Crossing the “Motorway”

The Strait of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia is the busiest shipping channel in the world and most everything that passes through them then swings around the south coast of Singapore following a huge marine motorway called a traffic separation scheme.

every triangle is a ship and we are the red target symbol

As you can see in the screenshot above, the area is full of huge, fast ships going everywhere. It is not the perfect place to be in a small sailing boat and you get very good at calling ships on the radio to say “we are the little sailing boat being pushed along by the wind so please go round us.”

Once we reached the actual motorway the situation looked like in the following photo. I was watching the ships in the real world while Heidi was trying to decode the situation on the IT generated “radar” shown below.

The ships all keep to the right of the channel just like on a German motorway. They are all moving at different speeds but are trying to keep in lane or slowly overtaking like two lorries on a hill. And then we appear (we are the red boat). Theoretically the ships coming from the left should avoid us but they can neither change speed or course so that is academic. We looked for a gap in the traffic from the left and headed north. Unfortunately the red arrow ship from the left was very fast so we only just passed in front of him and that left us heading for a huge monster gas ship. We turned right to pass behind him and then accelerated north again to get just behind the right red triangle ship before a massive car carrier arrived.

We survived but we now have real sympathy with any hedgehog that ever needs to cross a motorway. And we never want to cross that traffic separation scheme again.

the huge monster gas ship with a few other ships to the left

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