Karimunjawa to Jakarta

We spent our days in Karimunjawa trying to find good quality diesel. Having our laundry done, and enjoying nice coffee, a good massage and plentiful beverages.

We could park our dinghy at Ben’s. A floating sunset bar, built atop a catamaran. The bartender, a young 19 year old kid, was most helpful in arranging a scooter for us and helping us to find our way around the town. There wasn’t much to find though. There was one road. It didn’t even encircle the island. And there was one little town with some warungs and small shops. The ‘supermarket’ called fruit market was closed for a couple of weeks, and the Islands only gas station was sold out of good diesel. Something we only found out when we arrived there with 10 yellow diesel tins in hand. Ah well, empty they are no so heavy.

We also spend a couple of afternoons at Alam Kita. A yoga retreat managed by a very friendly Dutch lady with a goat as pet. We had a couple of lovely home made lunches, a very good ‘Japanese style’ massage and some good old fashion Conspiracy therapy in Dutch.

On the afternoon of Friday the 12th of January we started to make way to Jakarta, heading west into the dreaded Java sea. We had contacted the Batavia Marina in Jakarta to see if they had a spot for us. Unfortunately on the day of our departure they did not have any available and asked up to anchor outside the breakwater. It would have to do, as we need to get some diesel. Both Rose and Linda need to make a visit to immigration to extend their visas.

The trip across the Java sea started out with some good sailing in completely the wrong direction. As the we tried to point the boat upwind the currents turned on us, combined with a 20 knot breeze across the deck made for a very uncomfortable sail. Then around 10pm in the evening when we were making a tack Rose got ‘burned ‘bitten’ by Ah Ma, as the sheet line pulled over to the windward side of the boat, and she tried to hold on. Something you would definitely not to do on a 55ft yacht with 700 square feet of genoa out. As the sheet line slipped, it pulled the opposite side with it, and ended up in the water.

With the boat rolling in the 2 meter swells and a line in the water, I tied on and crawled up front, rescuing the line from the water. We started the engine and forgot about sailing for that night. The Penta pushed Ah Ma through wind, waves and currents in the correct direction, dodging thunderstorms, cargo ships and fishing vessels alike.

The next morning when seas were calmer and light returned I crawled up front again to rearrange the sheet lines. With order restored we hoisted both genoa and main and sailed for a couple of hours in roughly the correct direction. As with the day before, towards the end of the day the winds dissipated and diesel wind was required to keep the pace.

We sailed into the second pitch black night. As the sun set, the winds picked up again, blowing 20 knots over the deck straight on the nose. I was knackered, and after a couple of tacks Linda and I decided to pull down the sails and motor on through the night. At a slow 4 knot pace we slammed through the erratic waves and pushing currents making for another uncomfortable night. I begin to dislike the Java sea and can’t wait to get to Jakarta, but according to the navigation computers aboard that won’t happen until another night from now.

The night was followed by another day on the Java sea, we reached the edge of the Arimbi oil fields. The area stretching for a good 100 miles along the coast from Plumbon to Jakarta was marked as restricted. Only vessels with permission could enter on the sanction of a reprimand from the Indonesian coast guard. This made that all traffic heading west bound for Jakarta and heading east out of Jakarta into the Lombok straight would converge on the edge of the no go zone. Everyone plotting a course as close to the edge as possible.

Without shipping lanes this resulted in a lightly chaotic pattern of east and westbound shipping. We spent the morning negotiating the edge of the zone climbing further north, out of the way of the cargo vessels. We had a nice wind for a change, but still from the wrong direction.

In the night the wind calmed down and with the currents on the nose we crawled to a halt. It was time to push the boat on with a little diesel wind. We had to go slow through the night anyways as we would otherwise arrive in Jakarta in the dark. The lights from the oil field and flaring of gasses to our port side illuminated the waters.

I woke up that night for my shift to take the boat into the daylight and on towards the Batavia Marina in Jakarta. The boat was making a different motion and sound. When a came up I found that my crew had decided to turn the boat 180 degrees around.. Reason? She got nervous about the amount of traffic ahead as the corner of the oil fields made for a sort of four-way water intersection. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing here, but swallowed my tongue and carried on. I turned the boat around again and went about the business of dodging cargo vessels and tug boats to make a path south towards Jakarta.

We arrived in the shallow muddy waters of the Jakarta bay around 9am. We anchored in 4 meters of water in between a couple of dozen small cargo vessels. The wind was howling again at 18 knots. Linda had been on the phone with mr Abass, the manager of the Marina. He found us a spot for the coming days inside, safely behind the breakwater. It was uncomfortably shallow here and very very rolly. The entry into the Marina was even worse. It should only be attempted at high tide. We negotiated with mr. Abass to arrange for a guide into the Marina to make sure we didn’t get stuck in the shallow mud. Around 1pm we were finally moored at the head end of a small floating pier at the Batavia Marina.

A bucket of Anker beer and a little victory cigar ended my day. It was finally time for us to have a good night’s sleep. We will spend a couple of days in Jakarta. I hope to find a Volvo engineer who can analyze our mystery sensor issue, and possibly a rigger that can put the Genoa block back up top.

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