The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Sat 1 Aug 2015 22:37



04:35.25S  130:08.95E


We’re 25 miles from Banda, Indonesia, should be there by midday.  Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


1 August 2015  Tual to Banda (Day1)

The alarm went off at half past five and we were moving half an hour later.  We had a very slow start with hardly any wind, so we motored for a couple of hours.  Once we cleared the island, the wind picked up to a very nice 20-25 knots from the south-east putting us on a port broad reach.  The waves were only 1-2 metres, so we had a very pleasant day.


We've finally caught up with the "rival" Sail2Indonesia rally, who have been anchored on the other side of the island in a town called Debut.  There's over 50 boats on the rally and we've been hearing them on the VHF radio, while we were in Tual.  Their next stop is Banda, so we'll be bumping into them when we arrive.  We know a few of the boats in the rally, so it will be good to see old friends.


By nine 9'clock, the chatter on the radio had increased to a constant noise as 10-20 boats left Debut and were telling each other to watch out for fishing buoys and various reefs.  It was amusing to watch them scatter on the AIS.  Eventually, it settled down and we have a small flotilla of at least five boats heading for Banda.  One of the boats is "Keyif", a Turkish boat with Selim and Nadine, who we met in the Galapagos and last saw in New Zealand.


We had to sail 40 miles to clear the Kai Islands, where we saw a few fishing boats and were forced to skirt around a few buoys with black flags, despite the water being over 200 metres deep.  Then we had a scare.  We were both doing our own thing - I'd been down below sorting out an email and Glenys was sitting in the cockpit absorbed with researching future anchorages, when I thought I heard shouting. 


We had our starboard rain panel zipped onto the bimini to keep the sun out of the cockpit.  I peered around and was shocked to see a fishing boat just 25 metres away, with the fishermen waving hello. They were anchored in over 200 metres of water at least 10 miles from land.  We enthusiastically waved back, relieved that we hadn't hit them.


The rest of the day was uneventful and great sailing.  After dark we had a full moon, with clear skies and constant SE 20-25 knot winds, so it was an idyllic night.