Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Checked out of Indonesia, Headed for PNG

We only stayed one full day in Wayag :( Our buddy boats that we were trying to meet up with were in Sorong and getting ready to go, so we agreed to hustle out of Wayag and meet them on the SE tip of Waigeo Island. It took two long days of motorsailing in almost no wind to make the 100 miles to the meeting place. Fortunately, most of the time we had some current helping us out.

A couple of hours after we dropped anchor in Momfasa Bay, Ocelot and Indigo II arrived from Sorong. The next day, Beserker arrived from Waisai town. We had one big potluck on Ocelot, and took off headed east for Biak, 300 miles away. Biak would be our last official port in Indonesia, and where we check out.

With 4 boats, we had 4 different thoughts about the best way to do this route. One big consideration was to avoid sailing at night, because of the constant problem of unlit fishing boats, FADs, and nets. Also, since we would be close in to a coast with many rivers, we were worried about running into big logs at night. So Ocelot and Soggy Paws decided to try to break the trip up into 50-mile day hops. This mostly worked...

The first hop was almost exactly 50 miles, and we managed to squeeze 4 boats into a narrow protected not-too-deep and not-too-shallow shelf at the SE corner of Mios Su (aka Pulau Su and Pulau Amsterdam). We choose our anchorages based on whatever waypoints and tracks we've been able to gather from other cruisers, and with the help of GoogleEarth / SasPlanet charts. The winds were light NW, and the swell about 1 m from the NE. This was an OK anchorage. The trip was long and hot, as we were pretty much going downwind.

The next morning we all pulled out together. Ocelot and Soggy Paws were aiming for a tiny little hook in the land 50 miles away, but Beserker and Indigo decided to go on ahead and get it all done in 2 overnights, hoping to sail some rather than having to motor to keep speed up to make the next anchorage.

Our next stop was a tiny hook in the coast that looked like we could tuck in far enough to get out of the swell. It mostly worked. At high tide it was a little swelly. Not too bad for a catamaran, but would have not been fun for a monohull.

Jon on Ocelot had picked the next night's stop, another 50 miles down the way. It looked protected from the NW winds, but the reef provided no protection from the NE swell. It was an even worse anchorage than the previous nights. But with light winds and only 1.5m swell offshore, as long as we stayed out in deep water it was just rolly, not dangerous breaking waves. I wouldn't anchor there again.

Ocelot planned to do 3 more anchorages before Biak, but we had a little wind in the forecast, plus bigger unpleasant wind in the following days forecast. Also, we were going to be further offshore, and we hadn't seen hardly any fishing activity along this coast. So I convinced Dave to make an overnight direct to Biak.

It actually turned out to be a beautiful sail. The wind stayed at 7-10 knots all night long, just aft of the beam. Since we were didn't HAVE to make 5 knots to make it in by dark, we could ghost along at 4 and enjoy the sailing. About midnight, the wind dropped off briefly and I went to start the starboard engine, and it stalled every time I put it in gear. Dave thought we probably had something wrapped around the prop. Neither one of us wanted to go swimming at night, so we just kept sailing. Fortunately the lull was temporary and we had a beautiful sail the rest of the night.

In the morning, we took the sails down and sent Dave over the side. We found a whole banana tree jacknifed around the saildrive, and part of the sinews wrapped in the prop. Once we cleared that, the engine was fine. (Note: the port engine is inop because we've found water in the saildrive gear oil--it still runs, but Dave doesn't want to use it except in an emergency).

We made it into Biak port around mid day on Friday, January 18.
At 1/22/2019 8:08 AM (utc) our position was 01°18.71'S 136°22.75'E

No comments:

Post a Comment