Vika asked about the route ahead, and I guess it is time for an update. In two weeks we will rendezvous with our new crew, TC, somewhere this side of Padang (middle of western coast of Sumatra). Then we will sail to Padang as our departure point from Indonesia. Luc will meet our fleet of two there. And there’s a chance we will connect with one or more other boats headed in the same direction, and grow our fleet.
In Padang our focus will be on first trying to rid the boat of an infestation of tiny red ants, and then on provisioning for crossing the Indian Ocean. Weather permitting, we plan to depart Padang on May 11. We will probably still anchor at a couple of the Indonesian islands on our way south, even though technically we aren’t supposed to after clearing out. We need to get south to get out of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ, aka the doldrums) to find wind. Padang is essentially right on the equator, which is why we have calms and squalls and shifting breezes in all directions. South lie the trade winds that will get us across an ocean.
South also is the Australian island of Cocos Keeling. We hope to stop there, because it sounds like an interesting place, and because it would break up the long passage. But it is a toss-up whether the wind will allow us to get there without beating to windward. If the wind is in our face, we will skip Cocos and head west, destination Rodrigues (part of the country of Mauritius). And subsequently on to Mauritius proper. There we will have another hiatus of two months, and I will fly home for a break.
Yes, Vika, the original plan was to go to India and cross the northern Indian Ocean to the Red Sea. When the BPOers decided that the Middle East was not a good place to be, and we would sail around Africa instead, that changed the schedule (hence this long period cruising SE Asia, as we wait for cyclone season to end) as well as shifting the route to the southern Indian Ocean. I’m happy with the change; I’m just champing at the bit to head back out to sea.