It’s just past dawn here on Tahina and we are still motoring along in peaceful seas just a few miles off the north coast of Palau Belitung. We plan to go to the northwest anchorage, where the rally ahead of us stopped, before continuing towards Singapore. We should arrive in just a few hours – about 35 miles left to go.
This passage has been yet another boring one from a sailing perspective. We have raised the sails a few times and used them to help speed up our passage while under motor power. But, a lot of the time the wind was so light that wasn’t even possible. Fortunately, we have not had the rains and thunderstorms the boats in the rally experienced along this route. Instead, its been clear sunny weather, or starry skies depending on the time of day. The moon is up to first quarter, so we’re getting the benefit of more light each night.
Yesterday we crossed one of the two main shipping channels between the Java Sea and the South China Sea. We had a dozen ships on our AIS receiver all around us at one point. But, that is nothing compared to what lies ahead in the giant shipping channel around Singapore. We have also had some interesting times dodging fishing boats, and their nets. Once we had to make a hard turn and follow a fishing net for a mile to get around it. Ironically, if we had turned the other direction, it was only 200 meters to the end. But, our sails were up, and that wasn’t practical.
We plan to get fuel here in Belitung to help insure we have plenty when we leave for the final 300 or so miles to the final stop in Indonesia – Bitam. We also hope to catch up on sleep and relax a bit before we leave. In Bitam we will stop in a marina, get some rest, and make arrangements to clear out of the country before making the daring dart across the 25 miles of shipping channel to Singapore.