Life is never dull on a cruising boat.
After our haul-out we make our way out of the river and anchor back in Sorong harbour. In the past we’ve anchored near the marina or on the NE side of Doom Island, but we’ve been told that the harbourmaster has recently had a blitz and moved yachts along from these areas and out to the designated anchoring zones. Unfortunately these zones are deep (30+ metres) and also crowded with the local live-aboard Phinisis, some of which have definitely passed their glory days. After much motoring around we find a spot up the back of the pack in a relatively shallow 22 metres with plenty of room around us and settle in for the evening.
Afternoon and evening thunderstorms and squalls are the norm this close to the equator, but our experience is that they don’t last too long or blow too hard. So when the skies darken and the wind picks up to 20 knots we’re not too concerned – our anchor’s well dug in and we have plenty of chain out.
I’m in the process of cooking a fish curry when we notice a neighbouring yacht dragging past us – they’re aware of the problem and have it under control, re-anchoring more securely a bit further away. A few moments later we see a local Phinisi ahead of us is also dragging – this is more of a problem as he’s a lot bigger, but again he seems to have it sorted and is pulling up his rode and anchor. Except the longer we watch the more we realise in horror that he doesn’t seem to have it sorted at all – nothing’s happening and he’s getting closer and closer, broadside on to our bow. At this point Bruce is up on the bow yelling. Very loudly. It seems there’s only two people on board – God knows what the skipper’s doing, but the foredeck guy is just standing there saying “Sorry, sorry” right up until they drift onto our bow, smashing our navigation lights.
There’s a lot more yelling (and plenty of expletives from Bruce) – this is one of the smaller phinisis but even so they’re big heavy wooden boats with long, menacing bowsprits which could easily bring our rig down. By now I’ve abandoned the fish curry and am out on deck too, gesticulating wildly and trying to get them to understand that they need to reverse – REVERSE! GO BACK! GO BACK! Eventually they clear our bow but now they’re drifting down our starboard side, with their bowsprit about to take out our rigging shroud. I don’t know how he does it but Bruce finds some superhuman strength to push them off and they miss us by inches.
Miraculously there’s no other damage to Toucan except the plastic cover on the nav lights. We watch with consternation for the next hour as they make several unsuccessful attempts to re-anchor, each time dragging, all too close for comfort. Finally we’ve had enough, “let’s get out of here!” is the word so we pick up our anchor and move well away from the rogue phinisi, forever now known as “the mother#%*#ER”. It takes a while for the adrenaline to subside, and funnily enough neither of us have much appetite for dinner after that.