how we stopped this fishing boat from hitting us

How We Stopped This Fishing Boat From Hitting Us

After several days exploring Sulawesi from Tolitoli, it was about time we moved on further along the coast to Bitung and the Lembeh Strait. It was going to be a tough passage against recalcitrant winds along a shoreline with few spots to anchor.

But before that, Liz had a dental emergency to sort out…

How We Stopped This Fishing Boat From Hitting Us
Liz nice and relaxed in the dentist chair…

And then the weather sucker-punched us.

Storm 1

Just after dawn, a squall hit the quiet harbour of Tolitoli. Nothing unusual there, especially over the past few weeks, but this one was particularly vicious and was blowing from the south-west. The waves were rolling almost directly into the anchorage. We rushed to put away our awnings which were in danger of whipping off, and to lower the ‘wing’ solar panels that the wind can sometimes catch underneath.

And the wind was strong.

So strong that many of the boats cosily tucked up in the middle of the bay were starting to drag towards us.

Eating bees eggs and roofs that open

Jamie had spent the previous afternoon taking a closer look at the ‘spider’ boats beached at low tide for repairs by the fishermen near the harbour wall. But today was the day before Ramadan. Everyone had gone home for the up-coming festivities.

Storm 2

The second squall, a day later, was even more violent. This time it came from the west, so waves were coming straight at us. Our only possible way to safety was to leave and cross the bay to the potential shelter of a small island. Running into 3m waves outside the harbour, we prayed there would be safety in the shallow water of tiny Pulau Lutungan.

These are the kinds of experiences on a boat that you never forget. Luckily for us, they came well into years of sailing together, so we were able to avoid catastrophe by working fast and without panicking. In the episode, we go through lessons learned.

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You can watch the episode here…

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