Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Labuan Bajo to Banta Island

“Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures” – Lovelle Drachman

There are so few adjectives to describe our time in this truly amazing area so statements and photos will have to suffice: ghosting, going in reverse in strong currents, beach BBQs, Komodo Dragons, exquisite anchorages, nautical shells, and rolling hills.
Stunning view from the top (Tientos in yellow)
A convenient anchorage to see the Dragons
Approach with caution
The safest view
Our Ranger

Sad to think this magnificent beasts are Dragon food

Collective noun for Komodo Dragon is Komodo Dragons!
The Sea Gypsies controlled the Dragons for a long time but have now been moved on as the Rangers take over.
With the Dragons, the beach BBQs and stunning anchorages form the prime focus of this area.
Just another day

Pink Beach moorings
At Gilli Lawa we shared an anchorage with the magnificent British Yacht "Lionwind". 
The exit looks large
But pick the centre and hold your breath!
Banta Island has a number of anchorages and we picked a small inlet on the south side. Privacy and seclusion offered us the chance to refresh our batteries but it was saddening to see the plastic rubbish piled high on a sandy beach. But what shells were to be found!  We ignored the clothes that turned up buried bringing forth images of bodies hidden away. The shells joined others in the specific head area.
A place for the shells

May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!

Friday, 25 August 2006

Maumere to Labuan Bajo

"The days pass happily with me wherever my ship sails" -  Joshua Slocum

It was Indonesian Independence Day on 17th August so more flags flying. Unfortunately there was no wind for either the sails or the flags.  
Motor Indonesia again
At this point, Tientos had become the ‘fridge’ and storage for "Cool Change", to keep their Bintang’s cold.  When asked by other yachties if they had a fridge their response was ‘…that big yellow boat over there…’  So before they anchored, they would swing past Tientos to collect the day’s coldies. Given they are Canadians and we are Australians: AusAID
AusAID to the rescue
Anchored up with two other yachts at 08.3.530 121.41.148 which was a roadside stop – terrible swell and we all left 0515 following morning having little sleep.

We anchored at Riung in 17m. This was to be a delightful stopover with a party aboard the magnificent Phinisi Silolona.
Johnny from Bony Moroney
Tientos from the deck of Silolona
Enough said
Johnny Mahoney, from the Australian vintage 1923 yacht "Utiekah III", got the party in full swing. Tragically, Johnny’s wife Shelley died in 2014, when she was hit by the boom in rough weather.  Vale Shelley. 
Utiekah III
There is not a lot ashore at Riung, but despite the obvious poverty, they keep in touch with the world.
Spot the sat dish to the left of the motorbike
Thanks for the memories

The partying required the next spot to be recovery motivated.  Along with "Cool Change", we anchored in the cove of Tk Nanga Loho entering around the sandbar without thought.  
We tend to be more cautious with a draft of 2.5m, which goes to show we really needed a rest from alcohol induced bravado.  This is a beautiful spot with amazing coral and marine life. Mohammed, the English teacher, brought the school aboard and we all enjoyed a pleasant afternoon giving gifts of books, pencils, English flash cards and fruit.  As Peter was unwell, we stayed for 3 days enjoying the peace. 
Feeling like an explorer
Cool Change the 25' Vancouver from Vancouver

The next two anchorages, Linggeh and Bari, we swore to never revisit and we haven’t. These anchorages coined the phrase ‘Klingons’, as nowhere have we ever experienced such tenacity in demanding goods or money.

Enroute to Labuan Bajo we had to stop, virtually on the beach, for the day at Sabolan Besar.  With three yachts in various positions, the western couple dropped off for their ‘exclusive island experience’ were not impressed. 

Entering LB we anchored opposite the harbour. This was an ideal location to take the dinghy to the wharf and further along to an accessible (by steps) restaurant, which showed Komodo movies with your dinner.

It wasn’t an ideal location in terms of Phinisi s who saw nothing wrong in dragging onto any yacht. So an appropriate anchor watch needed to be maintained. 

LB has great little eateries and markets, and was a good spot for many to catch up with phone calls and internet access. We had Sail Mail and a sat phone so this was not an issue for us.
An incredible view at Labuan Bajo
Great markets
Rafts of drying fish
Tientos in the distance from the hilltop cafe

Time for another oil change and that pesky fuse on OWL.  

May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!