November 2nd: Departed at 4:00am with Stormvogel for Pekacang Island – still heading West towards Singapore.
We now have the in-the-dark departures down-pat. It’s no longer as stressful as it used to be when we first started. I am on the bow with a torch and Robbie in the Pilothouse mainly concentrating on the radar, Goops and the Chart plotter, following our track in, but using the radar to distinguish any boats or working fishing vessels. I still don’t like the dark departures but it is sometimes necessary, so that we are not arriving into a new anchorage in the dark. It is preferable to arrive into a new anchorage early afternoon with the sun behind us so we can easily spot any reefs.
We won’t get to Singapore until around the 26th November, so we have plenty of time to make our way there. The rally finishes on 24th November in Bintan. A lot of the boats have already left Indonesia and the rally, but we have no great rush or timelines so we are happy to stay and complete the rally schedule and festivities.
Our passage was very uneventful during the day apart from lots of floating debris, including a life ring, lots of logs, plastic of all descriptions, ropes, nets, timber, and a few Dolphins. I decided to stretch my baking limits from the Banana and walnut Bread I usually make to Date Scones. Robbie’s mouth had been watering at the thought of them and he had been hinting for a couple of days, so in the 35 degree heat I manned up and began the task! Still had internet, and the best date scones I have ever had were where the dates are heated in the milk, which really dissipates the dates and the flavour throughout the scones. Googled and found a good recipe. So I heated the butter, poured in the milk and started chopping the dates, which I had brought in Bali. Ugh -Crap! There were bitsy things in the dates, nothing that looked alive but it didn’t look good. I think they were weevil eggs but dead. So I told Robbie he could stick his date scones where the sun don’t shine and threw the lot overboard. Really put me in a bad mood (not like me) and then I had all the dishes to do and it was stinking hot, I think, the hottest we have had so far.
Had a cold shower and then sat up on the fly bridge for the rest of the day getting the best of the small breeze that was blowing.
We decided not to do a full overnight passage and to head for Tanjung Tuing on the island of Bangka, with an eta of 11:00pm. We felt it was going to be a lovely night passage, it was quite calm with about 8 knots of wind and a slight swell. Hello, all of a sudden there are a number of blobs appearing on the radar. As we got closer some had lights, and some did not. They were bamboo structures, like little houses on stilts, probably around 6 square metres in size. So we navigated our way safely, zig zagging through them and anchored in the bay of Tanjung Tuing at 10.45pm. Although there is reef and rocks in this bay we had downloaded the Google Earth images and with the Goops software it overlays our location onto Google Earth and we can navigate safely around the danger areas. This is one of the best applications we have, especially for this region that is not accurately charted. There was quite a swell rolling in the bay but we were all desperately tired and it was a better option than continuing on with no sleep.