Robinsons of northwest Sumatra
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Robinsons of northwest Sumatra

As six Russians crashed in the Indian Ocean, found themselves on a desert island, collected a bamboo raft and were rescued by a fishing boat with a bottle message.
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During the New Year holidays six yachtsmen from Moscow, Anapa and Kirov went on a trip to the islands of the Banyak archipelago in Indonesia on an inflatable catamaran with an outboard engine. When most of us were scraping olives, these guys rafted down the Ayas River, almost losing Captain Sergei Belikov on the first day, who was puked out of the catamaran by branches and carried away by the current. While the country was celebrating the old New Year, smoothly entering the working rhythm after eleven days of active rest, they managed to crash in the Indian Ocean, get to a desert island, build a raft made of improvised materials and successfully reach the big land.

ItBoat contacted one of the participants in the epic, Artemy Semyonovsky, and got the details.

On this and similar catamarans with this captain we have already repeatedly furrowed Southeast Asia, in particular 3 times in the area of Thailand (Andaman Sea, Gulf of Thailand, etc.). In these regions, for many reasons, it is not very convenient to operate a yacht - very shallow, many reefs, etc. So in the Atlantic I am on yachts and here I am on a catamaran. The route of this voyage is the rafting along the Ayas River from Ketambe to the ocean, and then to the islands of the Banyak Archipelago.

We usually live in the jungle - on uninhabited islands where we stay overnight. We buy food and water reserves in advance and get something ourselves (coconuts, fish, lobsters).

As we entered the Indian Ocean from one of the islands, we encountered a «killer»wave. The wave was 6 feet. Given that the catamaran's height from the water level of 30 centimeters is a lot. Running ashore from the open ocean (there was no bay) is always dangerous, but the existing discrete waves allowed to go out to sea without problems. It was necessary to go as far as possible and as fast as possible, using both oars and an engine, to get away from the shore, where there were no waves. We did not calculate our strength and periods of occurrence of large waves - once in 6 minutes. Well, we did not guess the size itself - such a big wave probably happened once in 10 minutes, the others are smaller and safer.

The catamaran stood at the right angle - with its nose to the wave and the engine had already started... It didn't take a second to get away from the point where the wave appeared.
Well, we did not expect the force of the wave collapse - usually went through even fairly large waves, the catamaran did not suffer.

This time it didn't turn over either, it just milled the whole frame.

But the inflatable cylinders, fortunately, did not break through the torn edges of the frame pipes. The catamaran was immediately thrown back on shore with us.

All luggage is tied deliberately - we have not lost anything, except unfixed clothes like hats, glasses, etc. in small things. On the shore, we smoked, drank and took apart the catamaran, throwing away the broken metal parts.

The torn parts of the fabric sheath were sewn up, and instead of metal pipes we looked for equal in diameter tree trunks - we had to work hard here, as there were not so many trees of the required quality, but we found them.

There were both saws and machetes, so in 2 days they sawed and scared everything. The new frame was fastened to the skid ropes, which we have emergency stock. In 2 days, we did everything.

The new «Kon-Tiki» sailed to an island nearby, but at night the engine died. Thank God, we were already near the coast and rowing on oars for no more than an hour.

For 24 hours we tried to fix the engine until we realized that it was useless: the inlet valve cracked. Then we decided to catch the fishermen who sailed nearby on their boats several times a day. Indonesia is a poor country and no one has racycles here - so the radio exchange is practically zero, including Channel 16. But we've got the hands of the oar and the loudest whistle in the world, so the attention was quick.

The fishermen's boat couldn't get to the shore because of the great excitement and stood at anchor nearby.

They don't speak English, and we speak Indonesian, so we had to do the following: on the shore we used an offline interpreter to write a note in Indonesian, and then in a bottle (so as not to get wet) we passed it on to the fishermen through the swimmer.

When the prelude to the negotiations was over, the fishermen swam up to us (they were fishermen divers, underwater lobster hunters and other evildoers who floated chic), negotiations with the use of Google translator, drawings and texts in the sand continued on the shore.

In the end, we were towed to more ground for a fee.

So everything is not so terrible as it may seem - we were prepared for the extreme, and life in isolation from civilization in general our standard mode of existence in the seas.

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