We checked out from the island of Belitung and headed for Singapore which was about 3 days away. The crossing to Singapore was going to be interesting as it was the busiest shipping lanes in the world !! We had an easy sail(motor) up towards Singapore, a serious lack of wind meant we motored most of the way. On the morning of the 22nd of October at 4.02 a.m. we crossed the equator from south to north. It is customary to don wigs, toast Neptune and drink Champagne so we did !!
As we approached Singapore during the night we encountered huge container ships that were anchored in a sheltered area a few miles away. It was already becoming interesting, oil tankers anchored up covered in lights with small supply vessels dashing between them across a narrow inlet. We arrived just before the start of the shipping lanes by dawn, perfect timing. We had to ask permission to cross the lanes so radio’d the port authority and after about an hour and three unanswered sets of communications they gave us the go ahead. Don’t think they are too fussed about us yachties, we are probably more of a nuasuince than anything.
There was a stream of cargo and oil tanker vessels that just kept coming, all about half a mile apart, might sound like a good distance but they are doing about 12 knots and you can’t get too close to the one you wish to pass behind. They soon descend upon you. Once you have crossed the lane going west to east you have a bit of a breather until you have to cross the lane going east to west !! After making your way across you then have to find your way through a lot of parked oil tankers, these you can get a bit closer too, you have to to find your way into the river entrance that heads towards Singapore.
This is where you realise just how big these things really are !! You are miniscual compared to the size of them, they wouldn’t even be able to see you if you got close, the overhangs of the bow and beams would mean you would be in their blind spot.
We safely crossed the busiest shipping lanes in the world and everybody breathed a sigh of relief, it was rather tense at times. I took over the helm from Myra and took the boat up the river to our stop at Dangka Bay marina in Malaysia. It took another 3 hours to get there and the temperature just seemed to change dramatically, it was hot but everybody was just dripping with sweat, the humidity was unbelievable. I guess this is what we would be in for during our stay in Malaysia, so near the equator.
These guys were just colossal !!
Big boats everywhere !!