Passage from Sebana Cove to Kota Kinabalu (6-21 May 2008)

6 May

We departed the Sebana Cove Marina at 1150 ... had announced a 1200 departure but we don't like to say 'goodbye' so slipped off a bit early!  On our exit from the Johor Straits, Rose spotted a pair of dolphins, one grey and one pink but missed the photo opportunity. 

By 1620 we were beginning our crossing of the Singapore Straits incoming ship traffic.  This was the most critical part of the crossing as our planned route would take us up the 'Middle Channel' which is a bit of 'no mans land' for the ships.  The AIS graphic display shown here has one ship, WHITE MIZU, with a CPA (closest point of approach) that was too close for comfort.  Another ship (25680000) was following WHITE MIZU and closing, giving further concern.



















Here you can see our maneuver behind the two ships of concern





















While going up the Middle Channel we were surprised by this strange looking 'stealth' warship screaming down the incoming lane.  The structure circled in red was rotating quickly ... probably a very high definition radar.  The only identification was the number 68 on the bow.  Singaporean?

Yes, a quick Google search says "The Formidable class multi-role stealth frigates are the latest platforms to enter into service with the Republic of Singapore Navy, and are multi-mission derivatives of the French Navy’s La Fayette class frigate. The lead ship of the class, RSS Formidable was commissioned on 5 May 2007."

For a description of this ship go here to see the model that is already available.

It DOES appear to be formidable!



This vessel DID NOT appear on my AIS displays!!








By 1900 we were crossing the outbound lane with confidence knowing that we had right of way over ships passing us but since 'tons is king' it was comforting to know the CPAs of the overtaking vessels.
















7 May

From the deck log:

0805071006 In severe squall since 0830. Heavy rain since 0900. Wind around the clock now. Rolling scupper to scupper at times. Very wet and uncomfortable. Passed tanker CLIPPER TRINIDAD opposite direction 6 nm to port but could not see in the rain nor on radar, only on AIS.








Noon position and we are in the Anambas Islands of Indonesia.

It was in these islands that a yacht we know (TEN LARGE) stopped for the night (in 2005) and were boarded the next morning and robbed of cell phones and money.  The suspicion is that the culprits, brandishing automatic weapons, were from the Indonesian Navy.









8 May





At midnight we were making good speed thanks to an assist from the current.


Ship traffic going both ways was always just to the north of our course.














Noon position.  A ship is to the north of our course and we will pass north of an anchored ship, the ORIENT GREGOS.



Now considering a change of destination to Miri instead of continuing on to Kota Kinabalu (485NM away).  The course change can be seen as the black line.












From the deck log:

0805081500-1600 Overtaken by squall to starboard, 17 kts. Overtaken by two squalls, port and starboard, 12 kts. Left with little wind from astern.
0805081730 Garlic pasta with lamb sausages and a beer (first of the trip). Sailing is fun!


9 May








At midnight we are near the last of the Anambas Islands and still making good speed.


Our destination has been officially changed to be Miri.









From the deck log:

0805091030 Severe Squall from astern. 20-22kts and heavy rain. Mizzen up and piece of genny. Ran with autopilot steering 170S. Went XTE (cross track error) to 0.25 NM then wind veered and took us back to course.
0805091130 Broad reaching with genny and mizzen. 12-15 kts, 140deg. SOG=6+ kts. Light rain.







Noon position now well clear of the Anambas Islands and closing on the west coast of Borneo.



Miri now bears 263 NM ahead.









From the deck log:  0805091532 Rose averts disaster. Spots dolphins .. no, a log .. no, a TREE!! Terry comes hard a port and goes by a tree, 2 m diameter at the base, with branches longer than the boat and .5-1 m diameter.

10 May



Midnight.  202 NM to go.
















From the deck log:  0805100710 Small squall passes to stbd. Carried half-genny in 18 kts then full genny as wind diminished to 12 kts then bent mizzen. SOG = 5+ kts







Noon position.  139 nm to go.


Ship traffic is again parallel to our course.  Must be doing something right?











From the deck log:  0805102120 Hit by very severe TS. Getting foulies on when 35 kts hit with genny and mizzen up. Knocked over with gunnels under water and filling the cockpit until genny released and furled. Cockpit flooded but drained quickly. Autopilot drive stops. Brought bow around, reset autopilot and used vane mode to hold 60 degrees to port. Wind from NNW held 30-35 kts for 30 min then diminished to 20-25 kts for next 30 min. Rain throughout but not heavy.





After the storm the track has been reset with 87.2 nm to go.















11 May




Midnight.  80.1 nm to go.

A tanker, ALPHA POWER, is on a close point of approach.  A few minutes later the tanker changed course to pass our stern.
















When the tanker passed I raised them on Channel 16 and thanked them for changing course.  I'm sure they were surprised to hear me calling by their vessel name and call sign ... information provided by the AIS.







From the deck log:

0805110545 Hit by another very severe TS. With serviette sized jib ran with autopilot in vane mode directly ahead. Wind speed 35 kts gusting to 40 kts. SOG 5-6 kts.
0805110605 Ran over log about 7 m long and 1 m diameter. Hit square in middle and the boat leaped up and over it with no apparent damage. (Will do underwater inspection in port) Trailing water generator slid over the log.
0805110615 Wind diminished to 20-25 kts. Bent small piece of jib and reset course on a broad reach. SOG=5+ kts






Noon position.

The course deviation from the morning's storm can be seen on the track behind us.

ETA for Miri is 1550, assuming the current speed is maintained which is optimistic.















We are now entering the channel into Miri Marina.


















The recently constructed marina and new Miri channel are not shown on the MaxSea chart but are as shown here.


Free wireless Internet (with your own computer) is available at the Park City Everly Hotel, a few minutes walk from the marina.











This is the entrance to Miri Marina as seen from position 04°22.8380 N 113°58.0179 E


There's a seafood restaurant on the point near the seahorse sculpture that beckons!










From the deck log:

0805111620 Secure in berth C11. Trip = 635 NM Time = 5 days 4.33 hrs AVSP = 5.1 kts
0805111700 Squall from west, 30+ kts.   It's nice to be in a berth!  Soon it will be even nicer to be in a berth in the boat in a berth.  :-)

18 May

We waited for clearing weather which took several days before the typhoons in the North China Sea were gone.  Departing at 0840 we found calm seas and no wind so motoring was the order of the day.  Not wanting to arrive in Labuan in the dark we purposely kept the boat speed down to less than 4.2 knots, which meant the engine was not working hard as it ticked over at 1500 RPM.


Picked up some wind late in the morning and enjoyed some sailing.

At noon we were making our turn at the westernmost point of Brunei.

The eddies shown on the chart were correct ... we sighted several whirlpools in this area.













   At sunset we hoped for some truth in the saying "RED SKY AT NIGHT IS A SAILOR'S DELIGHT".












19 May



At midnight we were closing on the northern coast of Brunei.

With the drifter and mizzen we sailed nicely under the offshore breeze that has just appeared.

The sultan's palace at Jurudong was brightly lit and stood out from the lights along the shore.












As we entered Labuan Harbour 24 hours after departure from Miri, the tanker UNISON passed us and began warping up to a berth.  We slowed then went around her.








  By 0915 we had set the anchor ... on the second try thanks to a large plastic bag that fouled the anchor the first time.

  Our position was within meters of our previous anchorage three years and three months previously.


  The passage statistics:  Trip = 106.5 NN, time = 24.6 hrs, Av Speed = 4.3 knots.







20 May

No trip to Labuan would be complete without a run on the Duty Free stores.  After raising the water line a few inches we prepared for an overnight passage to Kota Kinabalu.



From the deck log:

0805201710 Underway after 30 min washing mud from chain and anchor.

And the anchor had a large plastic bag on the tip!

















The Labuan Ferry carrying vehicles and passengers passed in the opposite direction shortly after leaving the harbour.  It DID NOT show up as an AIS target!!!  Shame, shame.











And the obligatory sunset picture.

Note the ferocity of the seas :-)












From the deck log:

0805202145 First wind off bow. 6-8 kts, 30 deg stbd. SOG = 4+ kts. Current 0.5 kts against.
0805202228 Abeam Pine Point Shoals light which is extinguished.


22 May

  From the deck log:

0805210000 Offshore breeze of past 3 hours was 10+ kts and now has abated to 6 kts. Genny and mizzen hard on the wind. Current 0.3 kts against. Trip = 29.6 nm
















From the deck log:

0805210225 Handed sails. No wind.
0805210650 Water pump fails. Engine hrs = 2088.5
0805210710 Replaced with new pump. Bracket had to be changed. Underway again.



So after a ho-hum motoring and motorsailing passage the final entry.

From the deck log:

0805210925 Arrived Sutera Harbour Marina, Berth C-19. Trip = 68.2 NM Time = 16.25 hrs AvSp = 4.2 kts.




It may have been a bit boring but at least it wasn't like the first five days.











Passage statistics, Sebana Cove to Sutera Harbour:

Total trip distance:  810 NM

Total trip time:    6 days 21 hrs 11 min

Trip overall average speed:  4.9 kts