Posted by: powellpjc | April 8, 2012

A Miserable Crossing. Kuching to Singapore (almost).

It’s about 400 miles from Kuching to Singapore and in good conditions will take, for me, 3 or 4 days. Took me 8 ½. Gives you the basic idea. Seems the SW monsoon arrived a bit early or was in the process of switching so this led to no wind days with thunderstorms or a nice westerly wind right on the nose. Reminded me again that I don’t like sailing.

Sundown comin', boss.

I blew out my newly repaired headsail early in the trip and could not furl it in properly so this added a lot of drag in head wind days, slowing me down even when motoring.

Oohh. Looks bad to me.

I did see a lot of dolphins and fish a’ jumpin’.

The dolphins insist on leading the way.

Jumpin' this way and that.

He'll get full points for entry.

Met these chaps one quiet day. Fish traps on the roof. The South China Sea is only 200' deep,

We made a trade. I got this red snapper? and they got a bottle of French rum. The French cannot make rum. I came out ahead on the deal.

So, I gets close to the traffic separation scheme that is used in the Singapore Straits and I am down to my last few gallons of diesel. I languish for 2 days in thundery weather and can’t make headway. I finally make a mad dash under full motor. The winds are light and I have enough fuel to make it across this highway of bumper to bumper supertankers trying to squash me. Make matters worse, there is a big thunderstorm gaining ground from the rear. I am convinced I will get to the middle of the highway, the rain will obliterate any visibility and I will probably run out of gas fighting the headwind. Right in the middle of rush hour. I know how a frog feels now when trying to get across an interstate in the rain.

Rain didn’t come and I just enough fuel but my nerves were shot to hell.

Anchored with the big boys in the bunkering anchorage. It was too late to make it to Singapore and I needed fuel. After a quiet night I steamed up a steamy old river to a near-abandoned marina.

This is one Joey Conrad river that I steamed up. Wild boar, crocs and monkeys.

It had its days of glory but now those days are only memories. Fine with me. Have a place to lick wounds, fuel up and carry on to Singapore in a couple of days.

Sebana Cove Marina. One sleepy backwater and an old pirates' hangout. Well, before there was a marina, that is.

A typical track of a couple of days of no progress.

The headsail is a goner as must be pretty obvious from the pics. New one ordered from Hong Kong.

One angry looking sail. Headed for the dumpster.

To misquote Tom Patey, a Scottish ice climber,

Sailing is like fun, only different’.



  1. Peter,

    I know a couple in Singapoore. I can try to make a connection if you would like. They were my undergrad roommates. K from Singapore. G from Yellowknife.

    Let me know.


    • Thanks, Twyla for the kind consideration. I have some connections in Singapore but will email you up if circumstances require. e.g. bail bond.

  2. Miserable. But look on the bright side, you got a great sunset+dramatic cloud shot, got to watch some fish practicing synchronised swimming, got a red fish and made an interesting knot pattern on your plotter. Not a lot of people could say that…!
    PS the Joe Conrad river sounds amazing

  3. Pedro
    Doesn’t sound like a George and Martha trip to me! I would have stressed out in a shipping lane like the one you described. And how many times can you destroy a headsail?!
    I am getting around quite smartly on my plastic cast and in 2 weeks I should be out of it and walking like a real person. I have to be realistic sometimes and know that I am not bulletproof. This one set me back, but I shall overcome!
    How long do you plan to stay in Singapore?
    Jeez, that headsail looks bad!
    Pour yourself a G&T and count your blessings!


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