September 16, 2010-Sailing to Sibolga v2
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
We arrived at the outer mark at dawn and we smelled the wood smoke of the cooking fires in the soft offshore wind.
It reminded us of another morning long ago when we arrived under sail at San Carlos, Mexico, also at dawn, and when we also smelled the smoke of the cooking fires onshore. The smoke smells the same and the sky at that time of the morning looks the same also and while we could not pick out Tetras de Cabra here in Sumatra, even the spiny backbone of Sumatra Island looks similar; memories also flood back of other dawn arrivals.
We passed a solitary fisherman standing in a canoe and he looked like a clockwork stick figure as he rhythmically bent at the waist to pull his net in, hand over hand.
At 08:00 the anchor splashed down off the Sibolga, Indonesia waterfront and we looked at the town as we quietly folded sails, each of us with our own thoughts. We liked the looks of the town with a small central area of low buildings surrounded by houses built on stilts over the water and houses in the hills behind. There are several mosques visible and the whole place is surrounded by steep hills: picturesque.
It was also nice to achieve this objective: arriving at Sibolga, which is several hundred miles down the coast of Sumatra and over six hundred miles from Langkawi, Malaysia, where we started this journey, is a major milestone for us. Here we will formally check into Indonesia, do some shopping, try to get an Internet connection, and rest up from the last 12 days of our crossing from Malaysia and the trip down the coast.
The trip so far has been good. We’ve been motoring a most of the time in the calm Sumatra summer but getting some nice sailing days too. The overnight sail into Sibolga from the Islands was very good with a steady 15 knot westerly behind us most of the way. We set the kite for a while but blew the jibe and had to take it down then then decided it was too much trouble to trim it so rather than reset it we we shifted to a jib. It meant easier sailing.
There have been some stunning anchorages along the way with pristine white sand beaches and clear water teaming with fish and wildlife but we’ve had little contact with the few local inhabitants. The Islands are mostly empty of people. We did talk every day on the radio to our several surfer friends here on various boats for the world class surfing. We have seen plenty of awesome surf which we have stayed well away from.
Frequent minor breakdowns have been a daily occurrence and have been troubling. They have kept us busy and my heart really sinks with each new problem; not because I have to fix it but because it makes us wonder how things will hold up on the big crossing, but we have dealt with them all and are buying some more spares here in Indonesia for the trip. Our friend Tony told us that any day where nothing has failed by noon is a good day and we do expect more of the “unscheduled maintenance”.
But we’re here, we can do some shopping, and it is happy ship aboard Wings. Judy and I are relaxed and doing well, Pierre has turned out to be a great crew member and we are all looking forward to the cooler tradewind days ahead;
Sumatra is hot.
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Sumatra
Click here for more photos from Sumatra
Click here to see a few of the Sibolga Residents
Click here to see the log book pages of our sailing trips in September 2010
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Sumatra