Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Darwin to Kupang

Kupang, Indonesia is our port of entry located 450 miles from Darwin.
Sunset in the Timor Sea
That's a little less than four days depending on the wind.  The winds were forecast calm for three days and then in the 20-25 knot range.  We could wait in Darwin another two days and would end up using less diesel but could end up with a rougher passage.  After what we just went through getting to Darwin from Cape York, we were actually looking forward to motoring in calm water.

Turtle spotting in calm water

We left on the outgoing tide from Darwin and sailed for a couple hours.  Then the winds went away.  Most catamarans have two engines.  One in each hull.  This is great for redundancy as we have had engine issues leaving us on a single engine more times than I like to think about. It also allows us to use only one engine at a time which reduces operating hours and fuel consumption while keeping the diesel running at a nicely loaded RPM.  We used 2 liters of diesel per hour and run an engine for 6 hours then change to the other.

On the 4th day the winds picked up as forecast and we used the spinnaker for almost the entire day.  We pulled it down just in time as the squalls popped up around us and the wind started to exceed 20 kts.  Kupang is on the north side of Timor Island.  The island of Roti is to the west and the channel between has very strong current.  There was alot of talk on the radio about what time the current would be in our favor and it seemed like midnight was when the tide was filling in and that would then put us in Kupang at sunrise.  Well, we now had to slow down.  That is easier said than done in 25 kts of wind.  Even with no sails up, Tortuguita still wanted to do over 4 kts.  We hit the channel with tide against us at midnight and never had a favorable tide.  Just goes to show that things sometimes are more complicated than expected.

When we started up the channel, we could see small blue and red flashing LED lights along the shore.  These were fishing boats which seem to have upgraded from the candle in a jar lighting we heard about from prior years.  Further up the channel, what looked like a shipping port because of the bright lights were masses of large fishing boats with super bright white LED lights around their edges.  It was a little difficult to get any depth perspective against the black night and the intense lights.  We later found out that the lights are used to attract the fish and not really to help other boats see them although that was a great benefit.

Customs and Quarantine
Immigration, Port Captain, and more Customs and Quarantine
We arrived and anchored at Kupang at sunrise and slept for 3 hours.  We awoke just in time for the customs and quarantine inspection boat to board us for our inbound clearance.  We then headed to shore for more clearance formalities and a welcome speech by the vice-governor of the province of East Nusa Tengarra which covers all of East Timor, Alor, and the Lesser Sunda Islands.  What started a month ago on the Gold Coast has finally come to fruition.  We finally made it to Indo.

Welcome speech by the Provincial vice-Governor

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