Ups and downs
Barry and Margaret Wilmshurst
Sat 18 Aug 2012 15:27
We have been in Nongsa Point marina since August 7 and we are due to leave tomorrow. It’s great here and we have put off the day of departure three times claiming that we are looking for improved weather prospects but it is just as likely that we cannot drag ourselves away from this very pleasant spot. It is quiet, efficiently run and comfortable. We are often the only people in the delightful pool, the only people in the bar and there is usually convivial company in the restaurant where the food is pretty good. There is a small shop on site.
Coming across on the 7th was “interesting.” Not dangerous but there was an awful lot of traffic. By law, boats of less than 20 m length have no rights of way at all in a mandatory Separation Scheme and must cross the shipping lanes at right angles to the direction of traffic. Commercial shipping is not widely spaced and travels at varying speeds, and much faster than us. We had to keep constantly on the alert and tied up in Nongsa after only 23 miles badly in need of a good cup of tea.
We have been busy with the things we were unable to complete in Singapore. Having waited an extra day for a parcel from the UK it arrived two hours after we left. No problem, Keppel arranged for an Indonesian “boat boy” to bring it across on his way home for the holidays. Water-maker parts from Australia had to be fitted and that took a couple of days. We took a trip back across the Strait in the ferry because Mags wanted to check on a possible eye problem. As it turned out there was no problem but the experience of the Singapore hospital was interesting. I caused a minor sensation when arriving back at the boat with a gay and jaunty step, carrying a bag of clean laundry, I tripped over a small obstruction and fell flat on my face. Nothing broken but my nose hit the deck with quite a thump and there was good deal of blood on the nice clean concrete pontoon. I looked a bit of a mess for a day or two and enjoyed milking the sympathy. There would have been very little of that had I dropped the laundry into the dock.
There have been some metaphorical ups and downs too. Several of the boats taking the same route have passed through and among most crews there is an air of controlled excitement. But not in every case. We have heard of one couple we knew in Rebak who have turned back at around this latitude because of constant unfavourable headwinds. Their boat is smaller than most. One of our sailing buddies left here last week, motored south as far as Belitung where they were due to check out of Indonesia, and changed their minds. They are coming back and won’t be crossing the Indian Ocean this year. We don’t know what to think.
In truth our biggest problem is how to find room for, and securely stow all the food, drinks and other gear that we think is necessary and still leave room for Jim. Perhaps we shall have to eat half the food before we get to Cocos.
Tomorrow morning we leave for a couple day trips and then a couple of “over-nighters”. We shall probably be two or three days on Belitung before moving on.