Goodbye South East Asia
As you read this we will have just rounded the north eastern tip of Timor Leste Island, and officially left South East Asia. After 68 days of human powered effort we have rowed Simpson’s Donkey through the Singapore, Indonesia and Timor Leste Island chains and now enter the Timor Sea for a 260nm crossing to the Tiwi Islands.
The last three days since we left Dili have been hot and slow as we battle tidal streams – but never stronger than we can row so we have made decent ground, covering a total distance of around 100nm in 2 ¼ days. Days are hot with minimal breeze – night times we have the breeze blowing off the land as the earth cools faster than the sea creating this phenomenon.
We have stayed between 2- 6nm off the north coast of Timor all the way up the coastline – which has been interesting to see the coast but also a reminder of how slow we are going so a little depressing sometimes. We are both eager to get into the Timor Sea and take on this challenge. It appears we have some wind forecast with a low pressure system passing through. The currents also are not generally in our favor according to the models so I hope the models are wrong (as they have been before) or the currents are not so strong that we cannot make ground. We also hope to reach Tiwi Islands and enter Darwin around the 21st of this month as this is a ¾ moon and the tidal cycle is at neaps which creates the smallest currents. Darwin has a 6m tidal range between high and low tides meaning currents will be massive and timing is everything.
Both of us are eager to get to Darwin now and finish this stage off, we are working very efficiently on the boat in our rowing shifts of hour on/hour off from 0700 – 1900 and then 2 hrs on, 2 hrs off from 1900 – 0700, through the night. Lets hope we can get through the Timor Sea safely and quickly before a cyclone appears.