My first solo night watch and the sky is a blaze like a scene from dooms day! Delos and I motor forward through man made volcano’s of the Brunei oil rigs. Between the very solid rigs, the four plus tankers moored to each one, the 300-meter cargo ships flying past at 20Knts, and the fishing boats with their impossible nets, we are on a very tight course through this channel. ‘Ok 3 hours’ I think, that’s not too long to dodge all this. I look at the radar, it’s lit up like a friggen Christmas tree, multiple targets all over it. Add rolling swells, my squishy belly and the wind being dead on the nose, this channel of flames feels less like the path to freedom and relaxation I thought I was signing up for when I boarded Delos in Kudat two days earlier… Fark! 3 hours!
il rigs and other nasties lighting up the screen leaving Brunei.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, reflecting now on that night shift I thought if I safely motor/sailed Delos without crashing I could proudly pass the baton and get some sleep as a super awesome skipper. How wrong I was… Looking back that night watch was a walk in the park compared to entering the organized chaos that is the Singapore Strait, or even the 35knt squall that hit me 2 nights latter (video to come).
Chaos entering Singapore!
Sitting on my very dry, very stable couch in the Australian summer heat, I’m nostalgic for the sounds of waves and the cooling sea breeze that so nicely compliments Delos. Add a cold glass of homebrew and some tunes; oh man the cruising life is bliss. It was months earlier sitting in this same spot that Jesse called me over to watch another amazing Delos video; it was whilst listening to Brian’s calming American voiceover that I turned to Jesse and asked ‘why don’t we email Brian and Karin to see if they need crew?’ By the look of awe and excitement on Jesse’s face I could tell he was already picturing himself unfurling the sails from Delos’s cockpit.
Until we have our own boat and can start our exciting journey, like many Jesse and I have been living vicariously through Delos and the many other cruises we follow on social media. However, we both knew that our weekly Hobie racing at our local yacht club, although awesome fun was not going to give us all the skills and experience needed for our future life cruising the world. Both agreeing that asking to join Delos for a passage (rather then island hopping) would give us the most true cruising experience, with regards to food prep, provisioning, refueling, paper work, customs, immigration, night watch, navigation, safety, cooking and general knacks for living at sea, we emailed to see if this would be possible? Needless to say the reply from Brain was meet with happy dances and high pitched squeals (mostly from me), the decisions was made that we would fly from our home Gold Coast, Australia, to Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, taxi three hours north to Kudat and join Delos on her 1000nm journey to Singapore.
Cruiser party sharing the info leaving Kudat.
It is not till now that I’m truly starting to understand what I have learnt and achieved whilst sailing on Delos. I’m not talking the practical stuff like the only type of eggs you cook at sea are scrambled, that coffee taste perfectly fine out of a plastic cup, or that the feeling of being in kindergarten will pass (with all the cupboard’s locked and nap time being perfectly acceptable). No, the cruising world has sincerely taught me that the kindness of strangers is still abundant and dished out plentifully, something I had begun to doubt in my land life. Every port, every marina, every yacht club and every new boat that we meet; we were greeted with immeasurable helpfulness, kindness and passion! I learnt that yacht clubs and boat yards are full of sailors who are a wealth of knowledge for anyone new to the cruising world and information on every topic was freely shared and compared. I recognise now that Delos brings with her the positive and bubbly enthusiasm, which shines, brightly from both Karin and Brian, and because of this all we meet easily reflect
At home I often get asked “why do I want to go sailing?” & “won’t you get board/lonely?” I now appreciate that sailing the world gives you the biggest family imaginable, for every tender full of people, there is another five friends in future ports waiting with a cold beer, to tell you the best fishing, diving and anchorages. Once more all this knowledge was given generously to Jesse, and myself. Where on land we wouldn’t be known from a bar of soap, the cruising world joins us all through a respect for the sea and the determination for adventure.