Timor, Our first Taste of Asia…

Published on 24 january 2018 at 0h00

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Approaching the south-western tip of the island of Timor, the wind was blowing at a steady 25 knots, which was not ideal for us. The small channel which separates Timor from the island of Semau was full of fishing boats, which made passing through at night much more complicated. We tried to hold our position about 20 miles out, but kept drifting off at around 3 knots. I decided to get a couple of hours sleep, and then with the situation still uncomfortable, unfurled a bit of sail and headed for the strait. The night was pitch black, and when we saw the tip of Timor whilst still sailing close-hauled, Marin and I saw a more or less continuous barrage of fishing boats that were working under lights. This depressing situation put pressure on the crew of Jangada, as we didn’t know what kind of set up these boats were working with and the strait was only a few short miles wide. With my skipper’s hat on, thinking of all the potential crises that could arise, I imagined us having to make tricky, last minute manœuvres, nets getting caught in our skegs and propellers, and some angry Indonesian fishermen shouting at us in the night…

The only reassuring thing was that the electronic charts seemed to be reliable. As a precaution, we lowered the mainsail, unfurling the solent halfway and started both engines so that we would be able to react immediately. For once, we had all our lights on, as I felt that with their powerful « lamparo » spotlights, the fishermen probably ...

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