Welcome to the blog of the sailing yacht Sea Bunny.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Indian Ocean crossing 12-26 July 2015

The Crossing of the Indian Ocean from Indonesia to Mauritius has the reputation of strong winds and rough seas. For some it is the worst part of the passage to South Africa. The perceived wisdom is to start in late May/ June when the SE Trade winds are not fully developed or in September when they are declining.
The first leg, from the Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra, to Cocos Keeling we found fairly benign, having waited a week at Pulau Peucang for a weather window for the 4-day passage.
On leaving Cocos Keeling the advice we had from Commanders Weather was to head virtually due west to avoid stronger winds further south. This we did for the first week before turning more to WSW to head for Rodrigues. This put us beam on to the seas, which were up to 4 m high, some with breaking crests which sent a lot of water over the decks, or pushed us over so the lee rail went under. Several days were spent with the third, very deep, reef in the mainsail and the storm jib replacing the furling genoa - still making 6-7, occasionally 8 knots.
The combination made Sea Bunny comfortable enough to sleep in the aft cabin.
The picture was taken on one of the calmer days!
The South Equatorial Current, which is supposed to run to the west, in our favour, at about 0.5 knots, did not seem to be in evidence. We observed up to 1.2 knots, running anywhere between NNW and due E.
Sea Bunny arrived at Port Mathurin, Rodrigues at 1345 local time, Sunday 26 July 2015.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Half Way Across the main Indian Ocean passage

The half way mark was passed yesterday at 1,000 nm on this roller coaster of a ride.
On the port stern the wind has been 20-25 kn gusting up to 35kn in squalls - that's ok.
It is the waves at 2-3 metres that cause the fun, slapping and tossing Sea Bunny every which way.
To have more control the storm jib has been up and down and will be up again before harbour is reached.
A 170 ml passion fruit and mango sorbet carried all the way from Singapore was shared as part of a celebration lunch.

The Beach, Direction Island, Cocos Keeling 29 June - 12 July

Shall miss
Getting drenched in the dinghy from the fifteen minute dinghy ride over to Home Island and
having to change covering oneself before going ashore as the island is traditional Muslim.
The fact that obese waving Muslims drive buggies everywhere on a island where the circumnavigation only took us less than two hours by foot.
The quiet charm and helpfulness of the community.
Plus crab watching and drinkies on the beach.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Leave only footprints - take only photographs!

Well - not quite.
It is a tradition on Direction Island to use a piece of flotsam (or jetsam but this is more difficult to collect) to fashion a memento of your vessel's passing. A quick survey showed that the tradition had been followed by several of our friends including the crews of Baraka, Elevation, 3 Ships and Taipan but there are doubtless others that we missed.

Collecting the flotsam
Not to be outdone, we found a substantial piece of driftwood on Prison Island - a small island between the Rip and Home Island.

This was carried back to the boat and the ship's name and the year roughly carved on it using Bosch multitool and blunt chisels. The text was then painted in black, applied using cotton buds by Susan.
Skilled (??!) carver
We chose a likely spot on one of the palm trees by the on-shore shelter and it is now there to indicate our passing to those who follow.

Direction Island, Cocos Keeling

Local fauna
The yacht anchorage in the Cocos Island group is to the south of Direction Island, sheltered by the reef from the ocean swell but certainly not from the wind - it's blowing 30 knots as we write!

There is a good white sand beach on the island for walks. Fauna onshore comprises some feral chickens, presumably descendants of some left when the island became uninhabited, numerous small coconut crabs and, if one ventures off the beach onto the heritage trail, voracious mossies and sandflies.

The Rip - looking SE towards the ocean

At the eastern end of Direction Island is "The Rip". Water from the swell breaking over the reef flows into the lagoon. It is apparently a good snorkelling spot.

We took the dinghy into it to assess the possibilities. With the fairly strong wind and sea conditions at present the flow was probably about 5 knots, which would make a drift snorkel rapidly completed - through in the time it takes to get out of the dinghy!

Looking towards the lagoon - looks calm but moving fast