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March 16, 2023
A ship's log from the Indian Ocean - Part 8
Ayiana and Torren arrive at their final destination with an intact and trusty Calypte
In her eighth and final entry to the Calypte Ship's Log, Aiyana Powell reflects on the adventure she’s shared with Torren Martyn exploring for waves while delivering a 35ft sailing boat from Thailand to Eastern Indonesia.
When Torren and Aiyana embarked onto the South China Sea aboard Calypte more than ten months ago they had a simple plan to learn to sail as they went and otherwise rely on a few friends with seafaring experience to help get them through the tricky bits along the way. With this, the pair headed up the Strait of Malacca, around the tip of Sumatra and out into the Indian Ocean on a year-long expedition along the Indonesian Archipelago in search of waves. Now, more than 5,000 nautical miles later, Torren and Aiyana reach their destination with a true sense gratitude for the many elements and experiences that came together and allowed them tofulfil a dream.
Bali felt like another world. Temples dotted the shoreline, boats passed decorated with ornate Hindu gods and colourful flags. New smells whirled from the shore and huge volcanoes crested the horizon. We set anchor in a pristine little bay, surrounded by grasslands, listening to the songs of Balinese birds. It felt good, really good, to have made it and it also felt really good to get a full nights sleep.
Torren focused on an upcoming section of Indian Ocean
Aiyana on lookout for reef as the pair navigate a shallow channel between atolls
Torren on a lonely piece of reef out on the edge of the Indian Ocean
The next day, we anchored outside Lovina, where volcanic cliffs met black-sand beaches and rowdy children played lato lato (Indonesian handball game) in little gangs onshore. We dropped the dinghy, and went in for our first restaurant meal in a long, long time. Instantly, small vendors rushed us, selling shell necklaces and paintings and sarongs. The rush of life, the chatter of crowds, the sudden presence of other tourists felt frankly overwhelming, but also really fun. I instantly started shopping, and wandered off to look at jewelry while cinematographer Milo and Torren searched for somewhere to eat. I got to chatting with a Balinese man selling pearls from a little cubby on the sand, and told him we had just spent a few weeks out at sea. “You must be tired,” he said, “but you saw heaven in the sea.” He said it like he knew, an unabashed statement, and I couldn’t stop smiling because he was right.
That night, we preemptively drank a bunch of margaritas and then slept through our alarm, putting us a day behind our scheduled approach of Lombok. We had to wait an extra day before crossing the Lombok Strait, infamous for even stronger, more dangerous currents than where we had just been.
Back on terra firma tucking in to the local cuisine
Another evening session in fading light
Loading up with fresh water and essentials can be a multiple day adventure in itself between a local village and the wrestle of getting everything back to the boat
More than ten months from when we first stepped foot on Calypte, and over 5,000 nautical miles later, we headed out into the strait for our last day of the journey. We were nervous to cross the Lombok Strait, cluttered with freighters and infamous for dangerous currents. As we pulled away from Bali, we were surrounded by hundreds of small sailing boats. Traditional fisherman raced past us, with mismatched and multicolored sails, harnessing the wind and the current to reach speeds of at least 10 knots. It was a sight to behold, Calypte out in it, the sky full of sails. About an hour later Torren let out a yell and pointed towards the horizon, just as a pilot whale launched itself from the ocean. We slowed down the boat, and watched in awe as a large pod of whales worked together to chase, catch and kill an enormous sailfish. The spectacle lasted over an hour, only meters from Calypte. The sailfish was huge, prehistoric and mighty. We watched the whales as they chased and exhausted the poor fish and then shared their catch amongst themselves. We were so close to the pod that we could hear them communicating in ethereal squeaks. Sometimes, one of the whales would join us on our bow and turn on its belly, looking up at us as if to say stop heckling me while I’m trying to eat. We watched as the water turned red with blood after they finally killed the sailfish, watched frigate birds come swooping in for scraps. Eventually, we started moving again, awestruck by what we had just been allowed to witness. Before we knew it, we were approaching Lombok.
Aiyana seeing good things lining up
The 35ft sailboat Calypte has been the prefect companion for this year long journey
Aiyana back on land for now
Pulling up to the dock for the first time was nerve-racking. Ever since leaving Malaysia, we had been in rural Indonesia. No marinas, no fuel docks, not many other boats. Torren had never pulled up to a dock before, we couldn’t quite remember what to do with the lines, and I was kinda freaking out that he was going to crash into a multimillion dollar catamaran and we were all going to be sued. Luckily, the marina was small and uncluttered and Torren pulled up to the dock like a professional sailor. Throughout this whole ordeal, Torren had taken on so much responsibility, had thrown himself headfirst into the unknown. In that moment, I felt overwhelmingly proud of him. I felt proud of all of us. Knowing we had completed what we set out to do felt really, really good. A kaleidoscope of memories hit me: electrical storms in the Malacca Strait, police boats off Singapore, thundering righthand barrels, sunrises, whale spouts, bonfires on desert islands, almost sinking in the middle of the night, crossing the equator. So many people had helped us make this dream a reality - our families, Ryan, Ishka, George, Kas, Drew, Kelly, Jack, Chris, Sarica, Indya, Wyla, Wren and so many more… it had been almost a year aboard Calypte and we had so much to be thankful for. Calypte herself! She had become our home, we understood her now in ways that would have been inconceivable a year before, and she had never let us down.
The pair have navigated well over 5,000 nautical miles in the past 12 months. Embarking as complete amateurs, they now have become experienced sailors
Torren with his eyes set on the horizon. What’s next?