Arrival Keelung

Lars Alfredson
Sun 14 Feb 2016 13:19

pos 25:8.898N 121:47.094E
Bisha Harbour, Keelung

After studying the weather charts carefully we decided to leave Kaohsiung already on Thursday the 11/2 in order to avoid a blow that was predicted for Sunday.

After saying goodby to Darryl who was flying home to Canada. He has been with me since the middle of November and the Solomon Islands.

We left the harbour at 15.30 in the afternoon for the 215 NM trip to Keelung. We had originally planned to stop at the P'eng Hu Islands on the way but because of the coming bad weather cancelled that.

To start with we had a great downwind sail north along the coast with the genoa boomed out. It is unusual with southerly winds this time of year. We were doing close to 9 knots. An hour before dark we saw this these big dark clouds building up and they got darker and darker. I suspected that the shit was going to hit the fan in a short time, and down came the spinnaker boom and the genua was furled away. In a very short time the wind turned 180 degrees on the nose and it started raing. Soon we had to take down a reef in the main also and start the engine to help us in getting north.
Luckily the wind soon calmed down. It calmed down to much even and staid on the nose.
We ended up motorsailing the rest of the trip.
The weather stayed hazy and we could not see so much of land. We saw some distant fireworks at nighttime, it being the week of the Chinese New Year.
On my nightwatch on Friday we were near the northwest tip of Taiwan outside the Capital Taipei, and the time was about 01.00 in the morning. Suddenly this big boat races up behind us and puts a big searchlight in our faces. After some confusion we understood that it was the coast gard checking up on us. It is not easy to see anything with a 1000 Watt light in your eyes. After convincing them that we were not smuggling contraband in to the country they left us be and we could continue on our way.
We tried toadapt our speed to arrive at Keelung after light in Saturday morning. We did not quite make it,we were early. When we rounded the north tip of Taiwan in no wind and with the engine just ticking over we still made 7 knots trough the water. The current was pushing us with at least 4 knots. In the end we had to overshoot the harbour entrance and turn around to wait for daylight.
When we enteted the harbour we noticed the very high harbour walls, somwhere between 10 and 15 meters. We found inside a marina that was badly damaged with the floating pontoons all twisted and half broken. The damage was I think a combination of heavy weather and bad design.
We tied up to one of these and after breakfast we telephoned Roger from Speed Marine. We got his number from Sophie in Kaohsiung. Roger soon arrived with his girlfriend on a vespa and promtly directed us to another mooring with a flat surface. Roger was very helpful with the necessary paperwork etc. After completing our arrival procedures we decided to explore our surroundings as it was still early in the day.
More about this in the next blog.
All is well.
Lars and crew.

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