We have had 2 days of motor sailing from Alor and are now at
S8° 20 E123° 35. The first night we found a lovely little reef and anchored in crystal clear water, swimming for the first time in months just bliss. In the small hours a bad swell came up and we pushed on early, again motor sailing.
This bay is deep and protected from the swell but a wind came up in the night and we had bullets to rival the Whitsundays. The water everywhere here is very deep, making it hard to find anchorages. As we looked yesterday we passed a guy standing on the edge of the reef barely 100m from us and we were in 50m of water! We found a good spot and again were in the water in no time. The reef is not bad, quite a few little fish with brilliant blue colours.
There are a group of huts ashore, not really a village. Graham from Katani II made a courtesy call on the fisherman to introduce us in his fluent [non existent] Bahasa. Once again all is friendly. There are 3 cows, the first we have seen so far.
To the West is a smoking volcano. Fantastic scenery but the area is very dry and many areas are burnt.
We were pretty excited about this so there are MANY volcano shots. These are just a couple.
This place is even more third world than the previous stops.
It makes Kupang seem like downtown New York! but the local organizing committee for Sail Indonesia have gone all out to make us feel welcome and the people again are happy and smiling. We got in yesterday at lunchtime after a fantastic sail, the wind and tide with us, very unusual for these parts but we missed the opening ceremony. After a few speeches they loaded every one on motorcycles and had a cavalcade through the streets. All the people came out waving and kids followed behind.
There was a new Bar and restaurant on the beech at the anchorage especially for the event - the cement barely dry. We had Bir Bintangs there yesterday afternoon and then to a 'restaurant' in the village. This place is tiny with 2 long tables, catering to the locals and backpackers, only 2 here at the moment. Our meal for two with beer was about $6, fantastic, we'll be going there a bit.
Missed the tour this morning. John went ashore early to check the 10 am departure time on the information board, so we did jobs and duly arrived to find the tour left at 9am! Even the locals call it rubber time. Anyway we did our own thing and found the fishing village and the market.
Fabulous looking fish and rays and squid, but you have to be there early as there is no refrigeration. We also bought bananas, tomatoes, cucumbers and a pawpaw. Once again we still have Darwin produce but I am itching to finish it and get into this local stuff.
There are enormous chokos and some apples, I could make apple sauce and we bought so many bananas today I will need to make a banana cake.
Lembata was sensational. This was the first time they had hosted the rally last year and went all out to make a good impression. The regency (electorate) gets money from the Government according to proposals and feedback. Our guide on yesterday's tour encouraged us to give our constructive criticism of our experience.
Our tour was to start at 0800 but one of the drivers slept in and we were a little delayed. We ended up with 2 buses a 4WD and an open Jeep. John and I were in the jeep with the driver, the tour guide, Dion, and 6 others, 11 in the Jeep that would be authorized to carry, maybe 6 in another world. Shortly along the way the driver indicated that the supension on one side couldn't cope so one of us transferred to the 4wd. One of the buses got a flat tyre at about this point.
We went to a village around the Bay from Lebowlein. When we arrive we were met by dancers and warriors from the village to escort us in on foot. John was appointed King and he was met by their head man.
A welcome was given and John was handed a machete to cut the gate to the village, a bamboo construction across the road. Then ensued a ceremony involving drinking palm wine, chewing betel nut and smoking local cigarettes. John was presented with an Ikat (ceremonial scarf) with flowers sewn on.
We were then treated to speeches and dancing. Lunch, a swim and more dancing and, yes more speeches. The general theme is "You are very welcome, please tell all your friends and family what a good time you had" Please come back again. This place is the newest Regency in Indonesia and sees tourism as a future for them but they are just simple and happy and beautiful people. They got as much pleasure out of observing us as we did of them, especially the kids.
S 8°14.6 E 123° 19.5
This anchorage is what we came here for. A sand cay between islands and reefs, deep crystal clear water, blue as blue, with 5 or 6 yachts around us. We had sundowners on the cay and met some new faces, the names we knew from the radio skeds and could now match up. mind you I've forgotten half of them already!
Back at Lebowlein there were more kids wanting us to sigh their school books. I think it was a kind of school project. There were Catholic nuns standing by and keeping watch. This area is predominantly Catholic, then Protestants as well as Muslims. We still get to morning Muslim call to prayer at 4:15am via loud speakers. That's tolerance for you.
We are traveling along the northern coast of Flores Is. The terrain is hilly. There has been a lot of burning and there is ash all over the boat every day. We stopped at a resort called 'Sea World' near the town of Maumere. no it is not like the Gold Coast . It was a pretty cool place, laid back pace; beers on the beech. There were also some European guests.
They put on a do with buffet meal, BBQ fish in the sand and music and dancing. The local group comprised 11 blokes in white shirts and traditional ikats. They played an array of guitars, banjos, fiddles and a big single stringed base. It was a good night - but much more expensive than we are used to, $12 each plus $4 each for Bir Bintang!
Of course John was up dancing with them.
We have had mostly very light winds and have been using our new spinnaker. A couple of days ago we had 25knots of breeze for a few hours and had a lovely sail.
The fleet is heading to the next 'Rally Event' at Riung. Of the 95 odd that started in Darwin about 40 of us are following the scheduled events and attending the functions. Others are doing their own thing. After Riung we will go north to Macassar.
This is a bit of a detour of 500 miles, then back towards Bali. The events in Macassar sound fantastic, too good to miss, they are having a big Maritime Festival including 'the world's largest, longest and hardest race for traditional fishing vessels'.
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