We've sailed a lot of miles through many lightning storms, but this was our biggest and longest in 13 years. It was relentless, at times the lightning bolts came every 10 seconds
Miri Marina, our destination, is notoriously difficult to enter. There is a long, shallow sand bar on approach and a narrow channel into the marina only navigable at high tide. Any kind of swell makes it impossible.
We would be arriving on a Spring tide, so needed to catch it at the right height and current. We had three days to go and needed to arrive at around 9am.
When we left the shelter of Serasan a light breeze and sunny skies allowed us to shake out the sails in the blue waves. Dolphins played at the bow and we all enjoyed some peace.
But PredictWind was showing storms along the Borneo coastline. Through the binoculars, anvil-shaped clouds built in the east. Perhaps this would be the shape of things to come now the southwest monsoon had finished much earlier than expected. In the transitional period all bets are off. With binoculars at the ready, we kept a wary eye on the horizon.
Apart from the weather, this coastline has other hazards, in particular oil and gas rigs. Some are on the charts, but many don’t appear, have moved or been replaced in a slightly different position. Some have even been cut down with just their legs left behind at wave height.
The clouds gathered overnight and before dawn we were in the middle of it. The good news was that the wind picked up to more than 35 knots, so we made good speed.
The bad news was that we were now ahead of schedule and needed to reduce speed to ensure we wouldn’t turn up at the marina too early.