GSSR 2010 – Quick Update – Sans Souci is in Hong Kong

I am pleased to report that Sans Souci is now happily sitting at the dock in Hong Kong.

The final hours of our arrival were tense. I’ll write more about it when I write my real blog sometime in the next week. As I’ve mentioned in the past, it is always a priority for us to arrive, after a passage, in the daylight. On the passage to Hong Kong this was tricky because of the currents. Our estimated arrival time varied wildly as the currents had their way with us. We usually can pinpoint our arrival time within a few minutes, and adjust speed to hit our forecast, but on this passage my estimated arrival times swung by as much as 12 hours. Ultimately, we became worried about the approaching typhoon and decided to pull out all stops and run as fast as we could to Hong Kong, even though it would mean arriving at night. The last 30 miles of our arrival was spent in total darkness, dodging between a multitude of city-sized freighters, fishing boats pulling nets, and tugs pulling barges. The radar was totally useless and running the boat required two of us, with 100% focus on looking out the windows.

Here’s one moment from early in our night…

I was surprised by a little tiny boat, perhaps 15-20 feet long, which never appeared on radar, suddenly crossing my bow. The boat shot in front of me, with amazing speed, while I was in the main traffic lane, within 50 feet of my running it over. I was in shock that I could have missed it, and that the captain on the little boat would have been so stupid. I absolutely had the right of way. The boat was lit, but was dimly lit, and to be honest, in the freighter lanes I wasn’t expecting tender sized traffic. I mentioned the incident to a local and they said that the Chinese boats will sometimes deliberately cut in tight to your bow in an effort to have another boat boat clip off any bad luck spirits that might be trailing along behind their boat. Whether superstition played a role or not, I do not know. But I do know that it was a bad way for me to start the evenings cruise through heavy traffic, at night, on entry to Hong Kong. Or, perhaps it was a good occurrence, because you can bet I was highly focused on every light around me after that incident!

More when I get some time,

Ken Williams
Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci

PS The typhoon became a non-event, missing Hong Kong entirely. I think one of the reasons there are so many stories floating around about boats that are caught in typhoons is that there are lots of false alarms. After a while you start thinking of Chicken Little, and that the typhoon will always miss you … until it doesn’t.

12 Responses

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  2. Michael:

    If you look at my most recent blog you’ll see some commentary on our plans.

    The bottom line is “I haven’t the vaguest idea what we are doing next year”. Thus far, the momentum has been towards Sans Souci shipping directly from Hong Kong to the Med, with Seabird and Grey Pearl continuing to Singapore, and then meeting us in the Med a year later (2012.)

    Recently though, Roberta and I have decided we love being in Hong Kong, and don’t really want to leave. We don’t know what this means, but there’s a lot of discussion of us hanging out here for a bit. We are thinking we might come back to Hong Kong in May/June for some local cruising, and then ship the boat to the Med. While we are here in Hong Kong we can fly to Phuket to sightsee.

    I doubt we will take the boat to Phuket, as I don’t think we’ll be able to ship it to the Med from there, although this has not been ruled out. I’m phoning different freight companies, and have an email out to Seven Stars Shipping, to see what they have to say.

    As to piracy.. there are some pirate attacks still happening around Singapore. I’ve said before that I would pass on traveling through any waters where there are pirates. Check out: (

    You’ll see a bunch of attacks this year around Singapore, all against freighters. Which, might or might not mean we are safe. I’m not so enamored of taking the boat that direction that I want to find out. Flying to a resort seems simpler (and, shipping the boat to the Med from Hong Kong).

    Anyway… hopefully sometime in the next two weeks we’ll make some decisions.

    Thank you!
    -Ken W

  3. Ken & Roberta,
    Have you considered visiting not only Thailand but some part of Indonesia ?
    There enough people around here moving in these waters.
    Singapore has a lot of freighters passing through and it could be your port for shipping to the Med.
    But, Hey, you might be missing some nice places like Sir Lanka too.
    There is enough history around here to fill many of your blogs for years to come.
    Enjoy tremendously your trip from the first day.
    Enjoy the rest in HKG.

  4. Warren: ( is doing very well, and my site uses Talkspot. We’re at nearly 60,000 websites now!

    About 10,000 sites were done on an older, now obsolete, version of our system. We gave everyone a year’s notice to upgrade, and many did, but some didn’t. Those sites which didn’t elect to move to our new system are now gone.

    Thank you,
    Ken Williams

  5. Mxcoder:

    We have only been in Hong Kong one week, but have now had two typhoon warnings. My recollection is that there are normally 20 or so typhoons a summer, and most miss Hong Kong, but once in a while…

    So, the marina will be watching over my boat (actually ( ) and will add additional lines each time that a typhoon threatens.

    As I’m typing this, a typhoon is heading our way, but has already made a turn, and will miss Hong Kong. We’re seeing some rain, but that’s it. Overall, I’m enjoying the respite from all the heat!

    -Ken W

  6. LeifJ:

    We haven’t noticed the time change, other than it is annoying when I try to do business at home. I don’t overlap with them at all on business hours. If I’m awake and at my computer, everyone I know is sleeping.

    We’re almost done with this year’s cruising. Soon we’ll be off the boat, and back to Seattle. I’m sure I’ll be jet lagged for a week!

    -Ken W

  7. Hi Ken
    I havn’t posted any comments before, but now!
    I have followed your adventures since you set off from Seattle and actually also before when you croosed the Atlantc as well!
    I sitting in Sweden and usually you post your blogg ‘after’ my time, so I have to wait until the day after to read. But now it suddenly stuck me that you are before my time!! And I can’t remember that you have mentioned the you crossed the date line. And nothing of changing the time as you advanced more and more to the east.
    Have these time changes affected the life on board?

  8. Mike:

    Thank you for the heads up! The water here in the marina seems fairly clean, but we’re a fair distance out of Hong Kong central. We’ve chartered a small fast boat for one day next week, just to zoom us around to the local beaches, so we can get a feel for what the cruising and anchoring is like. Whether or not we come back to Hong Kong sometime in the next few months, to do some cruising, will depend on what we see.

    Thank you!
    -Ken W

  9. Many years ago our destroyer escort anchored in Hong Kong and man of war jellies cloged the intakes. Also we were told that if you get splashed with the water go directly to the dispensary. At that time many people lived on thier junks and all waste went in to the water….hope all is better now………

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