Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Bali to Mauritius (2012)

After four weeks in Bali, it was time to start our journey across the Indian Ocean.  We slipped the dock lines at the Bali Marina on Saturday, September 8th, and began the long haul of 3,400 miles to Mauritius.  The course passes by Christmas Island and the Cocos Keeling Islands, territories of Australia.  Our plan was to stop in Cocos Keeling (1,100 miles from Bali) to rest for a few days before continuing on to Mauritius.  Since Di was still on antibiotics to kill the parasite she picked up in Bali, we planned to sail a course that passed near Christmas Island (560 miles from Bali) in case she started feeling worse and needed medical facilities.
The first two days brought light winds during the day and no wind overnight.  Finally on day three, the SE trade winds filled in at 12-18 knots, and Saviah averaged 6-7 knots for the next five days under single-reefed main and genoa.  Despite the pleasant sailing conditions, Di spent most of the time sleeping as she was weak and a little nauseous from the antibiotics.

On day seven, the winds shifted to directly behind us, so we doused the main and sailed under poled-out genoa alone, which dropped our speed to 5 knots and made for a rolly ride.  Fortunately, this only lasted half a day and on the morning of September 16th, the palm trees of the low lying islands of Cocos Keeling came into view.  When we were 12 miles out, we radioed the police to notify them of our approach.  They asked us a few questions, made sure we had a visa, and then instructed us to give them a call back when we were anchored so they could come to the boat for the official clearance procedures.

Cocos Keeling consists of 27 coral islands that make up two atolls, North Keeling and South Keeling.  The much smaller North Keeling is uninhabited and has been designated a marine park.  Most of the islands are part of the South Keeling atoll, the three largest of which create a horseshoe shaped lagoon that is open to the north and roughly eight miles long and six miles wide.

The islands were originally discovered in 1609, but not settled until 1826 when John Clunies-Ross brought his family and a group of Malay slaves to the islands and built up a large copra plantation.  The islands were declared a British dominion about thirty years later and then granted to the Clunies-Ross family in 1886 by Queen Victoria. 

They were made an Australian dependency in 1955 and existed as a virtual fiefdom for the Clunies-Ross family for many years.  The Australian government’s unhappiness with the Clunies-Ross style of rule increased over time, and eventually they forced the family to sell the islands to Australia in 1978.
The current population of Cocos Keeling is just over 600.  Only two of the islands are inhabited, Home Island and West Island.  Most of the 500 people on Home Island are descendants of the original Malaysian slaves brought to the island several hundred years ago.  They speak a Cocos dialect of Malay, as well as English, and most are Sunni Muslim.

The only other inhabited island is West Island, which is made up of about 100 Australians of primarily European descent. West Island is at the far south end of the lagoon and is the commercial center with police, customs, and the airport.  It is also serves as an Australian air base. 
The third largest island is Direction Island, on the northeast side of the lagoon, which is uninhabited and where we were instructed to anchor.   As we approached the entrance to the lagoon, the depths dropped drastically to 60 feet, and the water was crystal clear.  Motoring through the pass, we were accompanied by a pod of dolphins and could see two other sailboats in the anchorage.  As we approached the anchorage, the dolphins dispersed and a dozen black tip reef sharks took over, circling below the keel as we anchored in 15 feet of turquoise blue water over white sand.  After almost eight days at sea, we savored the beautiful scenery and flat calm water.

calm waters of the Cocos Keeling lagoon
Once we were settled, we hailed the police again to arrange for clearance.  Since the police office is on West Island several miles south, the officers came across the lagoon in a small power boat and tied up alongside Saviah.  They don’t have customs, quarantine or immigration officers on the island, so the local police handle all of the paperwork.  It was a painless process, and 30 minutes later, we took down our yellow quarantine flag and hoisted the Australian courtesy flag.  We still had to pay our anchorage fees of $50 per week at either Home Island or West Island, but they didn’t really care when we did it.  There is a ferry that makes a couple trips to Direction Island from Home Island each Thursday, so we decided to wait and take care of it then, rather than row over in the dinghy. 
Our plan was to stay in Cocos Keeling for a week, mainly to rest, but also so Di could finish her antibiotics before the next passage.  She started the second round the day we arrived, which was a seven day course.  While there, we studied the weather patterns of the Indian Ocean and read our guidebooks to learn about the places we would stop in Africa.  Most afternoons, we went ashore on Direction Island to get some exercise.  Andrew ran on the beach most days, while Di took it easy as she was still a bit weak from the meds.  We also enjoyed swimming in the bay and chatting with the other cruisers.

For many years, Cocos Keeling has been an important stop for cruisers crossing the Indian Ocean.  The shelters near the beach have barbecues, and there are frequent potlucks on shore when there are boats in the anchorage.  Many cruisers that have passed through have carved their boat names on pieces of wood and nailed them to the palm trees on shore.  It was interesting to look at the names and home ports of the sailors that have stopped in, some of them from decades ago.  

Thursday morning the ferry came to Direction Island and we rode it back to Home Island to pay our anchorage fees.  When we checked in, the police made sure we knew that it was a Muslim community, and to dress appropriately if we came over to visit.  With several hours to kill before the ferry came back, we spent some time walking around.  It was an interesting community where most of the homes are nearly identical and arranged in a grid.  People mainly got around town in quads, golf carts, bicycles or on foot.  The locals were very friendly and when we sat down at the only restaurant on the island, one of them bought us lunch and encouraged us to come to his house if we needed anything. 
We also stopped at the small supermarket hoping to pick up a few items for our next passage.  On Saturdays, a supply plane comes in from the mainland bringing fresh fruit and veggies, but by Thursday, they were pretty well picked over.  So, we didn’t buy much, other than some cheese and butter.  We went back to the ferry and sat down with the seven or eight other cruisers who were over for the day and waited for about 45 minutes for the ferry to leave.  Eventually, we were told there were engine troubles (on the virtually brand new ferry), and they instructed us to get on the older ferry.  We did, but they couldn’t get that one working properly either, and after a while, we boarded the last available ferry.  They got this one running, but it was a really hot day, and by this time, our butter had melted and soaked through the bag and was dripping on the ground.  What a mess.

Before we left Home Island, we also tried to clear out with the police.  Although they will come to your boat for clearing-in procedures, they won’t do the same to clear you out, unless they are already in the anchorage for another reason.   We were planning to leave on Sunday, but wouldn’t have another opportunity to take the ferry to Home Island for another week.  Unfortunately, they wouldn’t grant our clearance because our departure was over 48 hours away. 
We hoped they would have a reason to come back to the anchorage in the next day or two, or we would have a very long row in the dinghy back to Home Island.  Fortunately, the next morning a boat arrived, and we hailed the police on the VHF as they came into the anchorage.  After clearing the new boat in, they came alongside Saviah and completed our clearance formalities.  At the time, we had a forecast for steady trade winds starting on Sunday.   By the time Sunday came, the forecast had changed to no wind until Tuesday.  If we didn’t leave, we would have to check in again, pay more fees on Home Island, and then check out again.  So, we opted to leave anyway and deal with the light winds.  We motored out on September 23rd, one week after we arrived.

Direction Island

The southern Indian Ocean is known to have strong trade winds, as well as an uncomfortable and sizable south or southwest cross swell originating in the distant Southern Ocean gales.  After our passage from Bali to Cocos Keeling, we felt we had probably used up our good luck as that passage had neither.  We were mentally prepared for the 2,300 miles from Cocos Keeling to Mauritius to be tough and uncomfortable, despite the relatively mild forecast in place when we left.
After motoring off and on for the first two days, the winds filled in and ranged from 12-25 knots from the E to SE throughout the rest of the passage.  Our strategy was to sail as often as possible on a broad reach with single or double reefed main and genoa.  Occasionally, when the winds went due east, we strayed to the south of the rhumb line and had to douse the main, sailing dead downwind to make progress west.  Thankfully, this didn’t happen often, and we sailed most of the passage with both sails up.

The result was a much faster and more comfortable ride.  Our average over the entire 2,300 miles was almost 6 knots, and we did our best ever 24 hour period with 171 miles.  We had only a few days of winds in the 20-25 knot range, but we did have a bit of a cross swell from the south for most of the passage.  The seas weren’t very big, but a few times every day a wave would break just right against the hull and a gallon of water would make its way into the cockpit, usually right on top of the person on watch and the book that they were reading. 
We fished occasionally throughout the trip, but didn’t have any luck.  We were particularly unlucky one day when a flying fish launched out of the water from behind the stern and flew right through the pushpit, just missing the windvane and steering wheel, through the companionway and right onto our sea bunk.  We grabbed it quickly and tossed it off the boat, but the sheets smelled immediately. 

The last three days brought lighter winds at E 5-15 knots.  The genoa flogged at times in the light winds, and eventually the stitching in the foot started unraveling.  Rather than risk more damage to the sail, we furled it and hoisted the gennaker.  We sailed slowly dead downwind with the gennaker poled-out for the last day, rounding the north end of Mauritius during the early morning hours.  We sailed along in the lee of the island and enjoyed the calm seas after 17 days at sea. 
As we approached the harbor entrance to Port Louis, we reduced sail to slow down.  This is a busy commercial port, and the entrance to the channel was currently blocked by a large freighter being turned around by three tugs.  Once the freighter was clear of the entrance, we hailed port control on channel 14 and received permission to enter the narrow channel.   By 8:30 am on October 10th, we were safely docked alongside the customs wall in downtown Port Louis, relieved to have completed one of our most daunting passages.

Port Louis harbor

Bali, Indonesia, part 2 (2012)

After spending some time traveling around Bali, we returned to the marina to spend a few days aboard Saviah.   We were looking forward to exploring more of the island with our friend Eric, who would be coming out from Seattle in a few days.  In the mean time, we cleaned the boat, caught up on laundry and worked on a few small projects while in the marina.  

The weather can be unbearably hot sometimes in the tropics, and leaving all the hatches open at night to capture every bit of breeze is essential to staying comfortable.  This is especially true in the marinas since the wind is shielded by other boats and structures on shore.   Unfortunately, when the hatches are open, the wind is not the only thing that can get in.  On our first night back on the boat, Andrew woke up just before midnight when he heard the sound of one of the pan lids rattling.  He got the flashlight and went into the galley to find a huge rat staring back at him.   We’ve had a few moments of uncomfortable weather out at sea and long nights in port staying awake to make sure our anchor wasn’t dragging, but this was definitely the low point of our travels so far. 

After waking Di up, we spent almost four hours chasing the rat around the boat.  We tried to herd it towards an exit and then to trap it, but no luck.  At one point it ran out into the cockpit, with Andrew close behind to chase it off the boat.  It ran around the perimeter of the cockpit and then right back through the companionway and into the boat again.  It eventually disappeared down into the bilge, where we could hear it moving around for about half an hour underneath the cabin sole. 

Later it came out of the bilge to make another appearance where we again tried to trap it or chase it outside, and then around 3 a.m. it went into one of the cubbies in the galley.  We closed the door to trap it inside.  We decided it was better to have a rat trapped on the boat in a single compartment and unable to leave than one free to run around wherever it wanted.  Tired and frustrated, we laid in bed for another few hours until the sun rose.

Rats are nocturnal animals, and this one did not budge all day.  We cleaned out everything in the cubby but it stayed put, apparently back on a small shelf that we couldn’t see.  We inspected all the food that we pulled out of the cubby and found that it had eaten through several packages.  Apparently, Asian rats prefer Asian food, and this one got into packages of Ramen Noodles and rice.  It didn’t seem to touch any of the western foods, but we later found that it also ate most of the way through one of the hoses that is connected to the engines exhaust system. 

Our plan was to move all of the food from the galley into the v-berth, which we could then seal off.  After spending most of the day moving food around and disinfecting everything, we decided to make a run to the store to get some rat traps.  It didn’t seem like the rat could have escaped the compartment, but there are all sorts of nooks and crannies in a boat.  We hadn’t heard a peep from it in over 12 hours so we starting talking ourselves into believing that it had just left the boat and wouldn’t be back.  Just in case, we had sealed off most of the other areas of the boat, limiting where it could go.  Before leaving, we opened the cubby where it was last seen entering and put some duct tape down with the sticky side up, right in front of the opening.  If the rat came out of the cubby it would step on the tape, and we would know it was still on board. 

When we got back about half an hour later, the tape had moved, and there were foot prints around the galley countertops.  Fortunately they led outside, but we couldn’t be sure it stayed out there.  About an hour later, there was some squeaking in the cockpit, and Andrew stuck his head out the companionway to see the rat sitting in the cockpit well.  It was a huge relief to know for sure it was outside, but we didn’t dare open any of the port lights or hatches.  Without any circulation, the heat in the cabin was almost unbearable, but not as bad as having a rat on board!

We spent a couple of very long and hot nights on the boat, and then on August 26th, our friend Eric arrived.  We had been looking forward to his visit for quite some time and were also excited to get off the boat and stay in air conditioned hotels for a week.  He had a full week planned, which started with the first night in the tourist hub of Kuta. 

Eric booked hotels at a couple different spots on the island, and after the initial night in Kuta, we moved to Nusa Dua on the south east side of Bali for several days.   This part of the island has some of Bali’s best beaches, and we spent a fair bit of time over the next couple days relaxing at the beach.

On our first afternoon, we rented scooters and made our way to the southwest end of the island.  We had a nice ride over, as this area is less crowded and the roads wind along the tops of the cliffs, offering great views over the ocean.  Our first stop was at Uluwatu, on the southwest end of the island.  This place is a popular surfing spot with world-class breaks, as well as a nice beach and swimming and snorkeling on the reefs. 

After parking at the top of the bluff, there is a long steep walkway that zigzags down the cliff.  There are restaurants and shops along the way, each with panoramic ocean views.   We made our way down to the beach and then up a rickety wooden staircase up to the “Hard Rock CafĂ©”.  This is not part of the chain, but just a small restaurant on top of a very large rock that sits on the beach.  We had nice lunch in the restaurant while watching the surfers ride some enormous waves.   This was definitely one of our favorite spots on the island. 

top left: hard rock cafe perched on top of a large rock on the beach.  other pics are views from the restaurant.

After hanging out for a while on the beach and going for a swim on the reef, we headed back out for the short ride down the road to see the temple, Pura Luhur Uluwatu.  We rented the required sarongs, and took a walk around the temple compound, which has a resident troop of monkeys that are known for being quite aggressive.  This temple is not one of the more beautiful on the island, but it is situated right on the edge of a cliff.  You can walk for quite a distance along the cliff tops in either direction from the temple and see some really nice views out over the ocean. 

Pura Luhur Uluwatu

While staying in Nusa Dua, we booked a bike tour that came highly recommended.  The tour company picked us up from the hotel early one morning and after a stop to pick up the rest of our group, we headed north to the central mountainous area of the island. The first part of the tour involved a quick visit of a local coffee plantation.

There were several different kinds of coffee as well as tea and spices that were grown at the plantation, but this place is best known for their Luwak coffee.  This is very expensive coffee that is produced on Bali and a few other Indonesian islands and is made through an unusual process.  The coffee berries, beans and all, are eaten off the trees by the Asian palm civet, which looks a bit like a ferret.  The fruit is then digested, with the exception of the beans, which pass through their system whole.   The beans are then scooped up, washed off and roasted.  The coffee made from these beans is supposed to be really good, not only because the animals pick the best beans, but because there is some level of fermentation that occurs while the beans are in their stomachs. 

At the end of the tour, they bring out a bunch of samples of the various coffees and teas that they produce.  We had decided not to try the Luwak coffee at first, since the ways the beans are processed sounds disgusting.  But then we saw how they were roasting the beans over the fire and decided that probably killed anything.  The coffee tasted ok, but none of us were overly impressed.  We actually preferred some of the other teas and spiced drinks over the coffee.

coffee plantation tour and tasting

After the plantation, we stopped for breakfast in the village of Penelokan.  From the restaurant balcony there were really nice views of nearby Gunung Batar and the crater lake, Danau Batar, at its base.  Gunung Batar is an active volcano that has erupted more than 20 times in the last 200 years.  On several occasions those eruptions have resulted in lava flows burying nearby villages, one of them killing over 1,000 people.  It still erupts periodically, but we didn’t see anything while there. 

When breakfast was over, we piled back in the van and drove to an area where the bikes were waiting for us.  The bike tour consisted of a mainly downhill ride on less traveled roads around the countryside and through some villages.  We wound our way through rice paddies, by temples and cemeteries.  We had a really good guide who would stop periodically to point out certain things and give us information about the island and the Balinese culture. 

During this time, the ten-day festival of Galungan was in full swing, and our tour was on the day before the final and most important day of Kuningan.  The ten-day festival celebrates the victory of good over evil and the ancestral souls are thought to visit earth.  As we rode through the villages, we saw many of the locals erecting their elaborate penjor (bamboo poles hung with offerings) which arch over the road.  Most of the homes had poles up already, but there were a few procrastinators that were just finishing decorating them.

bike tour

The last stop was at the home of our tour guide.  He and his family live in a traditional Balinese house in Ubud.  This is actually a walled housing compound with about 10 small buildings, that all serve a certain purpose are arranged in a special way throughout courtyard.   There was amazing detail in the stone work on the buildings, and the windows and doors were beautifully carved wood.  He introduced us to his family, who had prepared a traditional Balinese feast for us.  It was the best meal we had on Bali, and after lunch, they let us look around their family temple.  The tour turned out to be a really nice way to see the island, and afterword they gave us a ride back to the hotel in Nusa Dua.   

Bali bike tour group

After several days in Nusa Dua, we relocated north to Ubud.  We rented scooters again for the day to do a tour of the rice fields.  There are a lot of rice fields in the Ubud area, but we decided to drive a little further and see the more impressive fields further north at Jatiluwih.  This area is located on the fertile southern slopes of Gunung Batukaru, Bali’s second-highest peak.   Although the area is not a long way from Ubud, the traffic was heavy, and it took several hours to get there.  By the time we arrived, it was late in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, this left us only an hour to ride around and see the fields before we would run out of daylight and have to head back.  Although it was a bit of a hassle getting there, it was definitely worth it.  The views of the tiered rice fields seemed to go on forever, and we really enjoyed riding the scooters through the narrow pathways that wound through the rice fields.  We even watched some of the locals harvesting the rice, which seems like very hard work as it is all done by hand. 

Jatiluwih rice fields

After riding around for about an hour, we were losing light and decided to head back via a different route, since traffic was bad on the way in.  This was a bad decision, as some of the roads were in bad shape, and we ended up getting stuck behind a procession.  Hundreds of people in ceremonial garb were walking down the street for several miles and taking up both lanes of the road so that no traffic could get through.  By the time it was over, it was dark and we still had a long way to go.  We had a hard time finding our way back to Ubud, making several wrong turns along the way.  The few traffic signs in Bali are usually covered by some sort of vegetation, and there are definitely no lights shining on them at night.  We stopped a few times to ask for directions and made it back to the hotel quite late, lucky to be in one piece and ready to park the scooters. 

The next day, we got a taxi out of Ubud and headed west to Sanur.  From this beachside village, we caught a ferry out to the small islands west of Bali.  There are actually three islands that are grouped close together about 10 miles off the coast.  Nusa Penida is the largest and then there are two other islands, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan which are quite small and connected via a bridge.  Our plan was to visit the two small islands and stay on the larger and more developed of the two, Nusa Lembongan.  Shortly after we bought our tickets, we were told to start boarding the ferry.  There are no docks in Sanur, so the ferry boats anchor out and tie a stern line to shore.  You wade out in the water and jump on, which can be challenging when the boat is surging forward and back in the swell. 

colorful boats in Sanur
After a half hour ferry ride, we arrived in Mushroom Bay on the west side of Nusa Lembongan.  After the boat anchored, we got our luggage and waded ashore.  The change in pace was immediately felt.  The small bay with white sand beaches seemed quite laid back compared to Bali.  We checked into our hotel in Mushroom Bay and then rented two scooters to explore the islands.  While paying for the rental, we asked the guy about helmets.  He laughed and told us people don’t wear helmets on the island because the speed limit was only 15 mph.    

Nusa Lembongan

It didn’t take long to get around the island, even at 15 mph.  The roads are not crowded, as there are no cars and just a few pickup trucks.  Mostly people get around by walking, bicycle or scooter.  There are only 7,000 people living there, compared to the 4 million on Bali. After lunch, we rode to the other side of the island, which took about ten minutes. 

 While riding around, we were surprised to run into a kite flying contest in progress.  This was apparently a big deal, and there were some really cool homemade kites being flown.  The contest was held at Dream Beach on the southwest side of the island.  What was more interesting than seeing the kites was watching the participants arrive.  The groups of 20 or 30 people that were involved in making the kites walked to Dream Beach on the road in a procession accompanied by music and holding the kites over their heads on display.  They were obviously very proud of them.  We stayed to watch a few of the launches.  One was the clear favorite, which was a red, white and black striped kite with a tail 5 ft wide and 50 ft long. 

kite flying contest at Dream Beach on Nusa Lembongan

We spent a couple nights at our hotel in Mushroom Bay.  There was a nice beach out front and a fringing reef that provided protection to the shallow waters along the northwest side of the island.  The shallow waters within this reef make a nice area for growing seaweed, which is what many of the local people do for a living.  It was interesting to see the Balinese people harvesting the red and green seaweed, piling it high into their small boats.  After rowing to shore, they load it into baskets and carry it off to spread it out so it can dry.   It looked like hard work.

seaweed farming on Nusa Lembongan

These islands are also known as good snorkeling and diving areas, and we wanted to spend some time in the water while there.  We decided to hire a local boat and found somebody on the beach to take us out for a few hours to do some snorkeling.  It is important to have some local expertise here, as there are strong currents that go around the island.  In fact, earlier in the week some experienced Europeans divers went out and a couple guys were taken away by the strong current and never heard from again. 

Our guide took us to some great spots.  The first one had really nice coral and lots of colorful fish along the steep slopes off the island of Nusa Penida.  Unfortunately, there were also many tiny jelly fish here that were stinging us, so we decided to move.  The next stop was along the fringing reef of Nusa Lembongan.  The current was running here, and we drifted for almost a mile along the reef with our guide following behind in the boat.  It had been a while since we had done any snorkeling, and it was nice to be in the water again.

The next day we set out to ride the scooters around nearby Nusa Ceningan.  This is the smallest of the three islands at about three miles long and one mile wide.  We got to the island via the bridge that links the two islands, which was a bumpy ride over the wooden planks.  The bridge is only big enough to support scooters, which is ok because there aren’t any cars or trucks on Nusa Ceningan.  The roads were a bit rough on the island, but there were some really nice views from various lookouts.  There was almost nothing there in terms of tourist activities or facilities, although we did find a place where they had cliff jumping. 

There were various platforms along the cliff face at different heights and one of the locals was there to collect 50,000 Rp (about $5) from anyone who wanted to jump.  When someone showed up, he dangled a long ladder down into the water and tied it off.  The surf comes in quite strong, and there is also a bit of a current at the bottom.   Eric was the only one brave enough to jump, and he did it from the highest point (43 ft).  You actually have to wait for the guy to tell you when to jump, because he has to watch the waves and time it as a small one is coming in.  Then once you land in the water, he is yelling to swim as hard as you can for the ladder, before the current takes you out to sea. 

bridge between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan, Eric cliff jumping

After the cliff jumping, we completed our drive around the island, stopping to check out some of the seaweed farming.  It seems that most of the people living on the smaller Nusa Ceningan were making a living by seaweed farming.  Apparently, it is difficult to grow unless the conditions are ideal.  This means a shallow area with water moving over it, but not too much current.  It also has to be just the right water temperature and salt content.  The shallow water between the two islands is perfect for this, and we saw lots of boats out harvesting.  Seaweed was also spread out on the ground to dry around most of the houses near the water.

seaweed farming on Nusa Ceningan

Our week of sight-seeing flew by, and before we knew it, Eric was off to the airport to catch his flight home.  We had a really good time over the week he was in Bali and it was sad to say good-bye.  After a week of living the good life in air conditioned hotels, we moved back into the boat.  Because of the rat incident, we still kept our hatches closed at night, and it was really hot. 

We were ready to get out of there and start our long journey across the Indian Ocean.  As we prepared to leave, Di developed severe abdominal pain and was running a fever.  She went to the Bali International Medical Centre to get a check-up.  The medical care was very professional, with a quick turn-around time on the lab tests.  Unfortunately, the results showed that Di had a parasite, likely picked up from something she ate or drank, and the treatment involved two rounds of antibiotics over the next 17 days. 

We were definitely ready to start the next leg of our trip, but also felt it would be prudent to wait a few days to make sure there were no side effects from the antibiotics before heading out to sea.  We continued preparing Saviah for the passage during the day, primarily stowing things and topping off fuel and water.  We had provisioned heavily in Darwin, but still needed to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables before leaving. 

We decided to check into a hotel near the hospital for our last few days.  The rooms were air conditioned, which gave us some reprieve from the heat at night, especially Di who was running a fever.  It was also nice to be next to the hospital in case her symptoms worsened.   Andrew was also tested, so we didn’t have any surprises while at sea and miles away from help. 

After three days, the boat was ready to go, and Di wasn’t showing any significant side effects from the antibiotics.  We made our five stops at the various offices to clear out of the country and headed out on September 8th.  Our next destination would be the islands of Cocos Keeling, 1,100 miles away.