Sophie dropped anchor this morning right below Pulau Sembilan, which is adjacent to Pulau Nangka and 230 miles to the northeast of Kumai. Sembilan is a small, uninhabited island surrounded by a perfect beach and coral reefs. The island is beautiful, and we will likely spend 3 or 4 days here. Our location is 02.31.084S, 108.31.770E. According to the charts, we are now in the South China Sea. Viet Nam is less than 700 miles to the north, and we are 360 miles from Singapore. We’ve covered about 600 miles since we left Bali.
We had a bit of a scare on Sophie before we left Kumai. The morning before we left, we took on another 800 liters of diesel (by hand) and I then went about changing the fuel filters on the Yanmars and the oil and oil filters on the genset. While working on the genset, I noticed that all four screws that mount the genset to the marine plywood floor in the genset compartment were completely loose and rolling around the floor of the genset box. These are big screws, maybe 3 inches long and 3/8 of an inch wide. My immediate reaction was that someone obviously had started the process of stealing the genset, but I then remembered that we had locked the compartment while visiting the orangutans. It must have been vibration.
I tried to put the screws back in, but the mounting holes in the genset were no longer aligned with the screw holes in the floor. I tried sliding the genset, but it weighs 555 pounds and wouldn’t move. I thought about drilling new holes, but there isn’t enough space for me to easily do so. Leaving on a 230 mile passage with an unmounted 555 pound metal box right next to our marine electronics, propane tanks, and assorted bulkheads was definitely not an option.
When I started the genset, the internal startup torque would cause the box to hop about a half an inch. So I started and stopped the machine about 20 times and somehow aligned all of the holes back together and got the screws back in. I think it is secure enough to get us to Singapore given the current weather forecasts, and we will likely remount the machine once we get there.
After we got the genset sorted away, we had a lovely 2 night, one day passage from Kumai to Sembilan. On both nights we were able to turn the engines off and sail at 6-7 knots for most of the night on a beam reach under a full moon. It was like we were back in the Pacific trade winds and was easily the best sail we’ve had in our 5 months in Indonesia. Jenna couldn’t think of a better way to spend her birthday.
Before we arrived at the anchorage this morning, we saw that we were dragging a line of fishing buoys behind us. I was able to cut the line but there was still something under the hull. We stopped the boat, and I got to once again play underwater demolition man and cut the remaining line off our rudder stocks. There was no damage to the boat, but I did notice that Sophie had attracted a nice remora fish that was swimming right next to one of our keels.
There is no internet or phone access here, so we are reverting back to the SSB and Sailmail to post updates to the blog. Jenna has some spectacular photos of our excursions in Borneo and Bali, and we hope to be able to share them with all of you by the time we get to Singapore. In the meantime, we are looking forward to some nice reef snorkeling and Sophie school in this delightful, remote location.