Sunday, 23 August 2015

20th-24th August - leaving Raja Ampat - Pulau Arborek - Pulau Halmahera - Pulau Bacac - Pulau Laluin - Teluk Bilulu - Wailoro-kecil - volcanoes

Thursday 20th August 2015

00 degrees 33.747S
130 degrees 31.090E
Pulau Arborek
Depth 21.4m

I will never forget Raja Ampat. 

Extreme beauty…

Peace and quiet…

delightful children

Last night we arrived at the Kabui Channel and were poised ready to fill up with water from the ever-running pipe at high tide this morning.  Full tanks mean many showers, much washing – no  worries!  Tidak apa spa!

Next stop Waisai, to buy fuel for the outboard, a few extra potatoes and chillies.  And a visit to “my” hairdressing salon, Randy Salon and Bridal for a very good $5 haircut.  So nice to find a hairdresser who speaks not a word of English but understands the concept NOT TOO SHORT!!

So now we are at Pulau Arborek, poised ready to make our way towards Sulawesi and then further north to the Philippines.

Not sure when next there will be internet but this area is amazing to me - the amount of perfectly surprising accesses to wifi!

BirthdayBoy: Marcel Zajusch!  (Fabulous cooker of quiche…)

Saturday 22nd August

0 degrees 58.465S
128 degrees 21.741E
Southern tip of Pulau Halmahera
10m depth, sheltered

We did a very peaceful overnighter from Arborek to Halmahera.  No drama…Pete did 6pm till midnight; I did midnight till 6am.  It was extremely dark, no stars in sight.  And – glory be – I was not sick at all.  This makes overnighters SO much more pleasant…

We are only staying here for a few hours, to eat some breakfast, have a rest, possibly a swim in the clear azure water, and then we have another 30-40 nautical miles to what we hope will be a good overnight anchorage.

So much for our peaceful few hours…Pete managed to stretch out on the couch, peacefully emitting zzzes, while I sat happily at my computer, proofreading Jeff’s PhD Methodology document.  This is interesting but it requires a lot of concentration.  I was a bit hyper, with not sleeping all night, followed by two strong cups of coffee, so I was INTO it.

A face at the door
And suddenly there at the door – many huge teeth smiling at me, somewhat gappily!  Mr and Mrs Nearby-Kampong, followed by a procession of friends and relations in canoes, all wanting to chat and to stare. 

A photo with Captain Pete is a serious occasion!
My first reaction was to utter a short sharp shriek, which woke poor weary Pete.  These people are very poor…dressed in dirty rags, desperately in need of a dentist.  So…I took some photos, including Captain Pete to make them happy but avoiding any mention of Ibu (Mrs.) joining in the PhotoFun (Ibu is VERY tired and not very photogenic today!!) and printed them off a copy each, and gave Mrs Nearby Kampong a That’s Life magazine, and the Good Weekend from last week’s Age.  And a nice black supermarket carrybag to put it all in.  She was thrilled to bits and did not want to walk the plank and leave 2XS… I don’t THINK she has stowed away…

Ah no, there she is, in her canoe!  Selamat tinggal!  We upped and anchor and we are away away with rum by gum!  Several canoes full of hopeful villagers are left in our wake…

Sunday 23rd August

Another peaceful anchorage, once we had gone through a maze of pearl farm buoys.
0 degrees 46.720S
127 degrees 52.900E
Depth 13m
Pulau Bacac, Teluk Bilulu

I think Bilulu is a nifty name for a sheltered bay, all things considered.  It was nearly five by the time we anchored, after much testing of the holding up and down the mangroves.  I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go for a swim but…in I went.  And a very good thing too!  I had been feeling very sluggish and dopey; 26 laps around 2XS (=1 kilometre, give or take) made me feel a whole lot improved.

John Miedecke has come up trumps, yet again.  Most of my luggage on the way back from Tasmania was filled with items from John.  All of them very gratefully received.  Especially the stinger suit! Pete looks a treat!  It covers him completely from head to foot.  The only bits not covered are his face and his toes.  He should be completely protected from all of the bitey stingy things in the sea which make his life such a misery after a swim.


0 degrees 04.937S
127 degrees 26.536E
Pulau Laluin
6 metres depth

Such a peaceful trip from Point A to Point B today…It was overcast, with very low misty cloud, and smooth flat sea.  Hardly a breath of wind.  We arrived at yet another peaceful pleasant anchorage off a small island, not far from Sulawesi, just in time for a G&T.  Life is…not too bad!

Monday 24th August

0 degrees 03.220S
127 degrees 27.439E
11m depth

Just as the light disappeared from the sky, we noticed that our anchorage was not safe – too many waves, getting bigger, threatening to push s up onto the reef.  At the time we had four boatloads of visitors.  Well Pete did…I stayed down in the cabin sorting photos on my computer.  They were all men, didn’t speak any English at all, and what they wanted and needed, I thought, was some undiluted time with Pete.  (So kind of me!)

All of the men reached some sort of consensus – time for 2XS to move!  We sped across the channel – about two miles – and dropped anchor in the dark.  Anchoring in the dark is something we NEVER want to do, and normally we manage to avoid getting into any situation where it is necessary..  Very risky, very stressful.  I helpfully looked into the water with a strong torch which showed…nothing.  So down went the anchor, and we had a very easy night, no waves or wind.

But when we got up this morning – oh my goodness…the boat was floating gently inches above a shallow reef… The anchor was holding strongly out in the deeper water but we were literally only a few metres from being very much stuck on a large reef.  Serenditpity!

Only yesterday Pete remarked that we hadn’t seen any volcanoes this time around  Indonesia.  He had been reading about the Ring of Fire, and the plethora of volcanoes, active and inactive.  So where are they??  Well today there they were, lined up along our route…a beautiful selection of majestic volcanoes!

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