As this was an open ocean passage and the reef provides little or no protection, weather was a key element in our planning. A weather system rolled in and kept us at the dock for a few days then a window opened up and off we went. We departed KK about ten in the morning and I expected a 24 hour trip giving us a mid-morning arrival a good time to see the reef.
The passage was a delight, clear sunny skies, moon lit night and calm seas the whole way. We arrived and the well-marked channel entrance came into view. My new C-map chart on the laptop Coastal Explorer had a much more detailed chart of the island than the older Nobeltec chart on the ships computer. As we entered the Navy base hailed us on channel 16 by name as they have an AIS station there. They did not seem to know we had the permit and told us to go to the mooring and await a security team. The large black Zodiac arrived with six personnel some armed with automatic weapons. They were quite friendly and easy going—easy to be with an M-16 over your shoulder, haha. They checked our permit, passports and ships papers and wanted a layout drawing of the boat. I gave them an outdated Selene 48 brochure and they were satisfied.
Layang Layang is famed, possibly unjustly, for its huge schools of hammerhead sharks. People come from around the world to the dive resort on the island to see theses prehistoric creatures, we did too.
We did a second dive, and enjoyed a glorious sunset, ate a great meal and dozed off with dreams of tomorrow’s dives.
We awoke to another sunny calm day and as the girls filled the tanks I got the dinghy read. We went further up the wall this time and the current was stronger. We were busy watching the two dive boats from the resort and found the “old pass” out of the reef which we took on the second dive. Again we had a fantastic fish, a turtle and spectacular coral but nothing big.
The wind picked up fast and soon we were in 30 knots with 4 meter quartering seas, not comfortable but Furthur can take this with ease. I adjusted the course eastward to get the seas in a more rythmatic location and we rode it out. Later that afternoon the wind cut back to mid teens and things calmed down a bit, by dark it was a comfortable ride.
We arrived back, safe and sound in our same slip at Suterra Marina, glad for the experience and even more glad to be in safe harbor. My American flag seemed to be the only casualty of this passage.