We motored out of Kumai to the sound of millions of sparrows. The ominous tall cement buildings with tiny windows we'd first noticed upon arriving here turned out to be specially built to house birds. They harvest the nests and make them into drinks that apparently increase virility.
|Kumai bird nest buildings. The tiny black spots above each building are birds! Lots of birds!|
We maintained our four-hourly watches and had no real hiccups. I was concerned about the shoals we had to cross (this area of the sea is quite shallow - ranging from 8 to 30 metres). In particular, we were heading right through some shoals called 'Fox Banks' and, knowing how sly foxes can be, I wondered if they would try to outfox us. Rene managed to sneak through them at dawn without waking the fox and we had no problems.
The winds were very light. We managed to sail briefly using all 6 sails but only made between 2.5 and 4.5 knots with the current helping us. Overall we did 43 hours of motoring and used most of our 200 litres of diesel. There were less small fishing vessels / traps on this trip but many more large container ships. Our AIS is useful but unfortunately keeps "freezing" and is not 100% reliable. Both of our auto-pilots are playing up too. R2detour has been used far more than he was ever designed to. He is currently held together with bits of string, wood, one of my thongs and lots of willpower! Aries is again having problems and while in Belitung, Rene will install a Raymarine Tiller pilot (that we bought in Australia and haven't yet needed to install) onto it.
|R2 wedged in and tied together...|
On day three the wind picked up a little and Rene hoisted all the sails. We turned off the motor and caught up to our friends on Honalee! They took some beautiful photos of Anima under sail for us. We stayed at the same speed for hours and gradually overtook them. When the winds eased off however, we turned on the motor again and motor sailed at 6 knots all the way to Belitung. It was pretty close but we managed to anchor just before sunset, after a squall came through and changed the wind by 180degrees. The rest of the rally was already here but there was room enough to anchor.
|Sailing across the north of Belitung Island, Indonesia.|
|Sailbirds on Anima, 2 degrees south of the equator.|