "Bastianos" anchorage.

Serena Besar Anchorage: 01°27.47'N 125°13.83'E

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