From Oz to Indonesia

The goal was to arrive in Tual, Indonesia, on Wednesday morning. The distance is 650 miles, and I think 160 miles/day is a good figure to use for estimating. Four days. But the wind predictions were for two days of heavy wind followed by light wind. Too light to keep up our average. So instead of leaving Saturday at dawn we decided to leave late Friday afternoon.

The wind was around 25 knots the first night and day. We flew our small spinnaker, trying to take it easy, especially for Jesse. His first time really at sea, we were concerned about how he would fare, ever with Scopolamine. He was game, but sometimes his face seemed less game than his words, and he was clear that he wouldn’t last long in the galley!

Tahawus surged out in front, and Chapter Two and we sailed along within sight of each other. It’s now the fourth night, and they are still in sight. They have suddenly come from four miles behind to a mile ahead though. That’s because the goal has changed. After two days of very fast sailing, it seemed we could arrive Tuesday before dark, rather than Wednesday morning. But now with the wind light, it looks like we might not quite make it before dark. I think C2 has decided they are going to make it, even if it costs some fuel. Maybe we will come to that choice, too, but for now I’m just praying for a little more wind. About three knots more would be enough, if it would blow consistently. Funny though, that being ahead of schedule isn’t making things relaxed — it’s adding pressure to make the new goal. Actually it is sailing with Tahawus and C2 nearby that is doing it. If they are getting in tomorrow, we want to, too.

We are six degrees from the equator. And as Jesse and I worked out with a little mental gymnastics, the declination of the sun was directly overhead yesterday. It is very hot during the day. It is very pleasant at night. Last night I was treated to bright phosphorescence in the water — our wake glowing two large streaks, plus a small one from the hydrogenerator. Cool; but then add dolphins! First heard, as they blow and suck in air. Then seen, as glowing splashes on the dark ocean canvas.

Tonight the ocean is glowing from a different source. Dozens of fishing boats are alit to attract fish. They are all congregated in one area. It looked like the lights on a runway as we went by! Now they are a glow on the horizon.

I know Jesse will be very happy when we are again at anchor. He mentioned the 20 day passage that we did to the Marquesas. “Not for me!” he said. But I have very much enjoyed sailing with him, so far. We’ve never done such a great project together; never played on the same team like this. I like him.

I have no idea what to expect when we arrive in Indonesia. Will it be fun? Will it be overwhelming? Will it be scary? I’m very glad that we have Luc again organizing our activities, allowing us to simply show up and participate. He refers to “exotic Indonesia.” I’m not sure I’m up for exotic right now. But first we need to get there (whether tomorrow night or the following morning), then we’ll see…

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Not wanting to be a day later than Tahawus and Chapter Two, we did start an engine and motorsailed. But we waited too long to do so, to get in before dark. With no moon, and bright lights blinding us from shore, and the scouting info from our fellow BPOers saying there are lots of fishing buoys, etc, in the water, it was a bit nerve wracking approaching in the dark. But in fact there was no problem and it was a beautiful night. We’ve anchored next to the other boats, and Luc has arranged for officials to come aboard at 8:30am to clear us in (in spite of it being the Muslim New Year holiday).

I’m already surprised by this place, even without seeing it in daylight. It appears to be a small city — a busy working port with generators running through the night. Funny how I don’t realize that I have certain expectations, until we show up and they aren’t met. I expected this to be an out-of-the-way place with little on shore. Oh well, I’m up for whatever Luc has arranged.

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This last day of the passage I feel good about two things I did. The first stemmed from a problem with our starboard engine. We heard the bilge pump run repeatedly on the starboard side. Tim and I shared a “That’s not good” look. In the engine room, water was spraying all over, apparently from the vicinity of the cooling water pump. We shut the engine down and switched to the other one.

After the engine had cooled, I went in for a closer look. Tim suggested that we couldn’t do anything until we were at anchor, but I thought we should at least determine the problem, if possible. To see much in that area requires a mirror, and it helps to be a contortionist. But I was able to determine that the problem was a hose that had slipped up against a belt pulley. The pulley had ground a hole through the hose. With a little duct tape the problem is now minimized, and we have some right-size hose to do a proper replacement later. Hooray!

The second problem of the day stems from a hole ground in our three-way partnership. This came up due to a disagreement about who should pay how much of the yard charges, given that Bill is no longer aboard. We had the foresight to anticipate this situation in our partnership agreement, but we weren’t specific enough about the details. It didn’t seem like a major issue to me…but…it seems that Tim carries festering resentment about some events that happened months ago. This obviously didn’t get resolved at that time, and with the three of us no longer together it is unlikely it will get resolved now. He took the opportunity to bring the issues up, “piling them on” to the financial question. I pretty much went through the pilothouse roof. Was he really going to jeopardize the workability of our partnership because he had some upsets lingering from thousands of miles astern?? Apparently so, and I let him know I was not happy about it.

I had thoughts about not being able to sail further with Tim. Maybe I could crew on another boat. Or maybe he’d be happy to sell me his share and walk away. These and many other thoughts marched through my mind as I sat in the cockpit and tried to calm down. Maybe after some deep breaths I would even see the humor and new possibilities this turn of events stirs up.

But Tim got the message. Before I embarked on any radical new course, he agreed to yield regarding the current cost allocation issue, and he agreed to set aside his other issues for now. I guess that leaves problem #2 in about the same state as the water hose — with a temporary patch. I have no permanent repair for lingering resentment over stale issues involving players not-all-present; I expect it is going to come up again. Still I am happy with my communication and the resulting truce. If it were only sailing issues I had to deal with, this adventure wouldn’t be nearly as interesting…

3 thoughts on “From Oz to Indonesia”

  1. It’s good to hear about you and Jesse. Sorry to hear about the partnership conflict, however not that surprising. I hope you will be able to draw upon your exceptional communication/conflict resolution skills to deal with this issue. Good to hear you have some perspective on it. I look forward to the Indonesia posts!

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  2. I’m afraid I’m only now catching up with your post-Oz journey. Like many, I’m sorry about the conflict with Tim, but at the same I’m actually rather amazed and please to hear this is only first major one like it after all these many, many miles under sail. That speaks well of the underlying communications between you all!

    Hoping Jesse finds his sailing rhythms and so glad you are enjoying this time with him.

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