Day 104, Year 3: Sea World Anchorage to Mausambi Bay

Day 104, Year 3: Sea World Anchorage to Mausambi Bay
Date: Hari Kamis (Thursday), Bulan Agustus 21, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: More Flores Sunshine; Good Wind for Sailing
Location: Mausambi Bay, Flores Island, Nusa Tengarra Province, Indonesia

We had a delightful sail from the Sea World anchorage to here today. We actually had 20 to 25 knot winds for much of the day, sometimes off the beam and sometimes from behind us. The one thing we have learned about sailing in Indonesia is that the wind never comes from the same direction for long and it is impossible to predict how much wind you will have. But when you get it, you take advantage of it. So we went further than we had planned today and find ourselves anchored in the bay where the
next rally event will begin on Sunday. We will be on our way tomorrow and are glad we decided to skip this event. The bay has a swell and you rock and roll, albeit gently, all the time. It’s not terrible, but not our favorite kind of anchorage. Tomorrow we will head to Riung and it is possible that we will spend two days there, one in one anchorage and one in the other. But first we will have to see where the winds blow us.

Today we got an email from our friends Alan and Helaine Kanegsberg from Concord, New Hampshire. They keep their boat in Maine and evidently they have had a foggy summer. Alan asked if you still call evening cocktails “sundowners” if you cannot see the other boats in your anchorage (due to fog). I replied that if you cannot see the other boats in your anchorage, you are definitely sailing in the wrong part of the world. Come to Indonesia!

080821 Day 104 Flores, Indonesia–Sea World to Mausambi Bay

Day 103, Year 3: International “Incidents” on the Beach

Day 103, Year 3: International “Incidents” on the Beach
Date: Hari Rabu (Wednesday), Bulan Agustus 20, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: More Flores Sunshine
Location: Sea World Anchorage, Flores Island, Nusa Tengarra Province, Indonesia

The Maumere Welcome Ceremony was held on the beach this afternoon and evening and it was an interesting affair. First we had the usual welcome by local officials presenting ikat woven scarves to one person from each country represented in the rally. I happened to be the US representative this time and I will always wear by scarf proudly. We then followed traditional dancers to the stage and seating area. The dancers were a group of women from the Watulapi Womens’s Ikat Co-operative called Bliran
Sina. The lead dancer was wonderful. We had watched her earlier in the day weaving and it was so special to then watch her twirling, yipping, and trilling while smiling widely and proudly showing her betel nut red teeth. All of the traditional villagers we have met in Indonesia chew betel nut and have red lips and teeth. All is well until they smile, and then you see the destruction caused by this habit. But back to the ceremony, we were led back to our seats and then listening to the local
politician speeches in Indonesian. We were entertained with local dancing and then dinner. We were sitting in our seats eating dinner when I heard loud voices behind us. I heard a man say, “You don’t slap my child.” And then I heard him say that again a little louder. And after the third time, there were two male cruisers in a fist fight struggling on the ground right beside me. I really couldn’t believe it. But one thing Indonesia has is plenty of military and police presence and they were
on the job right away. Mark and I were totally in shock that something like this would happen all because a two year-old made it rain sand. Keshi is a boat from Australia with an older Australian man, his younger Japanese wife, and their two-year old son. He is so cute, but a bit precocious. He had just been on the stage singing “Twinkle Twinkle” and the “ABC Song” for everyone. When he came back to the seating area, he was filling the plastic water containers we are given at all these events
with sand and then spilling it out to make it rain. He sprinkled some sand on my feet, but I didn’t see this as a problem. Evidently a woman from France sitting behind me found it to be a problem and she took it upon herself to discipline the child. I don’t know if she really slapped him, but the father evidently thought so and that’s what caused our little international incident. The locals and a few cruiser got things under control, but I cannot imagine what the local people thought of this.
It was quite embarrassing. But the young people on the stage dealt with things quite nicely. They had been singing for us while we were eating dinner and they then invited us to come up and sing. Aki of the boat Liberty from Japan rose to the occasion and sang “Amazing Grace.” He has always seemed such a shy man, but I learned tonight that he plays the mandolin and is quite a performer. While he was singing, Loretta of CanKata of Canada came up and joined him. She has a beautiful voice and
it really helped to clear the air after the scuffle. We all then joined them in singing “You Are My Sunshine.” The young woman who was officiating all of this then invited the two young men who had been singing earlier back on stage and they sang American contemporary pop music. This is very different from anything we have seen anywhere else in Indonesia. We ended our evening by walking back down the beach to the Sail Indonesia cafĂ© and having a beer with Tina and Robert of Shirena.

Indonesia is living up to its reputation as a “different field, different grasshopper.” Each place we go is entirely different from the last place. Even the weaving changes. And there are no rules of the road here. Some people were quite upset that we were asked to check in with local official here and pay a $5US fee. It is true that the local officials seem to conjure up some way of making us go through more paperwork and pay a little more money at every port, but we don’t find that as offensive
as others. A few boats left today rather than pay the fee. It is a beautiful country, but a lot of yachties are tiring of the constant debate over what paperwork we should have to file in a port and how much, if anything, we should pay. It is difficult to play the game when the rules change as you go. So far, nothing outrageous has been asked of us. So we just hope things stay that way. We are truly enjoying the beauty of the people and the land here.

There were no international incidents on Windbird today, but there was an incident. Last night we had a diesel spill on our deck. When we got home we started the engine to charge the batteries. Mark had left on the pump that transfers fuel from one of our tanks to another and one of the tanks overflowed. The overflow goes onto the deck and this time it also dripped down into a locker just behind our navigation station. This locker houses the heater/air conditioner that we can only use when in
a port with US electrical outlets, and I use it to store flour. We tried various methods of cleaning up the spill and getting rid of the diesel smell, but unfortunately the diesel soaked through the plywood board holding the heat exchanger and the smell is going to be with us for a bit. So I guess today was just a day of incidents. Let’s hope tomorrow is incident free as we leave here and head further west across the top of Flores Island.

080820 Day 103a Flores, Indonesia–Ikat Weaving Demo
080820 Day 103b Flores, Indonesia–Maumere Welcome Ceremony

Day 102, Year 3: Beautiful Kelimutu

Day 102, Year 3: Beautiful Kelimutu
Date: Hari Selasi (Tuesday), Bulan Agustus 19, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: More Sunshine at Sea Level; Clouds in the Mountains
Location: Sea World Anchorage, Flores Island, Nusa Tengarra Province, Indonesia

The mountains of Flores are incredibly beautiful. At 5:15 am we left Sea World and started the 100 kilometer drive to Kelimutu. Scot Free II and Shirena went in one car and we were in another with Safina. You don’t drive yourself here; you hire a driver. The roads are paved but are not quite one and half lanes with bemos (minivans) and motorcycles flying past one another barely missing chickens, children, goats, and whatever else is along the road. It is a bit frightening and driving is definitely
best left to those who are used to this. Even with an experienced driver, it took three hours to reach the 5,000 foot summit of the volcano. At the top there are multiple craters, each with a different colored lake. It is spectacular. Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai, Turquoise Lake, is a truly an unreal shade of turquoise and according to local legend this is where the souls of young people go when they die. Next to Turquoise Lake is Brown Lake, Tiwi Ata Mbupu. This is where the souls of old people
go. And then separated from the other two craters is Tiwi Ata Polo or Black Lake. You’ve got it. This is where the souls of the wicked are sent. We had a crystal clear morning for viewing the lakes and spent more than an hour just looking at them. As we started the walk back to the car park, we saw the clouds start to roll in. Evidently this happens on most mornings, so you have to time your arrival at the top to beat the clouds. The clouds blocked the breathtaking views of mountain valleys
and the Flores Sea as we descended but we had certainly enjoyed those on the way up. Lush green rice paddies look like a huge patchwork quilt draping its way up through the mountains. The rice paddies are in all stages of development so the little rectangles cover the range of hues of green. There are oxen, goats, and horses grazing by the roadside and people working in the fields. Then you wind through rain forest and mountain valleys filled with macadamia trees, bamboo, and a type of palm I
had never seen before.

After we descended to sea level we stopped on the south side of the island for lunch and then headed to the village of Sikka. This seaside village is known as the home of the oldest church in Flores and for its ikat weaving. Unlike the rest of Indonesia, the population of Flores is 95 per cent Catholic due to the long stronghold by the Portuguese. According to the Lonely Planet, Sikka was one of the first Portuguese settlements in Flores and the church there was built in 1889. We stopped at the
church and walked through the gates. We went into the church and then the padre (again, the Portuguese influence) came to meet us. The church walls were concrete and the vaulted ceiling was constructed of wood. There was an open-air space between the walls and ceiling so the sound of the pounding surf could be heard inside the church. It was very simple but quite serene. We walked out of the gates expected to have to search for where the women were weaving, but instead we were met by an army
of women who had set up an instant ikat weaving shopping mall. At first these ladies just pointed to their weavings, but the minute one of us would start looking at a piece, ten or fifteen other women would start crowding in with their best weaving. It was a bit overwhelming, but I did find one piece I wanted to buy. The women on Flores dress differently than other places we have visited in Indonesia. They take their woven cloth and sew it up so it forms a cylinder. You then step into the cylinder
of cloth and pull it up around you. You wear a blouse and place the top of the material over one shoulder and hold it in place with your elbow. You form a sort of sling on one side and the material drapes at the waist on the other. In your sling, you can carry a baby, vegetables, or a live chicken. I saw all of those yesterday. Or when the clouds roll in and it gets a bit chilly, you pull the cylinder up to your neck to keep warm. One size fits all and it is one of these cylinders of ikat woven
cloth that I bought. Mark got in the car empty-handed, but then had to get back out and go buy a scarf from a women who had begged him to buy from her to help pay for her child’s education. Of course, he was then surrounded by women and Gerry from Scot Free got into the bargaining mode. Mark escaped with his scarf and our car got away leaving Gerry surrounded by the “entrepreneurial” women.

When we returned to Sea World we all went over to the Sail Indonesia center and had a beer. Oskan, the young man (actually he is 43) from Turkey came over and we had a great political conversation about the current state of affairs in his homeland. He should work for the Chamber of Commerce as he is most influential in enticing you to visit his homeland. We had a quiet dinner on Windbird and had a delightful surprise. Our cell phone rang and it was Heather. Justin tried to call a week ago, but
there was no cell service where we were at the time. But in this location, the connection is great. It was early morning and although Sam loves to play with phones, he only listens. But we could hear him jabbering away in the background and Heather was able to tell us all about her three-day walk. She enjoyed the experience and Sam actually seems to have gained a bit of independence as a result of her temporary absence.

Tomorrow is the opening of the Sail Indonesia rally here on Flores and the next day we will leave here to start the trek to the Komodos.

080819 Day 102a Flores, Indonesia–Kelimutu
080819 Day 102b Flores, Indonesia–Sikka Village

Day 101, Year 3: Trip to Maumere

Day 101, Year 3: Trip to Maumere
Date: Hari Senin (Monday), Bulan Agustus 18, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Unseasonably Windy
Location: Sea World Anchorage, Flores Island, Nusa Tengarra Province, Indonesia

It was another interesting day. The scariest and most interesting part of the day was a wind that blew down into our part of the anchorage, crashing down two of the structures the locals had built on shore for the Sail Indonesia “village” and then tried to turn itself into a water spout just a couple of hundred feet from us. We happened to be in the cockpit when this happened and it was truly frightening. The wind hit the water and started spinning in a circle. This “circle” danced on the water
jerking one boat around that had just anchored and almost knocking another boat over. I was frozen and couldn’t even go get my camera to record this. When the dancing circle dissipated, the water where it had been looked like it was boiling. Locals say this happens often during the summer season here, but it is the dead of winter. Like I said, interesting . . .

We started our day by hiring a driver and van from the Sea World resort to take us and Jean-Pierre and Colette of Safina to the bank in Maumere and to the service station to buy diesel fuel. It ended up a much bigger explore than we had anticipated, but it was a great way to get to see the area. The bank was closed because yesterday, August 17, was Indonesia Independence Day. Everything else was open, but not the banks. But we were able to withdraw a million and a half Rupiah from the ATM and
that should keep us going a bit longer. By the way, this was the 63rd independence celebration. It was on August 17, 1945, when Soekarno proclaimed independence of his country from the Dutch. A four-year struggle followed, but August 17 remains the day of celebration. But getting back to the trip to Maumere, we fought the crazy motorcycle traffic that is everywhere in Indonesia to make our way to the market to buy some fresh veggies while in town. We went on a search for eggs, but were only
able to find eight in the whole city. We also bought some Bintang beer and canned butter. We then stopped at the service station to fill our jerry jugs with diesel and then it was back to Windbird.

I did laundry today and for the first time in our voyage I lost something to the wind. I did the sheets and towels today, and our king-sized top sheet evidently went flying and then sunk to the bottom before we even noticed. I guess this gives me the opportunity to buy some beautiful batik material in Bali to replace the sheet, but then there will be seams because you can’t buy material as wide as a sheet. The even greater loss was the six clothespins that went down with the sheet. I have searched
the world thus far and can’t find large clothespins like the ones I have had for years. I now have only seven left and am going to have to find some kind of replacement.

Tomorrow morning at 5 am we head to Kelemutu. This is volcano whose crater is home to three colored lakes-one turquoise, one brown, and one black. This area is sacred to the local people as they believe the souls of the dead go to these lakes. It is believed that the souls of young people go to the turquoise lake, Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai, while the souls of old people go to the brown lake, Tiwu Ata Mbupu. The black lake, Tiwi Ata Polo is where the souls of the wicked go. But whatever the reason
for this phenomenon, it is evidently quite a spectacular view if you get there before the clouds roll in. Hope with us that tomorrow morning is crystal clear.

080818 Day 101 Flores, Indonesia–Sea World Anchorage and Trip to Maumere

Day 100, Year 3: Pulau Besar to Sea World

Day 100, Year 3: Pulau Besar to Sea World
Date: Hari Minggu (Sunday), Bulan Agustus 17, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Same Old, Same Old
Latitude: 08 degrees 38.040 minutes S
Longitude: 122 degrees 18.565 minutes E
Location: Sea World Anchorage, Flores Island, Nusa Tengarra Province, Indonesia

No, we are not at the San Diego Sea World, but we are anchored just off a little resort called the Sea World Club. We escaped Pulau Busar as soon as it was light this morning. We continued to roll from side to side all night long which made sleeping soundly a little difficult. After bashing into 20+ knot winds and seas for five hours, we made it to the Sea World Club anchorage in Waiara, Flores. Some people call this the Geiliting Road anchorage. It is the site of the next Rally event that begins
on Wednesday. We were so sorry that Pulau Besar didn’t work out for us. According to the Lonely Planet, a cyclone and tsunami hit in this area in 1992. So between the 1992 natural disaster and bomb fishing that is practiced here, most of the coral in shallow areas has been destroyed. Not far from where we are now anchored were the Maumere “sea gardens”, once regarded as one of the best diving areas in all of Asia. They are trying to regenerate, but are not there yet. I guess we will just have
to wait until we reach the Komodo area and try snorkeling again there.

We have not been to shore here yet, but we have been visited by plenty of locals wanting to sell us fruits and vegetables, shells, solar (diesel fuel), komodo dragon carvings, and anything else they can think of. This is a once a year opportunity for them to make money and they are working hard at doing just that. We arrived here early in hopes of doing a couple of land tours before the rally festivities begin, and if things work out for us, we will then leave the day after the welcome ceremony.
There is another rally stop not far from here a week from now, but we think we are going to get out of Dodge before the crowds and make our way to Komodo as quickly as possible. Many of the beautiful anchorages there hold only two or three boats, so it is our hope that by going early we will have a few days there before everyone else arrives. Of course, everyone else could have the same idea. So we will just have to see how this works out.

We received an email from our son-in-law Jed this afternoon who reported that he and Sam are doing great in Heather’s absence. Sam misses his momma, but he is cuddling his stainless steel sippy cup with momma’s milk and falling asleep with that. Not sure how Heather is going to feel when she realizes she’s been replaced by a metal cup! But it was so wonderful to hear from Jed and know that he and Sam are having a good time. No word on how Heather is doing, but as I write this it is early Sunday
morning on the Cape and Jed will be heading to Boston with Sam to meet Heather in the evening. I’ll give a full report on the walk once Heather is home.

Our afternoon was spent washing Windbird. She really needed a bath and the drenching of salt water she got on the trip here was a good excuse for a full cleaning. We washed her down with soapy salt water and then rinsed her with our precious fresh water. As of yesterday, we had both tanks full, so we splurged. It has been ages since we have seen rain and there’s no hope of rain until late September or October, so once in a while we will just have to do what we did today. Besides, the water in
the anchorage looks very clean so I think we can continue to make water while here. We are going to a beach barbeque at the resort tonight and tomorrow we have hired someone at the resort to take us to the town of Maumere. We will purchase diesel fuel in our jerry cans and get a few more million Rupiah out of the bank. Somehow we keep finding more and more ways to spend money we don’t have.

080817 Day 100a Flores, Indonesia–Pulau Besar to Sea World Anchorage
080817 Day 100b Flores, Indonesia–Independence Day Celebration at Sea World

Day 99, Year 3: Rock and Roll Anchorage

Day 99, Year 3: Rock and Roll Anchorage
Date: Hari Sabtu (Saturday), Bulan Agustus 16, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Same Old, Same Old
Latitude: 08 degrees 26.037 minutes S
Longitude: 122 degrees 24.745 minutes E
Location: Pulau Besar, Flores Island, Nusa Tengarra Province, Indonesia

Same anchorages work and some don’t, and this one is in the latter category. After a couple of hours of delightful sailing and another couple of motor sailing, we arrived here mid-day and have been rocking and rolling ever since. Add to that the fact that the snorkeling was not good and Pulau Besar gets a 2 out of 10 rating from us. The guide book that is available for this part of the world is called ‘101 Anchorages Within the Indonesian Archipelago’ and it costs $90AU. So it is not cheap and
it is full of errors. We didn’t buy the book, but we did copy pages (shhh!) from the one Scot Free purchased. It indicated that this anchorage has excellent snorkeling, but if it is here, we sure couldn’t find it in our two trips out. I think our next snorkeling will be in the Komodo Islands. The area there is a marine park and the coral and fish have been protected. We will just look forward to that.

This little island has a village that we can see from the anchorage. It is a Muslim fishing village and it is a busy one. The local long boats with an inboard motors went past us all day long going to and from the main island. Many of the boats were filled with women so I am assuming they were going to market. Every one was quite friendly with smiles and waves, but no one stopped by the boat. The last two anchorages we have been in were not near villages, but we had fishermen stopping by constantly
offering bananas for sale or looking for handouts. A t-shirt, a Coke, a hat, or a pair of reading glasses make great give-aways. Many want cigarettes, as it seems everyone in Indonesia smokes, but we don’t have those. At yesterday’s anchorage a young kid, probably twelve or thirteen, helped us find a place to anchor and we have him a Coke and New Hampshire Public Radio hat in thanks. He was so happy to get these things and beamed mightily when I took his picture.

When we got to this anchorage today, only one boat was here. It was Cankata that we met in Kroko Atoll a couple of days ago. We wanted to repay their wonderful hospitality and asked them over for sundowners tonight, along with Shirena who arrived later in the afternoon. But unfortunately it was just too rolly to enjoy anything on Windbird this evening, so we canceled the gathering. Tomorrow we are going to the north coast of Flores to the anchorage where we believe the next Sail Indonesia activities
will be happening next week. There are a couple of inland tours that we want to do from that base, so we will get there and gather information tomorrow and begin our explorations on Monday.