Friday, 27 July 2012


Jetty at Harapan anchorage
Sunday 15th
We sailed from Harapan to Palau Kali with only light wind but good current arriving at 4pm 5'53.97S 106'5.35E. We entered the channel from the west, the marks were wrong on the chart, however its pretty self explanatory once you arrive. This was our last anchorage, just 7NM from the entrance to the Sunda Straits. 

Monday 16th
Early start, and with some trepidation, as the current was expected to be against us all the daylight hours. We decided we would rather battle current than darkness. 
Amazing fishing boats off north west Java

The fishing fleet were out in force in the very colorful Javanese boats. Many crew frenetically casting and pulling gets all round us. Not difficult to see or avoid however. 
Hugging the East bank of the Strait we headed in. Sails flopping as the wind had died completely. Made about 4kn over the ground for the first  8 nm in very flat calm conditions. This end of Java is incredibly Industrial with huge power stations and refineries. Lots of ferries and miscellaneous small ships  plying back and forth to Sumatra. 

Following the coast south was very easy and on the edge we managed to avoid what was possibly stronger current in the deeper water. Progressing south we entered an area of the coast which is apparently popular with tourists and for holiday homes out of Jakarta. 
This area was decimated in 1883 when approximately 36 thousand people perished and there was extensive destruction to infrastructure and property  by the cataclysmic explosion of Krakatoa when 6 cubic miles of what was the mountain of Krakatoa was turned to  pumice, mud, dust and ash over a 24 hour period. The main explosion was heard as far away as Reunion Island, 2000nm south west. There was a measurable wave in the UK. Almost all the destruction of life and property was caused by Tsunamis generated by the sonic explosion.
Krakatoa by Simon Winchester made a very interesting read as we approached the anchorage at Rakata in what was the caldera of the volcano. Its a very good portrait  of the history, geography, geology, lifestyle and events of Batavia, (now Jakarta:) in the period leading up to and after the volcanic eruption.
After passing Anjer and Fourth Point Lighthouse, (both or which were destroyed by estimated 120ft tsunami waves generated by the final massive explosions on 27th of August 1883 at about 2 pm.) we turned west and headed out to see the new Krakatoa. Anak Krakatoa emerged smoking and frothing from the sea in 1927 and is growing annually. We arrived a little after 3pm and slowly edged into the anchorage of Palau Rakata with a good view of the volcano. We put the anchor into 21m of water just off the beach under the tall cliffs of Rakata. 6'8.68S 105'25.62E 
The SE Trades built up during the night , gusting downdraft's onto us. Fishing boats came and went and just on dusk two small power boats arrived, disgorged about 8 tourists and crew and set up tents and settled in for the night.
Tuesday 17th
We sailed past the volcano for a closer look but decided not to climb it as David has hurt his knee somehow and we did not want to risk further damage in view of our planned 4 day passage to Cocos being imminent. At 10.30 we set sail back towards the Java coast in a pretty frisky noserley!

It got pretty boisterous and dare I say, even uncomfortable! We made for a small bay called Carita 6'18.71S 105'50.10E and hoped it would suffice. Well it did, and proved a great stop with lots of potential if one had a visa! Its a tourist area and as its the last week of school holidays here, it was pretty busy with speed boats, jet skis and banana boat rides. The operator of one of the boats came to welcome us into town and showed us where to anchor, offering his services if we needed anything. Thenceforth all the banana boat rides came past and waved and called greetings.  A lot of fun. Pity we didn't feel we could go ashore as i'm sure there would have been good markets and restaurants. Its about a 3 hour drive from Jakarta so there are a large number of holiday homes, condos and resorts.

Wednesday morning we headed out towards Tanjung Lesung  about 20 NM south. We passed Labuhan, which has a big coal fired power station and the

Largest shed I have ever seen. It appears to be being constructed for the storage of coal. There are extensive sea walls and the area looked suitable for anchorage.
As we approached Tanjung Lesung we realised we were headed into the most densely packed fishing houses we have yet seen. There were at least 500 of them crowded into the entrance of the bay, at about 100m intervals.

They were easy to avoid but we had to be very wary of the remnants of old ones which leave poles in the sea floor and only stick out of the water a little bit. We made it into good shelter at 6'29.12S 105'40.88E
Thursday 19th
Early start and negotiated the sticks and fishing houses once again to open water without incident. Would not be possible in the dark. Upon rounding he next headland we came upon the perfect anchorage! One wouldn't pick it from the chart but it was lovely, with several large power boats moored deep into the tiny bay and restaurants and resorts ashore, Jetty and services looked available. Not a fishing house in sight! 6'28.70S 105'39.88E it would be well worth exploring but we had to press on.
First Point Lighthouse Java's western tip.
As we rounded the next corner we hooked a big yellow fin tuna which kept David busy for a good while.. Sushi sashumi and tuna steaks for the next few days.

First Point light house anchorage  06'45.33S 105'15.18E between Peucang Island and a big national park on the south western tip of Java. We anchored well out of the swell, in good clear water. There is a small jetty but there is no other sign of habitation here. Deer, pig, some exotic looking tall long tailed birds (maybe peacocks, but didn't look like normal peacocks), monkeys on the beach in the afternoon, and some big bats at dusk were our only company.
Friday 20th we spent the day getting tied down to depart for Cocos Keeling at first light Saturday.

Saturday 21st July
While you were having toast an coffee or even still making zzzzzzd's we were pulling anchor, hoisting and unfurling sails and setting off into the big blue briney to sail to Cocos Keeling Island about 600 nm to the south east. We put in one reef and sailed past First Point Lighthouse out to sea. Initially it was big southern ocean swell, quite well formed and easily managed but the current is awesome and with 20 plus knots abeam, current and swell we were soon doing hitherto undreamed of speeds for Taipan. For minuits at a time we were averaging 10kn. The further we got out the more confused the sea state became and the swell, still big, started to become confused.
In short is got rough, jerky and very unpleasant but at least the trip was fast! We arrived in Cocos Keeling dry and having never stepped out of the cockpit at 5pm on Tuesday 24th 12'5.59S 96'52.86E. So although it was unpleasant it wasn't unpredictable or demanding. The steady trades although fluctuating occasionally only demanded that the head sail be rolled in or out. No further reefing or deck work. We settled in for a quiet night and a big sleep. Customs were happy to leave the visit until morning.
Cocos being an Australian Territory requires no Visa from Australians (although other nationalities must have one) and the Customs inspections are pretty lenient. No food was removed but we were warned not to take anything ashore.  
There are no mobile phone facilities or wifi services but you can purchase an international call card and use the very convenient phone box on the beach here at Direction Island. There are internet facilities ashore on Home Island which is about a 15min dingy ride across the lagoon. The local inter island ferry then takes regular runs to West Island and return.

You have never seen water this color. Its luminous aqua through all the blue hues to navy blue. Fabulous. There are a great group of 7 yachts and their crews here at present and we are enjoying the break before heading on to Mauritius via Rodriguez, about 2000 nm to the south east.

More Photos of Cocos Keeling