Fishing Boat off Nembrala
Life goes on ...
Cruising in the waters of Nembrala
Nembrala, almos 3 weeks since we arrived. Still enjoying the place. Haven't been able to find a good place to windsurf the waves, so surfing has been the main activity onboard. Wking up early, checking the swell, breakfast than a short dinghy ride to the spot, jump in the water and catch as many waves as our arms can… Then come back and heal the bruises : Split chin for one, sprained shoulder for the other and bruised rib for the captain :) Still enjoying life in Indo though, but now quite eager to sail down to Western Australia for the wind season. More waves and more wind for the coming months, hopefully...
Fifth day here in Nembrala, Rote island. 5 days of surf. 5 days of great waves. We're all pretty much burned out every evening. In bed at 9pm after dinner and early wake up call to go surfing, usually at sunrise. This break is really good and people in the water are really relaxed. We've all had our share of waves. Everybody is smiling onboard :) The only downside is that the village is really really quiet, not much to do apart from surfing. There's a small restaurant, "Jennet's", and a few very pricy resorts which are not worth the price. So happy to be traveling on my boat. You can always leave and go exploring once you've had enough of one place.
But for now, all we can think of is the next surf session. It's that good here. My arms are going to fall but being in the water and having fun with friends is so good, i can't stop until i can barely paddle back to the dinghy. The swell is supposed to pick up in the next few days, i guess when it finally stops nobody will complain to have a day or two of just doing nothing…
Cheers from West Timor
Just another sunset...
First day in Nembrala, Rote Island. Found a really good spot to anchor, very calm and close to the surf break. After a much needed 12 hour sleep, a bit of cleaning and repairs on the boat, the wind picked up and Steve and myself went for a short windsurfing session. The wind dropped very quickly but it was still really good to jump off the boat and speed along the coast in perfect clear blue water. Then after lunch, the swell finally arrived. We all jumped in the dinghy, motored to the edge of the reef and jumped in the water to start paddling. Got my first waves in 4 years. Super nice spot, long easy waves, a bit crowded but better than nothing. So good to be back in the water, bobbing on your board, having fun with friends. A day like this makes you forget the 9 days spent at sea to come to this place.
Still haven't been on land yet :) There's a little village here, with a few nice looking small resorts straight on the beach so will have to check it out tomorrow after the morning surf session… WIll need to get a bit of fruits, veggies and hopefully find a place to drop the laundry !
Life is good
Anchored off Nembrala, Rote Island, Timor. 1200 miles from Davao, 9 days across the asian seas, thunderstorms, calm days and stormy days, no wind and too much wind, rain and sunshine, Joy and Pain… All part of the experience.
Also finally got reunited with my friend Mikael, from sweden, who just flew here and was waiting on the beach for us. Stefan, Mikael and myself met a few years ago in Northwest Australia, windsurfing the remote NorthWest australian breaks. It's the first time in seven years we're all back together, and i'm really looking forward to those 3 weeks on the boat with that crew. It's a good mix of Swedish, swiss and french nut cases :) Once again, that crossing was not all pleasure but now that it's done, it feels really good and we are happy to have been on that adventure, doing something out of our little comfort zone.
off to cook that tuna now and then sleep.
10deg 52.939' S 122deg 49.061 E
Last Sunrise of the Trip
The sun is rising and we can see the island of Timor ! Great night, no drama and no rainstorm… It all started with the wind picking up really quickly, some quick reefing and furling,we're getting good at this, and then the current started pushing us away from our destination, we were literally sailing sideways ! The moral was a bt down for the first two hours, as it would have pushed us passed Timor and the next possible landfall would have been Sumba !!! Not where we wanted to go… It finally dropped completely after 2 hours and we motored a bit to win back what we had lost. And around 3am, the breeze came back, the current dropped weak and we've been sailing in the right direction since. We're hoping to get to Rote before sunset tonight so we can find a good spot to anchor in daylight, "only" a little bit more than 70 miles to go.
Can't wait to be there, I want some of that Tuna :)
09deg 47.250' S 123deg 24.462' E
We're now in the Savu Sea, our last leg of the trip. 160 miles to the island of Rote and we'll drop the anchor ! And to make it even better for our last night, we finally caught a proper fish ! This 8 kg Yellowfin Tuna will be on the menu for many meals to come...
But not tonight, the wind is picking up again really fast and it will probably not be comfortable to cook down in the galley. But at least it seems we will have no rain tonight.
The Banda Sea : we'll both probably remember that crossing ! After Seven days of slow motoring, we finally hit some wind yesterday. And Strong wind ! The sea was all over the place. We were in for a 24 hours non-stop uncomfortable ride : Naughty seas, gusty strong wind, rain showers, the whole menu to make you love boating !!!!
In 25 to 30 knots of wind, my boat is pretty fast, and usually that's makes me really happy… But yesterday, we were looking for ways to slow it down trying not to break it on the harsh Banda sea ! Then just as we were eating some Lunch, we heard a loud bang on the portside hull… We'd just hit a big floating log doing 10 knots of speed. We slowed down and since it was to dangerous to dive, we dropped a waterproof camera on a pole to inspect the damages.The daggerboard took the main hit and luckily it pushed the log out of the way of the rudder. We couldn't do anything about it yesterday so we kept on sailing, full of adrenaline ! We will have to invent some way to make a temporary repair once in Timor.
That brings us to the definition of the day. Yachting : Finding ways to repair your boat in exotic places...
Heading for more rain
The wind is finally here. And more rain ! It doesn't feel like being in the tropics at all, more like a normal day in Brittany, except bit warmer and no crepes. A reef in the main, full jib out, we're heading in the right direction doing between 8.5 to 10 know of speed.
Now if it could only be sunny...
05deg 36.910' S 126deg 01.420 E
Today was one of those days where you just wonder what the *#%* you're doing on the water : Motoring all day against a strong current and doing no more than 4 knots, going through some weird unpleasant patches of waves coming out of nowhere, wind finally showing up but quite weak and straight in your nose. Then, to make the day even better, failure of the expensive main Gps antenna ! Not only you are slow and uncomfortable, on top of that it's costing a lot of cash ! But you still don't see yourself going back to living your previous life, so you end up finding ways to deal with this. You can't control nature so you just learn to accept the weather part of the deal, telling yourself you'd rather be here than in a traffic jam at 8 in the morning on the way to work… And to get over the financial part, you have the "Boat Dollar"...
The boat dollar is a wonderful concept, and a pretty flexible one too. One boat dollar equals one hundred real life dollars. As you get bigger, more expensive boats, you can change the conversion rate to a thousand dollars, or whatever suits you. You can now tell yourself that the failure of that Gps antenna will only cost 3 boat dollars ! With this in mind, you don't get totally mad at a pricy unreliable piece of electronic crap and keep on enjoying the cruising lifestyle. Boat dollars only get converted back into real life dollars when you receive your bank statement at the end of the month… But by then, you'll have discovered beautiful places, met new people and done things that can only be achieved by living on the water. And come to the conclusion that all of this is worth the hassle.
For Sailors, delusion can sometimes be the key to sanity !
03deg 00.292' S 127deg 21.074' E
Sunset in the Molucca Sea
Finally got a bit of wind late this afternoon. And coming from the right direction ! It only lasted 2 hours but it felt good to be sailing again : No engine noise and great speed :) It was probably a small gift from a small whale we spotted just before the wind picked up. It was swimming in the opposite direction and we first thought it was a big tree floating around :)
Still hoping to get more wind a bit further south, once we enter the Banda Sea and turn South West towards Timor…
01deg 08.920' S 127deg 02.268' E
Idiots on the way to the Southern Hemisphere
Apparently it's a tradition in the sailing community that when you cross the equator for the first time, you need to be "baptized"… Since i'm not an old sea warrior, i don't really know the exact rules, but a few years ago, when Steve and I crossed it for the first time on our way to Bali, we decided the rule would not apply if we just jumped off a few meters before the line, swim across the equator, and climb onboard once the boat would have drifted to "the other side" :) A few months later i crossed that line again with a few other people onboard but they were all asleep so i paid my dues to Neptune by having a beer :) Hey I'm the captain so i make the rules !!!
Today we crossed to the southern Hemisphere once again, in the rain this time, and since my swiss friend is still an "equator virgin" and wanted to avoid being covered in eggs, flour and whatever sticky thing i would find in the galley, we once again stopped just short of that imaginary line and swam to the southern hemisphere...
people ask me all the time what i do when underway to fight the boredom… It's pretty simple, you just use our imagination and invent crazy things :)
cheers to all from the southern part of the world
0deg 0.0000S 126deg 42.697E
Finally got a little bit of wind today, but not really in the right direction ! But we are now motorsailing and making better progress than the past few days. Should be at the Equator tomorrow morning, ready for our usual "swim across the equator challenge" :)
Take care all and see you tomorrow :)
01deg 32.250N 126deg 10.550E
P.S : those of you who get my updates on Facebook, if you want to get in touch with me, please use my email address (ben at blogatrip…), same for comments, Please comment on my blog, not on FB so i can read it :) I'm using a pretty expensive sat. connection and connecting to FB cost a fortune. Thanks !
This is not a Filipino Fishing boat
Indonesia is a place of extreme contrasts. We arrived in Sangihe late last night and drifted in front of the bay, waiting for the sunrise to enter and anchor. Off to Immigration at 8am and the fun start : everyone here was extremely friendly and funny, really happy to see a foreigner, but it takes forever to get a stamp in your passport : Forms, ink, copies, discussions and a bit of watching the TV can break most peoples mood… But as everyone who's been to Asia knows, time is elastic here so better smile and let it flow...
6 hours later, we're checked in to the country, have most of our authorizations for the boat except for the custom clearance : The officer was off to another island that day and the option of waiting for him to come back on "monday" didn't sound too attractive to me. I guess i'll do that later :) or not at all ! And we even managed to buy diesel. And i say "manage" because you need a "permission" to buy fuel as a foreigner here :) Don't loose your nerves ! But in those 6 hours spent running around for stamps and endless forms, i still managed to meet extremely friendly faces and will really look forward to coming back here. But now we're back on the water, really want to get to the waves down in timor as soon as possible.
Terimakasi Indonesia ;)
03deg 29.230N 125deg 27.940E
And rain… All night ! And thunderstorms, crazy unlit fishing boats, huge bamboo fish traps and Pods of sleepless dolphins ;)
A bit of sun this morning as the last island of the Philippines is behind us. On our way to Sangihe, Indonesia.
5deg 07.5946N 125deg 27.6056E
The Captain's Desk on the new Kalakuta
More than one year since putting the boat in the water… It took almost 18 months to build it in Thailand, and finally in April 2012 i crossed from Thailand, through Cambodia and finally across the South China Sea back to the Philippines. Amazing solo trip to sail back to the country i love the most : the Philippines :) One year already here, meeting old friends and making new ones, cruising around the islands and discovering new amazing places : Still absolutely in Love with this country, and it's people :) Quite sad to be leaving but it's sometimes good to leave your comfort zone and go discover new places, so this morning my good friend Stefan and myself left Davao, in southern Mindanao, to go explore some remote islands south of Timor, in the Eastern part of Indonesia. 1000 miles to go and probably lots of good times ahead… Stefan was also crew my first Indo expedition 5 years ago, and apparently he things i'm not such a bad captain because he came back this year for another trip :)
We're hoping to find great waves and good wind for surfing and windsurfing, meet new people and most important, have Fun !!!
See you soon for more news :)