24 July 2007

Noon Update : 24-July-2007

Timor Sea Crossing

  • 110nm last 24 hrs
  • 96nm to Kupang, Indonesia
  • 341nm from Darwin, Australia
  • winds SE 10-15 knots
  • seas S 2-3 ft
Happy Birthday to Brother Ron, the webmaster who makes this whole thing happen!

We have had another pleasant 24hr run with the winds slowing down in the evening and stronger during the daylight hours. Sandpiper still has other rally boats around us and we are able to chat it up with them on the VHF radio. The only other traffic we have seen was a large oil rig we passed last night that was flaring off its excess gas in a giant fireball, and 2 fishing boats 2 miles away from us.

Fishing boats at night always make me a little nervous as there is no way to tell at night what they are fishing for. Boats that drag nets are OK as their nets are right behind them. But long-liners have fishing gear that extends for miles. Also, most long liners run their gear fairly deep. But sometimes they are set up to catch surface fish. At night there is no way to tell which way their gear is deployed. Also, there are drift-netters, which are not very common. They set long nets along the surface which are very hard to see at night. We have been lucky so far with most fishing boats. But we did snag a long line in Mexico since they were marking their gear with old coke cans.

At sunset tonight we had less than 70 miles to go. So we decided to slow Sandpiper down so we would not make landfall during the night. There are supposed to be many unlit objects along the Indonesian coastline that we do not want to run into. We have rolled in the jib and double reefed the main sail, slowing us down to 3 to 4 knots. If we can maintain this speed, then we can expect to arrive at the entrance channel at 0800h.

We will be arriving at the anchorage in Kupang, Timor where all the other rally boats are anchoring. We will be flying our quarantine flag and wait to be cleared in by Indonesian Customs. After that we are free to go ashore and do a little exploring. There are scheduled events ashore with the Rally which we will report back to you as soon as possible.

We are still having a little trouble getting a connection with Sailmail. We can send OK. But it is time consuming to download our new emails because we only have 10 minutes use a day. We have 19 emails in our inbox. So it might be some time before I can get them all downloaded. So have a little patience if we do no respond right away.

More when it happens,
Tom and Amy

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