Getting around Bandah Aceh, to the west side of Sumatra, turned out to be a lot more challenging than expected. The winds were blowing directly from the west along with super strong tidal currents which were working against us and creating very steep and choppy seas. It difficult to keep sails up and even harder to keep on a decent course. We also had our first Sumatra squall while I was on my watch; winds went from 30 knots to 55 knots in less than a minute. Luckily we saw it coming and got the genoa sail down but we sailed through it with the staysail up toping out at 14 knots. It was a little scary but also really exhilarating, it was the first time I’ve ever gone that fast on a sail boat.
We spent the entire night getting sloshed around, trying to make progress out to sea, but with very little results. We continued attempting the charge west until about noon the next day, but the winds were not letting up and everyone was exhausted, so we decided to sail to Palau Weh and anchor for the night and regroup.
We woke up early the next morning and set sail for the channel. The wind was still directly in our face but we timed the tide so that it was working for us and were able to finally make it out despite getting nailed with another squall with winds over 50 knots.
Once we were out in the open sea we were able to sail (30%) and motor (70%) the next ~130 miles down to Simeulue without hitting anymore rough weather. We arrived at our first anchorage yesterday evening (19th) and met a Kiwi sailor/surfer who gave us some tips on good breaks with safe anchorages. We do dry passages so there had;t been any boozing in a few days, but that was all remedied last night. This morning we’re heading for the south side of the island, about 50 miles away, to a break called Thailand. It’s supposed to be a beautiful left-handed point break and will be out first Sumatran surf.