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Day 2 - Change of plan - stopping off at Xmas Island .....!!

16th Sept 07
Well, unfortunately, what with the wind being further aft once I'd changed course onto my rhumbline course for Cocos Keeling... and dropping even more overnight... I just had to motor or else do ~2.5 knots, which, being so close to possible offshore fishing boats, I didn't want to do. I preferred to try to get well away from land. But soon after sunrise, I put up pole, switched off engine & got sailing again - so very nice to be peaceful & just under sail, even though slow... 4.1kn boatspeed, 3.7kn
SOG! I used the desalinator to 'make' water (didn't get any in Benoa) while motoring - filled the tank full to overflowing. Gradually, our speed increased a little over the morning, but not by much... After looking at the grib weather files I downloaded around midday, I decided a change of course was needed to make better speed - we have been sailing about 50mls S of Java & the land is clearly affecting the wind strength & direction, so we are now heading more SW. The benefit is twofold - the
better wind angle gave us an immediate speed increase and we'll get to stronger winds within a day, I hope!

There is absolutely no point in my motoring from now on, whatever the wind does.... "Trudel", a German yacht which left Bali on Friday & who are less than 50mls ahead of me, spoke to me on the SSB radio this morning & said they'd got a fishing line wrapped tightly around their prop - they'd tried diving on it but, with only snorkel & mask, couldn't stay down long enough at any one time & so couldn't cut it loose - hence motoring is not possible for them (which makes entering reef anchorages, as at
Cocos Keeling, difficult if not dangerous). I have dive gear so we've agreed to head for Xmas Island to anchor long enough to dive on the prop to free it - & then continue straight on to Cocos Keeling without going ashore - hopefully the Aussies at Xmas Island will be understanding ...!!! I've sent an email to Aussie Customs with details & explaining the plan - taking the opportunity also to 'check in' with them for both Xmas Island & Cocos K just in case the 'inform us 96hr ahead' rule applies
as it does for 'mainland' Australia. (Their 'pro forma' was still on my computer from my Vanuatu/Cairns passage). I should be able to catch "Trudel" up by the time we get close to Xmas Island - which was very close to our rhumbline course to Cocos anyway, so this doesn't entail a big diversion/delay.

I gather that Xmas Island was spotted on Xmas Day 1643 by the "Royal Mary" but not claimed until 1888 - for its guano deposits - which will run out soon so they've opened up a big casino which is getting lots of custom from Asian gambling fanatics... so they've a good income now from tourism ... far better than the mining!

As usual, at the start of a long, well-provisioned passage, I'm spoilt for choice in the fruit & veg department... I have some nice avocados, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, big mangos & lots of apples & tangerines.. and the bread I bought in Kuta is really nice too. I had papaya for breakfast, the choice being between that or pamplemousse - such a difficult life ...!

Midday distance (run by log) from start of journey was 111ml (not quite a 24hr run), with 475ml to go to anchorage at Flying Fish Cove, Xmas Island.

Written by : Mike

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