Caught in a trap.

I guess we’ve been lucky so far. We saw many huge logs (and entire trees) floating around in Indonesian waters. In daylight, you can see them and avoid them, at night, it’s a different story. And so it happened. Sailing across the Java Sea at 4am, just before dawn, while I was on watch. I heard a small thump, nothing louder than a wave smacking the hull, so I didn’t think anything of it until a second later, when the boatspeed dropped from 5 to 2 knots. I immediately put the engines in neutral and called Seathan, who was sleeping in the saloon. He was up in a flash, grabbed the torch and noticed a huge 10 metres long bamboo log that was wedged underneath the boat. It’s never appealing to go into the water whilst sailing, especially not in the dark, but it seemed there was no choice. But before getting in, Seathan tried prodding the log with the boathook and it became obvious it wasn’t just a log. It was a mooring, attached to the bottom (the Java Sea is very shallow, even in the middle of the ocean it’s only 50 to 60 metres deep). A huge mooring, with a massive floating bamboo log. Unmarked, of course. He managed to push it off (without getting in the water) and luckily none of the ropes were wrapped around the prop. No damage done. Thank goodness for the Antares and the fact that we have a shaft-drive with heavily skegged rudders. It would have been a different story if it had been a sail-drive. Phew. Getting back to sleep wasn’t really an option anymore after all that excitement. The kids, however, never woke up. Blissfully unaware of everything that was happening above deck and under the water…

So here we are in Karimunjawa, after a rough 24h crossing from Bawean. We had massive thunder, lightning right above and around us, whirlwinds, choppy seas,… very unseasonal. The NW monsoon arrived early and with an unusual intensity. Climate change? El Niña? Who knows! All I know is that we’re caught in a trap, weather-wise. It’s going to be a hard slog getting out of Indonesia. We’re trying to pick the best moments, doing short coastal hops if necessary. Seathan is route-planning as we speak. We’re here with two other boats, our buddy boat Impetuous Too and another catamaran. All trying to get to Malaysia … Fingers crossed we find a weather gap!


unmarked huge 10 metres bamboo float, caught underneath our hulls


huge squall is chasing us as we leave Bawean


The wisps you see were quickly forming williwaws.


The small point in the cloud (centre) was a full blown mini tornado a few moments earlier, you can still see the water being lifted below.


sunrise, looking better with the squalls gone (for now)


This one flagged us down just for the hell of it, we are always wary they are trying to indicate they have nets out.


This boat was frantically waving us down, I can only assume to assist with a tow into the town 10 nm away, sorry boys not enough horsepower aboard!

10 thoughts on “Caught in a trap.

  1. Hi Audrie,
    Joseph and I truly enjoy living vicariously through you guys. What a scary encounter to get caught up in. Glad to hear the boys are doing well!
    Happy Christmas to you all!

  2. A bit of a scare! Sounds as though you’re having a hard time. Glad you’ve got another two boats with you. Hope the elements calm down and you can get to a safe harbour for Christmas….xxxx

  3. Glad you’re safe! Glad not saildrives! Velella arrived Bali today. One squall giving us 7 knots reefer down for a few hours out of Bawean then weather and seas settled. Sounds like it’s still chaos that side. Best Wishes Helane n Peter

  4. Btw we concluded those boats rocking bow to stern with props out are doing some strange fishing / lifting or hauling manoeuvre. Saw quite a few doing it. Seemed to have lines off stern and bow. Could they be using a rocker technique to lift something???

  5. I hope you don’t have to many encounters like that and arrive in a safe haven for Xmas. Enjoy the festive where ever…no turkey I suppose…

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