Sumatra First Night and Aborted Departure

We arrived yesterday afternoon after a slow hot day of motoring up the Malacca Straight. No major issues coming up – but we did see some small tree trunks in the water, and one medium one. We were warned there can be lots of debris up the straight. We also saw half a dozen fishing boats, but no nets to dodge. That’s another thing we were warned about.

As we arrived, there was a trimaran at anchor at Pasau Pisang – 4 islands with one larger which is home to a lighthouse (see map below). The skipper hailed us and is a Frenchman who has live the last 15 years in California. It turns out he is on a similar schedule and wanted to accompany us up the straight. He also wanted to go to Palau Basar the next day, and like me concluded we would need to leave by 3 AM. So, it meant an early dinner and early to bed.

We had a nearby thunderstorm at sundown, but although it rained and thundered we didn’t see much from it. Unless it was the same storm that hit us at 2 AM. We had a real Sumatra – storms that blow really hard and have lots of rain and lightning. I estimate we saw winds above 40 knots. It blew steady at 30 knots for about 15 minutes after I turned on our instruments. Our anchor held fine though, and we were protected some by the island.

We aborted the plan to leave at 3AM and I told the other skipper we would wait until it stopped raining, or first light. At 5 AM I woke up to find no rain and texted him. We agreed to raise our hooks at 5:20. It was raining a bit, but we proceeded.

Right as we got Tahina’s chain coming up, some winds started blowing – about 15 knots blowing us shoreward. I carefully paid attention to our position while Karen managed watching the anchor raising. She was spraying the anchor with mud while I started backing us away when I got a call on the radio from the other boat. He had run aground! I replied we would re-drop our hook and come help. He asked if the tide was going out or in, and I said out.

We concentrated getting our hook down again and while doing that he said he managed to get free, but his rudder was not working. I told him to get anchored again and we would come help. Once our hook was set, he called to say he thinks his rudder is bent or otherwise compromised. I told him to rest a while and we would look at it at first light (now only an hour or so away). We’ll also try to re-position him as he is still too close to shore. I’ll use the dinghy to do that.

So, not off to a great start today. Hopefully we’ll be able to do something for him and still be able to depart today. Otherwise we are going to have to call the boatyard and delay our haulout. Which we can do if needed.

Here is where we are located:

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