Winding Up



Sat 26 Sep 98
Morning: Ann, Delma and I return to Lowana IV and take 3 dinghy loads off it. These include sails, cushions, clothing, artefacts, excess food, fuel and water containers. Everything inside is cleaned and various items sorted out outside.

On checking the fuel there’d been 50 ltrs used from Saumlaki to Darwin. Final engine hours 611.7 hrs. Engine hrs this leg was 37.2 hrs with most of that due to the Cape Fourcroy storm and the trip home from there. Total engine hours for the trip was 111.7 hrs for 150 ltrs. That’s still a very consistent 1.34 litres per hour on average for all conditions.

Lunch: Return to DBCYC for lunch. More hamburgers and iced drinks. Speak to some people there. They’d heard about us out there at Cape Fourcroy through some fishermen who had apparently only been a few miles away from our position. These fellows had apparently seen the weather front coming in on their radar covering 150 degrees of arc. Quite a big one. They’d made some comments about how rough it was and how lousy the fishing had been.

Some other people tell us how it had rained and blown quite hard in Darwin over the two days we were out there.

a good companion and shipmate.
RIP mate.


All in all a most thoroughly enjoyable trip. The lady crew who have never done this sort of thing before are accorded earnest praise from the Skipper for their resilience, tolerance, enthusiasm and general crewmanship. They made the trip even much more of a pleasure.

Mention has to be made of the girls cooking. It was excellent and lent considerably to Martin’s farting prowess which became almost legendary. Martin modestly never admitted to being the culprit of all these intermittent trumpet blares around the boat, claiming instead that there were flocks of geese about. They were indeed a very noisy bunch of geese.

Interestingly no one had any real problems with ‘bali belly’. The only time extra ‘meditation’ as Martin called it were required, were after we’d eaten a dessert with prunes and after we’d eaten the rich lobster. No one had to visit the dunny as a result of having eaten ashore. We also drank some of the water at the hotel and the local restaurants with no apparent ill effects.

Equipment and gear failures are a fact of life on cruising sailboats. Every possible effort had been made to ensure all was in proper working order. All major failures had been recently attended to by professional tradesmen. Perhaps it was just coincidence.

The small 8ft fibreglass dinghy proved to be a bit of a limitation. Suitable enough when conditions were calm but not that safe in even slightly choppy water. Inflatables also have their problems not the least of which are punctures. However for a small cruising boat who’s dinghy size is limited, it’s probably the better way to go. All you need is the money to buy one.

The Tanimbar Island group contains some 62 islands of which only about half are inhabited. They are quite pretty in their own right. More experienced sailors who have cruised Indonesia extensively might not be so impressed about the place. But how could you not enjoy crystal clear water, white coral sand and abundant marine life, especially if you are fortunate enough to have good weather for so long.

The villages and people are generally fairly much the same as you would find anywhere else in Indonesia but they do have their own distinct culture. And the dugouts and small sailing craft are significantly distinctive. The catamaran style fishing boats are possibly a unique feature of the region.

The Tanimbars are not yet exploited by outside economic interests. They are pretty much ‘natural’. Very friendly, but by and large we found the adults will respect your privacy to some extent. But the kids … well there’s another story. Every family must has 50 bloody kids! (just kidding). All of whom seem to strive to outdo each other in vocal ability and in the art of attracting personal attention … constantly.

There is not a lot of English language spoken because the Tanimbars are in a bit of a backwater. Not many visitors. Not all that much contact with westerners in general. Although there are some from time to time you will meet that speak really good or passable English.

A boat kitty of $2000 was established from which all boat running and common crew expenses were taken:
CAIT: $350. 00 (permit for ship)
Visa’s: $400. 00 (for 4 persons)
Cullen Bay Berth: $120. 00 (loading and stowing gear)
Diesel fuel: $ 58. 00 (120 ltrs Duty free at Cullen Bay)
Diesel fuel: $ 5. 00 (40 ltrs in Indonesia)
Quarantine fees: $105. 00 (Australia)
Food/other consumables: $962. 00 (1)

(1) Includes all food and all types of grocery items purchased before and during the trip. This was for four persons over almost a full five weeks. That’s $240.50 per week and just over $60 per person per week to live aboard. It also includes our lavish meal ashore at the Harapan Indah hotel.

Equipment Failures:
Motor: Cracked cylinder block before leaving Darwin. Sea water subsequently flooded the same cylinder. Cause at time of writing not known. Possibly either faulty cylinder head sealing or else back filled from a syphoning effect. The syphon break system on the engine cooling water inlet side was re-designed and lifted higher. At this time it’s believed this may have rectified this particular problem.

HF Radio: Electrical energy from radio emissions shorted out onto the steel deck. Radio tuner not yet checked out and not known if repairable. The thru-deck insulation had been installed through the steel deck using common silastic. A sure fire recipe for rust, which built up around the base until it touched the centre pin. Did not take long.

Fridge/Freezer System: Vibration of the motor caused the thin copper tube to the pressure switch to break. A high pressure hose with fittings arrived on the market not long after our return. One of these was fitted in replace the thin copper tube. The fridge company fixed the system while I supplied the R134 gas.

Outboard Motor: Some small object had been drawn into the water pump and broken off two fins of the impeller. At the next service, this new impeller will be replaced and keep as a spare.

Russ Swan
S.V. Lowana IV


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