06 October 2007

Pulau Bawean

Anchored at Pulau Bawean
Anchorage #69 in "101 Anchorages Within The Indonesian Archipelago" by Geoff Wilson

East Java
Java Sea

It seems that we forgot to mention while we were in the Bali Marina that Team Sandpiper celebrated our second year of sailing west. We left San Francisco on 28-Sep-2005. Thanks to all our readers and followers who have followed us on this site. Keep on checking on us as we still have many adventures ahead! If your new to the site then go back to the beginning and check out our first entry.

We arrived late this morning after a crazy overnight 100 mile sail where we encountered just about every type of object on the water that there is. Matt and Julie, thanks for making sure that Sandpiper has radar!!. We left our last anchorage at 10am because we wanted to make sure that we were 10 miles offshore of Pulau Bawean by sunrise the next day. We had been warned of floating fish traps located far offshore. As we left yesterday, many local fishing boats came by to wave at us. After that we went through a 40 mile stretch of long line fishing gear that is permanently anchored to the bottom of the sea. Long bamboo rafts mark each end of the long line. All along this 40 mile stretch we passed fishing gear and boats all over the place. It seems that anyone that lives near the water in Indonesia is a fisherman, and there are thousands of them everywhere.

Around sunset we cleared this area of fishing gear to cross a shipping lane. A tug and barge came quite close to us and forced us to turn left 90 degrees because was towing a large barge with no lights!

Around midnight we passed the a Camar Oil Field offshore drilling platform. We could see it from over 20 miles away because it has a huge fireball over it where they burn off their excess gases. We came within 2 miles of this facility.

After that we had a very close encounter with an Indonesian fishing boat who decided that he wanted to cross our bow no matter what we did. We had to make another 90 degree turn to avoid hitting him since he passed close enough that I could light him up with a flashlight.

The problem with the fishing boats here is that they do not have standard running lights. They attach what ever light they can find that will that will operate on their boats. As result, you get what we saw last night. A boat with many different colored lights, and even LED lights that flash and change colors. This makes it impossible to figure out what direction that they are going. Without radar we would probably run into some of the boats the decided that they do not need any lights at all.

We were told by some of the other boats we have been traveling with that the Indonesian fishermen cross as close to your bow as possible because they want to throw off their bad fishing luck onto your boat. I guess that they think we must just be another fishing boat since there are not other sailing boats in this area. And this would explain why every time we see a boat they head straight for our bow. It is really unnerving at night when they do this!

We made into anchorage at Pulau Bawean this morning along with our friends on SV Sunburn (NZ) who had been within a couple of miles of us all night. We found our friends on SV Sundance (US) have beaten us here from Bali.

This island is mountainous and about 6 miles across. There is a small village along the shore here. It is very Muslim. Along the shoreline there is a large mosque with a mirrored roof and a large tower where they play their calls-to-prayer 24 hours a day. Its easily heard from where we are anchored.

Tomorrow's plans are to get up at 4am for a very early start for our next jump north of 180 miles. We are hoping to arrive late afternoon the following day at Kumai River in Borneo to head upriver to visit our distant relatives, the Orangutans, who live in the jungle there.

More when we get there,
Tom and Amy

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