April 21, 2006
Here's the URL for April for those who wish to
check Passagemaking List for Idlewild updates:
Hot and humid in Darwin, but they said the rain quit 3 days
after we left.
But it is a great small city with everything a person could
want and we loved it. Customs, Immigration, Fisheries and
Quarantine must have a bigger budget than the US Navy but we got
it all sorted out.
Once in, you meet lovely people, interesting, helpful and
friendly. In the fisheries dock first, where you need high tide
to get in and they have a double lock so no tide up and down.
Fishermen and fisherladies are always nice to be around. They
are our kind of people, younger here than most places and very
interesting. Some were diving 5 or 6 meters for Sea Cucumbers
among other things. They have a very big fishing industry as
well as pearl farmers.
George LaSette with a boatyard next door saw our boat come in
with a Canadian flag and came to visit. He is from Queen
Charlotte Islands and we had a great visit. He said come over
Saturday and he would haul us and blast the bottom. Very nice.
On close observation he recommended the bottom should be painted
and he would do it free if we bought the paint.
Hey, very, very nice. Doug Chapman a friend of Brad's had
come from Irian Jaya with his wife Grace to do some fishing and
beer drinking with us so George put us back in and we went
fishing for the weekend. George hauled us again Monday and
masked and painted the bottom with antifouling, then put us back
in again for zip. George and his lovely wife Penny also
introduced us to some great people at a party they took us to
for launching the 'Simply the Breast' Yacht Race, a cancer
charity. Thanks, George & Penny.
Jim Farrell joined us in Darwin for the trip to Palau. We
left Darwin April
5 and on April 8 we stopped at Pulau Hatta one of the Banda
Islands which were some of the original Spice Islands (nutmeg).
There were no spices on the small Island of Hatta itself, but
reported to be the best place in Indonesia for snorkeling. The
crew set out to explore in Sidekick while I held Idlewild clear
of the reefs. We could find no good place to anchor in our short
Very friendly local fishermen made our brief stay a fantasy
come true. Such incredibly beautiful beaches and hillsides with
perfectly clear warm water teaming with those slimy things
people like to ogle at.
Next a little excitement. A few hours from Hatta we saw an
eighty or ninety foot wooden fishing boat on radar at 12 miles.
It was obviously drifting but when we were almost abeam of it,
and about 1 mile away, it started black smoke from the exhaust
and quickly swung around and made a direct line to cut us off.
We put on full power and were doing 10 kts, but they were able
to gain on us. This was a very aggressive and confrontational
move on their part, but we held our course and Kevin got the gun
out and loaded it so we could be prepared for what they may
chose. They crossed our bow at 100 yards but didn't stop. Who
knows, it is anybody's guess. We felt they had definite
intentions to bully us at the least and board us at the worst
but when they saw we were challenging them and also, many people
have commented that our boat has a distinct military look, they
decided to continue their course.
We don't want to make too much of this incident, but we need
to be prepared
always. Indonesians are generally very friendly and
that night we saw 2 ships, close together on radar but with
no lights, approaching on a conflicting course with us. When
radar showed them at 2 miles and still coming we changed our
course 30 degrees to Starboard and they went by with plenty of
room. We suspect they had no radar, but a watch on their bow and
would have taken corrective action when they got closer to us if
we hadn't. The next night we were in a busier area so we reduced
speed and kept one person on the bow as a lookout all night.
Their smaller wooden boats don't show on radar. The morning of
Apr 10 we came out past the last Indonesian Islands and started
to feel the long gentle swells of the Pacific Ocean. Long time
30 miles at sea and 15 miles from the nearest land in 2800
meters of water, Jim driving and wide awake didn't notice a raft
with a small shack on it (picture to follow) dead ahead. Kevin
was looking about and saw it before anything serious. It was
heading toward land but very doubtful the original owner would
be found. It probably broke loose and came out on the tide.
We arrived in Palau April 13, cleared customs and
immigration, moved over to anchor near Sam's Tours. This is a
very beautiful place. Jim Farrell left for Kandahar, Iraq on Apr
15, the same day as Kim arrived from Grande Prairie. Kim will
stay until Apr 30 at Guam
I snorkel for 30 seconds before I decided it wasn't for me.
The rest of the crew snorkel and scuba dive for days and never
stopped marveling at it. We like the people and the place. We
rented a car 1 day for an Island tour.
Many times on the ranch we wished for the rain we get here.
It is a warm lovely fresh rain.
Sam told me there is a mechanic up the street from Alberta so
I looked him up. Daryl Lund formerly from Peace River, we had an
excellent visit. His mother had sent a News Paper clipping of us
going through Peace River and he had thought "well that would be
neat if they came through Palau but its way
out of no where, they would never come here". Daryl married a
and has 3 lovely kids to show for 20 years of production in
Leaving Palau for Guam Apr 21. As nice as it is I'm itching
to get to sea.