Sailing under a road bridge is always a nail biting experience – even when you have been under the same bridge successfully on a previous occasion!
We followed Yantara out of Puteri Harbour in Malaysia and under the bridge that leads from Johor Bahru to Singapore and despite knowing full well that both our boats would easily fit under, we still, most definitely, felt extremely nervous.
From our position behind Yantara as we were motoring up towards the bridge it looked as if her mast was going to hit the span. With our collective breath held we watched as she passed under the bridge with several metres to spare.
The first challenge of the day completed successfully we went onto the second test of our nerves – sailing through the Singapore Strait dodging the multitude of cargo ships plying its waters.
We wove in and out of anchored boats without too much stress. The moving ships were, for the most part, travelling quickly and efficiently in the shipping lanes while we were out of their way nearer to the coast of Singapore.
That was all just fine until we saw Yantara suddenly turn sharply and then keep turning until she had travelled 180 degrees and was heading back towards us.
We realised that a massive ship had turned out of the shipping lane and was heading into port with Yantara in its path! After a few minutes Yantara was on her way again but minutes later another massive vessel sounded its horn – one big long blast “I’m about to enter the fairway” (or as we interpreted it “Get out of the bl##dy way you little pipsqueak”!
So like Yantara we turned round and ran the other way until the monstrous ship had steamed by.
A short while later we received a call on our radio from Yantara letting us know that a container ship close to them was in the process of pulling its anchor up. They scooted past but from where we were – a little way behind – we could see the black smoke belching out of its funnel.
With some trepidation we crept past the ship and were fortunate that the anchors took a long time to be raised so we were well past before the ship was underway.
Everyone dreads crossing the shipping lane in the Singapore Strait, and we are no exception. There are special crossing points and basically it’s like crossing a busy road – look right, look left, look right again and proceed across when it is safe to do so.
Fortunately we made the crossing with ease and were soon sailing in Indonesian waters on our way to Nongsa Point Marina on the island of Batam.