Darwin to Bali Day 3: Mon 3rd Sept (Timor Sea)

Hot & calm again today - 5-6 kn from SE...& grib files seem to indicate wind will continue very light for a couple more days yet, if not die more, before getting slightly stronger - expect just 10-12 kn as I close Indonesian islands. So I'm motor-sailing with maximum canvas ... apparent wind (4-5 kn!) makes us close-hauled so I decided to attach inner forestay & hank on the larger storm jib - looks great! Not sure if I've increased our speed at all but it was fun & informative doing it - sail is
almost brand new, having rarely been used up to now. Might be able to use it on Indian Ocean crossing soon.

Yesterday afternoon got busy .... I managed to run out of fuel...!! Stb'd tank fuel gauge was misleadingly optimistic & I thought I still had plenty of time in hand when engine stopped. I tried manual pumping - seemed to work initially, at least up to primary fuel filter but then had to stop to attach little electric pump into the fuel line to the lift pump ... Eventually all was fine but took a couple of hours of drifting around in the glassy calm sea. Luckily, current (1kn) was in right direction,
so most of drifting was roughly westward! I must obviously now fill tanks with spare fuel while the sea is relatively calm (there's a slight swell, but not much).... and keep an eye on hours/miles run on port tank since yesterday...! Should get at least 60hrs or 400mls, whichever comes sooner.

The good news today, apart from "Nereida" turning into a cutter from sloop, is that Jim Corenman, who's kindly been trying to help me with my radio problems, had me adjust some Airmail settings - so I'm now transmitting at maximum power recommended - I instantly connected into Brunei and also Manila - previously impossible - excellent news!! I've been reading sections of Jim's excellent 'Primer' - full of useful radio info, although I may have to wait to S. Africa to get anywhere with cutting down
interference.

Had AIS alarm go off yesterday night - big ship was headed East towards me & looked as though it might get rather close - we spoke on VHF, agreed to pass 'port to port' & all was fine.

I spent quite a time last night checking over timing of Indian Ocean passages to make sure I could still make S. Africa out of cyclone season - will be tight but looks OK. Lombok looks as though it's for the 'chop'!!

Have continued to organize boat more (put netting/basket up again over table in saloon for fruit) and must now go and chop up eggplant etc for ratatouille - it's so warm, soft vegetables out of fridge won't last much longer so must be cooked.

24hr distance run to midday Monday was ~140 n.ml. and distance to go to Benoa is ~640 n.ml.

Written by : Mike

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