Land locked in Malaysia….. We bought a lifetime membership at Sutera Harbour, and will base ourselfs from here for awhile.
We left Kudat for an overnight run to arrive Sutera Harbour first light the next AM, that was the plan, but mother nature had other plans. The winds were on the nose from beginning to end for the 100nm trip, we headed north from Kudat, rounded the NE point of Borneo and then turned South, and the wind just followed around to stay on the nose. To add insult to injury the wind increased steadily to over 30+kt during the night and we had 1.5kt of current against us! At times only maintianig enough headway to keep our bow into the wind, with the motor only. Around 3AM the wind started to drop to the low 20’s and backed slightly so we could motor sail and started making headway. As the sun came up we could see the moutians of North Borneo to port.
We arrived into Sutera Harbour around 11 AM, and were relieved to be done with a 33 day trip from Cairns Australia, through Indonesia, and now safely berthed at the amazing 5 star (actually 2x 5 star hotels within the marina complex sandwiched between the two). Sutera Harbour resort is where we will become members and enjoy the resort just as hotel guests would, but from our own floating home, Crusoe!
Waiting for the bus to town, ……Oh well…someone has got to do it!
We made it to Malaysia yesterday, we still have about 150NM to KK where we plan to park for awhile.
We left Bitung Indonesia in a blistering 30kt breeze blowing up the Lembeh Straight, once we rounded the top end of Sulawesi Island the breeze died to zero, and it stayed that way all the way to Malaysia, except for about 5 hours we were able to get our Gennaker up and turn the engine off, we put on about 100 hours on the engine since leaving Cairns.
We stopped along the way to Kudat at some really nice Islands. We were usually so tired we just anchored, had dinner and movie and were fast asleep, only to leave at first light the next AM, to the next beautiful anchorage.
We actually planned to clear into Sandakan, and we did stop there, but when we tried to get a taxi to customs and immigration the driver said it was a 3 day Muslim holiday starting today and no one would be there! So we took off for Kudat stopping at Islands along the way to rest at night.
Island in Sandakan
Kudat is not a real nice stop, no pictures yet, its a good place to get cleared in, the customs and immigration was so easy it was unbelievable, very friendly.
We will make the final assault to KK tomorrow and will do the next update then. We will round the NE Point on Borneo and head 70NM upwind to KK. I am off to work for 8 weeks after arriving, I may have 5-6 days to check the place out then its up to Raewyn to hold up the fort until I return.
These Islands are best decribed as volcanos and spice, they are known as the Spice Islands. We were here in 1987, in Manado, and now we are just the other side of the mountain from there in Bitung. We crossed the equator at 1600 yesterday, it was my 5th crossing and Raewyn’s 4th.
We are now at the Kungkungan Resort having dinner and doing this at the same time, as we have only this one chance to do an update until we make it to Malaysia, we leave again tomorrow.
I took this picture from Crusoe at anchor. The water is crystal clear and is a world class dive destination. The resort caters to allmost 100% divers. We are a rare oddity as we are not plannig to dive due to our time resraints.
We are off for the Banga Strait tomorrow and will overnight one night before the 400NM passage to Sandakan, Malaysia where we will clear customs into Malaysia, at that time we become locals as we have permanent residency in Malaysia and the boat is registered in Malaysia.
We made it to Banda Naira in 4 days and 22 hours or 5.6 kt average for the trip.
Before leaving Gove we met a lovely couple who we generous and looked after us doing our laundry and allowed us to use their internet, Beth and Sid Downes we thank you again, please stay in touch.
We came in while the Darwin / Indonesia Rally was in port, so the small laid back village was full of yachties.
This is indeed an exotic landfall, and wish we could stay longer, but we need to keep moving toward KK in Malaysia to meet my back to work deadline.
On the way to Banda we had a pump fail and had to do a bucket brigade for several hours as we replaced the pump, the water is from a unique system that diverts water from the main engine exhaust that backs up into a grey water tank, as the tank fills over time it gets pumped overboard. The water only enters the exhaust when we have rough weather, we had a 3-5 meter sea all the way from Gove Australia.
We are at the Mutiara Guest house, and is a lovely setting and very hospitable, if you come here to visit please stay here and spoil yourself. email@example.com (Mr. Abba). We are staying on board Crusoe, but tempted to stay a night here, however we are off for Bitung, Sulawesi tomorrow AM, about 5 days sail.
Maybe no more reports until we reach KK in Malaysia, as we have no on board internet We do have Sailmail for very short emails with no attachments and NO JOKES please, we check this daily but restricted to size and comes from HF radio, a short hello is fine 9MPF6@sailmail.com
We sorted the auto pilot on Sunday before noon, and decided to spend the day relaxing and getting mentally ready for the next 4 weeks of solid sailing. The first leg only 39NM to the Low Isles, but the next will be a 14+ hour run about 90NM, that’s at 6.5 kt average. With the winds we have now, in the high 20’s, I figure we will shave a few hours off that and make it in before dark. We try to avoid night landfalls, however it is Cape Bedford and is fairly straight forward, we would have it in sight at least as dark falls. We will see how that one goes. Because of the delay on the autopilot we are altering plans slightly, as we will stretch out the stops and get some miles behind us. We will make for Banda Neira in Indonesia as a first stop from Australia, this should save us the few days we are behind.
Today we went into Rusty’s markets and did a last shop for fresh stuff, and will not see another town for 7-10 days in Gove.
We came back to the boat and the CYC set a windward mark about 200 meters from our boat, we got to watch the J24 Nationals battle it out at the mark, and set their kites.
We will do updates when we are near civilization, might not be until Gove, if we have reception at the Low Isles we will post a couple of pics. Low Isls are very scenic small sand cays with a light house. Pictured is “Hotel Bravo”, a classic Pearl Lugger owned by our friends from Cairns, we had the pleasure to visit the boat in Smith Creek Cairns. A totally different concept boat, but one anyone would be proud to own. Jon and Iris make it a real cool home, and go where ever they feel like, a very laid back sailors lifestyle, wish I didn’t have to work for a living as I would be doing the same!
We left Half Moon Bay Marina, north of Cairns on the 20th July, on the way out the leads we noticed the autopilot was not functioning. Before leaving to work last hitch we had a technician come do some tweaking to our autopilot, however, he didn’t check it out properly and disconnected it from the compass. We diverted to Cairns and went into the Marlin Marina to rendezvous with the technician. Unfortunately Friday is a local holiday (Cairns show day), and NO ONE works on weekends in Australia, so we are now awaiting a new autopilot control box from Sydney. We may not get out before Tuesday-Wed to head north! We had a 7 day weather window with winds SE 20-25Kt, the winds we need to power up Crusoe when she is full of fuel and water, winds start to go lighter mid week in the Cairns area, so all this combined is putting a monkey wrench into our plans. Frustrating since we are at anchor right in front of the Cairns Marlin marina and winds are a solid 22kts.
More updates soon, once we are moving again (Internet access permitting).
We were well settled into marina life at Half Moon Bay Marina (about 15 miles north of Cairns by sea) then we sailed back to Cairns to haul out. However complications with the haul at Norship, and we didn’t like the low tide booking at Crusing Yacht Squadron with the pilings threatening to make shreds of Crusoe’s nice topside paint, we canceled. Before we canceled Raewyn and I had gone back to Half Moon Bay to retrieve the car by bus so that we would be mobile during the haul out. We spent a night at the lower end of Admiralty Island, at the entrance to Smith Creek. The next day Raewyn drove the car back to the marina while I sailed Crusoe back alone.
On the way back I was welcomed with a couple of intense rain squalls with 30+ kt winds, I reduced sail to about a small handkerchief and was doing 7-8 kts, however I only wanted to make 4-5 kts as I was on low tide -rising and needed a mid tide + to enter the marina. I got there on the second hour of the rise and had to enter with the now familiar wind on the beam, only this time with the centerboard progressivly coming up as I was seeing the bottom getting closer, I was about half the keel up rounding the corner into the marina and could see Raewyn waiting at the fuel dock for me. She was able to snap this picture of me entering, it calms down about 100% just as you clear the breakwall seen on the right.
The next day we drove to Port Douglas to meet up with an old friend I went to Maritime College (TAFE) with here in Cairns, Jon Burnett, his partner Iris and their pet “goose” Scuppers, (they go nowhere without Scuppers).
The way home we blew the engine on the rental car but Jon, Iris and Scuppers came to the rescue, the rental car agent was there in 15min and Raewyn returned with him for a replacement car. We all ended up at Crusoe about the same time and now we have an upgraded car! We had fun catching up after 22 years since we last saw each other, Scuppers settled into the center cockpit with ocassional honks when she heard us laugh loudly, quite a character.
This is most likley the last post until mid July when I return from work, and we will make the passage from Cairns to the top of Australia in Gove, where we plan to clear customs, and head to Indonesia-Malaysia. We decided to move a little quicker than originally planned and haul Crusoe in Kudat on the way to KK Malaysia.
We had a beautiful sunset over Hinchinbrook Island, had a feed and were then fast asleep for an early morning departure at 0 dark 30. We covered the 65 miles before dark making Mourilyan Harbour on the slack tide, averaging well over 6.5 knots as we did the 65 NM in about 9 hours.
We left first light for the final 50 miles to Cairns, in 25kt winds and were doing 7-8 kts most the way, we came down the channel into Half Moon Bay Marina with the wind howling on our beam and it was quite hair raising. We made it in OK but it was not for the fainthearted. We made it into the marina, and our assigned spot was right at the entrance. We were quickly berthed and then the pressure was off to just relax…..not…we had some maintenance issues, had to clean the boat but before long we were in the Yorkeys Knob Boating Club having a feed and relaxing.
Our berth in Half Moon Bay Marina, you can see the entrance right behind Crusoe.
We have 7 days to explore, rest and catch up with old friends, then we head to Norship to haul out Crusoe for a quick bottom paint, then back to our berth at Half Moon Bay. I will have another few weeks then back to work. We rented a “wreck” for the remainder of the time I am here, so we are mobile. When I return from work next hitch we will have 8 weeks to make it up the N. Queensland coast across the Gulf of Carpenteria to Gove where we will clear customs then through Indonesia and to Northern Borneo Malaysia, where we plan to hang our hats for awhile.
Hi folks this blog side is becoming more of a log of Crusoe, we welcome any topics that may be interesting.
Well we never were too enthused with crowds of yachties and the Whitsundays have no shortage of them. We spent a night in Cid Harbour and received a perfect weather forecast for proceeding north, so we made a command decision on the spot to continue to Magnetic Island, north around 130 nm. So we headed out to 15-18 kt SSE wind that saw us sitting on a comfortable 6kt average… until around 2am when we were confronted head on with an opposing tide that slowed us to about 4.5-5kt. However we were treated to what the news is reporting as the “super moon” rise that was simultaneous with the sun set, and it was during perfect sailing conditions on a perfect night so we were happy with our decision to head north.
The arrival into Magnetic was nice and uneventful and it was nice to drop the dingy in the water and go ashore.
We like to keep our family and friends up to date with our progress, but we welcome all visitors and comments.