and into Malaysia . ..

Post date: Oct 28, 2011 8:49:14 AM

2 days later we were crossing the Equator. The morning dawned as the brightest and clearest we had had for weeks . We crossed the line at 8:30 after counting down for what seemed like hours. From the time we were 60nm due south of the Equator – 00°59'. A nautical mile is 1 minute of longitude at the Equator. We were there. We were on a northwest tack so it was going to be further. It took all night. We opened a bottle of champagne, kindly given us by friends on the Gold Coast, and toasted being in the Northern Hemisphere.

Celebrating crossing the Equator October 17 2011

there it is - the EQUATOR

The sun had been to the south of us for a few weeks by now – a strange feeling!

In the past, whenever we have looked for the sun it has been in the sky to the north. Now it was to the south of us. It was a bit disorientating for a while – where is north? Especially when there are no landmarks . . .

note our position in grey box . . . Kentar Island is just off to the left

An hour later we were anchored at the small island of Kentar where we, along with several other yachts held our Equator crossing party.

There was just over 100 miles to go to our destination so we decided to stop half way. We dropped anchor at a beautiful unnamed island 50 miles from Kentar and Singapore. It was one of the prettiest anchorages we had been to. It was a tropical island paradise – no people – just palm trees, white beaches and bright green forest. It was very calm and restful.

The next day we lifted the anchor at 4:30 am to get to Singapore strait at a reasonable hour, to get through the strait in daylight and anchor on the other side of the tanker anchorage in shallow water in Malaysian waters before it got dark. We did all that. Crossing the strait was the most stressful sailing we have done for a long time.

This is an image of our chart plotter! The green triangles are ships. The yellow ones are ships. The black dots are anchored ships - Singapore Strait

There were over 600 ships on our AIS system and the navigation software was having a hernia trying to calculate their position in relation to us all the time. In the end we resorted to good old eyeballs, dodging, ducking and weaving between ships that were 300m long and 3 times our width going 2-3 times faster than us.

And then there was the thunderstorm threatening to hide the ships from view. Fortunately we had a few drops of rain and a few spectacular lightning strikes but there was no downpour where we were anyway. We dropped the anchor at 5:30 and celebrated arriving in a different country.

We arrived at Danga Bay Marina, Johor Bahru, Malaysia, on the 20th October and were very excited to see our friends, ones we hadn't seen for over 18 months. We celebrated with chilled champagne after we had tied up Lupari2 and turned off the engine. It was a good feeling!

From the Gold Coast, Queensland we sailed over 4000 miles in 6 months. Lupari 2 has looked after us well even though her engine was not all that well, and we had to change alternators 3 times in the last 6 months.We are looking forward to resting ourselves and our tired boat, in Danga Bay Marina at Johor Bahru, for a while before installing a new engine early in 2012.

It is definitely not the last that Indonesia has seen of the yellow boat, Lupari Dua(Indonesian for 2) that is for sure!