Sail Pass, Manado - 19th August

Jeremy & Sally Paul
Thu 3 Sep 2009 04:46

Sail Pass, Manado – 19th August               


After a night in Wori Bay, we left the anchorage at around 11am to potter around in the bay fishing before joining the procession of yachts from the fleet for the Sail Pass.  There were issues with the generator meaning Jeremy had to spend some time in the engine room.  There were a group of pilot whales a couple of hundred metres from Astra so Charlie, Oli and Liam jumped in to swim to them.  Just as the boys got within eyesight of the whales, they dove down and swam away. 


Around 20 plus yachts assembled in two lines and motored to the Manado bay where we waited in the pouring rain for the large military ships to pass us by.  A very large aircraft carrier the USS George Washington lead the fleet past the President of Indonesia along with up to a million spectators on the shore.  It was such a spectacular sight to see so many naval vessels from many nations within such close proximity.  Rain and poor visibility made it impossible to see anything greater than a mile away, which for us seemed to be the majority of the big naval ships. However, we made the most of the Sail Pass and enjoyed the experience.


That evening, Layaleeta anchored within close proximity to Astra in the middle of an absolute dump.  Manado by the shore was rather smelly to say the least and full of mosquito’s.  That evening, we all went ashore for dinner at the beach side bar which we had visited a few days previous.  Due to the fact that it was Oli’s birthday in a few days time, he went out to a club with Damo from Layaleeta arriving back at Astra at 4am.


As soon as Oli was back onboard at 4am on the 20th, we set off to the island of ‘Lehaga’ some 28 miles further north.  Whilst everyone slept, Jeremy was on watch.  Astra arrived at the perfect tiny island at around 8am.  We anchored in around 20 metres of absolute perfect clear blue water (now we were in Marine Paradise!).  We spent most of the morning snorkelling around the island over excellent coral and thousands of colourful fish.  This was what we had been looking for throughout the last month.  Instead, we had spent all our time in grotty fishing ports thanks to the Sail Indonesia rally.


We had to make our way back to Bitung that afternoon for the awards ceremony for the three races.  Due to strong winds right on the nose, we had to motor most of the 26 miles back to Bitung.  During the passage, we caught a barracuda of around 10 – 12 pounds (we were glad to catch our first fish in Indonesia).  We arrived back at Bitung at 5:30pm and after several attempts to drop the anchor in the correct place, we journeyed ashore for the awards ceremony.  We met up with all the participants from the other yachts and enjoyed the evening of local KFC and free beer.  Astra won two prizes that night; ‘First over the line’ in all three races and ‘Best Skipper’ (spelt Best Shipper – typical!).  The crew of Layaleeta joined us for a few drinks that evening after the ceremony for our last night in the region.  We were so glad to be moving on!