A boat trip to Komodo and Rinca Island

pics:  https://fotoalbum.web.de/gast/anjapola/Indonesia_Komodo_-_Rinca

We arrive in Labuanbajo on the west coast of Flores after a 10 hours lasting ride in a small bus full of people with chicken under the seats and goats on the roof, over winding and narrow roads. And Labuanbajo is not very exciting, yoyu just have to come here, when you want to leave Flores by a boat…

Not many people live on those island between Flores and Sumbawa – that’s why there’s no public ferry to the Komodo Island anymore: You have to book a boat trip like a tourist (and to come back to Labuanbajo afterward), even though you want to travel like a local here, it’s not possible. So we decide to go on a 2 day tour and pay a good cash, but we have a whole fishing boat only for the 2 of us, 3 meals a day included. We feel like queens!

(By the way: We really agonised about the decision to go for 2 days, or for 4… we hated to rush and wanted to see everything, but the wish to go to Bali later was stronger)

Komodo and Rinca are very dry islands this time of the year, we sweat a lot on the short hikes we undertake to see the Komodo dragon. But we were lucky to meet lots of them – see the pics! The Island also have beautiful beaches, and of course we stopped for snorkeling…

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Flores – Island in the clouds

16/8 – 19/8   Pics: https://fotoalbum.web.de/gast/anjapola/Indonesia_Flores

I arrive at the airport of Maumere, Flores, in the morning and take the next bus to Moni, a small village in the mountains, where I will meet Anna again. 5 hours later I am in my nice bungalow with a nice view over the valley of Moni. Anna hasn’t arrived yet and so I can take the sleep I hadn’t have since the last night in Kupang.

It’s already dark when somebody is knocking at the door – it’s Anna, and her friend Madi, they met in Australia before and again on Flores. Later we meet the 3 others who are traveling with Madi – they all came also by a sailboat to Indonesia!

Today is the 17th of August and the next days Indonesia will celebrate the Independance Day. When we leave my bungalow there is a torch parade and hundrets of children walking down the street into the village.

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The next day we want to climb on the volcanos and see the famous crater lakes with the three colours. At 4 am in the morning a car picks us up and brings us to the base. The climb is very easy, it’s a stair – made for tourists… On the top we wait for the sunrise, but it’s very cloudy and cold and there’s no sun, and we are happy that we see at least to of the lakes. A trader feels sympathy and gives us his sarongs. They are nice and warm!

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At night we have a party at our homestay, we have a nice dinner and the local guys buy the drinks with our money. And of course there are guitars again!   The Flores version of Sopi (the palm tree schnapps, you remember) is called Arak, and it isn’t less stronger! They also have a nice palm tree wine that taste like Federweisser… Notice: Arak combined with beer, palm tree wine and cigarettes does causes a headache!

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Anna and I spend alltogether 2 days in Moni and leave to Bajawa then. It’s a small mountain town in the middle of the island between villages, volcanos and hotsprings. We charter 2 Indonesian guys with their motorbikes to go to an traditional village 9 I saw the most beautiful sarong there ever), and walk the 15 km back. On the way to the village we take a bath in a hot spring – imagine a very hot river and a cold river joining – and the hot water so hot, you can’t stay. A nice bathtube for the village people in the midst of the dschungel!

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Kupang (West Timor) – Meeting Indonesia

5/8 – 15/8  Pics: https://fotoalbum.web.de/gast/anjapola/Indonesia_West_Timor

Leaving the boat

We get off the boat! After a crazy week in Kupang, Joey decided to leave Indonesia and to sail to Africa. Why is all that?

A sailor arriving in West Timor has to pay a deposit of 52% of the value of the boat to the Indonesian government if he wants to remain in the country. Otherwise you have to leave. If you sail without paying the dep and they catch you somewhere in Indonesian waters they might be taking your boat… You can probably avoid the dep when you give a nice cash “souvenir” to the Immigration Office workers. Joey didn’t to find that out.

During the week we went about 10 times to all those offices: to the Immigration for Anna’s and my visa, to the harbourmaster, to the customs – and all of them took a little money…o sorry, a souvenir. Don’t say the ugly word. Plus all the money we spent for cabs and helpful guides, there was a lovely amount in the end. And Joey was so annoyed to pay for everything, he just didn’t want anymore. He listened to too much people though as well…

The last night together is very sad for all of us. I loved to sleep on the boat, I have never slept better before somewhere else, I think. I will miss it very much!

Hello Mister! Do you want the Guitar?

I will never forget those great smiles of Kupang. Indonesian corruption and bureocracy can make tired of this country. But not Anna and me. Apart from the loads of paperwork that week we also had lots of fun! The people in West Timor are very friendly, open and curious. Not many speak English, but the few who do want to practice it. The Kids greet you with “Hello Mister!” (also “Hello Misses” but that was not so funny to us) and the second question always is “Where are you from?”. 

They love to laugh, and they love singing and playing the guitar. Of course only a man does that. You wouldn’t see an Indonesian woman sitting in a bar with a guitar at night. A lot of the guys are really good singers. Some of them don’t speak a word English, but have a repertoire of at least 20 songs they sing in a perfect English.

Bemo – is it to loud, you are to weak!

Yes, they LOVE music. LOUD music! Karaoke we could avoid in Kupang, but we couldn’t flee the music in the bemos, the mini buses you have to use to get around the city for a small money. Every Bemo is a piece of art, gaudy, shrill and covered with slogans and images of sex symbols and stars. And a huge mobile stereo on 4 wheels playing Techno or Drum’n Base. On full blast! An unforgetable experience, thanks to lasting aural damages.

Bemos

Making friends, climbing a palm tree and flying to the moon

In Kupang met Mick and Octo, and their family. Mick is an Aussi, living in Kupang and staying with Octo and his wife and two children. It’s also Mick’s family. I am very happy, we met you, guys! When we came the first time to the house, the kids were so shy and the dog hated us. When I went there the second time, the kids were running in my arms and the dog were licking my feet. So, I would say, I made friends there!

After a night spended waking with our friends, full of singing, Bintang beer and Sopi (a local type of homemade palm tree schnapps), Anna’s trys to climb a palm tree in Octo’s garden like a local, but has to give up. I guess, you have to learn that before you get 5 years old – too late for us. 

Sopi, they say in Flores, is the cheapest way to fly to the moon. It’s true, it is cheap with only $ 1.50 for a 1.5 liter (plastic) (water)bottle, and you fly to the moon with it cause it’s very strong, so strong that even the locals mix it with water or juice. You are flying high without having a headache the next day. But sometimes, you touch down on a trunk of a palmtree – or end up the afternoon in a hotel …

I will never forget those ten days in Kupang, and the people I met there! They are a very good reason to come back to Timor one day.

Dae and her son  Octo and his daughter

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Leaving Kupang

Anna’s leaving Kupang to Flores on Sunday by ferry (like a local, but she’s the only white on the boat), and I stay four more days in West Timor cause I want to go to that nice white beach at the fishing village Tablolong, close to the city, and meet some locals again we met .

Before I leave Kupang by plane to follow Anna to Flores, I am invited to an original Indonesian wedding party, and try Dances from Timor and Kupang. I amThe last night I stay with Octos and Micks family and Octo brings me to the airport early in the morning. I hope, he made it back to the petrol station cause we were almost out of fuel arriving at the airport.

Check in, Timor-like

Ok, there are queues, and also everybody stand in the line, but the closer they come to the check in counter the more each of them wants to be the first… Than there is no queue anymore, everybody pushes and waves with his ticket over the counter hoping the worker there will choose him before the others, and between all the legs is all the luggage. It is chaotic, and it takes so much more time to check in. Somebody should tell them… I was happy enough to make it to the plane 10 minutes before the departure!

Not Bali, West Timor!

Sail 26/7 – 5/8   Pics: https://fotoalbum.web.de/gast/anjapola/Indonesia_Sailing

Hey mates,

Instead of Bali we are in Timor now. Wanna know why? That’s a long story…shortly told as follows:

There was almost no wind for 10 days and we needed 11 days for the 450 miles to Kupang (normally you need only 4…). After 2 days of total calm and motoring, we couldn’t use the motor anymore cause all 4 engine mounts were broken We only had the sails now… and no wind. One night the current brought us 2 miles back to Australia (but later always in the direction to Indonesia, thank god!)

* I am really not religeous but I started praying for the wind on this trip, not kidding!

So, we decided to sail to the closer harbour of Kupang in Timor, to let the motor repaired there, and couldn’t go to the beautiful Ashmore Reef… Don’t sail in a reef without a motor, it’s too dangerous.

Do you know how it feels to have ten days of calm? You get crazy by the sound of the flapping sails and pling-plang of the swinging boom and you invent the funniest games, because you have nothing to do on a sail boat without wind… But we saw the most awsome things ever in the calm water: Dolphins, turtles and snakes swimming on the water’s surface; we played with glowing plancton by night; we studied the different species of jellyfishes; we swam connected to the boat by a rope in 200 meter deep open water; we told each other parts of our life story and gave us silly names – we laughted a lot!

No wind at night… … no wind at day

And we still do that here in Kupang. We are all very happy, that the three of us match up so well! That’s why we still want to travel together to Bali, perhaps Borneo, and to all the islands on the way. Hopefully we’ll have as much wind as we had at day eleven – we made a hundreds miles that day and arrived earlier than expected in Kupang)

But first we have to repair the motor and the spinnaker sail, and to explore Timor. That will take probably a week or longer.
You can be jealous of the food, the breakfast was delicious this morning….

Look forward how the travel is proceeding!

LOVE
Capt’n Joey No-Wind *
Anna Cannot-Smell-A-Shit **
Anja Puts-Every-Shit-Together ***

Three Happy Sailors in Kupang

* I don’t need to explain that, do I?
** Anna lost parts of her sence of smell in an accident about a year ago
*** I created most of the every night dinners from cans (cause most of these days the boat was to slow to catch fish, and three of the four big fishes we caught fall back into the water…)