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Date Posted: 11/06/10

November 2, 2010 - Crossing South China Sea for the 2nd Time

By: Arturo Valdez

12:29 PM - Finally, we crossed South China Sea for the 2nd time, the first gentler and friendlier, the 2nd time gave us a 'treat' that shakened our wits. Still we're really glad that we pulled through. When we left yesterday morning, the seas rough and the skies were dark and pouring rain heavily. Even the two local fishing boats that came out of the cove gave up and returned to the safety of Tambelan.

We stubbornly plodded through, confident that the heavy swells and strong southerly winds were behind us. This is our only window of opportunity to cross South China Sea on a brief shift from northerly to southerly winds which Voltaire advised could only last 2 days.

The seas and skies calmed down in the afternoon allowing us to skip Pemangkat, Kalimantan, Indonesia (our emergency stop just in case). We turned portside towards the northwestern tip of Borneo all the way to Kuching, Sarawak. Any other kind of seas, even white capping, is still preferable than what we've been thru.

Perhaps, having been blown off course into Tambelan Island was a blessing. That is the correct route for a wooden-hulled boat straight to Kalimantan side thru the navigable waters sheltered by Borneo Island from the onslaught of 'amihan'. Our wooden Balangays can't make it against the strong NE wind and subjected to continuously pummeling on their port/broadside by battering waves. They could have been smashed to pieces.

Also, our having skipped Vietnam gave us a narrow window to make it home before the NE winds regularize their full monsoon fury in South China Sea. Anyway, we are presently 21NM away from Kuching and the whole crew is looking forward to good stop-over for rest and re-provisioning.

KUCHING HERE WE COME!


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