July 23, 2010-Indian Ocean Itinerary
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wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Sailing to Sumatra
Two hundred and fifty miles to windward from Phuket to Palau Weh in Banda Ache. Keep an eye on the weather and pick your time to tack.
Departing July 25, Sailing time: 2-3 days
We sail first to Banda Ache, to the port of Sebang which, with any good breeze, we should make in a couple of days and at any rate by the end of July we will call there to pick up our Indonesian permit, arranged by Lytha in Jakarta. After Ache there are the bays and harbors and unpopulated islands down the west coast of Sumatra to explore, the white sand beaches lined with coconut palms, the small towns, the surfer camps. We’ve a list of twenty or so stops and the chart shows many more but with only a month allowed in Indonesia we can’t hit them all.
Pedang, just south of the Equator, is the capital of West Sumatra and there is a good market so that is where we plan take on provisions and from where we will, by the end of August , take our leave of Indonesia.
Cruising Sumatra-The month of August
Sailing to Cocos Keeling
From Pedang we’ll be heading nearly due south past the off lying islands and towards the atoll of Cocos Keeling. Standing out from Sumatra Island we should soon begin to sniff out the SE trade winds which blow through the gap between Australia and Java. Then we’ll leave the light winds and rain of Sumatra behind and enter the belt of steady trades which bring boisterous sailing and the white wakes across blue seas which mark the passage of a fine sailing yacht on a speedy, if wet, close reach.
Departing August 28, Sailing time: 4-5 days
Cocos Keeling-Early September
Four of five days of sailing will bring us to the twenty four coral islands around two atolls which were once the domain of the self proclaimed king of Cocos Keeling but now a possession of Australia. the Cocos will offer a respite from the hard sailing and a last chance to pick up a few items at the supermarket on West Island.
Staying in Cocos Keeling-5 days
Passage to Chagos Islands
This is what we came for and the vision of Wings racing to the horizon, romping across the seas under the clear blue skies, with the sails free…that is the vision which is impressed on our brains. Downwind sailing in the SE Trades; across the Indian Ocean. Here we go!
Departing September 8, Sailing time: 8-9 days
After sailing west across 14 degrees of longitude we will drop anchor in the uninhabited northern atolls of the Chagos archipelago around mid-September . Exactly in the middle of the Indian ocean, Chagos is remote, protected, a reserve, and yachts who visit there are restricted by the British who own it to a few locations, and none anywhere near the US Base on Diego Garcia. But for natural beauty, good fishing, and peace and quiet, this is the spot.
Staying in Chagos –two to three weeks.
Passage to Rodriques Island
This could be a hard leg: over 1100 miles of close reaching in fresh trades. Wet, rough, fast. This leg might be the one to endure. We’ll have to manage our speed to stay comfortable. Stay tuned to see if we do that.
Departing October 2, Sailing time: 6-8 days
Forty two square miles of mountainous terrain occupied by 35,000 mixed African and French creole speaking creole island dwellers (with maybe a bit of English or French) this island is way off the beaten path, receives few visits from yachts, and Port Maturin, the sleepy capital of this remote Indian Ocean outpost will be an interesting place to drop a hook and recover from the passage down from Chagos.
Staying in Rodrogues, 1 week
Passage to Mauritius
Two hundred miles running dead downwind…should be easy sailing.
Departing October 15, Sailing time: 2 days
A country of with an interesting past (Dutch settled, French owned, British takeover, and independent since 1992) a mix of primarily African and Indian people, English speaking, democratically elected government, free education & medicine, bustling tourism and business, Mauritius was a major port before the Suez canal changed the world shipping routes and a major sugar producer until falling sugar prices led the government to a program of agricultural diversification and manufacturing.
There are ports and marinas here and we are looking forward to a visit but by the time of our arrival, mid-to late October, cyclone season will be approaching. The duration of our stay will be limited.
Staying in Mauritius, two weeks or less
Passage to Reunion
121 miles, it’s an overnighter. Piece of cake.
Departing end of October, Sailing time, 24 hours.
French to the max, the island of Reunion is a Department of France, rugged, remote, claimed to be one of the most unique spots on earth. We’ll call there for a brief stay and watch the weather for a departure for Africa
Staying in Reunion, Maybe only 3 days
Passage to Africa
The longest and most dangerous passage of this whole trip, we’ll sail southwest around the southern tip of Madagascar, and then cross the Mozambique Channel and the Agulhas Current watching the weather intensely as being in that south running current in a southern gale presents extreme risks to yachts.
Departing November 2, Sailing time: 8-10 Days
A town of 54,000 and a good harbor with a healthy marine industry, this will be our destination and first stop in Africa. This is as far as we’ve planned so we’ll have to wait until later to fill in our African itinerary, but rest assured in includes wild animals!
Staying in Africa: Unknown
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket, Thailand