Bali, Indonesia to Cocos, Australia   July-August 2008

July 25

Indian Ocean:  Friday

0850   We’re under sail--as usual jib only--off the south end of Bali, making t five knots toward Cocos.  Sunny morning.  Less wind now than when we left the slip at 0630.

I woke at 4 and got up at 4:30, had my first cup of instant coffee for a while--not as bad as I expected--and rearranged the interior, putting the bedding in a plastic bag, then moving all the bags of provisions from the quarterberths to the v-berth.

Went online and had an email from Carol that she was back in Evanston tired and hungry.

The wind never died completely last night. It was stronger than I wished at first light, and I thought I might have to wait for someone to handle my dock lines.  The side docks at Bali Marina are topped with slats of wood with raw edges toward the boats.  Probably a good thing my topsides are easily retouched.

I was ready to leave and didn’t want to wait.  I turned on the engine, and when I experimented with releasing some of my lines, THE HAWKE OF TUONELA’s stern moved in the direction I wanted, so I cast off the rest, climbed aboard, and got away without a scratch.

A boat belonging to a Dutch couple was next to us, in the spot between boats we had been originally, and had a stern line secured to THE HAWKE OF TUONELA’s starboard stern cleat.  This was on the Dutch boat’s lee side and not essential.  When I saw the wife in the cockpit yesterday, I told her I wanted to remove that line.  She said, “Can’t that wait until tomorrow?”  I said, “No.”  She said, “Why not?”  I said, “I don’t do things at the last minute, and will probably leave before you wake up and don’t want it hanging in the water where it might foul my prop.”  Grudgingly she took back the line.  Actually I took it off my cleat and dropped it in the water, so she had little choice.  No one in the marina was awake when I left, except the security guard, to whom I gave my last rupiahs.

The way out of Benoa Harbor is to the east and to windward.  With sixteen knots of wind against an outgoing tide, the channel was choppy inside the reef and the ocean choppy outside, until we cleared the corner of the island three miles south and could ease off the wind.  I powered to that point and steered myself, rather than over-stress the tiller pilot.  Not until we made the transition from engine to jib and tiller pilot to Monitor did I feel that the passage had truly begun.  THE HAWKE OF TUONELA is moving easily and quietly.  It is great to be back at sea.

1300  An easy day so far.  Sunny.  Wind around ten knots.  I set the spinnaker around 0930.  It can be assumed at least until Africa that means the small one.  The bigger new one would be better today, but is in disrepair and disgrace.

Since leaving New Zealand our course has usually had some north in it, which has resulted in my expecting that the port side of the boat will be the lower side, so I stowed the heavier objects, such as cases of water, on that side.  But Bali is our farthest point north until the other side of Africa--Bali is about 9º South; Cocos 12º; Mauritius 20º; and Durban 30º--so as I have discovered the starboard side is lower, and I had to shift the water and some other things.

Both Bali and Java are visible to the north.

Noon position:  08º 58’ South;  114º 54’ East.  Cocos 1078 miles, bearing 260º.  SOG (Speed Over the Ground by GPS) 4.3 knots.

1915  A week ago we were at Vila Sangkih.  It seems more recent.  Now Carol is on the other side of the world, and I am sailing--slowly--west.

This has been an easy offing from the land, if not a fast one.  The wind weakened this afternoon, and our speed dropped below three knots.  At the moment we are back up to 3.7.  It feels and looks as though we are under a big high, but my barometers say that the pressure is in fact a bit lower than normal. 

The wind is more south than east.  I could set the main, but because the spinnaker is often collapsing, the main would surely do so more frequently and noisily.  The bigger spinnaker would probably be the right sail, though sometimes smaller sails keep their shape and fill more easily in very light air.  Besides the bigger spinnaker is ripped, and I will stop mentioning it, even if I don’t stop thinking about it.

I spent much of the afternoon and early evening on deck.  Very pleasant in the shade of the sail.  Almost cool after sunset,  Ate dinner on deck, and had a glass of Jamesons.

Had the hatches open during the day, but have closed the forward one and will close the one over the port settee before I go to sleep, just in case something weird suddenly happens during the night.

After being cramped in a marina in an unpleasant harbor, it is so good to be in the open sea.

July 26

Indian Ocean:  Saturday

0700  Sun just above the horizon after a smooth night.   The wind increased to about ten knots with the rising of the waning moon at 0100, and our speed from 4 to 5 knots. 

I say the wind is about ten knots, because sometime during the night, the masthead wind unit went to sleep, too.  Apparently it only wants to send information when in harbors.  I found the bill of sale.  It is still under warranty, so perhaps I can have it looked at in South Africa.  This is my third wind unit.  The first two came under warranty, and this, allegedly improved model, I bought myself.

I checked my account in Quicken and found that I bought this TackTick system in late 2003.  I took it to the boat in early 2004.  So for more than four years, almost never have all the components been working at the same time.

Not having slept well the last two nights in Bali, I did sleep well last night.  Up several times, but then easily back to sleep.  I saw a fishing boat on the horizon north of me toward Java yesterday afternoon, but none last night.

The wind is far enough south so that we are almost on a beam reach and I could set the mainsail, and probably would go better with main and jib.  Perhaps after a second cup of coffee.

In Bali the cabin was always in disorder, with bags of provisions stowed haphazardly on the quarter berths and boxes of water, beer, tonic and tea on the cabin sole, as well as Carol’s luggage.  Now the cabin is neat, spaces are clear of clutter.  We are shipshape.

1250  A lovely, pleasant day.  We are still sailing under the spinnaker alone, making about 4.5 knots before eight or nine knots of wind, which has backed a bit to the southeast, with 2’ seas.  We might be able to go slightly faster under jib and main, but I like the small spinnaker.  Some sails just look and feel right.  And everything is so pleasant, even the temperature with all the hatches open, that I don’t want to change anything until I have to.

Noon position:  9º 21’ South;  113º 29’ East.  Day’s run:  88 miles. 

Cocos  991 miles. bearing 260º.  

We seem to be sailing faster than 4.5 knots.  Java is 50 miles away, but there are many strong currents around these islands, so perhaps one of them is heading us.

While THE HAWKE OF TUONELA is moving too much for me to do all my exercises, I am trying to do one hundred crunches a day.

1830  If I had only one barometer I would believe that it is malfunctioning.   It looks as though we are under a high pressure system. It feels as though we are under high pressure.  But one of my barometers says 1009 millibars, and the other says 1007.  And both have dropped one millibar in the past 24 hours.  According to the pilot chart, normal barometric pressure here in July is 1011 millibars.

The wind dropped from ten knots to seven or eight in early afternoon, and our SOG dropped below four knots for a while.  Even these little 1’ and 2’ waves were enough to roll the wind out of the spinnaker, so there was no point in setting anything else.

During most of the afternoon the instrument system was showing boat speed of .7 a knot higher than SOG from the GPS chartplotter, so I postulated an adverse current.  In the past hour, the wind has further decreased, but our SOG has increased to 4.5 to 5 knots and our COG (course over the ground) is 270º instead of the desired 260º, so now presumably a current from the southwest is favoring us.  It is interesting and instructive to see via GPS what is really happening to your boat.

Once the sun was behind the spinnaker at 1500 hours, I spent the afternoon on deck, listening to music from the cabin speakers turned up high.  Not the same as cockpit speakers.  Had dinner of freeze dry spaghetti on deck as well.  First freeze dry meal in almost a month. 

Some high clouds make me think that we may eventually see more wind, but if we take eleven or twelve days to reach the Cocos instead of eight of nine, really makes no difference.


July 27

Indian Ocean:  Sunday

0545  We entered a new time zone last night, seven hours ahead of GMT, so first light came earlier this morning, though the sun is not yet above the horizon. 

With the U.S. on summer time, this puts me exactly twelve hours ahead of Evanston.

The wind went very light last night, but the sea also became almost flat and we kept moving at 4.5 to 5 knots.  Considering that there is only 6 or 7 knots of wind at most, I think we are getting some help from current.

The barometer(s) is (are) steady, but a few clouds to the east may presage more wind.

Gentle sailing continues.

0800  Completed morning chores:  shaved; pumped half bucket of water from engine compartment; tightened alternator fan belt; swept cabin sole; lowered spinnaker, which has now been up for 48 hours, to check halyard for chaff:  was none, but retired bowline in slightly different position to spread strain anyway before re-raising it; while the sail was down our boat speed was still 2.5 knots; opened hatches.  The companionway has been open ever since I left Bali, but I close the two deck hatches at night.  Unusual passage when one of my chores is to open them each morning.

In furling the spinnaker prior to lowering it I noticed that the splice the rigger in Opua put in to form a continuous line has loosened.  Workers ashore have no idea how much grief a small failure can cause at sea.  Never have.  Captain Cook complained about shipyards more than two hundred years ago.  I don’t think--or maybe just hope--the line won’t jam next time I furl the sail. 

1220  A bit more wind, perhaps nine or ten knots is enabling us to sail at 5.5+ knots, sometimes more than 6.  Trade wind clouds low, but another level of high cloud above them to the north.   Sunny.  Waves only 1’.

Noon position:  9º 41’ South;  111º 32’ East.  Day’s run:  117 miles (25 hour day).  Cocos:  874 miles, bearing 260º.  

1530   We have now come 250 easy miles from Bali.  Even the temperature has been moderate for so close to the Equator.  The wind is down to eight and nine knots,  and we are sailing at 5 and 6. 

Have been on deck for the past hour, listening to music and drinking a beer--purely for the liquid.  Saving water.

Also saving water I washed myself in salt water in the cockpit.  Most hair shampoos and dish washing liquids lather in salt water.  I used shampoo.  The ocean temperature is 78º F/25.5º C.  Using an old towel to dry off removes the salt.  Carol gave me a 5,000 mile haircut in Bali.  Those with more hair--which is practically everyone--might need a fresh water rinse

Will go back on deck after a while for an evening drink and dinner.

July 28

Indian Ocean:  Monday

0530  Not a restful night.  From about 0200 we have been almost becalmed.   Fully becalmed might have been better.  There was a breath of wind, which sometimes filled the spinnaker, and there were small waves that more often collapsed it.  I didn’t get much sleep in the last few hours and finally got up at first light minutes ago.  There are clouds to the east.  I hope they bring wind.

Thanks to current, we kept moving, and presently are actually sailing.  I can hear water rippling around the hull, and the chartplotter shows us making 3.7 knots.  It has become my practice when the solar panels are keeping the batteries fully charged to leave the chartplotter on when I’m awake, and, unless near land, turn it off when I go to bed.

0715   I am powering due south after an encounter an hour ago with would be pirates.

At about 0600 I heard the sound of a diesel engine and went on deck to find an Indonesian fishing boat about the size of THE HAWKE OF TUONELA approaching from ahead.  The boat was painted gray, but I didn’t see other markings.  It was flying the Indonesian flag.  Six young men were visible on deck.

The fishing boat passed to starboard, turned astern of us, and then came alongside to port at distance of about ten yards.

I had routinely put the spray cover over the engine control panel the first day out.  It is held by a hose clamps and takes only seconds with a screw driver to release, but I didn’t have a screw driver and so could not start the engine.  THE HAWKE OF TUONELA was making about 3 knots under the spinnaker.

One of the men yelled something to me and made a gesture that he was coming closer.  I noticed that two of the men on the boat had masks over their faces.  One a kind of balaclava, the other a tee-shirt with cut-outs for the eyes.  I’ve had fishing boats approach before, but not with the crew masked.  I knew that if I didn’t do something these guys were going to board THE HAWKE OF TUONELA.

I went below and got the handheld VHF, returned to deck and pretended to talk into it.  I believed, correctly, that they would not know that its range is less than ten miles.  Upon seeing this, they powered off.

However, they returned ten minutes later.

During this time, I had removed the cover from the engine panel, and as they neared, I furled the spinnaker, started the engine and powered away from them at a right angle, heading south.  Again I had the VHF radio in my hand and pretended to talk into it.  They followed for a minute or two, then turned back toward two other similar vessels a quarter mile away.

They are now below the horizon.  I just went on deck and checked.

I have hidden my credit cards and cash and wedding ring in the galley overhead.  Unfortunately I can’t find a suitable place to hide the computers or my Nikon camera.

I will continue powering south for another half hour before setting sail.  The wind is still light, but on a close reach I think I can make fairly good speed.  Hopefully they will give up and not pursue tonight.

My position at 0640 was 09º 53.590 South; 109º 59.849 East, which is more than one hundred miles off the Java coast.

It isn’t the sea.  It’s people.

0830  Under jib and main, making 6 knots, course 231º, beam reach, wind still light.  No sign of pursuit.  Sunny.

1205  Sailing southwest under main and full jib just forward of beam reach, which is fastest point of sail in these conditions.  Making 6.5 to 7+ knots in eight to ten knots of wind.  

No boats in sight since this morning’s encounter.  It is probable that they have returned to their fishing. 

The boats were decked launches, with not much more freeboard than THE HAWKE OF TUONELA.  I don’t believe they had radar, and they may have rightly decided that it would be difficult to find me again once I was out of sight.  Still during daylight they would see my sails before I saw their hull.

The moon is in its final phase, so the night will be dark until after 0200.

I have made some additional preparations.  I moved my passport and clearance papers from Bali to the hiding place in the galley overhead, and put about $200 cash in my billfold which is in a navigation station drawer, where it will be easily found.

I have also decided to resist letting anyone come aboard, unless faced with overwhelming numbers.  If they had come upon me an hour earlier this morning, they might have gotten aboard, although I think I would have heard their diesel as they neared.

I have moved the flare gun to the upper berth.  I have seven flare cartridges.  If fired at someone, they would be disconcerting.

I have also made a pike by securing the biggest kitchen knife with hose clamps to the end of one of the oars.

If it were just a matter of being robbed,  I could accept that.  But it is a matter of being in the power of others.  I was helpless when in the hands of the Saudi police many years ago.  I do not want to experience that again.

No running lights tonight.

Noon position:  10º 17’ South; 109º 40’ East.  Day’s run:  116 miles.  Cocos:  759 miles; bearing 262º.

1400  Just eased off to a broad reach, still sailing at 6.5+ knots, course around 250º.  We are 45 miles from the scene of this morning’s incident. 

The chartplotter draws a line of our track whenever it is turned on, so I am able to see the exact point where we turned from west to south.  It was  09º 51.720’ South, 110º 00.316’ East.

Very good sailing today, even if not quite on course.  

1740  Perhaps I should thank the fishermen/pirates for forcing me to change course.   We are 70 miles from the Pirate waypoint, and have averaged almost 7 knots since noon.  Presently making 6.8 on course for Cocos.  Wind never more than 10 to 12 knots, and, unfortunately, is decreasing. 

Also unfortunate is that I did not enjoy the solitude of the sea today, and, although I believe the would be pirates are far away, I test fired the flare gun this afternoon, and scanned the horizon astern at sunset.

July 29

Indian Ocean:  Tuesday

0650  A less exciting morning, but something remarkable is happening all the same.

One of the more accurate indicators in the Beaufort Scale is that white-caps start to form at 7 and 8 knots of wind.  Those are the conditions we currently have, and our SOG is also 7 knots on a broad reach under main and jib.  Of that we are getting a knot of current.  Still it is 7 knots in 7 knots.  THE HAWKE OF TUONELA should be proud of herself.

I was up at midnight, at which time we had made 80 miles since noon.  The wind decreased again at night, which I don’t understand here 200 miles from land, but we still might have a 160 mile day.

Had my morning coffee on deck as the sun was on the horizon.

1250  Sunny.  Wind 10 knots.  Occasional big swell from the southwest.  And we are making 8+ knots over the bottom, with a highest reading of 9 knots.  Obviously the current has become even stronger.  I went on deck, but the sea looks as it has.

Noon position:  11º 03’ South; 106º 59’ East.  Day’s run:  165 miles.  Cocos:  595 miles; bearing 264º.

Christmas Island is about 80 miles west and a little north of us.  I stopped there in RESURGAM.  Not worth a second visit.  We’ll pass it during the night.

Pumped a bucket full of water from the engine compartment, swept cabin sole, and polished my new ‘stainless’ steel bucket bought in Darwin.  Not even close to ‘stainless’.  Don’t know how often I am going to do this.  Bucket may be more trouble than it’s worth.

Did most of my exercises this morning, including 70 push-ups, which are the most difficult part of the routine at sea.  Have to keep in shape to repel boarders.

1700  Conditions this afternoon have been singular.

We have improved on this morning’s 7 in 7 by making 9.6 knots in at most 8 knots of wind, and it might have been only 7.

The sky has a low level of trade wind cloud and some scattered high cirrus.  The sea has only a very few white-caps, but a big long swell from the southwest, averaging ten to fifteen feet.  Obviously something serious is happening in the Southern Ocean.  One set that came through an hour ago was huge, at least 20’.  We climbed and climbed.  The bow was pointing toward the sky.  I started to think of rogue waves and what would happen if one of these broke.  I was sitting on deck with, as is not unreasonable with light wind from astern, all the hatches open.  None did, or even came close.

I found it difficult to believe the readings I was seeing of speed made good.  We have covered 40 miles in the 5 hours since noon, while seeming to sail at 4 or 5 knots.  9+ knot readings have been common.  The 9.6 came when the jib was collapsed by a swell.  Eventually I furled it and we are presently making 8 knots under the main alone in 8 knots of wind. 

Such a strong current does not appear on the pilot charts. 

This is a curious passage.

July 30

Indian Ocean:  Wednesday

0620  Wind, current and, mostly, swell all disappeared with last evening’s sunset.

I understand diurnal coastal wind changes caused by land heating and cooling faster than does water, but not out here 300 miles from Java and 800 miles from the nearest point of the Australian mainland.

Enough swell remained to throw the slight remaining wind out of the sails.  I over-trimmed them and tightened the preventer I already had on the main, but still it was a noisy ride until after midnight.

I woke and got up about an hour ago, and found us making 6 knots off to the southwest--the course to Cocos is almost due west.  After playing with sail trim for a while, I lowered the main and we are presently making 5.5 to 6 knots under jib alone toward Cocos.  Might set the spinnaker again later.

1000 We’re making 5.5 knots under spinnaker.  I wanted to see if I could set it inside the jib, so that the time lost in making the sail change is a few seconds instead of five minutes.  I succeeded.   With the furled spinnaker raised and the sheet tied off at what seemed the appropriate length, I had only to furl the jib, then release the cleated furling line on the spinnaker, which unrolled and was drawing almost instantly.  Speed just increased to 6.5 knots.

Before I set the spinnaker, I needed to unsnarl the sheets and control line, which I did not coil properly when I last lowered it on pirate morning.

Sky through the companionway clear except for a few wisps of high cloud.  Barometer up 2 millibars.

1205  Now sitting on the port settee berth.  Just before lunch I jibed the spinnaker, and the wind is now to starboard for the first time this passage.

Noon position:  11º 39’ South; 104º 36’ East.  Day’s run:  145 miles.  Cocos:  452 miles; bearing 267º.

If we average six knots we could be there Saturday, but more likely Sunday.  Not certain if I have to pay an over time charge if I arrive on Sunday, but I knew the likelihood that I would arrive that day from the beginning.  Making 5.8 knots at present, directly on course.

1630  I shaved and washed yesterday in two cups of fresh water.  This afternoon I had a salt water bath in the cockpit.  Wiped down my not-stainless bucket afterwards.

On a port broad reach, the sail no longer provides shade in late afternoon, so I put on sun screen to drink a beer on deck.  We continue to make about five knots toward Cocos.  The south east trades are definitely north of east today.  Sunny, easy sailing.  Will probably have dinner on deck in an hour.

1800  Once again the damn wind has dropped with the sun, and our boat speed with it to below 4 knots.  I timed the spinnaker:  it collapsed and filled eight times in one minute.  It is more often collapsed than filled, and this from 1’ waves.  I’m surprised that it continues to hold together.  The boat’s motion isn’t particularly unpleasant, but this is not good sailing.

I’ve seen only a few birds on this passage.  There were three around us at sunset.  Gannets, I think, but with less vivid yellow heads than those in New Zealand.

Dinner on deck was lamb and peas, corn, and mashed potatoes.  One of my favorite of the New Zealand freeze dried.


July 31

Indian Ocean:  Thursday

0530  Last night, while I was watching a good French Canadian movie, THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS, about the death of a college professor with his friends, former mistresses, and family around him, the wind veered to the southeast, so jibed the spinnaker back to starboard and ended up sleeping on the starboard settee berth as usual.

The wind increased enough and the sea smoothed enough to keep the sail full, and we had a quiet smooth ride at 5 knots through the night and continuing now in  pre-dawn.

1205  Wind may be up to nine or ten knots.  We’ve been averaging about five knots, but the present reading is 5.9, with a course of about 250º, which is 15º off the rhumb line.

I jibed the spinnaker a couple of times this morning, and it is now back where it started to starboard.

Impressive dawn with a swollen blood red sun climbing behind a low line of cloud that later burned off.  No clouds at all today, but some haze.

Pumped engine compartment.  Almost a bucket full of water, some or most of which might have leaked from the large water tank, which is located directly aft of the engine compartment.  Didn’t taste it to see if the water was fresh or salt.  Also did one hundred crunches.  Almost finished with rereading TAI-PAN, a pretty good best-seller, which I read when it first came out.  Surprised to see that was more than forty years ago in 1966.

Noon position:  11º 43’ South; 102º 44’ East.  Day’s run:  110 miles.  Cocos:  342 miles; bearing 266º.  We only moved  4’ of latitude, 4 miles, south in the past day.  I expected it to be more.  JIbing back and forth may have evened it out.  

2010  A line of clouds to the east at sunset caused me to furl and lower the spinnaker and set the jib.  I unfurled the jib before lowering the furled spinnaker.  No loss of boat speed. 

Clouds dissipated, but wind has remained at ten knots and we are making about six knots on course for the Cocos.

August 1

Indian Ocean:  Friday

0620  Sky completely covered with low cloud this morning, and I think rain is falling to the north of us.  Waves 3’.  Wind 10-12 knots.   We’re making 6.5 to 7.0 toward Cocos.

When I got up to look around at 0230 I found the loom of lights of presumably fishing boats, two to the south of us, three to the north.  Not sure if these are International waters or if Australia claims them because of Christmas Island and Cocos.  Didn’t ever see the boats.  Awake for about an hour, getting up every fifteen minutes to look around.

0800  Clearing to the southeast.  Dark and raining to the northwest.  The truth is that I was getting a bit bored easing along at five knots.

The chart plotter tells me that at our present speed we will arrive at Cocos in 36 hours, which is about 3 hours too late.  Not going to enter the lagoon after sunset.

1210  Just jibed jib to port.  Sky continues to clear.  No rain ever fell on us.  Barometer has risen.  Just a weak trough.

Noon:  11º 57’ South; 100º 26’ East.  Day’s run:  137 miles.  Week’s run:  894.  Cocos:  207 miles; bearing 267º.

Our week’s run was better than I expected.  Helped by that bizarrely strong current, for my impression is that we were more often sailing below five knots than above.

While writing some emails possibly to be sent from Cocos to my sailmaker and TackTick, the manufacturer of my defective instrument system, I realized that I now primarily use the instrument system as a repeater for the chart plotter. Although I have an electronic compass and boat speed transducer in the instrument system,  I get that information more accurately from the chart plotter’s GPS.

So what the instrument system really offers is water depth and wind information, and mine has not in four years provided the latter for any sustained period of time.

I’m telling TackTick that if their representative in South Africa can’t or won’t repair or replace the mast head wind unit, which is the second I have bought and is still under warranty, or if any new unit ever fails, I will buy a wind unit from another manufacturer that can be interfaced with my chart plotter.  Inconvenient in some ways, but less expensive than TackTick and more reliable.

Bumpier ride this afternoon

1815  Waiting for my cup of spicy noodles to which I add freeze dried chicken cubes to cool.  Music on the cabin speakers.  Natalie Merchant at the moment.

About an hour ago I was sitting on deck with a glass of Jamesons, thinking that the sailing was the worst of the passage.  Wind has dropped below ten knots, but there are swells and waves from many directions.  So I got up and set the spinnaker.  This is epochal.  In the past at sunset I would be looking for reasons to lower a spinnaker if it was up.  The Facnor spinnaker furling gear truly changes the way I sail.

Although there hasn’t been an increase in boat speed, which I don’t need or want, the spinnaker has smoothed out the ride.

The anchorage at Cocos is at the north end of the lagoon, and requires a short leg to the east after entering, so this is a place I don’t want to be at dawn, where I would be turning into the sun.  Better to wait until 1000, though I might be impatient if I’m close Sunday morning.

Took a salt water bath this afternoon.  Have done so almost every other day.  Takes three buckets of salt water:  one to wash; two to rinse.  Feel and smell much better afterwards. 

It’s soup.

August 2

Indian Ocean:  Saturday

0710  Up about an hour ago, after being awake for a while at 0400 when I thought I saw a ship behind me.  Probably just a star rising and falling behind waves on the horizon.

Jibed spinnaker away from a small patch of rain to the south.  Rainbow there now.  Had my first cup of coffee on deck as sun came up at 0645.

Spinnaker was the right sail for last night.  Kept us moving at 5 knots in light air.

115 miles to go.

1300  Sunny. Wind light, swell bigger, collapsing spinnaker and providing rolly ride..  Sailing at 5 knots a little high of course for Cocos.

Noon position:  11º 55’ South; 98º 26’ East.  Day’s run:  117.  Cocos:  90 miles; bearing 263º.

Checked chart and found that the leg back to the east after entering the pass at Cocos is only a half mile and marked, so might not have to wait until sun higher if I am close at dawn.

Will leave spinnaker up until sunset, then change to jib, which provides greater maneuverably and can be partially furled to reduce speed.   

1730 Sloppy sailing this afternoon.  LIght wind and confused swell.  Lowered the spinnaker an hour ago.  It was collapsing, and so is the jib.  Won’t have to deliberately slow down tonight.  Cocos 65 miles distant and we are only making 4.4 knots twenty degrees off the desired course.  I’ll set the alarm for 0400, but will probably turn it off sometime during the night when it is definite that we won’t reach the atoll before dawn.

Barometer is down and a layer of high cloud to the northeast.

1910 Dinner on deck with dolphins.  One of the French canned meals--chicken with vegetables.  No better than freeze dry, but different texture and taste.  Dolphin along side for almost a half hour.  One leapt clear of the water twice.  Also many birds.  Presumably they live on Cocos.  Venus near western horizon as evening star.

We are going to have done 1100 miles without taking a wave on deck.  I’ll be glad when it is over.   Easy sailing much of the time, but not now.  Too little wind.  The Indian Ocean beyond Cocos often has strong trades and too much wind.  At the moment I would welcome it.

August 3

Indian Ocean:  Sunday

0410  I did leave the alarm set for 0400, but was awakened at 0330 by rain from a brief passing shower.  First time I’ve closed the companionway this passage.

When it ended I went on deck and brought the solar panels below.  Thought I might switch to tiller pilot, but furled jib deeply to reduce speed below five knots and left Monitor steering to the north of Cocos, which is 15 miles due west.

Sky almost completely dark, with only a few stars visible to the north.  Looks as though there is rain to the south.

We’ve moved into a new time zone:  six hours ahead of GMT.  However, Cocos time is 6 ½ hours ahead of GMT, so I’m not bothering to change ship’s time until we anchor.

By time zones we’ve now come a quarter the way around the world from New Zealand.

0630  Sky has lightened.  Mostly cloudy.  Another brief shower a few minutes ago, and more around horizon.  Not the morning I would have requested for landfall.

Have further reduced jib.  Speed down to 3.3 knots.  About 7 miles to go.

0700  Sun on horizon ten minutes ago.  Completely furled jib and now being pushed under bare poles at 3 knots.  Clouds and rain to south.  Tried calling Australian Customs on hand held VHF.  No response.

Can see various islets of Cocos ahead.

1000  Anchored off Direction Island, Cocos Islands, at 0930.  0900 local time.  Four other boats here.  I am directly on top of the Quarantine Buoy shown on my electronic chart, but it isn’t here.  In 25’ of water over white sand a couple of hours after high tide.  Tidal range only 4’ today.

Direction Island is uninhabited.  The main islands are Home Island, a mile to the south, and West Island, on the far side of the lagoon.

Windier and cloudier than any day on the passage.  Had no trouble getting in thanks to the chart in my computer and a chart and directions emailed to me by Rob Campbell from the latest Fremantle Sailing Club cruising guide to West Australia.  Although I bought the most recent electronic chart cartridge for all of Australia for my chart plotter, apparently C-Map doesn’t consider Cocos part of Australia and the chart plotter has only a vague and useless outline of the atoll.

Have tried reaching Customs on the radio several times, both during approach and since anchoring, without success.  Not going anywhere anyway.

Chartplotter says Bali is 1101 miles away.

Passage over.