Well the countdown begins. All that is left to do is attend the “Parrot Head” party tonight and a sort out a few finishing touches tomorrow and we will be (more or less) ready to leave Cairns on Monday 6 July!
We started the customs clearance process en masse at one of the Sail 2 Wonderful Indonesia briefings which in true King fashion, we were an hour late for due to being kept waiting by trades people for two and a half hours and then trying to anchor in a hurry in high winds.
Of course it took four attempts and one false start to get the anchor to hold in the squally winds and slushy mud. The false start happened when Jonathan said “let 20 metres of anchor chain out right away” and I, being an obedient crew member, trained not to ask the reason why in tight situations, let out 20 metres of anchor chain immediately. Silly me! Dear Husband (DH) meant “let out 20 metres all in one go when I say the word”
We did have a laugh about that!
Cruises like ours are very important to the Indonesian economy – evidenced by the fact that no less than nine dignitaries (including one regent) flew in from Indonesia to Cairns to take part in the ceremonies and briefings.
As well as being given lots of information about our destinations, we were presented with t-shirts, an Indonesian mobile phone SIM card so we can contact Raymond, our Indonesian “Mr Fixit” and organiser extraordinaire, a “battle” flag, a pennant, a cruising log book containing all kinds of information, and a beautiful book with information and photographs of each of our 20 official stops
People from 52 boats crammed into the room to hear about anchorages, what to when we arrive in Thursday Island and procedures for our first stop in Indonesia, Debut Island.
Despite the amazing amount of experience in the room – with many people having sailed their boats for many years all over the world – there seemed to be an air of anxiety (or maybe it was just us!) .
It was interesting to observe that as with any crowd, there was the guy who cracked unfunny jokes, someone who knew all the answers to everything and took great pains to tell the room all about what they knew, someone else who asked the daftest questions etc etc.
On the whole though, the group which includes people from New Zealand, Australia, England, Northern Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, USA, Canada (and those are just the ones I’ve met) seems really fun, knowledgeable and really very interesting.
It is all rather nerve wracking and I feel a bit like a new girl at school but I’m sure many people feel the same.
Meanwhile on Bali Hai ….
Today we finally finished the installation of our “silent wind” generator which we hope will boost our electrical capacity so we don’t have to keep running the engine to keep our fridge and freezer going.
Leo Wolfe, who has done all the electrical work for the wind generator, came back to finish the job off even though during the first attempt we tried to drown him in crocodile infested waters!
He was way up on the frame holding our solar panels when the stainless steel tubing made to hold the generator slipped anticlockwise and tipped Leo into the unfriendly waters of Smith’s Creek.
Fortunately, he popped up with hat and glasses still in place and was able to swim back to the boat. Cool as a cucumber he got back on board, dried off and carried on working. Luckily no sign of crocs and the only disaster was the loss of his phone (fortunately not an iPhone!).
We were grateful he came back to finish the job this morning (punctual, unlike other people doing work for us!). We didn’t blame him at all for taking everything out of his pockets before climbing back on our newly redone pole.
Can’t wait to get started on this adventure but before we leave I have to haul DH up the mast which is making me a bit nervous! Just hope his communication skills are a bit sharper than when anchoring or there could be serious consequences!