Wed 18 Jan 2017 10:32
They don't tell you to get up to Singapore before the NW monsoon gets established for no reason. The forecast said light winds so we set off again, hoping the rain storms we had had the day before were due to the stronger winds. They weren't. We hadn't even got as far as we had the day before when we had to hove to to let a storm pass by. I'm not talking squalls here: force 7 gusting 8 with 3 meter waves. Three meters isn't bad when you're out in a deep ocean with 12 or 16 seconds between them, but these were short and sharp, with just 3 or 4 seconds between them. The sea, which was a sparkling blue before hand, turned grey, and every wave had a white crown. They came towards us nicely in line, like corrugated cardboard. Then the crowns turned into smears as the wind blew the tops off the waves, and they broke as they come towards us - even in the midst of the storm I can't help marvelling at the beautiful aquamarine on the crest of the wave when it reared up to fall towards us. Mostly Lochmarin rode them happily, taking them in her stride, rolling and returning, pitching across them, but now and again one broke onto us, with a crash that reminds us that these aren't pretty little splashy waves for our entertainment, they are tonnes of water being tossed up and dropping back down.
So we turned tail. Phil says it was a tactical retreat. To lick our wounds, get some sleep and consider whether there was any viable alternative. It was a peaceful night, alternating between drifting hove to and motoring back into position so as to avoid the shipping lanes and the submarine practice area. Bottle nose dolphins came to keep us company whilst we worked through alternative plans. The bottom line is there isn't any option. Indonesia won't have us back unless we have checked in and out of another country, going up around Borneo has its own problems and there's no point heading back to East Timor.
We've hanked on the storm jib, downloaded a weather file, girded our loins and we're off. Here goes...
Day 3 - Lunch: burger, fried greens and tomato, mashed potato. Supper: avocado and bacon sandwich.
Day 4 - Breakfast: banana, apricot and coconut water smoothie; peanut butter, banana and honey on bread. Lunch: spring rolls, prawn crackers and chicken Laksa cup-a-soup.
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