Category Archives: Westerly
Monday 2nd October there was no wind as usual so we motored south. We had a day in hand so decided to stop in Magothy bay overnight and dropped our anchor just after 5pm. The waypoint was
There were the usual ‘cottages’ around the water’s edge. One of them was set on an island and built around a lighthouse. I can’t imagine it ever being used for navigation that far inside the bay but it looked pretty.
Tuesday 3rd, after taking my turn on the OCC net on the SSB radio, we got underway again.
This bridge is one of the few possible ways of crossing the Chesapeake from Maryland to Delaware. It was enormous and disappeared off towards the horizon.
It was a shame we didn’t have more time to explore the bay but October was heavily planned with events and our holiday. I had contacted an OCC member and asked if we could leave Camomile on the jetty at the end of her garden, as advertised on the OCC website. It’s an amazing feature the OCC offer and well worth the membership fee. The marinas in the U.S. are way beyond our budget at over $100 a day. Gemma’s place is just south of Annapolis in Crab creek.
There were several other OCC boats anchored in the creek as Gemma allows them to use her jetty to tie up their dinghies.
The jetty is at
Gemma is the port officer for Annapolis and her contact details are on the OCC website if you are members.
Gemma moved to the U.S. from the Netherlands many years ago. It was very generous of her to allow us to use her jetty, we were very grateful. It was so nice to be able to step ashore. Gemma’s house is set up a steep bank which we walked up to look for the supermarket to buy a few supplies.
Wednesday 4th was the day of the OCC US east coast end of season dinner. Gemma and other OCC members did a wonderful job of arranging lifts for everyone. It was nice to dress up for a change. Some of the cruisers we had met on the Maine rally in August were there along with Dick and Moira from the Westerly called Equinox. It was nice to see them again.
Dinner was chicken Cesar salad and a very nice tortellini in a creamy sauce with prawns followed by some chocolate dipped thingys. It was all delicious.
The speaker was a lady from the Chesapeake bay program who spoke about their restoration of the bay and the control of the environment protection they are undertaking.
Thursday 5th I spent a very frustrating day trying to book a car for our holiday and kept hitting brick walls! The problem in the U.S. is that everyone carries their own insurance but as we don’t we would have to take out the car hire’s CDW (they insist). This would only cover the hire car if any one hit us or if we damaged it so we needed a second insurance that was a third party insurance that would cover us if we damaged anyone else’s car or, more importantly, them. I spent all day trying to find cheaper options but gave up in frustration.
Friday 6th again the OCC members arranged for the cruisers to be picked up and taken to the boat show. The Annapolis boat show is almost as big as the Southampton boat show but is divided into two shows, sailboats the first weekend then there’s a 2 day change around with the motor boat show the following weekend. It was great to see some old friends. We were just standing by the Gin tent when who should wander by but Jason of YOLO and Karen. Haven’t seen them since Malaysia. There were also a number of new friends recently made.
It was nice to speak to some old friends on the supplier stands. We finally met the guy who organised our new Staylok fittings when we had our rig failure on the way to the Galapagos. Also Will Curry was on the Hydrovane stand. We almost helped him with a sale by telling his client how good our Hydrovane was and how we wouldn’t be without it. Will had a guest on his stand later in the afternoon and that was Jimmy Cornell. We last met Jimmy at the Cruising Association in London many years ago when he had inspired us to go sailing. It was great to meet him again.
After the boat show we made our way to Solstice in the marina for the reunion we had been looking forward to. Bill on Solstice had invited our lovely friends Jake and Jackie of Hokule’a, now based in California, to stay with him, also Jack and Zdenka of Kite drove down from Portland where we met in the summer. Neil and Ruth had Rutea across the way and were invited and Behan of Totem joined us later in the evening. It was wonderful to all be together again and catch up on everyone’s news.
On Saturday 7th I looked at the hire car situation again including working out if it would be cheaper to fly to Boston and hire a car from there but it was more expensive. I looked at trains but they were also expensive plus public transport isn’t so regular in the States. Buses aren’t so good either so eventually I booked a car at a cost of $25 a day plus over $40 a day for the 2 insurances. Crazy!
Sunday 8th I spent the day cleaning the boat and packing and getting excited.
The journey continues.
From Tawau you have two choices
- Go back the way you came through pirate alley! A couple of boats did that and were offered another escort
- OR head south into Indonesia.
There’s an Indonesian consulate in Tawau so it’s possible to obtain a visa. To enter Indonesia you need a CAIT (Cruising Authority for Indonesian Territory), which needs to be applied for in advance. There are various places to obtain a CAIT. The Raja Ampat rally follows on from Sail Malaysia and the organisers were offering free CAITs, which many participants took up. As we weren’t going to Raja Ampat but heading south we paid $150 for ours, which is quite good value. I won’t include any more detail here but if anyone requires more information please email me.
We arrived in Tarakan, Indonesia from Tawau, Malaysia on 19th August. We anchored at
It took all afternoon for the authorities to check in the rally, which now consisted of 13 boats. We had a beautiful sunset that evening.
Tarakan was very under whelming so once we had our numerous bits of paper giving us clearance to proceed into Indonesia the rally moved south on the 22nd August to the Derawan islands.
The rally anchored off of Tanjung Batu on 24th August at
They don’t see many yachts in this part of the world and there was great excitement when the rally arrived. The organisers asked if we could put some flags up so we dressed Camomile overall, being one of only two boats who had the correct signal flags; the other boat was also British. Some people put up an assortment of courtesy flags. Shame I didn’t get a better photo.
The following day we were all picked up from our boats by a local passenger boat and taken on the 3 island tour. If you get the chance to do this I would recommend it. Unfortunately we arrived at Pulau Sangalaki, famous for it’s Manta rays and sea turtles, on a falling tide and the boatman said we couldn’t go in because we wouldn’t be able to get out until much later and there wasn’t time to do that. I have to say they should have known that before they took us down there but I think the boatman had told the guy in charge but he wanted him to try. We carried onto Pulau Kakaban and landed on the jetty and walked about 10 minutes to the centre. This photo shows us descending to the lake in the centre where we all got in the water and encountered these.
Normally if I see a jellyfish while swimming I’m straight out of the water but these creatures are non-stinging. Many thousands of years ago the island rose creating the lake, the jellyfish were stranded and without predators they have evolved as non-stinging. I believe the lake is one of only two places in the world that has these creatures; there were 4 different species. It was bizarre swimming among the hundreds of specimens surrounding us.
On our way to the third island our hosts handed out lunch boxes. Kind though it was the food wasn’t very nice and not many of us ate from it…. luckily. Maratua was a picturesque island with a striking beach. This is the boat we arrived in, Bill was happy to let some one else drive for a change! The water was an incredible azure blue inside the coral fringe.
We didn’t get the chance to swim in the inviting water but walked around the beautiful gardens on the island instead.
When we got back to the jetty I spotted this chap in the water. I think it’s a scorpion fish or lion fish but highly poisonous. It was quite happy swimming around the jetty supports and I was able to get really close to it in the shallows.
After a great day the ferry took us all back to the town where the locals had prepared a welcome ceremony for us presenting everyone with one of these beautifully handmade hats.
Dancing by some young ladies in the most remarkable hand made costumes followed the presentation. Their dresses were embroidered with exquisite pearls and shells; it must have taken hours of work.
As always the children were wonderful. The day was finished off with a buffet meal. Unfortunately either the lunch boxes or the buffet meal had some thing lurking in them because half the rally went down with suspected salmonella poisoning over the following few days including Bill. It was difficult to narrow down but it was decided it was either the boiled eggs in the lunch box (which tasted revolting) or the calamari.
The following day was a sad one because the rally were leaving for the next destination but we, along with 3 other boats, were staying behind. Among the boats leaving were Steve and Julie on Samsara II and Peter and Pearl on Simply Sensational both of whom were heading back to Australia. Saying goodbye is the one part of cruising I like the least. Great to know you guys and maybe we’ll meet again one day.
After saying our goodbyes we lifted the anchor to motor out to the anchorage by Pulau Derawan with Jackster, Calypso and Saol Elie, unfortunately Camomile found a rogue bommie only about a mile from the anchorage. Dinghies were launched and everyone tried to help us. A line was passed to Jackster, a 55’ Amel, who tried to pull us off while Steve took the topping lift to try and pull Camomile over but the tide was dropping and she wasn’t moving. Luckily we were still inside the reef so there wasn’t any swell running. After the initial rush to tow her off Bill said we needed to stop her falling over so yachtlegs were needed. They are stored underneath the saloon bunks and even though they’ve been used 3 or 4 times to dry out they haven’t been used in an emergency before. I just threw the cushions across the bunk so I could get the legs out.
Bill fixed the starboard leg in place before we had leant over too far.
Camomile was sitting right on the edge of the reef and the foot of the leg wouldn’t quite reach the bottom. Bill dived down to check. We put a call out ‘does any one happen to have a piece of 4×2 about a foot long’? Amazingly Saol Elie came back that they had some wood that size. I raced over in the dinghy to get it, it was just enough to get the foot on the bottom.
To relieve the pressure on the leg Bill tied a grapnel anchor to a line, which was tied to the topping lift and dropped it in the water the other side of the bommie, I winched it in and we were secure. There was nothing to do but wait.
The others carried onto the anchorage while Camomile creaked as the tide fell. Bill got in the water and decided to make use of our predicament and scrubbed the hull!!
4 hours we waited, 2 down and 2 back up again. Eventually, with me in the dinghy pulling on the starboard aft side to protect the rudder as we came off and Bill on the helm, Camomile glided off the reef with nothing more than a few scratches in the anti-foul underneath her iron keel. Westerlys are made of strong stuff.
The waypoint of the bommie is
If you are coming along behind us that position looks like it’s on the reef but the chart is out and the reef was several 100feet to our starboard but there were obviously a few bommies around the edge and the one time I wasn’t on deck spotting one jumped out and grabbed us!
We joined the others at the anchorage before nightfall in time for a stiff drink. The food poisoning really took hold then and of the 8 of us in the anchorage, 5 became really ill and spent the next few days recovering. Bill didn’t eat for 2 days and Dave on Jackster was really ill too.
The anchorage waypoint is
On the 28th Camomile and Jackster left Derawan leaving the others to continue to recover. We really wanted to go to Maratua, the third island on our trip, and anchor inside the reef but as we approached the swell was up and the entrance looked untenable. Having kissed one reef we weren’t about to do it again in an open sea. Sadly it was goodbye to Jackster on the radio because they were heading across the top of Sulawesi to Raja Ampat and we were heading south to Lombok to meet up with our son. The wind was strengthening and we had a good 5-day sail. On the second day we crossed the equator again but we’ll only be in the southern hemisphere for 2 months.
We headed towards the Sulawesi coast but decided not to land but to keep going. This was the closest we got and also the most easterly point of our journey this year.
On the fifth day we had a fantastic sail with the wind on the beam and a good current with us. Our 24 hour run was 162 miles which was very close to our record from the Pacific ocean. There was a lovely sunset that evening and we arrived at Medana bay, Lombok the following afternoon. We travelled 747 miles in 129 hours giving us an average speed of 5.7mph, a good average for us.
40 days since we were hit by the lightening, 19 days since interim payment from Insurance company was agreed, 12 days since we accepted Aquilla’s quote and paid for the bulk of the new instruments but we are still waiting for most of it. Bill has been really busy fitting what we have so that when the rest of it arrives he can get straight onto it. Thankfully Monday morning 2 big boxes arrived from Aquilla, one contained the new radar dome and the other had the rest of the items we were waiting for but sadly no auto pilot hydraulic drive, still on ‘back order’. Bill agreed with them that we would be ready Thursday for the technician to come and connect the network. This would be a struggle but Bill thought he would be able to do it. Monday afternoon I went on the bus to Gelang Petang looking for conduit and found a little emporium that had what we needed.
Tuesday was wiring, wiring and more wiring. Before it got too hot Bill started the day spraying the bridgehead, new auto pilot housing, and speakers.
Then the floorboards came up. Bill fitted 2 transducers 1 for depth 1 for speed.
Now that we have the course computer and all the wires that go with it Bill was able to fit this and run all the wires ready for Mr Yap to arrive on Thursday. He sat at the chart table most of the day with his arms in the cupboard but at the end of the day he had achieved it.
It looks quite impressive, again all the boxes are much bigger than the old system but they just about fit.
All the wires are behind the panel and at the end of the day we have a chartplotter that works with AIS contacts on it. The red boat in the middle is us.
Wednesday was radar dome day. Ironically our old raydome was still working but it was analogue and our new system is digital so it had to go. Again the wires were bigger and the connector was too big to go down the A frame arch where the raydome lives. So Bill took the collar off the connector and took out the wires for the lights and horn in the starboard side so that the new wire would just about fit down inside. This was achieved with me inside pushing and Bill outside pulling the wires out with a mouse attached then we had to push the radar wire in and down. The old wire was inside the port side so that had to come out and the lights and horn wire had to go back inside there. As you can imagine there was a lot of huffing and puffing and shouting and cursing of inanimate objects but we did it and the Ray dome was fitted!
All this was going on through my lockers in the bedroom so clothes stored in the forepeak.
It’s birthday week this week and today it was Bill’s sister Kate’s birthday in NZ. Happy Birthday.
Thursday was the day the Rally were due in Kucking where we had hopped to catch up with them but we are nowhere near ready to leave yet. Yap arrived from Singapore to start fitting the instruments. As it was shopping day I disappeared for the morning, when I got back everyone was scratching their heads. It seemed there was stuff missing, there were things not working and generally everything was still in a muddle; will we ever get out of here. I managed to get Bill out for a meal that evening because he hadn’t been off the boat for over a week. Bill sent a strong email to Aquilla later that evening listing all the problems which included the fact that we still couldn’t get the SSB to work and the VHF she had brought over was the wrong one and where was the hydraulic ram for the autohelm? The good news of the day was that the little 12v TV (unheard of here) we had found on a UK website had arrived at my brother-in-law’s company and Alan was sending it out for us.
Friday was a good day because we finally got to use the gym in Traders hotel right next to the marina. Several of us have been asking about it for some time and the marina has reached an agreement with them.
Bill worked on the housing for the new autohelm controls in the hope that one day we’ll get our hydraulic ram! The old control had been on the side of the binnacle but Raymarine don’t make those any more so Bill cut a hole in the cockpit coaming for the housing he had made to take the new control. Very cleaver considering it’s humble beginning.
In response to Bill’s email Sylvester and Allyson from Aquila came with Yap in the afternoon to sort out our problems. After their trouble shooting session it was established that the SSB wasn’t working, the wind instruments at the top of the mast wasn’t working (originally we’d thought it was ok but the tests showed it had been zapped), we were short of some wires and connectors, and the VHF was the wrong one so they took it back with them along with the SSB head. The good news was that the hydraulic ram was in Singapore but unfortunately held in customs. Another birthday today, our nephew in NZ was 18. Happy Birthday Will.
First thing Saturday morning Bill went up the mast to change out the wind transducer.
Yap arrived with missing items and made good progress in the morning with the new instruments in place. Bill worked in aft cabin finishing off the Radar wires and sorting out the wires in the cupboards so I could put my clothes back.
By the end of the day all the instruments are working, including the autohelm control even though it isn’t connected to anything yet. We had a meal out that evening when we were finally able to stop.
Sunday I washed down cockpit while Bill wired speakers in and finished off the last little bits. Camomile is starting to look dressed again. As soon as it warmed up we moved inside and Bill started working on connecting up the Gas alarm. The wires had already been run through the deck locker so Bill just had to get them to the alarm, easier said than done! I had to empty my big food cupboard; the contents covered the table.
By the end of the day we had a gas alarm.
Last birthday of the week was our son Thomas.
Happy Birthday Thomas.
Still no auto pilot hydraulic drive!
Monday 19th we took a taxi to the JB area to get some fibreglass. We had been given an address, which we gave to the taxi driver. He dropped us in the middle of an industrial area with the comment ‘will you be ok?’ which was a bit unnerving but everything was fine. We stepped through the gates of the fibreglass company to be faced with half a dozen barking dogs that were quickly pushed to one side and we were ushered inside. Two odd chairs were placed in front of a very elderly Chinese man who spoke fairly good English and whose sons produced what Bill was looking for at a fraction of the price he had expected to pay. The entire time we were sitting there we were scratching our legs, I think it was mossies and sandflies biting us although I’m not sure but I was really glad to get out of there. The fibreglass would not be allowed onto the boat until it was fumigated. We walked to the bus stop pointed out by the son but as the neighbourhood felt more like Beirut than Malaysia we decided to take the taxi into town that was sitting there instead.
Our next stop was the big mall that sold electronics to see if we could replace the TV or the music radio but all they sold were computers. No one had even heard of a 12v television. We got in the taxi to come home and I pointed to his car radio and asked him if he knew where to get one from, despite the language barrier he seemed to understand what we were after and whisked us off to a car accessory shop which sold just what we wanted. The taxi driver even managed to negotiate a further MYR50 off (about £10) before taking us back to the boat and receiving a good tip, it really pays to get help.
Bill spent the afternoon fitting the radio even though all the wiring looked very complicated. At least we don’t sit in silence now.
The next day Bill started working on a mystery object.
Wednesday 21st we were ready to accept Aquila’s quote and pay over a sizable amount of money for the supply of all the new instruments. The easiest way to do this was to go to their offices in Singapore. In the morning we took a taxi to downtown JB and joined the throng on their way to Singapore on the bus, stopping to get 2 stamps in our passports on the way. We had a good day in Singapore apart from visa putting a stop on our Nationwide credit card. We discovered this after 2 phone calls to Nationwide, several calls to Aquila’s CC company and having to wait for the visa offices to open at 8am UK time (3pm Singapore time) all of which took no less than 3 hours. Eventually they released OUR money and the order was processed so now we wait for delivery in about a week.
Meanwhile they had an SSB radio set in stock so we bought it
but another 2 stamps in our passports.
Our old faithful but unusable SSB set was removed the next day and Bill rewired and fitted all the parts for the new one over the next 2 days. All we have to do now is work out how to programme it!
I try to do what I can to help, I pass tools to him like an operation theatre assistant, and tidy up behind him, along with finding things like his glasses, screwdrivers, etc that he’s always putting down and forgetting where. It’s nice to be based in the same place for a while because I’ve been able to catch up with washing, stocking up the boat and getting on with my writing. We tend to eat on board so I support Bill with cooking nice meals and of course making numerous cups of tea and coffee.
Friday morning I joined Jackie of Hokele’a at the lovely gym that’s 5 minutes drive away while leaving Bill to carry on with jobs. It might seem a bit mean but I think he likes a bit of peace.