Day 114, Year 3: Pink Beach to Gili Lawa Laut
Date: Hari Minggu (Sunday), Bulan Agustus 31, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Windy and Beautiful; Winds SE 15-20
Latitude: 08 degrees 26.856 minutes S
Longitude: 119 degrees 34.115 minutes E
Location: Gili Lawa Laut, Komodo Island, Indonesia

I think we have turned a corner. We are slowly, ever so slowly leaving the Komodos and when we do we will be leaving Eastern Nusa Tengarra behind. The next island is Sumbawa, then Lombok, and then Bali. And we are getting reports that the next island of Sumbawa is very different from where we have been. We know that Sumbawa is a very poor island, but what we didn’t know until this evening is that boats that are ahead of us have actually had their lines cut right off their boats. This means that all of the ropes that hang from our mast and raise and lower our sails (those are the halyards) and the sheets (ropes) that pull our headsail and staysail from side to side, could be cut and we would not be able to sail. Not to mention the cost of replacing those lines. So we are now seriously considering an overnight sail far offshore that will take us from the eastern most port on Sumbawa Island to Lombok. It is less than 200 nautical miles, but if we do that from port to port, it will take
us four days and lots of worries at night about what might be taken from our boat while we are sleeping. We have had no problems like this up to this point in Indonesia and it is really a shame to think that this kind of activity on one island could blemish the reputation for the whole archipelago. There were also reports of theft from boats that took the southern route from Kupang to here. Those were the surfers trying to get the waves that hit the southern coasts of these islands, but evidently they encountered theft from people posing as the Indonesian Coast Guard. As we suspected, it is probably best to come through this country following the rally route. This way we have the protection of numbers as well as the Indonesian representatives. Raymond and Dewi Lesmana are our “front men.” They reach each rally destination just before us and prepare the local people to welcome us. Sometimes that has meant that they have prepared the locals to charge us a little more than the local price for fuel and that infuriates many, but we figure that the increased price is a small price to pay for being welcomed in this beautiful country.

We actually got to sail today from the Pink Beach anchorage on eastern Komodo to this little island on the northeast coast. Gili means island and we are anchored in Gili Lawa Laut (laut means marine). This is the premier dive site in Indonesia, so there are lots of dive boats here, but the snorkeling is just so so. Shirena stopped in the island just south of here, Gili Lawa Darat. Safina went on to Monco Bay to join Scot Free II. We snorkeled here today plan to take a long dinghy ride early in the morning to do a drift snorkel between Lawa Darat and Lawa Laut. Low tide is at 6 am, but unfortunately we are in a new moon phase which means tides and currents are almost impossible to predict here. Two different dive boats in the anchorage today got the timing all wrong and had divers drifting very far afield. Their formula is that the least current is one to two hours after low or high tide. Our experience tells us that in the past couple of days, the least current is closer to 30 minutes
to an hour after high or low. So we are going to go with our “local knowledge” and see what happens. We have other cruisers here in the anchorage that we can call on our portable VHF if we get stuck somewhere, so I think we will be fine. After our early morning drift snorkel between the two islands, we will come back to Windbird and head to Monco Bay. The snorkeling there is supposed to be over what are referred to as the Japanese Gardens. Evidently the coral looks like it has been planted and spaced perfectly. There are not supposed to be the same number of fish that we have been seeing, but it sounds delightful. From there we go to one more island, then on to eastern Sumbawa and on across to Lombok. It sounds like a ‘drift sail’ across many miles to me. And I can’t wait to reach Gili Air in Lombok. I have heard such wonderful reports of this place and of Bali. I’m ready to get there.

080831 Day 114 Komodos, Indonesia–Pink Beach to Gili Lawa Laut