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  july 2012


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06/07/12  During our normal Friday cruise to Labuan onboard Fourth Dimension, we caught two Spanish Mackerel - skipper Barry pictured right with one of them, (the second was a similar size).  I collected my new fuel tank which was waiting as promised, from the Yamaha Dealer while in Labuan.

07/07/12  Fitted the new fuel tank to my outboard.  I can now tilt the engine without petrol pouring out of the tank and into the dinghy!  The internet (or lack of it) ashore in the Yacht Club continues to be a big problem and is getting on our nerves.


08/07/12  Following our success at fishing on Friday, we (Barry, Roger, Mark and I) took Fourth Dimension out for a sail again today and caught an even bigger Spanish Mackerel on the second strike.  The first strike was a failure when the fish wriggled off the hook as I pulled it onboard.  I'm holding up the one that didn't get away in the photo on the right.  On our return to the anchorage, we got the restaurant to cook it for us - some sweet and sour, a fish head curry and a plate with about 15 bread-crumbed fillets, all served with chips and vegetables.

10/07/12  Refitted my anchor windlass this morning, Roger coming over to help with the bolting down.  Rained for most of the afternoon and evening, as it has for several days - not unexpected in the 'wet' season....but this is supposed to be the 'dry' season!  Getting ashore during the late afternoon, early evening, was a damp affair and I wonder why I bothered as the internet is still at it's worst.  However, I think I've managed to update this site!!  An SMS text from Julie and Gareth onboard Pelangi tells me they are now in Labuan (returning from the Philippines), so it will be nice to catch up with them in the not to distant future.

11/07/12  Stripped the tube stack out of the engine heat exchanger today and took it ashore for pressure testing - I've been losing coolant in large quantities over the last couple of engine starts, with no visible external leaks....so it's either the tube stack or the head gasket.  I hope it's the former!  In the meantime, I've fitted my spare one and replaced the rear rubber end cap (which was brittle) and the coolant is presently remaining at a constant level.

13/07/12  This is turning into Fisherman's Weekly!  Today, on our return from Labuan, we caught two Black Finned Barracuda (another thrashed itself off the hook as we hoisted it aboard), Barry shows them off on the right.  Whilst in Labuan, I bought two of the lures that we have used for the last couple of weeks, in the hope they will be as successful when I leave Brunei again!  Also while in Labuan, I arranged to meet up with Julie and Gareth over lunch, so it was good to see them again and hear what they have been up to over the last year.  They will be coming over to Muara next week.

14/07/12  A little drama today.........I was looking out of the saloon window while putting on my kettle, and thinking "Storm Dodger is awfully close??"  I dashed up to the cockpit and realised she had broken free of her mooring buoy and was drifting upstream into the shallows.  I yelled across to Roger (who was below) to alert him of his dilemma and jumped in the dinghy to go across and help.  Roger dropped his anchor and secured the boat about 70 feet away from me.  We spent the rest of the day driving around, trying to find some new rope to reconnect to the buoy, but without success.

15/07/12  Dismounted my self-steering windvane from the stern today, in preparation for taking it ashore for refurbishment.  Today is the Sultan of Brunei's birthday.....so happy birthday!

16/07/12  Public Holiday today for the Sultan's Birthday.  Brought the self-steering ashore so that Chia can weld up a major crack and smaller minor one, and free off a partially seized bearing.

17/07/12  Pelangi arrived in the anchorage.  Managed to obtain some nylon rope (cheap Chinese rubbish) today to make up new mooring ropes for Roger.

18/07/12  Helped Roger to splice up some new mooring ropes in preparation for going back on the buoy.

19/07/12  Astrid returned to Brunei from England, full of tales of her sister's wedding which she thoroughly enjoyed.  Moved Storm Dodger back onto the mooring buoy.

27/07/12  Back to the usual Friday trip to Labuan - I missed out on last Friday's trip because Barry went late and came back late due to a meeting he had to attend at school.

On arrival at the entrance to Victoria Harbour, it was evident that a tanker (the Bunga Alpinia) which had been loading Methanol at the petroleum plant had suffered a huge fire, (thought to be the result of a lightning strike) and was in fact still on fire with attendant oil rig support vessels pumping thousands of gallons of water onto and into her.  She had been moved from the wrecked loading jetty and had settled in shallower water close by.  Sadly, we heard that four of the crew members had lost their lives and another was missing.

On our return from Labuan to Muara, we cruised our usual area for fishing and caught yet another Spanish Mackerel (right) and by the time we got back to our anchorage, the fish had been cleaned, skinned and filleted in preparation for another fish 'n' chip supper one night.

28/07/12  I suppose that British television is now showing nothing but the Olympics!!

29/07/12  Spent the day out sailing and fishing onboard Fourth Dimension with Barry, Sue, Astrid and Roger but we were singularly unsuccessful despite crossing and re-crossing our usual 'catching ground.'  During the night, I was woken by the increasing wind and at 3am, a 30 knot squall passed through the anchorage.




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