There wasn’t much wind to start our passage, so we motored until around noon on the 6th. In the early afternoon we suddenly came into a steady and stiff wind, we’d finally entered the northern reaches of the trade winds. We sailed at a steady pace for the next 18 hours, and on the morning of the 7th we took another look at the charts to reconsider what we wanted to do. The winds were blowing hard out of the SE so we decided to go ahead and take advantage of them and head straight to southern Sumatra, skipping the Mentawais. We knew that it would mean a long and hard leg of sailing upwind to get there, but we wouldn’t need to use fuel and would almost guarantee we made it there for the big swell that was expected to arrive on the 11th.
We sailed all day on the 8th and 9th, making long southwest tacks followed by northeast tacks, slowly making progress toward our destination (which was SE of us). It got hot for a couple hours each afternoon, but for the most part it was pleasant overcast weather. Our port tack was fairly pleasant; we were heading northeast toward Sumatra so we were going with the swell and the seas were also much calmer the closer we got to land. On the other tack, however, the seas were very rough and the going was tough with lots of pounding and not a lot of sleep. We did have sustained winds of 25-35 knots though, so even though we didn’t have a very direct route or pleasant conditions, we were at least going fast.
The 10th was another full day of sailing, and we pulled in to our anchorage about 8 miles north of Krui on that evening. This ended up being our longest passage yet, 633 miles of sailing in nearly 5 full days. Everyone was pretty excited when we reached land and it didn’t take long for the cocktails to start flowing. Nigel had a really hard time sleeping, and has a bad back, so he was was even more exhausted then the rest of us.
We’re anchored in beautiful little harbor that was a world-class break on either end of it. Krui, to the south, is supposed to be a decent sized town where we can do some provisioning, but up here is just a tiny little village. There are beautiful, jungle covered mountains and you can hear the monkeys howling from the boat. I’ve now sailed 1679 miles on this trip, and we haven’t even got in to the heart of the Indian Ocean.