We measure time and distance differently on a sailboat. Getting to far flung Banda Island became a difficult calculus due to distance and the uncertainty of the velocity of the trade winds. Our goal was to reach Banda with just one overnight sail but the distance was on the edge of what we could safely cover in 36 hours. We scoured the charts for an interim stop to knock the mileage down and found two possibilities, one with a somewhat dodgy anchorage some thirty miles away and one at Pulau Tayandu which would take just twenty miles out of the 190 mile journey, but seemed to have a secure harbor. You really don’t want to be running around these reef strewn waters at night so we’ll see how far we get and pull in for an overnight rest stop.
Once again the steady trades were dead downwind so it was jib to the left and mainsail to the right, wing and wing, which EV does so well even in these strong trade winds. While most of the monohulls gybed back and forth, keeping the wind near 150 degrees, we just left it near 180 degrees right on the rhumbline, and had a cuppa Joe. Yours Truly is a rhumbline kind of guy, not as fast but so refined.
While rounding Pulau Tayandu we had a look in and Marce said, “good enough,” so we poked about trying to find bottom that we can reach with our anchor and finally just decided to do as the locals do and sidled up to whatever these are and anchored in thirty feet.
None of the locals speak English so it’s difficult to find out why they do this but a cruiser that was anchored here said they had a big wedding yesterday, but my money’s on camouflage to fool fish into thinking the boat is a just a pile of reeds to hide under.
At first light we weighed anchor with a long way to travel to reach the famous Banda Islands. There were quite a few boats anchored in another bay south of us so suddenly the chart plotter was alive with AIS targets. Should be interesting at night. Occasionally huge rollers would hiss across our downwind course and smack EV with a staggering blow on her flanks leaving the autopilot with a heavy load to right our course, but for the most part conditions were tolerable while making 5-6kts.
Our chart plotter gives us a running ETA and the next day as we raised Banda through the mist, old Ray the autopilot swore we would be in the Spice Islands by 4:00 pm. After a good long sniff around this very deep harbor we decided on 35ft. on the edge of a scary reef just next to the huge Welcome to Banda Naira sign which has the added benefit of watching the party lighting change colors close up.
I’ve been reading and dreaming about the Spice Islands since I was a little kid. It always seemed to me that so much global history and wealth beyond measure was played out on the most unlikely of stages on a tiny speck on the other side of the earth. I can’t believe I’m actually here. We’re now part of the view. Somebody pinch me.