Passage to Wakatobi Day 1
Monday 7th August 2017
Distance run: 166 nm (27 hours)
We decided to miss out the next two rally stops and make straight for Hoga Island in the Wakatobi chain. This is not a rally stop but is reported to be a quiet, peaceful spot away from towns, and where there is good snorkelling. From there it is only 30 nmiles or so to the next rally stop where we will rejoin the fleet.
We left Banda Neira at 0900 yesterday after a short delay while we extracted our anchor from beneath the chain of the neighbouring boat. It was obvious we had a problem as the anchor was slow to come up, and sure enough their chain was hooked over one of the flukes of our anchor. Now, we have a special hook to deal with such eventualities, which are commonplace in the Med, but as we left there seven years ago and have not moored Med-style since then, it was buried deep in a locker. As I was preparing to empty said locker, a local fisherman came by in his dugout and came over to help. We passed him a rope and he helpfully passed it around the chain, but then started to tie a knot in it. It then took us several minutes to get across to him to pass the loose end back up to us, but eventually we had the chain secured on the cleat and were able to drop our anchor a couple of metres and away from the chain. We thanked him - yes, in Indonesian - and he smiled and went on his way. Once we had let our neighbour's chain go, we were off.
We were expecting fairly light winds, but we had a good breeze and made a 6 knot average along the rhumb line. At this rate we wouldn't make it before dark on day three, so it would definitely be a three-nighter, and we will have to slow down on the last day to wait for daylight. Tedious. At least the sun is shining and the sea state is not too boisterous. Six boats left at the same time as us, and all are making for the same place, so we had some company for a while, until each one slipped into its preferred speed and course, and we spread out. For a while there was radio communication as the leaders fed back positions of passing tree trunks, until they were too far off for it to be of any relevance, and it was dark anyway.
Night watches were demanding as we need to keep a constant watch for floating items, nets, FADs and fishing boats. Oh, and the occasional merchant ship, but at least they have lights and radios...