Into the Banda Sea

Tue 27 Jul 2010 03:05
Tuesday, July 28th, midday Darwin time.
Position; 07:03.9S 130:25.1E
We are well, and making good progress towards the diminutive Banda Islands, which would have been all too easy to miss in the days of yore. Our usual frustration is that we may not get there before nightfall tomorrow, and I would hate to try to go into the anchorage in darkness. Today is a lovely sailing day with force 4 winds just behind the beam. For the last two days however we have had strong winds from ESE, really lumpy seas that had us both reaching for the stugeron, and off our food. Several minor setbacks to contend with, as well. We left the main cabin hatch just a little open to allow a little fresh air down below, but a green one came over the decks at about midnight, and sea (salt) water cascaded into the sleeping area, all over our freshly laundered sleeping bags, etc. Hannah speechless as I leapt around, a naked zombie, with kitcken roll and towels. Come morning we discovered a new set of chainplate leaks on the starboard cabin side, that had allowed still more seawater into the bunk cushions. As previously I have stripped the headlining, and fixed a sort of collecting system for water that leaks around four big deck bolts. The problem is insoluble, as far as I can see, without quite major modifications, and having a dry cabin makes such a difference to our quality of life. Now that the weather has improved the decks are no longer awash, so we are OK for now, but getting back to the UK, by whichever route, will involve some windward work, and wet decks.
We don't have a thermometer on board, but it gets very hot in here, and the cockpit is untenable with spray and sunshine, as the bimini has been taken down as it threatens to break up in the wind, Even our red ensign is now in tatters. Yesterday we felt so illl that just surviving was deemed a sucess, today we are much brighter, but Hannah in particular would like to get in as soon as possible now, and is frustrated that unlike a car this boat cannot simply change gear, or, heaven forbid, ignore the speed limits. Her frustration has been heightened by the breakdown of our electricity inverter, a precious item of gear for this computer until recently, but I now have a back up power source, hence am able to write this. Unfortunately I am no longer able to charge my camera, and several other items, to say nothing of Madam's DS and Ipod.
Good news is that Indonesia uses 220 volts and European style plugs, it is just possible we can get an inverter in Ambon, in a week's time, otherwise Dear Conny could bring out a small one to Bali.
Other good news is that our Chart Plotter is working a bit, and although I havn't yet checked all its bells and whistles, it hasn't blown up like the other one. Moreover the engine's water pump is good too!
So we are now in the Banda Sea, and hopefully we shall soon put our Timor sea experiences to the backs of our minds. The faster boats will be in Banda already, so I hope that they and the Customs Officials will wait for us, and give us a couple of days on the Islands before we move on to Ambon. After Ambon we split from the fleet and sail direct to Bali: quite a long trip, but the wind, if we get some, should be from astern