The last of a trilogy, I hope.
I know you're sick of hearing of our mishaps and misadventures. Or maybe not -- maybe you are smirking smugly to yourself thinking, "that's what they get!" Either way, I am not sure what is up, but in the past few days we (Rutea, more specifically) has been a magnet for rocks, coral heads, squalls and, most recently, a fat ass piece of something that got stuck on the rudder.
There we were, sailing down the Straits of Malacca, 1.5 miles away from our anchorage at Bintan Island. The morning was rife with rain squalls and freighters, but the current was with us so we were making good time. The Strait was filled with trash and random floating objects, so Mom was watching the water keenly as Dad was at the helm. I was down below doing a crossword puzzle.
All of a sudden: CHUNK. CLUNK. BANG. THUD. There is that moment when you hit something as you are sailing along that makes your heart absolutely drop, followed by the thought, "Oh fxxk, not again." I dashed up into the cockpit but Mom and Dad looked as bewildered as me. They had not seen anything in the water. When Mom tried to put the engine in forward the prop made a horrible clunking noise, so Dad went below to check the engine.
We could all feel something banging at the stern of the boat, but Dad came back up and said nothing looked wrong with the engine. Then he checked the stern of the boat: "Ha! Guys, you gotta come look at this! Bring the camera," he shouted from the aft deck. I grabbed the camera and ran out, only to find four beams of wood sticking out from under the boat. It looked like we had effectively docked ourselves.
Here we were, in the middle of the Straits of Malacca with squalls on the horizon and three feet of wind chop on the water, a current pulling us towards the rocks and 1.5 bloody miles away from our anchorage, we get caught up on these massive pieces of wood. (Any words come to mind?)
Dad decides to jump in the water to see what exactly is going on (in the middle of the busiest waterway in the world). We tied a line to the stern so he wouldn't get swept away with the current, but I was more concerned with him getting bashed in the head by the boat, which was heaving and dropping in the choppy conditions. He jumped in and, after a minute or so (maybe even less), decided that we would have to sail into the anchorage, beams in tow. The four beams were connected by two iron rods, the square of which had managed to wedge itself over the skeg and rudder. How is this possible? I have no idea. I just know that it happened.
Fortunately, because we are all such competent sailors, and because we miraculously still had steering, we were able to sail up to anchor. Soon after anchoring Dad jumped into the water, hacksaw in hand, and in 15 minutes sawed the iron rod that connected the four beams together, freeing the beams from the rudder. He said there was minor damage to the skeg and hull of the boat, which was extremely lucky.
We are now anchored off Nirwana Resort on the island of Bintan. Singapore is a mere 20 miles away, and the prices at the resort reflect that. We are definitely (almost) not in Indonesia anymore. However, they let us use the pool for free and give us as many fresh towels as we want. There are also showers galore. I intend on making full use of these luxuries before we check out of the country and move on to Singapore. And hopefully, HOPEFULLY, our encounter with the beams was the last misadventure for a while (although I kind of doubt it). I mean really, we have hit more things in the past three days than we have in the past three years. What is up with that?!
P.S. I thought it was very mature of me that I didn't mention to Dad that the Straits of Malacca have the most deadly and the highest population sea snakes of anywhere in the world.