Gone with the wind

A cruising friend once told me she felt safer at sea than at anchor. I must agree. Especially after our last two nights in Misool. Suitable anchorages are scarce in Raja Ampat, especially around Misool. Too deep, no protection, too close to a reef, the bottom to hard to drag the anchor in, … These days we are lucky we have google earth images to navigate with and to find sandy patches to anchor in. But sometimes it looks better on a picture than in reality. Anyway, we did find a gorgeous spot and anchored right next to a tiny desert island with our stern anchor on the beach. In theory it was a good anchorage but nevertheless a few midnight squalls made the stern anchor drag and we decided to up anchor at sunrise. Onwards to the next island group.

The limestone pinnacles, carpeted with luxurious vegetation, provide stunning scenery but because they are so high and steep they come with very deep bays. After much meandering we found somewhere in 40 metres and tied a stern line to the rocks. More nighttime squalls and Seathan tied a second stern line. We didn’t get much sleep as a result and decided to leave the next morning. What’s the point sitting at anchor if you can’t even get a decent night’s sleep? Better to be at a sea…

We headed southwest towards Ambon. After a few hours, the wind changed direction and soon we were beating into it. Not much fun. And why make life hard for ourselves? So we changed course and went with the wind, heading east of Seram instead. Perfect sailing conditions. Flat water, wind from behind, full moon at night. Doesn’t get much better than that. Probably the best two days sailing we’ve had. Just sublime.

And the result? We ended up somewhere we didn’t think we would get to. The Banda Islands, aka the original spice islands, a place soaked in history. And apparently with some great diving spots too. Yay!

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Another gorgeous island group near Misool

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so much greenery growing on these rocks

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turquoise water all around

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stern anchor on the beach

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our next anchorage, stern line to the rocks

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ah, good to be back at sea

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morning squall approaching

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sunsets at sea are the best

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approaching Banda Naira

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with the volcano in the background

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entrance to Zonnegat bay

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the waterfront with Fort Belgica in the background

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the view from our cockpit

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