Day 74, Year 3:  Frustrations
Date:  Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Weather:  Sunny and Windy
Location:  Fannie Bay, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

It’s not all paradise out here.  I am writing tonight’s log, but yesterday’s log is still not posted on our website.  Since yesterday’s log was special, in honor of Sam’s ‘half-birthday’, we sent it from the Sailing Club using an internet connection instead of sending it over our Ham radio on the boat.  We thought it would post quickly and we could then put the pictures of Sam on the website with the log.  BUT after two hours of waiting, the log was not posted.  So we came back to Windbird and then went into town this morning to go to the internet café to check again.  Still no log posted.  So we thought we would call Justin and see if he could check on this for us, but we didn’t have his phone number readily available.  I won’t even go into the details of the frustrations, but one frustration led to another, and then it was time to be at the Convention Center for our Rally Info meeting.  We hurriedly walked across town and down to the waterfront.  We arrived on time and actually Mark had time to find a phone in the Center that would take our phone card (the ones in town would not), so he called Justin and he is checking on the website problem.  But after the four hour meeting, we went back to the internet café and found that our log from yesterday is still not posted.  Hopefully we will get this problem ironed out in the next day or so.  Our time in Darwin has been wonderful but the one thing it lacks is easy and reliable internet for transients.  And this is only going to get worse over the next couple of months, so I guess we had better get used to it.

The Rally Info meeting was also a bit of a frustration.  It was an hour shorter than advertised, but we came away with more questions than answers.  Basically we were told that we are going into a part of the world where everybody wears a watch but no one pays attention to time.  The watches are just for decoration.  We were told that there are no clear lines of engagement.  We just have to play it by ear.  We are leaving on Saturday, but the details of the program of events are still being planned.

We just have to trust that by the time we reach Kupang, they will have the dates of the other events throughout Indonesia.  Facilitation payments to officials are sometimes going to be necessary and we just have to use our best judgment in deciding when and how much to pay.  If you are caught with guns or drugs that are not declared you can be arrested and given the death penalty-good deterrent.  And here’s the best one.  When a boat comes up to us with sub-machine guns we are supposed to understand that these are just people patrolling the pearl farms, not people gunning for us.  I’m sure I’ll be completely relaxed.

So this is going to be an interesting adventure through Indonesia.  We were told that the answer to most questions we might have is, “It is impossible BUT it can be ‘arranged.'”  This is going to be very different from cruising in the South Pacific.  We have read the logs of other cruisers who have done this Rally in the past couple of years and they have nothing but praise for it, so we’re hoping it is uphill from today.

Day 75, Year 3: It's a Drag
Day 73, Year 3: Happy Half-Birthday to Sam