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.