Trapped in Kudat

Month and a half ago when we sailed away from Philippines and arrived to Kudat, a small town in Sabah, also known as the „Land Below the Wind“, we thought we finally left all those potentially disastrous typhoons far behind. Turns out not quite so… Although it rarely happens that a typhoon ventures that south as Borneo, these cyclonic monsters can influence weather even in regions hundreds of miles away. And so here we are, already two weeks helplessly trapped in Kudat. It’s not that a typhoon’s path is predicted to go anywhere near us, but last week it was the super typhoon Usagi and now another typhoon Pabuk that is sucking in and thus intensifying the monsoon winds, which blow from south-west, i.e. exactly the direction we want to travel. The wind itself would not be such a problem, but the local waters are infamous for serious currents, that are strongly influenced by monsoon winds, and to sail on a small yacht not only against the wind, but also against a 2 knot current is not really much fun.

This is how it currently looks in SE Asia...

This is how it currently looks in SE Asia…

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The weather really gone crazy

Still sitting in Kaohsiung and waiting. Since we are playing sailors you might thing that following winds, favorable currents, a good weather window is why we are still rotting here (that’s a bit of exaggeration, but it is a fact that during the North-East Monsoon Kaohsiung is showered by dust from inland and sooth from the factories nearby, so rotting we are not, it’s more like being buried by the earth at sea). So weather etc is not the main reason for our delayed departure. We had plenty of chances to cast off. The North-East Monsoon is at full strength now, but periodically it eases up and opens a two to three day windows, which would let us slip in the shadow of Luzon without too much fuss. With a little bit of imagination you could say that we could do it without getting our feet wet.

weather 2013-01

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Boat cleaning crew 6

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Settled in

Kaohsiung is battered by the southwest quadrant, well, is has almost abated, so there’s just an occasional rain squall or a wind gust. We’ve spent the night surprisingly well. It was blowing quite hard, Janna was rocking like mad, but I slept like a baby. Only from time to time did the screeching of our fenders or the howling wind in the rigging wake me. Seems like our rigging is a quite one. The howling always comes from the other boats. Perhaps the windspeed is not high enough… but while moored in Hong Kong we set through few storms and it blew hard. Jana didn’t get much sleep, but she looks cheerful anyway — ah, right, so she says, that she’s actually pretty dopey:

“I woke up every hour since midnight. Whenever the boat tugged harder on her mooring lines, I checked the whereabouts of the typhoon on the iPad. Once I was woken up by a splash of rain which got in through the half-open companionway. That’s what I call a rouse!”

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