Monday September 28

Left anchorage 0300 for a 70Nm leg up to Paulu Rass an island NNW of Bali. Very little wind and a horrible sea state made for an uncomfortable time for the first 7 hours. At least we filled the water tanks and fully charged the batteries. The breeze came in finally and we pulled up the Main and Genoa. These were soon dropped again so the Spinnaker could go up. Then it was a nice 5 hour run up to the island. New Views had left an hour before us and we finally caught them at the end of the day.

Anchored in 20m in clean sand and good holding. Followed in a bit later by Pedro 3 and Ocelot with Kalili and Cattiva arriving just before dusk. Glad we had read David Spencer's blog from 2009 which highlighted the danger of the SW Channel approach to the anchorage. We all took the NE approach.

Soon greeted by the local fishermen. One had great looking Crayfish, so we invited him to stay until Pedro 3 arrived knowing that Richard and Carol would love to get some good crayfish if the price was right. Our friend assured us that he would only charge local price not export price. We had pork chops that needed to be eaten and the thought of preparing and cooking crayfish didn't appeal.

Tuesday September 29

Lea and I decided to to take the favourable SE breeze all the way through to Kumai 285 Nm away instead of going to the island of Bawean first, with the others. No rush to get away as we had a lunchtime departure planned so that we arrive in Kumai in daylight.

Did the rounds in the dinghy to say goodbye to everyone, especially New Views as they are going straight through to Singapore. We will catch them again for the Sail Malaysia Rally. Cattiva and Pedro 3 reported that they enjoyed a fabulous feast of Crayfish last night. Gave Lloyd a hand aboard Kalili to get his anchor up. He uses different tackle for the deeper anchorages and it is a bit awkward for him on his own as Mandy needs to be on the wheel.

We got away about 1230 and soon the Spinnaker was up in the 15-18kt breeze.

Held the kite until 1630 when we were forced to pull it down to avoid a ship bearing down on us. Just as well really as the wind started gusting well over 20kts. Continued through the night with a double reefed Main and Genoa, glued to the radar every 10 minutes looking for FAD's. We were very pleased we had a full Supermoon to give us some visibility.

A bit before midnight Lea came on watch. We had 2 brightly lit FAD's off our port bow. Lea lifted our course to windward to give them more clearance but the course change made little difference to the relative angles of approach. She called me back out and we went up another 10 degrees finally getting some clearance. Just as we passed them we realised it wasn't a double FAD chasing us after all but a small tugboat pulling a barge. All the correct lights were in place but they weren't clear until we were just about directly in front of him. Just as well we hadn't dropped down to pass between the lights. The tow rope would have created some problems for us.

Wednesday September 30

Day 2 of our crossing of the Java Sea was another fantastic Spinnaker run until sundown at 1745. We then changed down to the Screecher and still maintained 6.5-7 kts. Our average for the first 24 hours was 7.5kts, covering 180 Nm

Lea saw a pod of 5 small black Dolphins but they disappeared as soon as she went up on deck.

Thursday October 1

0230, ghosting up the Bay toward the Kumai River entrance at 4 kts under Genoa when we gently stopped. Bugger! Furled the Genoa. The torchlight revealed we were held fast on the Starboard Hull by a fishing net. The reason for the fishing boat flashing his spotlight at us some time earlier was now apparent. Don't know quite what he expected us to do. There were a number of fishing boats out on our left so it certainly wasn't obvious that that was the safe route around the net.

Anyway, I cut away what I could reach but the main heavy bottom line was obviously caught between the rudder and the hull. Tried a long knife duck taped to the boat hook but that didn't work. Wind and current made it impossible to push the line forward of the rudder then down. There was no option but a 0300 swim.

I tied myself with a tether to the boat and a personal locator beacon then duck dived with a knife to cut the net and bottom line. We soon drifted free but I was unsure if any net remnants remained around the propellor and rudder but we seemed ok. Certainly ruined some poor Fishermans night.

We continued on slowly under Genoa until dawn. So glad we weren't motoring when we hit the net. The smoke from the forest fires was getting thicker and even after dawn broke the visibility was less than a mile.

The radar was very necessary as only the bigger ships have AIS and the channel into the Kumai River is very narrow, shallow and strung with fishing nets. We met a large ship in the channel just after dodging a fishing net. This had put us on the wrong side of the channel. Lea chose to go more to port but I saw the depth sounder come quickly up to 2.3m so we had to risk using the Starboard engine and power across the bows of the Russian Freighter coming at us. Very stressful few minutes.

The inner basin was full of anchored barges and ships. A tug pulling a massive barge full of logs stacked nearly 20m high passed us.

We motored up river and anchored just off the port town of Kumai. Spruce and Flomaide not far behind us. They had arrived the previous evening and had anchored in the bay just outside the river entrance channel. Over the radio they informed us that they had already booked their Klotok trip up River to see the Orangutans. We had received messages that neither Cattiva nor Pedro 3 were coming to Kumai, so we were invited to join Andy & Sue (Spruce) and Christof & Dagmar (Flomaide) for the River Cruise if it could be arranged. I rang the tour organiser and there was no problem changing it to 6 people as we cruised up the river.

The big tall concrete buildings house the birds that create the nests used to make Birds Nest Soup. made from the birds saliva, this soup is believed to have many health giving properties.

As soon as we were settled 2 local boats hovering close by came over to spruik their Orangutan Trips. We got a quote off one and they went on their way.

Our Company's representative, Wati, soon came over by speedboat to discuss the trip details. She was delightful bubbly young lady who spoke very good English. We went over the pricing and details of the trip. The clincher was that she promised us a bottle each of the local rice wine (tuak) and the spirit distilled from it (Arak). She agreed to meet back on Gemini Lady at 1400 with Andy, Sue, Christof and Dagmar.

We confirmed the trip for the next day at a cost of 4,980,000Rp/ couple ($500AUD) then went ashore to get money from the ATM and choose which boat we wanted.

The waterfront town was very rustic, crammed with stilt houses along a muddy and rubbish strewn riverbank. We tied the dinghies to a local boat then made our way across 3 boats to a rickety wooden jetty then up a narrow alley, full of more rubbish, onto the chaotically busy Main Street. We dodged and weaved our way up the road to the ATM.

Further up the river to the Tanjung National Park Harbour facility where we checked out another boat.

We elected to go with Mama 3. The advantage we had as a group of 6 was that the boats are designed for 2,4 or 12. We got the biggest size for the 6 of us which worked really well.

 

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