21st September 2015.
Its time to get up, the time is six o’clock.
Its time to get up, the time is six o’clock.
Its time to get up, the time is six o’clock.
Floundered around in a blur then finally found the bastard and went back to bed.
The Sandy’s anchorage is safe but bejesus it is rock and roll all night long. A huge lightning storm hit around 0330, lots of lightning and it pissed down. The thunder was like in the Telos, it sounded distorted it was so close.
We hung in there till 0700, knock off time for the fishermen I reckon, they were all coming past yelling and carrying on.
An irritating one foot swell at about three seconds is sweeping into the anchorage from the east, a light five knot SE breeze which is not making things to bad, no sideways action but lets get out of here.
We had anchor up and everything stowed by 0730, then it was hobby horsing out of the place around the port marker and guess what, it got far worse. To sail our course is impossible, fully on the nose, so Penang it is. The bloody autopilot is playing up or it may possibly be the plotter, that is twice now it has needed to be reset. Along the coast fishermen come over to see you and wave, my standard line now is, Aceh bagus, Jumpa Lagi, which they all seem to like. One boat came towards us and they are very animated, I waved back but they more like waved their arms in a Hati-Hati kind of way, I looked where we were headed and be buggered there’s a little wave breaking dead ahead, all the charts say ten metres, we were in thirty and I didn’t wait around to watch it rise, apparently I did good as the waving and yelling stopped.
We set the sails and sailed between thirty and fifty degrees, motorsailng, doing four to five knots, big time current against us, not much you can do, we aren’t going back.
Got Boomerang balanced up and sailing, which improved our situation ten fold, pretty ugly conditions, but Penang is not a bad spot. Mid morning we had some favourable wind direction and were just about able to head for the bottom of Langkawi, things are on the up, plus we are up in the high fives now. By lunch it was all ok, heading for Telaga Harbour.
A ship passed us from behind, I had no idea it was there, checked the AIS, amber light solid, normally green or blue, out with the book, not a great deal of info, perhaps bad area, GPS not working, that sort of stuff. So disconnected everything, checked all leads, opened up the AIS, ah shit, it has the burnt electrical smell, now it’s rooted for sure, this is not really going to plan, we are just about to cross the Straits of Melaka, one of the busiest passages in the world, now with no B class AIS, I dragged out the spare and plugged it in but even though all the indicators are correct there is nothing displayed on the plotter, a real case of the thick plottening. Out with the books, laptop and special lead but don’t really reckon I need to be bothering, it is not going to work but persisted for a couple of hours then spat the chips and had a beer followed by a stiff JD and coke, that’ll fix it. Nope. It is getting on now and the sun is going down, turned on the radar just to check. I was checking the screen and noticed these purple arcs, thought it to be waves but then looked around and there are none, oh shit we are almost in the strait, they are ships and it looks bloody busy as well.
The first one was a beauty, came up behind us, had him sussed, called him on the radio to no avail, he tooted his horn as he went past. From then on it was game on, I was wondering when I was going to get tired, not tonight that was for sure, they started coming at us from all directions although most were heading east to west or close to it, at one stage we had one slow down to give us room and then they all started doing it so you couldn’t just run up the front work out which way they were heading by their nav lights then back to the wheel to make adjustments, reckon they were thinking what’s this stupid prick up to. A couple of hours and perhaps fifteen boats I was rooted, me brain was fizzing, even had the doubts coming on, but they stopped for almost an hour, what a short lived fantasy that was, the bastard things then came at us like there was no tomorrow. At one stage I called on the VHF, all ships, all ships this is sailing vessel Boomerang we are at such and such and heading on course 082 degrees to Langkawi, can you please avoid us, not one of them replied, but they definitely saw us with every light on our mast on. About 0200 they started to slow down, thank god for that, hooked into a couple of beers to settle the nerves. They were still coming but one at a time now with heaps of gap so even allowed myself fifteen minutes nap with the phone on my chest, It’s time to get up, the time is 0230. Back to life check the surroundings and have another go, added up to a couple of hours in the end, plenty, when you know, just make it to daybreak and it is bedtime. The crew doesn’t want anything to do with nighttime and ships, don’t blame her either. You don’t realize how much you can miss something till it’s gone, the AIS gives you the ship that’s bearing down on you’s name, once you call it they are obliged to answer but if you are calling someone, like merchant vessel x 3, this is sailing vessel boomerang x 3, they don’t give a shit about you. They don’t need to give a shit is probably closer to the point.
Well the sun rose, I have sussed a comfy posy on the chair, the morning is startling, beautiful clear sky, an ocean that is so calm and blue as blue, nice, last night was horror, today is like you won and here’s your prize. We had the current with us and engines just tonking along to get 6.3kns, the risk of shipping has gone so iPad is showing the way, given up on the other gear and the autopilot is manageable but needs constant attention, we are going a bit fast as we don’t want to get to Telaga to early, although Jen did suggest the fuel dock, that is a good option. Dropped one engine off and lost a knot, it can stay off.
Saw a whale today, I thought I saw one about half an hour earlier and was thinking, as these Thai fishing boats, ones with the net between them, I imagined what would happen if they caught a whale and there you go one pops up and we both, sitting up the front sipping Anchor beers, saw it, be buggered hey. Yesterday I saw a pack of dolphins, they were going off up front, heaps of them, that was pretty cool too.
We have sat and watched the horizon for the expected 0 – 5 knots of WNW breeze, not happening, so time for a snooze, good one to, woke ready to go which was good as the wind has arrived, ten to fifteen knots at 120 degrees and all is good.
Had a funny thing happen, a boat came over for a look, cut me off to start with, then they just took off, the strange thing was all the dogs barking on it, guess it was someone’s navy but not sure whose.
The going was good so I had another snooze but a storm was headed our way, Jen give me a shake around 2300 as the wind had come around on the nose at twenty knots, it then moved to beam and eventually back to 120 degrees, so much for taking our time, we were flying, by this stage all the squid boats are packing it in for the night and heading for cover, we just ploughed on Langkawi now a glow on the horizon. About 0200 and it has passed but the lightning show we got was superb, full horizontal stuff, looked like it was joining the clouds together and then the occasional direct hit on the ocean, spectacular, our conditions continued to improve and I set about getting the fenders and ropes ready. As you come into Telaga there are some bamboo posts that are bunched together at the top and a few metres above the sea level, it might be a FAD not sure, but I know they are there and approximately where they are so I was looking out for them, you wouldn’t want to hit it as it would skuff up the gelcoat pretty badly. I quizzed on whether I had passed them and decided that I had and moved up front to tie off a fender, this is when I saw it, it went sailing past and all I could do was just watch it as we missed it by a couple of metres, just goes to show after all the crap with the electronics, the ships and the weather when your lucks in it is in.
Dropped anchor out the front of the marina as it was pretty calm by then, I had a shave for my appointments with Imigrassi, Harbour Master and Customs officials in the morning and hit the sack, slept in in the end but we were safe and sound in berth A34 by 0930. Had Cath and Gary help with the ropes, then we helped another boat come in and finally kicked back for a bit. All things considered it was a good sail, 250nm as the crow fly’s, not sure how many miles we actually did, in forty three hours, pretty much the standard.
All the paperwork over, with no dramas, we were welcomed back by the Imigassi boss and the Harbour Master, that to me is way cool. Came out of there with a spring in my step. Up to the Marina Office, cleared with them and we are back home.
BRING ON THE OCKWOLD’S, sorry Ockwells..
The Rangas would like to thank, Hubert, the lone sailor, party organiser and constant backup for ciggys, lighters and red wine, The Sandy’s for I am not sure what, but it is always good fun when you guys are around, Fred and Rosie, our live entertainment and a constant smiling face, The Persians, what a big effort to get there, Bailey and Erwin and Uncle and Goddy at the Floating Surf House, BengBeng for services done under extreme corruption, Dr Libra Christian for being our mate, Firman for his driving skills, Allie, Anaren and Nabahan for the Udang Kipas, Mangrove Jack, taking me diving and just being good dudes, Marcus for the fins, Mick for the JD and Ballantines, perfect timing, Paul the photographer for my Barrel shots, Uni and the kids at Lagundri Bay you are rippers and we really hope CaptainR’s is there next year.
We travelled approximately 2180 nautical miles, we used 1620 litres of fuel, we made 13000 litres of water and including getting the boat ready up in Thailand, six grand, we spent right on $15000 over five months for everything, to do a 12 day charter is close on five grand each, lets say four, so looking at it that way, I saved $35000 dollars and Jen got hers for free. Geez with calculations like that you may as well just go surfing, eat lobsters and drink heaps of piss.