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Sunday, August 5, 2012

August 5, 2012 - En Route to Alor

We got across the Savu Sea at what I think is a pass called Selat Pantar and had to drop the hook for the night outside of the pass that runs between Alor and Pulau Pantar. Writing this sounds as foreign to me as it would to anyone reading it. The important fact is that thinking that we would make it into the anchorage at Alor from Kupang in two days was a pipedream. There is little wind and a lot of current to contend with here, and there doesn't seem to be a set pattern to any of it.

The water is crystal clear and we can make out a beautiful reef system below us. It was difficult finding a good spot to drop the hook without harming the reef and fouling our anchor. Some other yachts are coming up behind us but rather than stop for the night are making a run on into Alor. We don't want to travel at night and then try to pick our way into an unfamiliar anchorage, so are happy with our decision to stop. It is still some 30 miles to that destination and we are very tired having gotten up at 4:30 this morning.

As at the stop yesterday we are gathering curious looks and shouts from local villagers on shore, however, here there are also fishermen who cruise past us just staring. We wave at them but they are not interested in approaching nor engaging us. I think we may be a bit of an anomaly to them as most yachts keep going past here without stopping. Just a guess because I don't really know.

Today is August 6th. We slept well until around midnight when the tide changed and brought in the swells. Big swells that tossed us nearly out of bed. Neither of us slept much after that and ended up rising pretty early. Leaving the little bay, Frank called to me to come look at the sparkly things in the water. On the shadowed side of the boat beautifully brilliant multi-colored "lights" were drifting past us aglow in the prettiest hues of neon blue, green and amber. Specks no larger than a fingernail drifted by appearing as though they had been scatter-tossed into the water. We have never seen anything like this by day. They went on for miles and as the sun reached them they disappeared.

The plan was to ride this next pass at rising tide to catch the current going in but apparently rising tide comes from the opposite direction and we are caught in a 6-knot current against us. We have great wind but cannot sail without the engine on because we are being pushed backward by this current, so with engine on we are showing a boat speed of 7.6 knots and yet our SOG (speed over ground) is only 1.5. Unbelievable. Of course my recommendation that we get out of here and wait for the ebb flow has not been very well received. We are carrying onward. I don't want an argument so I am keeping my mouth shut now. Maybe someday I will earn the right to be heard, but I wont hold my breath.

It is now 11:35 - finally the tide has changed and we are in the slack; cruising 6 knots with SOG of 6 - maybe this will turn the other way and push us. It would be great if we got 6 knots from behind. So far we have been at it for 5 hours and have only gone 15 nautical miles. We'll see what the next hour or so brings.

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Judy & Bill Rouse aboard S/V BeBe said...

Oh, does this bring back memories! One would think the tide would ebb and flow as it rises and falls, but all it does is go from strong adverse current to slack to every stronger adverse current. At least that was our experience in the passes between the islands there. Only forward movement was during the slack tide periods. Good luck!!

Debbie Whiteaker said...

You can write an interesting book someday!