Arrived in Sorong

Sun 23 Oct 2016 07:40
0:53.395S 131:14.572E

Mountains peep above the clouds in the last of the evening light #trueblue #nofilterrequired (Beckie, I’m learning hash speak from your example!)

We were just a quarter of a degree below the Equator as we sailed around the Northern most tip of Papua, passing Amsterdam Island, but we’ll not cross it now until we approach Singapore. With the dawn rose a quandary: we had 80 miles to go, rather a push for a 12 hour day if we wanted to get there in daylight, but we’d have to be drifting around for quite some time if we stayed out for 24 hours to arrive with the light the next day. North of Sorong was not a good place to drift around as there’s lots of ships going up and down, along with lots of fishing boats, mostly with no AIS.

Amsterdam Island.

In the end the wind decided for us by quietly disappearing, so we turned on the engine and became a motor boat for the day. It was a glorious day to watch the coast slip by and a lovely mahi mahi on the hook helped things along.  We were still 25 miles away from Sorong when we started to spot local motor boats running around. These fishermen were clearly a different breed from the Jayapura ones: they didn’t need any stabilisers!  We realised the extend of the difference when we started to see floating houses, each with a group of attendant covered fishing boats. This might not be that remarkable except that these with in 1500m of water, about 15 miles from shore. The ‘houses’ were moored there, can you imagine the length and thickness of rope that would need?

Floating fishing houses 15 miles off shore… the mooring buoy is on the left - has to be huge to float with the weight of 1.5km of warp on it!

All went well until we were about 20 miles away from Sorong, with a container ship coming up behind us, when we started to get a fuel feed problem with the engine. It had happened once before so we knew it was likely to be the fuel filter so, after a radio call to let the ship know we were “not under command”, we performed a quick filter replacement (tricky on a boiling hot engine in confined space) and the engine was soon back in action. The delay was frustrating as we would now be pushed to make port in daylight. 

Some weather blowing in from the South.

Soon after we were back under way a big black cloud boiled up ahead of us and heavy rain and strong winds slowed us right down but they cleared by the time we arrived in the port and by combining the navigation lights that the Indonesians kindly supply, our charts and our satellite images, we found our way in the dark to safe harbour. 

I think its going to rain…

Sitting on deck with our anchor beer, aching and bone weary, we took in the lights and sounds of a new harbour. We’d completed a nearly 650 mile passage and started another chapter of our adventure: Indonesia proper was lying before us to be explored. Life’s good.

Just so you’ve seen it: the line where the river met the ocean: green one side, blue the other (see the last blog post).