Dulcinea 15 09S 77 23E

4 October 2012

Hello friends,

Jan left the boat from Port Dickson, and flew back to Canada from Kuala Lumpur in time for Gemma's first birthday. She has been enjoying Alberta and Vancouver Island since then. Dave sailed on to Singapore with Bob & Deirdre, but we had a crew change there, and Peter Francis came out at short notice to meet me in Indonesia. Thank you very much to Bob & Deirdre for joining on Dulcinea's maiden voyage under this ownership, but I am sorry that so much of the time was spent waiting around for new sails.


I checked into Indonesia at Nongsa Point Marina as always, under the management of Clement, it is a delightful spot with gardens and swimming pool. Anybody sailing the passage south from Singapore, should not miss P Belitung. It has traditionally had a mining & fishing economy, but the unhurried life, nice climate (positively cool & dry after Malaysia & Singapore) sand beaches & and rounded granite rocks are turning into a desirable week-end get-away for the population of Jakarta. Anchor at 2 33.322S 107 41.804E and call Mr. Harun +62 (0) 811 717 8895 or harun_cahyadi@me.com A more cheerful and helpful person is hard to meet, and it just happens that his uncle has been building a resort at this beach with a particularly nice swimming pool. If the afternoon breeze turns NE, you might have to duck back to the east coast of Belitung.Peter flew from Vancouver at short notice to meet me here. One problem was telling him which airport to book to. I told Peter to get a local flight Jakarta to Pandang (that was wrong as it is on the west coast of Sumatra) but the main town of Belitung is variously Pangdan or Padang, which is very similar! Who would know that Belitung's airport has various different names, few of which are even known at the checkin desks in Jakarta, but the most common one is Sultan.....something-or-other? We met; Harun worked magic & added Peter to Dulcinea's crew list; and we checked out of Indonesia that same day. We actually just sailed 30 miles round the coast to Pulau Seliu 3 11.57S 107 32.27E, where we anchored, went ashore where we saw local fishing boats; and found a friendly village where we dined on banana fritters & fresh fried mackerel before returning.

Peter brought a new Pactor tnc to connect the computer to the SSB radio for email, but the computer was so disgusted with this new device that it gave me the "blue screen of death" whenever I joined the two. Many days later, it occured to me that it might be a problem with 64 bit Windows 7, and I am now sending and receiving email using a notebook running Windows XP. Meanwhile I spent much time, and an unknown sum of money on satellite time setting up email via Airmail and the Iridium satellite phone, but that needs to pass data in multiple stages from satellite to satellite between the Indian Ocean and Pheonix Arizona, so it times-out almost every time I get a connection.

Meanwhile, an overnight sail south past many offshore oil platforms and dodging the ferry traffic in the Sunda Strait, brought us into the caldera of Krakatoa just after dark next day.


We no longer have internet so I can't check all these figures, but, from memory, sea water seeped into this volcanic island in 1883 which super-heated, boiled, and blew rock and earth into the atmosphere enough to produce over 100 cubic km of pumice and ash, an enormous tzunami, and a shock wave that was felt in Europe. A ring of 3 island crescents remained and in 1927 a new mound emerged from the sea in the location of the old volcano and is now the island called Anak Krakatoa (son of Krakatoa) which continues to grow higher by 5 metres per year.

It was all reminiscent of what we read about & saw at Thira in Greece (Santorini) where a vast volcanic explosion is blamed for the end of Minoan civilization about 4,000 years earlier. Again, there remains a ring of crescent-shaped islands, although those are no longer active.

Krakatoa's caldera is now 4 or 5 nautical miles wide and is an Indonesian National Park. Anak Krakatoa lauds over the centre with a sulphurous top, steam issuing from many vents around the sides, and recent pyroclastic flows running into the sea. The chart marks a "rock awash" in the middle of an area over 100 m deep, which turned out to rise 10 or 20 ft above the surface. The anchorage area that we read about off the NW corner of Pulau Ratak rose from a 35 m depth to 17 (still deeper than ideal) and was occpuied by one local fishing boat leaving insufficient swinging room for us. To the west we found a spot with 7 m depth then saw a silvery glint in the moonlight and then the "forward-looking-sonar showed a vertical wall rising to surface. Full reverse!

We crossed to the NW coast of Pulau Rakat Kecil (little Rakat Island) and found a perfect spot with good holding off a gently shelving beach at 6 05.644S 105 27.042E It was just far enough round the corner to be sheltered from the 20 knot SSE winds. It was so nice that we spent the next morning doing odd jobs on Dulcinea, and the afternoon swimming to the beach and back with a walk between. This was neither a left beach nor a right beach since Peter found both left & right flip-flops of the same size in the flotsam at the high tide line.

All the cruisers' blogs had pointed us towards the first spot 3.2 miles SW but we would recommend the above coordinates to anybody following us with remotely similar conditions. However, one article we found on the internet warned that anchorages should be checked with Park Headquarters since depths change frequently in this volcanically active place! We saw nothing of Park employees while there, only friendly local fishermen.


We have managed to arrange for a degree of entertainment to break any monotony in the passage.

We left Krakatoa and headed into the Indian Ocean with 15-20 knots soon freshening to 20-25. With half a headsail and a single reef in the main, Dulcinea's 63ft length and fine bows made a comfortable close reech at 12 knots for 130 miles in our first 12 hours.

During the night the wind dropped and backed until our apparent wind was on the beam at 7 knots. Our speed over ground stayed about a knot higher than apparent wind speed and we made another 100 miles in the 2nd 12 hours. Of course true wind is well aft. It leads to some very sensitive playing on the autopilot since a few degrees course change makes an enormous change in appearent wind angle & speed, and hence boat speed too. She is sailing well.

On the second day, the shackle came out of the spinnaker tack, which gave us 2 or 3 hours entertainment on the foredeck/trampoline gathering it back and re-furling it on the Balmar furler (a little similar to a Code Zero).

A couple of days later, there was a roaring noise in the living room (alias bridge-deck cabin), and it took a few milliseconds to realize that an anchor was streaming out in 5Km deep water. I assumed we had lost it, but there is a big shackle at the chain/rope joint that caught in the hause tube. We looked at this potentially live system with an anchor and 65 metres of 12mm chain streaming behind us at 12 knots as if it were light line. We slowed the boat, and tied the chain with some line 1 metre in from its end, then winched in the line until we could drop a turn of chain on the gypsy and we could winch in the rest.

Enough flying fish on deck for a good lunch, but we caught no tuna. We'll try for that again later. Something fishy happened on the 5th night because there were over 20 flying fish on the decks. They make a great breakfast fried, or bolster up the second day round of a stew. Peter is an accomplished cook.

We managed a little more entertainment yesterday afternoon. Trying to maintain ever-increasing levels of drama. We had spent 2 or 3 days wondering why the boat was so difficult to keep on course and the autopilot was working so hard. Hand steering worked no better. Digging a little deeper into the system, yesterday morning, I took the caps off the rudder posts and found the starboard rudder turning freely from its hydraulic ram. To my horror, it had managed this by dropping an inch which is enough for the short key to drop below its keyway. Further, there was nothing more than a little friction stopping the rudder from dropping 5km to a watery grave - this rudder is heavy & takes two people to lift it on land - serious entertainment! We stopped the boat harnessed up I jumped into the swell and slipped two nooses over the spade rudder so that it could not fall all the way out (I do hope we won't have to repeat this in Patagonian water). Then a quick discussion over a sandwich and back to work. We cannot properly hold the rudder up without machining the 3.5inch diameter stainless steel rudder post. However, we hoisted it back up with the slings, engaged the key and clamped the collar around a stainless bolt that should hold it up by digging its threads into the metal surfaces. It hasn't jiggled in the last 20 hours (and the boat stears much better now with two rudders again).

These fittings were made for me in Thailand 6 months ago and it is terrible that they were assembled without any positive grip to stop the rudder from falling out. We shall probably beach the boat in Rodriguez or Mauritius and drill a hole in the collar if I can find some good quality drill bits, or machine the post if we find a good machinist there.

Apart from being a great help sharing with these jobs, Peter keeps filming with his head-mounted camera, so expect some unplanned expletives to appear on his blog after we get to internet connections.

We decided that should be enough for entertainment for this passage. Today the wind has dropped from 30 to 20 - 25 knots and we are romping along under blue sky with Rodriguez about 900 miles ahead. The bows are cutting the water, and we should be there in 4 days.

There were a couple of Indonesian fishing boats and some dolphins up to 200 miles from Sumatra, but for 5 days we saw no sign of mammals until a ship past 8 miles south of us this morning heading for Singapore. We called him on the VHF.

Love to you all