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Come on down To Kupang

Having watched the weather for many weeks we had our misgivings about sailing to Kupang. The trade winds blowing across the Timor Sea had been particularly harsh reaching 25-35 knots. Kupang, on the south west extremity, appeared to bear the brunt of it! Fortunately, the landmass of Timor was relatively mountainous and the wind patterns indicated a wind-shadow along sections of the coast. It was decided that the port town was to be our clearance port or “checking-out” location. We were leaving Indonesia, as our allotted 6mths was approaching expiry date. Kupang was (usually) the first port for yachts travelling from Darwin to Indonesia, however the reciprocal course (for us) to Darwin would have been frightful with strong head-on winds. Our latest plan… what were we up to, Plan: A, B, C…. K(?) was to journey north-east along West Timor to East Timor and check into Dili. The “Darwin to Dili” rally was due to arrive mid-July. Several of the boats would return to Darwin after the festivities. We would sail either with them or with some of their insights from previous experience.. But first, “come on down to Kupang”, only 130nm.

Route Plan to Kupang then Dili

As mentioned, Ferry and Marlouke were joining us for the passage. Having a pair of keen crew to assist Hans with sails and hauling lines gave us both a reprieve from back-damaging deck work. Ferry had some experience having sailed little Lasers on the Ijsselmeer in Holland and he had the odd adventure on a tall ship cruise. Marlouke was just adventurous.


6th July
Our dawn departure was with dolphin escort as we coasted west along the Sawu Sea with the ebbing tide. Near the islands in Pantar Strait where the Indonesian Through Flow ran south, many peaking eddies and confluence  textured the water surface. With scant wind we enjoyed 6knots riding the current. Spilling south out of the straits near Treweg Island and entering the cooler waters of Sawa Sea we were surrounded by fins. Oh my goodness what were they? Everywhere we looked large dolphin-like creatures either lingered on the surface or frolicked in the swell. It was only after long scrutiny, observing their snub melon shaped head, long fins and strong muscular flanks that Burney decided that they were not dolphins per se but Short-finned Pilot Whales. A first for us all! Such huge aggregations were not uncommon in those waters, apparently.

Short-finned Pilot Whales

The day was sunny. The sea twinkled with flashing shards of sunlight. Come 2pm chatting in the cockpit, Burney was aware that a ship some several miles off was rising up off the horizon on a reciprocal course towards us. It was not appearing on our AIS. Giving the autopilot a few degrees to starboard to create a good offing, the chatter continued. Still keeping an eye on the ship, Burney noted that it had changed direction and was again on a collision course. The wake on its bulbous bow was becoming apparent as it drew closer. After making the crew aware of this behaviour, Burney again took diversionary actions. When the ship then again followed her course, Hans was called on deck and photos were taken. With Marlouke’s zoom len we  were we  to ascertain the vessels name. This was very strange and aggressive behaviour. Radioing the Captain on ASTA PERSADA, a tanker without functioning AIS, Hans alerted the Captain of his vessel’s behaviour and questioned his intentions. While they had initially responded, radio silence followed thereafter…? The ship slowed while passing us, then once astern it appeared to stop and turn towards windward. What? Why? Then it remained motionless as we continued south. A very curious encounter. Hans speculated that perhaps the vessel had some difficulty while Burney suggested a poorly behaved helmsman?

A dutch expression had come to mind: “Speak of the devil and you stand on his tail”.

Ferry and Burney had been discussing rogue encounters and piracy while sailing…

Bad Boat: Asta Persada

With a beautiful sunset and possibly the famed “green flash”, Brahminy Too took advantage of the off shore current and katabatic winds skimming parallel to the Timor coast. A fine meal of fresh tuna bought in Kalabahi by Ferry and Marlouke saw us into our 3 hourly late hour watches.
It was an easy night with a partial moon appearing soon after midnight. Both the genoa and mains’l were reefed for the evening so our new deck hands enjoyed sparkling phosphorescents, falling stars and flashing lighthouses while we slowed our progress for a daylight arrival.

1am with a partial moon, it’s a comfort.

From 20nm off we had our catamaran companions on Hybreasail showing on the AIS chartplotter. What a welcoming beacon, that was. By 8am, while anchoring nearby, the figurative became the literary with Anne and Brain waving a welcome from Hybreasail’s aftdeck.
Kupang, we had arrived.

Good morning Hybreasail.

 

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Posted by on July 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

The Allure of Alor

Spirit house, traditional village, Takpala

The Alor regency has 15 islands of which 9 are inhabited by humans and 1 by deer, Pulua Rusa (deer island).

Now that’s a bit different.

In the Pantar Strait were a few smaller islands with underwater attractions that boasted some 18-42 dive/snorkel sites.

Whilst we had boat jobs to attend to, we managed to enjoy just a few of the many attractions.

View from the bow

View from the cockpit

But first, the repairs. Soon after waking and viewing our anchorage in daylight, Hans set off in the dinghy to the main port. There he found a fellow named Charlez who took him on his motorbike to a battery shop. Also the brass fitting from our watermaker was resoldered, along the way. In the meantime, Burney who remained onboard was approached by a local “tour guide” and go-to-guy, named Akmed. We were later,  to decide, NOT TO USE HIM! Even though we tried to explain that we had some experience with Indonesian fuel prices and touts asking for a bit extra, this fellow was a total rip-off, unreliable and possibly a liar.

Tramp Australia

Sally & Mike

So when we were to meet the charming couple,  Sally and Mike  on mv Tramp Australia, we took their recommendation and contacted Marlon (his father was a Marlon Brando fan). Raymond Lesmana, our Indonesian sponsor and previous rally organisor also recommended Marlon: +6285213714576.
He was to become our main man and master masseur as we both still needed to care for our damaged backs.

Marlon

Recommended by Marlon, Thomas a resident expatriate from Germany, provided help with a few mechanical issues on Brahminy. Later we were to learn that he ran a dive tour business. Once most of our troubles had been resolved, Hans took himself off for a snorkel trip. On board were two young travellers from Utrect, The Netherlands. Of the 2 different locations, the site nicknamed Mike’s Delight impressed them all with it’s diversity of coral species. Fortunately, there was no sign of dynamite damage from poor fishing practices.

Thomas (right)

Dutch couple Marlouke and Ferry

Hans takes a dip

Hans was so enthused with meeting Ferry and Marlouke, he rang Burney and asked if he could bring them home! Like us, they were headed to Kupang. Recently,  they had used Kupang as their base while flying or motorbiking to other destinations. It would be a new experience to have crew for a passage but since we were all “up-for-it”. Plans were hatched for a departure a couple of days later.

Tiny red fish

Many Alorese were of Papuan origin which was reflected in their appearance and in their traditional culture. The Abui people were the largest traditional ethnic grouping on Alor. Whilst there were several tribes within the Abui people, the traditional village of Takpala was considered one of the best villages to visit.

On Wednesday the 4th of July,  we hired a car with driver and Marlon as guide, who answered many of our questions as we ventured out of town towards the north-eastern shores.  The sun sparkled on a calm Benlelang Bay before we ascended the hillside of Takalelang. Set atop a short set of stairs, the village was spread across 12 houses, more or less arranged in single rows upon terraces. The tribal leader and spiritual guide for that community,  Abner, was not in residence when we arrived however we were to be introduced to him later. Around a sacrificial alter (pig) the village members would preform their lego lego dances. Directly above and behind the alter on another terrace were 2 bamboo woven huts which only Abner as spiritual guide could enter. One was predominantly coloured white, the other black.

Spirit house white

Spirit house black

The family houses each had four levels, the basement (below the open-air deck), the open-air deck, then inside the thatch roof were two more levels, one a sleeping quarters and above that a storage area for grain and other staples. (The very large round section of wood acted as a rodent preventer)

The stronger beams and struts were made from a hardwood that would be replaced every 40-50 years

No metal nails only vines and twines.

Cooking below the roof overhang.

Housed in a special dwelling where certain rituals were enacted were 3 drums and various  gamalan gongs. Marlon explained that on Alor the bronze  Moko drums were used as trade in bygone days to purchase slaves. While many were accumulated over the years and became a status symbol giving the owner wealth and position in the social order of a tribe, they were often hidden from plundering. Legend has it that during a certain period of unrest many were buried. Some being lost through misplacement over time, later to be discovered and preserved in a museum. Indeed some 1,000 drums were found hidden underground. From an archeological stand point the kettle drum did not originate from this archipelago, but rather from the Dong Son culture in Vietnam.

Moko drums

These kettle drums functioned as a musical instrument during religious rituals to pray for rain, good harvest or profitable hunting.
While the Moko Drum was approximately 55cm in height,  the Nekara  bronze kettle drum which wasn’t seen at Takpala, was shorter and stouter in girth. Various decorative elements could be mounted on its top, body and/or base. Such ornamentation as stars, geometric patterns, animals, ships, and human figures have been noted on some drums.

Traditional dress

Head-dress and belts for lego lego dances

Another tribe called the Kabola Tribe were on a hillside above the centre of Kalabahi. As we wound our way up the switchbacks we passed groves of teak and candle-nut trees. A small field of cassava plants slightly obscured our view of the harbour before we arrived at Monbang Kampong (village). While their ceremonial huts were similar to the Takpala structures, they prized their use of scared black bamboo. They also used bamboo to make a  ceremonial fire at their alter.

Anti-rodent plates.

Black Bamboo

Friction: rubbing a blade along the creases creates a spark.

A lesson in fire-making at the alter

Soft fabric of this traditional dress is made from bark!

Famously these tribal folk made clothing from the bark of the Ka tree. It’s texture was as soft as felt. We were very grateful that Ivon took time not only to show us their traditional dress but to model it.

It was rather surreal when later the locals started showing me how to exchange photos from our mobiles via Bluetooth.

Old and new collide when we touched our mobiles to exchange photos

Their deity was a female/mother spirit that, when present, came in the evening via the heavens through a large tree. Images of this goddess was found in very monolithic stone carvings around the site.

Mother deity

Male deity – protector

Remains of a totem house

When we left Ivon (Vyonne), smiled with bright betel nut lips, embraced Burney and breathed her blessing touching noses. An experience much appreciated by Burney that would stay with her through many many memories.

Local motifs. The elephant motif had been adopted long ago after traders from India brought elephant tusks and “patol” to the archipelago. (Patol – silk double-ikat cloth from Gujarat).

Finally, because Burney has become fascinated by the various regional motifs used in ikat, we visited a weaving center. Traveling along the shoreline, 30 kms west,  then north-west, we saw from the road the route we had taken by night sailing to Kalabahi. Once at the Ikat Weaving House Gunung Moko, we were to meet Mrs Sariat Libana. The workshop was surrounded by garden producing many of the plants used to provide organic dyes. Indeed, even the very cotton spun into yarn.

We learnt that over 200 natural dyes were used by the weaver community. When Burney had the audacity to imply that some very bright colours looked artificia,l she was quickly directed to their organic sources – young papaya or a tree blossom in their garden.

Cotton grown on site

A kettle of organic material for dye

Tumeric yellow

Mrs Sariat Libana. Some of the works from this weaving centre have been in exhibits internationally.

Dutch Indonesia colonial architecture. It was the Governor’s residence

Thursday, July 5th
While refilling our water containers from the local “fountain” Hans befriended some young fellows who he then took for a fast dinghy ride around the cove. Inflatable boats with outboards remained a fascination, especially when Hans puts it up on the plane by gunning the motor. Yippee, thrill seekers.
Then it was time for a final massage and bidding farewell to Marlon and welcome to Ferry and Marlouke. With an evening of music, fine dining and a beverage or 2, we resigned to our bunks in preparation for an early start and 24 hour passage to West Timor, the extreme south east point of the Indonesian boundaries.

Note the bamboo spout

Fresh water source

Farewell Alor

Hello Crew

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

The continuing story: Wetar to Alor, after all.

Part of the “Forgotton Islands”,  Wetar was initially recorded by the Portuguese. Situated in the Banda Sea as a border island, it was still mostly forgotten by present-day Indonesia. Transport to there was possibly once a fortnight by ferry, weather depending. No airport. Few roads crossed its terrain.

While a huge island, measuring 100 km in length and registered under the Maluku province (the Moluccas), it had no real development but approximately 23 villages were scattered around the island, with people living from the sea and forest resources. Although in the north east there was a copper and gold project listed, the principal occupation was subsistence agriculture, producing mainly sago, and finding honey.
When a family paddled their dug-out alongside indicating a dark liquid Hans thought, perhaps hoped, it was an alcoholic beverage but we learnt that they were selling honey in refilled water bottles. Of course,  we bought some.

Local honey

Taking home some goodies

Location: Labuhan Air Panus

07*50.625 S

125*49.028 E

With our SE Asian journey nearly completed, Burney was clearing cupboards of kitchen goods (dry beans, flour, large lidded containers) and articles of clothing and fishing gear. These we shared with different families since anything we had, they needed. Our anchorage, unbeknownst to us prior to arriving, within easy access from our dinghy landing was a freshwater source. This became a great resource when Hans discovered that one of the fittings on the desalination plumbing had fatigued. Preserving our tanked water for drinking, we used the local ‎H2O  for bathing and washing.

Freshwater pond filled from a nearby stream

Washing Day with all the mod cons-
Agitation with (toilet)plunger
Wringing via stainless stays

The next discovery was that our voltage readings from the batteries were surprisingly low. After testing, isolating and checking Hans was confronted with the realisation that our “starter” battery needed replacing and 2 of the 4 house batteries probably needed desulphurisation.
Decisions?
– Go on to Saumlaki and the Tanimbar group? Risky
– Go to nearby Dili on Timor-Leste (East Timor)? Fraught with international officialdom since we would not posses the required exit paperwork from Indonesia.

or

– Return west and visit Alor.

Picture tells the story:

Having the moon is always a comfort when nightsailing.

 

It took all day to move from east to west

With a 100nm journey, ahead of us (or was that behind us) Hans decided to depart our piece of tranquility at 6pm and head south-east with a nice following wind. A goose-wing formation, 2 reefs in the mains’l and less than half the genoa out we averaged approx 5 knots. The wind was varying from 12-20 knots. However as we approached the Alor coastline, we struggled against a current. By 7am the log entries read: “Full working sail and motor. Sodding current. Maybe easier in closer?” We were clocking only 2 knots of speed.

With the sun setting, we had hoped to find an anchorage  along the north-west coast near Kokar vilage however the groundswell may have made it uncomfortable. Pressing on, we headed for the main town of Kalabahi, deep into a fjord-like passage. As advised, the quieter anchorage near Kenarilang was in a small cove. Finally come 11pm, we were safely ensconced.

Blue dot marks the spot.

Our cove in the daylight.

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Pantar to Wetar Islands

Departing Lewoleba, retracing our track over the bay.

The current in Boleng Strait had our track sliding south, backwards (5 knot speed) when we turned into the wind to raise the mainsail.

After fighting the current in Boleng Strait for a few hours, we turned east along the northern parameter of Ile Ape mountain. The sulphur smell was very apparent as a cloud wafted overhead. Perched precariously along the foot of the mountain slope was a village. As we cleared the wind shadow, 21 knots of wind howled around the rigging. Off and romping! That certainly made up for lost time. Neither of our weather sources had forecast those conditions. One wondered if these volcanoes also created their own weather, similar to some of our other past encounters.

A cloud of fumes.

Steep slopes with a village below.

Detail of villages

Having checked various charts and satellite images on maps, we decided to venture into a protected bay on Lembata for our afternoon anchorage. Navionics, our smart-phone navigation aid, offered a better indication of reef and hazards. However the “lateral beacons” were actually only 2 white poles which marked the deeper water channel between fringing reef. With Burney standing watch on the bow with binoculars and polariod sunglasses Hans took a dog-leg route towards the village of Balurin. Once within the shelter of the surrounding hills the white tops gave way to a “marina calm” basin. People called to us and children squealed as we waved while motoring passed the jetties to drop anchor in a mangrove cove. Dare-devil young lads leapt naked from the jetty while adults fished with twig and line.

The volcano over Burney’s shoulder while she cons for coral reef

Ile Ape Mt. continued to lean over our shoulders but we had gained some distance and were viewing its caldera from a different aspect as the rising sun reflected on the ashy sections. Still shaded in our corner of the bay the village was awake with the morning chorus of crowing and pig snorting. Soon after the first bus hooted as it collected commuters and loaded goods on the roof for the bumpy journey on an unsealed and potholed Trans-Lembata road.

Still on Lembata Island, Balurin village

Colourful houses along the wooden jetties to our east.

View from the cockpit to the west.

With another 30 nautical mile hop to the next island of Pantar, we prepared to haul-in the anchor at 6.30am.
– No, cancel that and let’s discuss this.

Something was wrong with the alternator again! How could that be?

Up came the floor boards, out came the tools – checking wires, checking belt… Belt?

No alternator belt. It had shredded and fallen into the bilge.

Fortunately Hans’ back was stable enough to be on the tools, albeit with back brace firmly assisting. ( Perhaps Brahminy Too wanted to remain in Indonesia?)
Eventually, sometime later, take two…
We were off. Again unforecast winds had us rushing along the coast doing 7 knots with reefed-in sails until we crossed the sea between the islands. The landmass of Pantar redirected the winds from forequarter to aft-quarter and then almost nothing. A persistent wide undulating swell eased under the hull from the northern corner as we headed to an anchorage recommended by Ken from the catamaran Surfari. Kabir was the name of the village. A mere indentation along the coast but with a high ridge line suggesting protection from the wind.  Alas that sneaky swell wrapped into our location, occasionally disturbing a good nights’ rest.

Kabir village to Blang Merang, Pantar Island.

After considering the anchorage options, or lack thereof, further east along the northern edge of neighbouring Pulau Alor, Hans decided to have a rest day on Pantar and then put-in an overnight sail to Wetar Island, the next isle along this chain of stopovers. We decided to move to the very sheltered location deep into the southern basin at Blang Merang. Whilst making that passage Burney whopped for joy! A large pod of Spinner Dolphins came to greet us. A dozen or so flanked our bow. In their midst were a couple of young ones. Occasionally, one of the juveniles attempted an aerobatic spin but only made a backslap. As quickly as they had appeared, they parted.

We chose Anchorage B .

Waves breaking on the reef and retaining walls

Further east along the foreshore is the opening to our anchorage.

Blang Merang had several houses facing the wilds of the sea. Rollers crashed on the fringing reef and splashed the retaining walls. As we negotiated the channel between the reef, an inlet of deep water opened near their harbour wharf. Unlike the more open coves adjacent (see map  locations C and D), it was completely calm if perhaps a little close to the main section of the village and its 3 mosques. It was there that we chose to anchor, with 60 meters of chain out. Within minutes of attempting to set the pick well into the sandy bottom we had the children arriving. “Hello, Mister” which Burney has heard as often as Hans.

Annie takes us to the market

Among our interactions with the locals who came along side in dugouts, we met  the very charming Annie (Hanan Roghiba) who had a reasonable grasp of English. Most of her teenage companions were attending the local secondary school, however Annie had begun her training to become a teacher. To achieve this, she had elected to study at a university in Makassar, Sulawesi. Quite a distance from her family and insular community. After agreeing to connect the following morning ashore, we were to meet many of the villagers along the tidy lane-ways to the Saturday market. Every man, woman and child knew Annie and looked with open-faced curiosity at us. Although this was a Muslim village, as are many coastal villages, not all the women wore head scarves. But orthodox or not, all wore the bright red lip shading and red stunted teeth of regular betel nut chewing.

Betel Nut.

Before returning to Brahminy Too we introduced ourselves to Annie’s parents. Her mother, like many traditional women had a weaving loom in the front room. The ikat lay prepared for another production. Of course we bought a couple of her beautiful scarves. Before too long many aunts and cousins crowded into the tiny room. With Annie translating, we told our story and then sang them a few songs.

Discussing the local motif of their Ikat.

Now onboard,

10am Saturday, 23 June, we motored sedately out of the harbour accompanied by the local soccer team being ferried to a neighbouring village match. With much calling and waving like celebrities, we headed north-east. Thank you and farewell, Pantar.

Tacking north east from Pantar to clear Alor Island

Once out into the Flores Sea, it was big. 2 meter swell slapped or pitched and dumped our bow. Easterlies gusting to 18 knots. It was to be a series of strong wind tacks and well washed decks before we had the wind working more easily to our advantage. In between crest and trough small fishing boats were beating to shore. Mad buggers what were they doing out here? What were we doing out here! Burney found it better to “ya-who” like a bronco rider at the rodeo (she liked the adventure) while Hans just grumbled :” Too much like hard work”.

Listing and lurching with just a bit of genoa.

With the slipping below the horizon of the last orange rays, 3 hours on and 3 hours off we rock and rolled into the night.

An early moon rise

A sunset sail

When the Flores Sea became the Banda Sea and the moons silvery luminescence took control, the winds continued to gust over 15 to 20+ knots but with more south in it. No more tacking for awhile. With many miles yet to cross it was quite a challenge. A night of howlers and greenies.

Trying to keep wind in a favourable quarter had us too far north.

Having winched-in a mere burgee-sized  genoa and a reef in the mains’l, we speed along at 6-7 knots. Much faster than we prefer in the depth of night. Yikes! the wind force kept gaining, 25+, 27+ knots. Spilling wind out of the mainsail by easing off the sheet only helped a little. The rollers slapped and sent plumes of spray into the cockpit and showering down on our protective canopy like shrapnel on a tin roof. No way were we going out there to put a second reef in the main. The teak creaked, the wind generator whirred, the rigging sang and the genoa sheet drummed a military tattoo on the lifeline.
Our recently repaired autopilot groaned as it struggled to hold the course. With conditions so demanding, we feared another system failure and gave Seymour a rest while we hand steered in the wee hours. No vagueing-out, totally focused and constantly flicking our sight from wind gauge to compass to chartplotter, the helms person on watch held our safety in their hands.

Dawn approaching and still we were speeding.

Dawn brought no reprieve but at least we could anticipate the lurch and thud of the next wave. Still 30 nautical miles north west of our destination, we remained on the same tack waiting for a wind shift. When none came, after considering options we turned southward and met the rollers head on pitching deep and riding high. The scuppers streamed constantly with decks awash to the gunnel tops. Rainbows sprinkled the spray and bright foam leapt from white-caps while the sea sparkled with thousands of diamond shards in the morning light. Inching closer at snail’s pace to the coast with another team effort to set the sails in strong winds, we began to see the profile of land rising up off the horizon. A single sea bird sheared the wave tops quartering for prey. So few distractions to while the hours away.

A slow push south. 1.9 became 0.8 knots

30 hours, it took from departing Pantar. With poor, broken sleep and anxiety only thinly kept below surfacing, we welcomed the increasing view of Wetar Island as more details became apparent with proximity. The high rugged spine of peaks did little to abate the wind force but the swell and wave heights diminished. Lush slopes folded and plunged to the sea-level. The scorched hills of regular mosaic back-burning had not scarred that view. Weathered and pitted layers of cliff face lined a white sandy beach as our goal took definition. We were headed to a waypoint suggested by Brian from the catamaran Hybresail. None of our guide books covered these tiny remote islands. Navionics indicated a small cove, predictably steep but gradually inclining band of rising contours with anchorage-able depths near a sandy shore. Scanning for reef through her binoculars, Burney noted a fishing boat beached in mangroves, then the outline of a hut roof in the shady gloom of coconut palms. No village per-se, no mosque or church, just an isolated community. Yep, the children had spotted us and ran back from the beach to obviously inform the elders.
Oh, the bliss!
Calm waters!
The wind still howled or whispered but, we lay the anchor and only glided to those vagaries. No pitching or lurching.
Peace.

Approaching Wetar Island

“Hello Mister”

If the crew of Hybresail had been near, Hans would have kissed them both and their boat!
With beer and scotch at hand, we high-fived each other. We weren’t going anywhere for a day or two. Rest and recuperate. The only greenies anywhere near our cockpit were a flock of vibrant Lorikeets flying from the treetops.

Free range goats on the beach

Water buffalo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here come the locals

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Lembata

Farewell Flores

Sunday June 10th saw Brahminy Too exiting our last anchorage on Flores, Tg. Gedong. We were surprised to find a tourist charter phinisi had also arrived during the previous evening.

This Solor/Alor archipelago consisted of several islands, all volcanic and rugged. Indeed our guide book advised not to rely on the chart soundings in the straits as the intense volcanic activity may have changed the depths. The very steep hillsides precluded development hence there were few visible villages. We had read that apart from subsistence agriculture, cash crops such as tamarind, vanilla and almonds were cultivated. The mountainous forests were plundered for sandalwood.

wind

With strong winds from the south east in Timor Sea wending between ranges and straits, we had a rather thrilling sail. Our first anchorage, Sagu Bay was 25 nm from Tg. Gedong. High above loomed the volcanic peak of Ile Boleng while the bay held sneaky shoals, coral bommies and fringing reef. It was comfortably sheltered and quiet except for the “whoop!” that went up when some children saw our boat at anchor. With the dropping tide, the air was full of the deeply pungent smell of drying sea mud – a heady mixture of fish brine and a deep earthiness. Smoke from local fires lingered and the wisp of clove cigarettes filtered by as fishermen paddled their dug-outs.

The thin white line of sand as Kroko Atoll appeared with the ebbing tide.

In 2016 while many of the rally fleet visited Lembata, we boycotted the event. A journey to visit one of the last traditional whale hunting villages in Indonesia was part of the  local colour. We didn’t wish to encourage their performance of leaping off a wooden boat onto a whale for our benefit. Instead, we lingered at a charming little atoll called Kroko. With low tide there was ample white sand for a beach party for one of our group to celebrate his birthday. The surrounding reef provided calm lagoons to snorkel. It was with those fond memories that we had thought to return, however the pixies at the bottom of the garden which we had hoped would deal with a possible alternator issue, had not appeared. Ho-hum! So bypassing the atoll we headed to the next largest town in this region.

Lewoleba see blue dot

Lembata Island

Lewoleba (also known as Labala) was located on the Western part of the island by a huge bay of the same name under the Ilê Ape volcano to the north-east. Ships and ferries frequently connect the coastal towns and surrounding islands, however with the end of Ramadan and the following vacation period fast approaching, traffic was expected to decrease. Would we find a mechanic? What was the infrastructure like? With these questions, Burney contacted, yet again, our agent, Raymond T. Desmana who promptly responded with a name and phone number. Dion Wutun was the man and he was to become a daily point of reference for the ensuing week. For sailors who may need his number:+62 8132 8343 512.

Splashes by the bow, white caps on the Bay

Our entrance to Lewoleba was gusty. A strong wind had us sailing the final leg listing dramatically and sending spray over the bow. Should we anchor by the port or go to the quieter location?

Quieter, please!

A long submerged reef sat adjacent the town, Awalong Reef. Giving it a wide berth we anchored near the local market and fishing jetty.

Gunung Ile Ape to the north with the sun rising behind another peak

Gunung Ile Boleng on Adonara to the west at dawn

The ever-imposing “Ile Ape” volcano (officially called Gunung Lewotolo) dominated the view from dawn to dusk. However it’s elevation of 1,449 meters, only made it the third highest peak on Lembata, apparently. Despite not having had a major eruption since the 1950s, this was a very active volcano with sulphurous gasses evident most days.

Ile Ape mountain always had a puff of smoke, that’s not a passing cloud.

Market jetty, our backyard

It was sometime around June 11th and 12th that Hans started experiencing painful leg cramps. In the meantime, we had Dion with Wili, the mechanic coming to the boat to diagnose our alternator problem. “She’s dead, Fred”. The dynamo wasn’t working unless you gave it a hefty tap and then only for a short while.

Did they have any alternators on this island, would it fit?

How long would it take to have one sent from Sarabaya, if need be?

Would any mail or ferry boats arrive during the holiday period of Hari Raya Idul Fitri (End of Ramadan)?

Burney busy ferrying the workers to Brahminy

Wili at work

Sometimes, luck was with us. Wili accessed a smaller Japanese version compared to our Bosch model and had it installed the next day. Oh happy day!! The batteries had been coping well with the daily sunshine feeding the solar panels and afternoon high winds driving the wind generator, but it was concern. Having the alternator took the edge off an doubts when clouds came in, just fire up the Perkins and the alternator would charge the batteries..

Assy Alternator

Great job, Wili!

Dion

Feeding the workers

By Thursday 14th, Burney had decided that Hans had a pinched sciatica nerve probably around the vertebrae L5 and S1 region given the line of pain, he was experiencing. Since he was unable to walk, at all, Burney asked Dion to try and find a physiotherapist who could come to the boat. In the meantime, Burney started doing all the remedies she had applied to her own back issues.

Anina gave massages on board

After 2 sessions, Anina had him well enough to struggle into the dinghy and be driven to the only hospital.

Physiotherapist applying electronic simulation

Anina at the Physio Department

Dion’s sons greet us at the jetty

After all that, hospital, shopping, fuel, it was time to give Dion’s family a treat. With the car loaded with kids, we returned to the jetty and Burney started ferrying folks to Brahminy Too. Dion loved to use his mobile phone to photograph and make videos. We have never featured in so many Facebook posts have we have since arriving at Lewoleba! (Even long after leaving Lembata Dion continues to “tag” us into his posts on Facebook.) Although, we could have experienced more of the island by taking a tour to a traditional village or to the village renown for whale-hunting, we remained close to home, resting in between trips ashore for a recuperative walk or visiting the local fresh market.

They are not all Dion’s children, some are cousins.

Progress, a short walk with a rest stop.

Fresh vegies, Dion’s aunt.

Fresh fish

Very fresh chicken

While whale hunting is not generally condoned by modern societies (and definitely not something we would want to experience) the folk here have been sanctioned by the United Nations. The tribe who lives at the village of Lamalera continued their ancestral links to their gods, built wooden boats without use of metal and made the same primitive hunting equipment as in bygone days.  The folk of Lamalera originally arrived on Lembata long ago as refuges when their island was destroyed by a volcano. Having little land for agriculture they used their fishing skills to trade/barter for other goods with the inland populations. Much of their culture was and remains connected to the sea. Their Ikat weaving featured motifs of boats, spear heads and whales.

The word ‘ikat’ (pronounced ‘ee-KAHT’) derived from the Malaysian ‘mengikat,’ or ‘to tie,’ referred to the loose threads ‘reserved’ into bundles using grasses or wax-treated cotton to specify where the dye was able to be absorbed and colour the thread (basically a refined type of tie-dye). Therefore, the weaver must determine where on the loose threads the dye should (and shouldn’t) adhere in order for it to form the proper pattern when it was woven on the loom. More complicated, if more colours were used. Some ikats were made by dyeing the warp threads (the fixed threads that are attached to the loom), some by dyeing the weft threads (the threads that are actually woven in and out of the warp threads), and some by dyeing both, a technique known as double ikat. It’s like an aesthetic logic puzzle, and just thinking about it makes our heads hurt.

As for the dyes, there was scarcely any form of traditional ikat weaving that did not use indigo to some degree. From blue to black depending on the number of repeated dye baths. (Indigo belonged to the pea family of plants. However some used squid ink.) Other organic colours were made from turmeric or charcoal.

Despite this complexity, the technique seems to have developed independently across many different cultures and continents since at least the Dark Ages, appearing in places like Pre-Columbian Peru and Guatemala, 10th century Yemen, Japan, Indonesia, India and Uzbekistan. Western cultures have embraced ikats for centuries, now. The technique and textiles first came to Europe via Dutch traders in Southeast Asia, Spanish explorers in South America, and from travelers along the Silk Road.  Within the cultures that produced them, ikats were typically status symbols because of the skill and time their production required.

On Lembata, ikat garments, elephant tusks and Moko drums were an important part of the wedding dowry. For hundreds of years elephant tusks and the special kettle drums “Moko” were brought from Sulawesi via the Burgis traders. The drums, in particular, were believed to date back to the Dong Son period which centred on the Red River Valley in northern Vietnam from around 1000 BC. When Burney half-jokingly asked Dion Wuton about his marriage and having to find elephant tusk as a bride price, he said his wife came from Sulawesi where buffalo was the dowry requirement.

Ikat: A gift from Dion and his wife

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

West to east in 10 days, Cabo das Flores

Flores


While many friends in Australia dealt with winter chills, unseasonal rain and East Coast Lows, we had more favourable conditions. We even managed some romping sails which was an unexpected pleasure. Departing early in the mornings gave us either the assistance of the katabatics whisping down from the mountain ridges or mirror calm dawn exits. Usually around 11am the winds would increase and sometimes to our advantage as we made daily hops along familiar anchorages or sought out new alternatives.

Gili Bodo mooring location the red + marked the spot. see coordinates.

Bicolour Anglefish, blue and yellow

Possibly a Swarthy Parrotfish with Rabbitfish

Having left Labuan Bajo we headed NE to a small island called Gili Bodo or Pulua Sababi on some maps. The anchorage on the seaward side was where we had snorkeled and b-b-qued with sv Sentinel on our 2016 visit, was untenable. North-easterly winds and fringing coral,  no thank you. Instead on the landward side close to a pearl farm we found a serviceable (although very weedy) mooring. The low island held the wind and sea swell at bay while we ventured ashore for a swim.

Gili Bodo pearl farm

The following morning with only approx 35 nm to cover, we arrived in Lingeh Bay a little after midday. Our last encounter there had been overwhelming with 20 or more children “expecting” handouts. With apprehension we prepared a basket of goods to trade, if the opportunity arose. It was our preference to promote a swapping culture rather than encourage “begging” for gifts. Fortunately, only 2 canoes approached, both with young men initiating a trade conversation.

The lads swapped their dugout canoe for a ride in our dinghy in quest of fish.

Came to trade and stayed

While Hans took 2 chaps for a dinghy run to acquire fresh fish, Burney invited Richards onboard. Practicing his command of English, we did practical things like cleaning and filleting the fish and while viewing the boat naming various attributes.  (Using Facebook as a medium we continue to remain in contact.)

Hopefully Richards will have the opportunity to work in the tourist industry.

Time to move on…No lingering at Lingeh.

June 1st
17 Island National Park held fond memories: a couple of bar-b-que sing-alongs came to mind.

2016 beach gathering

The coast and the surrounding area of the town of Riung had become a national conservation area. In fact, the national park consisted of more than 20 smaller and larger islands and encompassed a rich coral-reef ecosystem. We read that 27 different species of coral have been recorded. En route to the same location as 2016, Nunsa Tiga in the vicinity of Riung, we sited dolphins. Large ocean roving types with unusual patchy grey and white colouring. The pristine white sands produced wonderful shades within the blue colour spectrum while coral gardens furthered tinted the view.

Shades of blue

Nunsa Tiga had been discovered. Our isolated anchorage had sprouted a couple of shelter sheds and an amenities block. Day boats brought snorkelers to the adjoining reef and lunched on shore preparing grilled fish on bamboo picnic tables. Nevertheless, come the afternoon, it was our private spot. The reef by the headland receiving a regular flow of current, was rich with marine life and a great diversity of coral. While hovering near the drop-off, Burney saw her first big Cuttlefish with it’s frilled edges changing colour as it propelled over different terrain until disappearing into the gloomy depths. Wow oh wow.

Shelter sheds for the daytrippers

Red-breasted Wrasse

Regal Angelfish

Vibrant green coloured coral

Reef Egrets storked the rocky shores while Collared Kingfishers and Oriental White-eyes called from the beach shrubbery. We, also,  took a dinghy ride to a neighbouring island so Burney could ascertain if the Malaysian Plovers we saw last time were still in residence.

aka Plover island

Upon landing, the piping call of 2 Beach-stone Curlews first caught her attention and indeed scarpering around the dry coral rubble were the tiny plovers.

Beach-stone Curlews

Plover male

Having enjoyed a lay-day, it was June 3rd when we anchored in Ciendeh Bay. Again our day at the office was completed by 2.30pm. Enough time for Hans to stretch his legs wandering around the village. The deep natural harbour and surrounding cliffs made for a very calm anchorage. Numerous squids boats bobbed in the harbour, however Hans was unable to procure any for dinner. While engaging the assistance of a local find fresh fish to purchase (which cost only 3 fish for $5 ), he had a very different conversation. This chap who spoke English quite well had gained his skills while in Australia. Apparently he was apprehended while fishing Ashmore Reef and spent 1 year in a Darwin jail. Now that was not your usual exchange with a local islander!

Headlands protect the natural harbour.

Afternoon light on the surrounding hills above the village.

Squid boats everywhere

With the loud noise of a passing fishing boat, June 4th saw us with West Batu Boga as our desired anchorage. Previously, we had shared the very calm harbour on the eastern side of the point Batu Boga with the rally vessels: Babadudu,  Argonaut and Hybresail in 2016 . In the meantime, Bev from sv Wirraway & Ginny from Wishful Thinking had told us about their experiences tucked into a small bay with a cluster of folk living ashore on the aforementioned western aspect.

Wirraway and Wishful Thinking, 2016

With the prevailing winds, West Batu Boga, a 30nm trip, appeared early along our vector.
Like much of this coastline, steep hills not only provided excellent protection from most directions of wind, they also enabled the keen hiker to gain brilliant vantage points for views across to the Flores Sea. After the clatter of the descending chain ceased to fill our ears, children whooping from the shore was heard.
Before long a single dugout canoe approach with 2 teenage girls. Shortly after another joined us in the cockpit. Since we were struggling with conversation Hans played a few songs on his uke. Then Burney produced a children’s story book depicting Old Macdonald. Always a hit! While Hans strummed the tune, Burney used the pages to illustrate the words while she sang and made ridiculous farm animal sounds. It wasn’t only the toddler who thought it was a hoot, everyone had a laugh. With such a grand performance we were invited ashore.

Brahminy Too at anchor

Hans shared some of our gifts with the children while we were treated to fresh coconut juice. One young woman scaled the palm while another wielded the machete. Around us the level dirt compound was swept free of all debris. Chickens chased each other and pigs rested under shady trees. It appeared that there were several families living in this bay who existed largely by a subsistence lifestyle. Their main request was batteries,  AA for a radio and D size for a fishing boat light. By chance, we did have a few to spare.

A catholic station on the foreshore.

Freshly harvested cocounut

Sitting in recently carved canoes, Hans plays harmonica for the folks.

Come dusk slightly larger motorised fishing boats began to arrive. Though not going ashore, some boats clustered together socialising with each other’s crew while a couple anchored nearby and prepared a pot of food onboard. Apparently this was a regular gathering of an evening. The blat,  blat,  blat of their engines woke us in the dark of night as they returned to their fishing fields off the coast.

The dusk gathering.

Before departing in the morning we had time to explore the fringing reef around our boat. Having read that much of the marine grounds had been severely damaged due to the past practice of cyanide use or dynamite blasting it was encouraging to see regrowth in the midst of coral rubble. Reef fish and coral species were returning and Burney even saw a beautifully coloured mantis shrimp scuttling around broken reef. While in Langkawi, Malaysia we had actually bought and cooked these crustaceans (though not nearly as decorative as this peacock species).

From rubble to regrowth

Orbicular Batfish

Identifying fish maybe more difficult than birds!

From the Coral reef guide book: Mantis shrimp

With yet another visa extension due, our visit to Maumere required us to search out the Immigration Office. Given that the usual anchorage suggested during the yacht rallies was further outside of the administration centre, we headed towards the port where possible town access was more quickly achieved. The afternoon offshore wind headed us as we dodged countless foam moorings littered in deep water. Again we were pleased not to be negotiating these hazards at night.

A fishing boat tethered to a fish attracting device which is tied to a foam mooring block.

Moorings difficult to spot in daylight

The peoples of Flores are almost entirely Roman Catholic Christians, nevertheless our anchorage near the port was in close proximity to the fishing community and their mosques. With Ramadan drawing to a close, the call to prayer or to eat started at 2.30am (through loud speakers). Then departing cargo ships announced their departures with a blaring horn and we felt a very pronounced ground swell even with the “flopper-stopper” deployed. Not a favourable anchorage according to our skipper.

Statue of the Virgin Mary on Nilo hill above our anchorage.

Fortunately, processing our extension would only take 24 hours from application to completion. Thanks to Raymond Desmana, our Indonesian sponsor, we had been advised to contact the local “go to guy”, Konrad. On the day we were to retrieve our passports, Hans booked a car & driver through Konrad.

Maumere was a busy though dusty urban hub with no two of our destinations in close proximity. Although largely rebuilt, much of the township (90 %) had been destroyed when a deadly earthquake occurred in Dec of 1992. The resulting tsunami along the coastline of Flores ran inland as far as 300 meters with wave heights of 25 meters. Great swathes of vegetation was swallowed. Now with large sections of the town’s foreshore protected by a high rockwall, dinghy beaching was very challenging. Even around the port it was precarious,  for either man or inflatable.

Fresh market

Firewood to purchase

With Konrad also assisting, we quickly filled the morning with various destinations successfully: Fresh market,  supermarket,  pharmacy, fuel, gin &  beer and Immigration.

Thank you and good-bye.
With 2 nights of broken sleep, departing for calmer enclaves was the next priority.  Hans  immediately commenced readying the boat while Burney washed fruit and vegies from the market. A little after 1pm, we were under way. With a short 16nm motor-sail across Maumera Bay, we were anticipating a quiet Wodong anchorage.

When the depth sounder can’t cope

There are dozens of shades within the spectrum of the colour blue. The very deep waters off Flores tend towards cobalt and navy blue. Watching the lighter shades  indicating patches of reef between our course and the coconut palm tree coast, we gazed higher into a clear sky blue day before coming under the plume of another active volcano. Cloudless except for Mt Egon’s peak, yellow sulphur gases and grey ash-tinted white puffs issued from a few different vents. Although very active, it was listed as one of the most popular hikes on Flores. Indeed the last major eruption was in 2008 when sections of the trail was covered  with ash and debris. Now, in parts, only cannes of piled stones mark the route. Flores boasts twelve volcanoes suitable for trekking. Memories of Kelimutu National Park with its tri-colored crater lakes  re-emerged. We had visited the district of Ende close to the town of Moni, with other members from the rally. The lakes were in the caldera and were fed by a volcanic gas source, resulting in highly acidic water. The colours of the three lakes changed on an irregular basis, depending on the oxidation levels varying from bright red to brown, through green and blue.

Mount Egon. Its 1671m high summit is formed by a lava dome from which puffs of smoke emerge

Depending on the season, this Mt Egon also sported a lake in its crater, our information told us.

Foreshore

Nestled under its protecting ridge line lay our destination. More specifically, a small cove-like indentation in the coast near a resort called Ankermi Divers Resort.
08*36.39 S
122*28.50 E
After miles of deep water blues, we turned to starboard for the final leg. The depth sounder finally reengaged as we reached the 500ft sounding a half a nautical mile from the beach. Standing on the bow conning for reef, Burney waited to see any sight of colour change. Deep blue remained until Hans started to call 50ft then rising quickly to 27ft (9m) it was time to drop the pick. We were quite close to the shore!

Totally calm. Only the squeal of a pig and the roosters crowing from a homestead hidden behind a grove of coconuts. Fishermen paddled their tiny canoes casting a hand line or spanning a net. Time for a “chillax”. Maybe a day off, too.

Morning view of the resort nestled under the mountains

Detail of resort

Local fishermen paddle their boats

Since we were unable to hire a motorbike anywhere in the area to explore the coastal road or mountain, we went for a snorkel instead.

We heard a boy singing as he paddled his canoe so Hans played him a song.

black and white Twotone Chromis 5cm

Almost invisible Razorfish swimming vertically, pipefish family

A sea urchin with striped echidna-like quills.

Anemonefish group

regrowth and rubble

9 June.
With another dawn departure, we marvelled at the soft colours reflected across the still waters. Random patches of rippled surface joined oily smooth areas. Leaving the mainland behind we slipped through a strait near Pulau Besa and then around the reefed coast of Pig Island (Pulau Babi) noting white sandy beaches and the shallow depths of light turquoise waters. Our final leg was a  42nm day trip to Tangung Gedong. The tail of Snake Island.

Water patterns in the dawn light

[ Originally, before Europeans, this long thin landmass was called Nusa Nipa – snake island. (In those bygone days,  Makassarese and Bugis seafarers from Southern Sulawesi came to trade or entrap folk into slavery.)
It was with a Portuguese expedition crew reaching the island in the early 16th century that it was re- named ‘Cabo das Flores’, which meant ‘Cape of Flowers’. Thought to be of strategic significance for trade, many Portuguese relocated and  married local folk and  then the missionaries soon followed. However, Flores itself was neither a source of valuable spices nor sandalwood. After a long period of struggling with other trade powers, the Portuguese were finally defeated and withdrew themselves to Dili in East Timor in 1769. Renouncing all their spheres of influence in Eastern Indonesia, their remaining enclaves were sold to the Dutch East Indies  administration in 1854.]

Chartplotter image as we depart.

Passing reef and sandy beaches near Pulua Besa

Once clear of the islands, Hans pointed our nose on a direct rhum line. It was to be a
romping conclusion as the typical afternoon wind came in at 11am. With 15-20 knot winds from the east our north-easterly course  took the advantage. Our oversized Genoa furled into the 2nd reef point but with the mains’l still fully billowing we settled into a fine sail and danced over the miles.
Then with a wind shift while the force decreased our speed maintained as some current assistance came to bear. Thank you!
And that was our last day cruising the edge of Flores.

wind

Speed 6.6 knots

Next stop,  anchorages we’ve not visited before on the islands of Adonara and Lembata.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Labuan Bajo, Flores. Not a bad place to be stuck.

The Komodo National Park included the marine area around both Rinca and Komodo with over 40 different dive and snorkel sites.  Hence much of the industry around Labuan Bajo was tourist orientated. Looking at the bay, either from the land or the anchorage was really a showcase of phinisi models. The larger vessels specialised in 3-day liveaboard itineraries while many smaller boats offered day trips. Actually, Labuan Bajo’s most significant features were probably its ramshackle harbour dotted with small islands and its hard-to-beat colourful sunsets.

Dive and snorkel sites

The port also received many large inter-island ferries and container ships. Fishing boats wended their passage between moored and anchored crafts to the fresh wet market along the busy foreshore. Generally it was as we had experienced 2 years ago when the 2016 Sail 2 Indonesia rally visited. Streets were still in state of construction, dusty and incomplete. Numerous tour operators touted their trips from shopfronts or boats near the pink jetty dinghy dock. But more development was apparent. A double storey mall dedicated to commerce was hammering away. More luxury resorts were spreading up the contours of the surrounding hillside or corner of the waterfront. And yet another phinisi became a charter boat.

Hotel resorts and Live-aboard phinisi boats

Labuan Bajo Harbour

New mall of stores under construction

Hotel accommodation creeps upwards behind the container wharf

Labuan Bajo

The word Labuan is derived from a Malay word which meant “Harbour” while Bajo referred to an indigenous group, itself a sub-group of the Sama-Bajau, nomadic boat dwelling peoples once found scattered throughout the Southeast Asia. Skilled sailors, boat builders and maritime specialists, these sea gypsies once spent their entire lives aboard their small longboats called lepa lepa, coming ashore only when they needed to replenish water and other supplies, trade or to make repairs to their boats. From the sea they harvested fish, octopus, stingrays and sea cucumber, trading whatever they didn’t require for themselves.

 

 

Puri Sari beach resort anchorage

A few laps of the pool and birdwatching around the garden

All this bustle we avoided.
(08 31.086 S  119 52.053 E)
2km by road or approximately 1nm south of the township was our very comfortable anchorage adjacent to the Hotel Puri Sari beach resort. The manager, Huberth Busa, was sailor friendly and helpful. We had easy access to their staff/drivers, fuel and water, an inexpensive restaurant for Burney’s birthday dinner, good internet reception and a bit of exercise at their swimming pool. The engine and anchor winch repairs took 2 weeks, so we spent the time well, balancing boat jobs with soul-enrichment.

Work first:
Fortunately, Albi from Indonesian Marine Services in Denpasar was able to suggest a reliable mechanic to us. Kahar, who now lived locally, had worked for 15 years with the same firm.
The engine issue was fuel related. Possibly during one of the more choppy crossings some old grunge from the bottom of the tank may have found its way into the fuel line. ( We always used a special filter when fueling, so it was old dirt.)  After clearing the blockage, replacing some fuel hose and bleeding the lines, life returned to normal. We could again charge our batteries on dull days and operate the water maker/desalinator.

Kahar,our hero.

With regards to the anchor winch, after removing the above deck components and lowering the heavy drive machinery through the anchor locker, Hans dismantled the beast. A worn cog appeared to be the culprit.
Hans explored various scenarios:
– having the part express mailed from the head office in New Zealand to our friends from Hybreasail who were visiting Australia who could have possibly brought it with them – alas the time line appeared too tight.
– contacting a distributor in Brisbane – however Maxwell Nielson (NZ) had no affiliation with Maxwell Venus in Brisbane
– sending it from New Zealand to Flores could possibly become another drawn out affair with international post.
– Kahar had a friend (in Sumbawa) who was confident he could  make a new cog for the anchor winch.
Okay, fingers crossed,  7-10 days was the final choice upon which we settled…

In the interim, Burney had another birthday and we met folk returning to Australia on the catamaran, Surfari.

Then later the catamaran, El Misti, with Jenni and Ralph arrived from Lombok in quest of new deep-cycle batteries. That was going to tether them to the area for the next fortnight.

Orbicular Batfish 25-30cm

Blackpatch Triggerfish

An early morning snorkel jaunt  to nearby islands added a bliss factor and a couple of kayak/bird outings added variety.

Furthermore, the planets aligned and Hans took himself on a dive trip. 3 dives over the course of one day, each a different location or style – wall,  drift and coral garden.

Turtles snoozing on the bottom

Hiding under a coral shelf

Titan Triggerfish

Anemone fish (divers in the background)

With Ramadan beginning, the calls to prayer had become more competitive  (and imperative) as each mosque engaged their loudspeakers. However driving around the town, the large spire(s) on the hill suggested otherwise. East Nusa Tenggara, of which Flores was but a part, was primarily a Christian region, with some 90% of the population identifying Catholic or Protestant. Indeed more churches were apparent than mosques the further inland one ventured. Even the traditional villages such as Bena that maintained their animistic rituals had catholic statues and grotto like stations ascending a hill. The Portuguese and Dutch legacy.

By May 28th, the replacement cog had arrived! Whohoo

old & new cog

– could we have the anchor winch reassembled and positioned for an immediate departure?
Of course not!
Through-fittings always provided challenges.
Nevertheless, with Hans back in a cupboard below and Burney handling a winch above deck, Max was (eventually) back!

Internal workings

Back in his cupboard.
This time the anchor locker

Clever use of wire and halyard to take the weight as we lift it through the deck fitting. Later a rope tethering to ensure its strength.

Max is Back!!

Come Wednesday, the 30th, we bade Labuan Bajo adieu. Day hops east along the northern coast line of Flores beckoned.

Sail repair: first the rent is sewn together

Then a patch is added using a drill for the really thick layers,

Finished job.

Back in action.

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2018 in Uncategorized