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Brunei to Miri

December 17, 2012
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We could have waited endlessly for the wind to arrive in Brunei. When it did come it usually brought lightening, thunder and rain. So, instead of waiting for the next deluge we decide to take our chances and clear out of Brunei and head southwest along Borneo’s coast and back into Malaysia.

We were very casual about departure but eventually got going at 1100hrs and under police escort headed out of the bay and the breakwater and into light westerlies. At least enough to sail in and being from forward of the beam provided a nice cooling breeze allowing us to make fair way over the ground.

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By 1700hrs the skies were getting black, the sea a little grayer and our nerves getting to us. Luckily the sultan’s brother had built a huge private marina in Jerudong located behind an incredibly large man made breakwater for his mega yacht called Tit (on an aside his yacht has two tenders of which one is called Nipple 1 and the other Nipple 2). Moving on…

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Seeing as this marina is currently unused we availed ourselves of it, entered the breakwater, turned to starboard, dropped the anchor and went down below to escape the impending deluge which lasted about 15 minutes. We thanked the Sultan’s brother, had dinner and went to bed.

Next morning at 0500hrs, up to make tea, check the engine, turn on the lights, start the engine, pull up the anchor and head out to sea and hope we can make Miri by nightfall.

It quickly becomes evident that making it to Miri by nightfall will be an impossibility. There is no wind and we plod on under power until 12 noon when a breeze lights up from the west. It does not allow us to head directly to Miri but at least we are sailing. Our real concern is to try to weave through the myriad oil fields before dark. The chart shot below shows our progress through the oil fields just as the sun is setting. We are moving from right to left across the chart following the yellow line which is Sage’s actual route.

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After clearing the oil fields we slow down realizing we are not going to get to Miri by nightfall. We have just come through a maze of what I would call an engineers wet dream. To me the oil rigs look more like ginormous mecano sets floating on the water. Some of them are lit, some are spewing out flames burning off the excess gases while others remain unlit and I assume unused. “What, unlit you say?”. Yes, unlit which almost needless to say is hazardous to the health and well-being of sailors.

With Connie on watch from 0200 – 0400hrs and me down below snoozing I am suddenly awakened by Connie shouting out the order for all hands on deck. What’s happening? I stumble out into the inky blackness (clear skies but no moon) to find looming in front of us a 100 metre high unlit vent pipe. All our sailing experience comes to the for and we know what needs to be done. Despite the darkness we know where everything is and are able to immediately move to a corrected course to keep us away from ramming a vent tube. Once again fortune is on our side and we escape for another day.

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Finally Miri. We stop at 0400hrs a few miles offshore waiting for the morning light and motor into Miri marina. Yes, another marina but no swimming pool, no towel service and a four kilometre hike into town. More to explore and perhaps another crocodile; or, so they tell me here cobras and pythons on the dock. Do I believe them?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2012 06:37

    Fun. I mean, fun to read, not necessarily to experience the slalom of oil rigs. Also found interesting that Brunei is a rich mix of Muslim and Chinese cultures. Fair winds, and here’s hoping your next marina has a pool. Merry Christmas to you both.

  2. December 17, 2012 07:26

    I’m so grateful for the bits about almost running into things in the dark. It helps me keep my envy (barely) under control. Also of course, that there’s no pool. Poor you. Have a wonderful Christmas nevertheless and do have a good rest. 🙂
    J

  3. December 17, 2012 07:58

    I’m reading old entries from a year ago (Christmas on Palau) and realizing what a year of adventures it’s been for you, dear friends. Happy sailing, the best of health, and many more nautical miles for 2013. Hugs from afar from the Loran/La CouvĂ©e/ Jonker clan.

  4. Anne Boldt permalink
    December 18, 2012 04:39

    Hola U 2 brave sailors!
    Thanks for your updates. I don’t even know where exactly you are now.. will have to get my map book of the world out later.. it is kind of buried.
    We are happy, happy living in our little land yacht here in Guayabitos. Had lunch with Pam, Maryanne and Mark and Chloe and her BF Steve on Sunday. Pam and M&M have done a LOT of work on their place since we saw it last Feb. Wow, it is beautiful but you know, much as I love it down here I don’t know about year rounding it.
    Off to the pool to do some laps before it gets busy there.
    Adios and Merry HO,HO…though it is hard to believe it is Xmas down here.
    Annie B.

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