Monday, January 23, 2012
2002 - OUR FIRST OFFSHORE SAILING
As luck would have it, our first taste of offshore sailing was on board a friends boat as crew. We had met George and Ellen in Townsville while sharing a dock with their yacht Winddancer. In 2001 they set off for Darwin with the intention of later sailing on through Indonesia into SE Asia. During a working trip to Darwin, Gary again met with George and Ellen and they talkedof the forthcoming sail through Indonesia to Malaysia. At that time piracy was often discussed when planning trips through Indonesia and SE Asia in general. George said that they would feel more comfortable with extra crew aboard for the trip to Malaysia, particularly the legs from Bali onward. The discussion continued and before long we were signed up to help crew Winddancer from Bali to Malaysia. September found us flying to Bali via Hong Kong (where we had a fantastic stopover of week) to meet George and Ellen. On our arrival in Bali, we had just enough time to dump our surplus gear aboard the boat before being whipped of to a lovely hideawy in the middle of padi fields adjacent the town of Ubud. Quite a surprise and totally unexpected. Several days later, after making final preparations and visiting the Denpasar night spots, we sailed from Bali. The next day terrorists bombed Bali and ended paradise as we had found it. We sailed via Pulau Kangaen to Kumai in central Kalimantan. Here we experienced at very close quarters the wonders of our very near cousins the Orangutans. In Kumai we met Herry Hermann (a local guy) who runs tours into the Orangutan reserves at Tanjung Puting and we have maintained this friendship now for many years. From Kumai we travelled the west coast of Borneo experiencing our first 'crossing of the line ceremony' as we crossed the Equator near Lingga Island. We finally berthed at Raffles Marina in Singapore and felt that we had truly sailed to Asia. After 2 weeks we sailed on up the west coat of Peninsula Malaysia before leaving the boat at Lumut. Our taste for sailing overseas had been excited.