It’s been over a year since we parked Kozmic in Malaysia. I’ve been back to see her twice. Once to move her up to Langkawi and the second to play in Langkawi. She has been for sale while on the Hard. Boats are funny things and people who want to buy a boat often even stranger.
So to catch up.
The motor up the Java sea took its toll on our spirits. We were very late season departing Bali and the weather was always on our minds. Often heavy rain and wind of varying strength always directly on the nose. Not to mention some of the strangest vessels that I have ever seen.
We made a stop in Karimunjawa for a night and some fuel. This was our first encounter with the Bugis people. It would seem that tourism was high priority for pushing more people into the middle class. Yet I could count the smiles seen in town on my fingers. Don’t get me wrong the people were very nice and helpful. But the laughing playful children of the eastern regions seemed another country away.
To get fuel we took the cans into town and hailed a taxi to the petrol station. There seemed to be normal looking petrol pumps. We were told that due to being in cans we were not eligible to use that diesel or solar as its referred to. We were marched to the back of the petrol station where our fuel was stored in barrels.
Out comes a black tub and the diesel pump was inserted into the barrel. Fuel was then pumped into the tub and ladled into our cans. The remaining fuel in the black tub was then pumped back into the barrel by turning the handle in reverse. I was very suspicious of the fuel.
We decided to leave the fuel on the dock and let anything settle out while we went off to find some food. After a while we returned. There appeared to be no settlement in the bottom of the can so we loaded them into the dingy.
Once aboard I left the cans sit for as long as possible and then used by filtered siphon to decant their content into the tank. We proceeded to up anchor by late afternoon. It took a while as were we found shelter was our deepest anchorage yet. 23m Deep meant near all of our chain was out!
Some time in the early hours of the morning while steaming towards Belitung the wind and sea’s began to build. Being the Java Sea the wind was near perfect on the nose and by luck shipping traffic appeared to increase. This was our first encounter of many with a poorly lit tug with barge in tow. For the life of me and the lights shown it appeared as two ships moving in parallel not in tow.
In hind site the front of the Tug was lit and the very back of the barge. The lights on the barge appeared like lights of a bridge and no stern lights. This made the two ships look very far apart. Length of tug plus line plus lengths of barge to aft. It wasn’t until I saw the cable popping in and out of the water did I thrust the transmission full steam into reverse did a 180′ turn and try to get some sea way.
The boat rolled strongly and just as poor Kozmic began to develop forward momentum could we see the dented and rusted bow of the barge heaving through the confused foamy seas. Mere meters from catastrophe avoided collision at sea.
Had it not been my watch nor I the skipper it would have been a rush to the liquor cabinet to find some liquid courage to continue on. But the ships way is to forbid any inebriating substance whilst under way and so I made a mental note that I was owed an extra two fingers of scotch at the next drop of the anchor!
Up next the BVI of Indonesia, Belitung.