On to Singapore

On to Singapore

We spent our last days in Indonesia on a smooth passage north, as we watched the GPS tick off the latitudes until we crossed the 00-00-00 S mark.

We chose a route that took us to a small uninhabited island right smack dab on the center of the earth. We joined our friends on Sea Hog (yes fellow bikers) and anchored at the 0 mark. I can say honestly that I have skinny dipped across the equator as I jumped from the boat at just the right time.

We joined the Sea Hog crew for a beach fire and BBQ, I picked a would be the last quiet night for a while, the last quiet at all.

Not wanting to enter the mayhem of Singapore Harbor at night we dropped the hook again in a uninhabited set of islands for the last night and headed across one of the busiest harbors in the morning.

For the last 3 months we have kept watch for dug out canoes, crudely lit fishing boats and small floating structures made of reeds not today! The AIS screen showed uncountable targets all huge and all totally uninterested in us.

We watched the east bound lane and saw a brief opening, I cranked the QSL up and we scooted across at ten knots avoiding the next 900’ car carrier inbound. I pulled back on the throttle as we passed west of the large separation area created by a reef and small island then we headed across the west bound lanes. The targets numbered in the hundreds but upon seeing them we realize most were at anchor. Now the trick is to figure out which are anchored and which are moving. Again I waited to cross the lane as three ships passed and took my shot at a 90 degree crossing.

I have crossed Los Angeles, Sydney, Brisbane, San Francisco and Seattle shipping lanes but nothing prepares you for Singapore. The shear amount of shipping traffic is mind blowing. One feels so small and insignificant.

Once across we headed up the channel that separates Singapore from Malaysia on to Raffles Marina. We caught up with a group of our fellow Rally friends as we all gasp at a massive water funnel shooting hundreds of feet in the air. The thunder and lightning began and the rain fell, something we grew to expect every early afternoon.

Raffles Marina is a state of the art modern facility attached to a hotel, several restaurants, bowling alley, swimming pools and extensive marine repair facilities, all things we longed for—yes I even tried bowling. I must admit it was good to be back in civilization again and I anticipate it will be good to leave.

We began to make new friends instantly; Troy and Charli both have an incredible knack for bonding with people fast. I met some very interesting people involved with dolphin and whale protection and anti captivity. Sadly I discovered we just missed my old friend Ric O’Berry as he was here a week ago speaking on our favorite topic. Ric was the trainer for Flipper, a beloved TV show that taught kids how smart dolphins are. When the show ended the five dolphins used were sent to a horrid amusement park along with Ric. The last dolphin died in his arms and he pledged to spend the rest of his life fighting captivity, a pledge he has kept. He has quite a following here and I met one of his biggest fans this afternoon. Bhavi is a local activist who is doing great things monitoring dolphin captivity in SE Asia. She told me Sea World is at it again and trying to set up shop here. It is so good to be back in the company of kindred spirits who are passionate about the wonders of the sea.

As expected I have a small list of projects while in Singapore. The Honda outboard has a cooling issue, the freezer is not working again and the engine is up for its 4000 hour service. That’s right, 4000 hours, 3000 since I left Seattle and not a whimper, the QSL rocks! As I said in an earlier post my A/C unit died over a year ago, actually just the water pump. I have had the pump for almost a year and today finally Troy and I installed it. It is nice to have in this warm climate when it rains and you have to button the boat up. So we will bask by the pool, get lots of work done on the boat and enjoy the lime lights of Singapore for a couple of weeks then head to Malaysia with the sail Malaysia Rally. This is a short rally up the west coast of Malaysia. We will join several close friends and get a great deal on moorage up the coast.

We will have a crew change here. Our beloved Russian, Lisa, left the boat as per plan after three months aboard. I wish Lisa the best in life and hope to see her again. Her quiet yet quick wit will be missed. Charli is leaving soon as well to seek employment. Diving and cruising with Charli has been a hoot. She may join us again next year. Veteran Furthur crew, Maggie, will fly in for the next leg. Maggie was on the boat in Mexico and in the South Seas and I look forward to seeing her again. We have one new crew member coming, more on Jen when she arrives.

Off to the next big adventure!

1 thought on “On to Singapore”

  1. Hi Capt Brian! We left Wakatobi many weeks ago but the memories are still fresh and vivid. I’m enjoying following your adventures so much. We are moving forward with our own plans to go 6/6 (land/sea) life in a couple of years. Thank you for your blog…it’s a wonderful inspiration and I look forward to your posts! Stephanie

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