Day 43 – In search of the conveyor belt east

Hello all from Simpson’s Donkey.

The past three days have been interesting, our departure from Bali on day 40 saw us immediately enter the Lombok Strait.  A massive 20nm stretch of fierce water that did not disappoint!  Once in the middle of the Strait a massive North Easterly setting current stream fought against a 10knot northerly wind and it was a messy angry confused sea state.  Without even rowing we were pushed for a number of hours north east in exactly the direction we needed to go at 4 – 5 knots.  I have never seen currents so strong and prolonged, what a dangerous piece of water if you get it wrong.  Fortunately we got it exactly right,  since then we have been riding the conveyor belt of a 1 – 1.5 knot easterly setting current.  70% of the last three days we have been on this, and only skipped off a couple of times.  We can row comfortably at speeds of 2.2 – 2.5 knots so are making good time.  My estimates for planning on this leg from Bali to Pulau Weta are 50nm days – this means speeds of no less than just over 2 knots need to be sustained for 24 hours, day after day, we have managed this for the first three days so happy so far.

It is very hot and still during  the day – the NW monsoon has stopped blowing – we hope it will start up again today which will help our speed more.  One disappointment is that we have had to come so far from shore (30nm or more) to find the currents that so far we cannot get a good look at this stunning island chain.  Its 35 degrees under the shade today rowing.  Charlie is rowing well and adjusting back to life onboard.  Dave Field is an excellent support helping us stay on the conveyor belt of currents. I had the blues for the first two days as I missed my girls enormously – now I have settled back into boat life and use their thoughts as massive motivation to reach Darwin.  Tomorrow we reach the end of Sumbawa Island and will cross Selat Sape which houses Komodo Island – we will be 20 – 30nm north though so probably wont even see it, bye from a very peaceful but hot Simpson’s Donkey!

Captain Axe and Charlie


Swimming in 1,500m water depth to cool off during the heat of the day – advice from Dave Field – “Don’t drop anything here!”

Posted on February 14, 2017, in Rowing Home. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. You asked us to try and imagine the experiences of rowing in strong currents,storms,using the bucket !, missing landfall and worst of all, not seeing your family ever again. Now, I have a pretty good imagination but that was a very big ask. The photo showing the lightening strike was enough for me.It all makes our trip up Everest sound like a walk in the park. I’m so pleased your time in Bali with your family all worked out, you certainly deserved it. I wait for the next instalment with baited breath. Wishing you safe journey Cheers Kate


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