Tioman and the squalls

Well I was offered a few days of programming work last week and it’s going to pay for the new batteries and solar panels, so I decided we could put up with a few more days looking out onto tropical rainforests and cooling down with dips in the sea. However the internet has been a pain and I ended up struggling to deliver and test the work. I’m mostly writing Database code using a language known as SQL, it’s very powerful, but very complicated and ‘does your head in’ sometimes on the complicated multi joined table queries. Still that’s complete so we can look at moving on. But first the repairs must be done.

One of the stanchions snapped off a few days ago, that’s repaired now, the stanchion was fine, it was the bolts holding it to the deck which had bad crevice corrosion and had all snapped off at deck level. We had been chilling on the boat when a ferocious squall blew in, it really went from idyllic sunny calm, to storm in about 2 minutes. I felt the boat lurch, then the wind was howling. I learnt a lot then. Firstly the canopy was trying to escape, and the wind was so strong the knots I tied it down with couldn’t be undone easily and I had to take a knife to some of them, as the rope was so taut, the clove hitches on the guardrail couldn’t be loosened. The dinghy, which was suspended by a halyard so it was out of the water and level with the cap rail was trying to flip over, it also still had the outboard on it so I was worried about that.I lowered the dinghy into the sea, which by now, just a few minutes after the squall started, was quite choppy. I temporarily tied the dinghy painter to a stanchion while I freed up another rope that was attached to it. A big wave hit the dinghy and it lurched, Kathy then spotted the stanchion had been ripped out of the deck. In a way I’m glad, nobody was hurt, but it could have been different if the stanchion had failed while we were making passage and I was working on the foredeck. The reason it failed was lack of sealant under the stanchion base, allowing water to get into the bolt thread  and being trapped there without any oxygen. In these conditions, crevice corrosion is guaranteed and will attack the best  stainless steel.  I suspect it was clamped down too tightly when fitting, it’s good now I have repaired it and I would hope for ten years at least, however, there’s another 15 stanchion bases, all need checking, and probably re-bedding, what fun! During this excitement our anchor was dragging, it moved about 80ft towards the shore, I suspect it stopped when we reached the edge of the coral reef, as it was quite difficult to haul out a few days later when we moved to a free mooring buoy that had just been laid by the harbour master. Also we were being called on the emergency channel 16 on VHF by a neighbour who had gone to rescue a boat that was dragging badly and heading for the shore. It had just arrived and the owners had gone ashore to checkin with the harbour master. He was great and had his motor launch out running around the yachts making sure everyone was ok. He helped get the dragging yacht onto a fixed mooring.

I rigged up the spinnaker pole just before the squall to try to work out how I could use it on a rolling foredeck, given its size and weight. I rigged up a halyard as an up-haul and proceeded to haul it up horizontal, I could get the headsail sheet into the hook at the end ok, and lowered the up-haul, then I tried to haul it up again and there was a mighty cracking sound followed by a spinnaker pole flying around trying to knock me over the side. It would appear that the bracket on the mast it was attached to wasn’t a good match and somehow the pole’s hook must have lodged itself under the hoop on the bracket and when I hauled up the pole to horizontal, it was acting like a giant lever on the bracket, which shattered. They’re not cheap either. So I’m trying to fabricate something I can use in the meantime.

A few nights ago we braved the monkeys on the main (only) road here to walk to the next village, we had a drink in a lovely beach bar, that was deserted, just amazing how quiet these places are considering how stunning the views are.Tonight we came across a few hundred bats hanging around in a tree.

The picture below was taken over in Juara on the east side, this is where a river meets the beach.

And here is the jetty in Juara where we found a tap at the end to fill our water bottles.

I need to fix the spinnaker pole tomorrow, then we can get some provisions and leave. Probably Thursday, as our new antipodean friends in the yacht Matilda are leaving then, having checked out the weather forecast.

There may be little or no internet in the Anambas islands, so we may not be posting a lot while we are there. but I hope that after a couple of weeks we will be back in Malaysia, albeit on the island of Borneo, in Sarawak, where I’m sure we will get good wifi again.


Paul Collister

2 thoughts on “Tioman and the squalls”

  1. I’m in Tariffa for a few days surfing with Ellie and it’s pretty windy but we can’t complain!!
    Good luck and safe passage

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