Monday, 30 July 2012

Dili to Kupang

'All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware' - Martin Buber
Leaving Dili on Monday 23rd at 0715, Lea performed an immaculate reverse off the mooring; why is no-one ever watching when this happens?   
Goodbye Dili
The charts show a number of suitable indents along the coastline so we decided we would take our time checking out this amazing shore and day sail close to shore on our way to Kupang.
The view is always different in each anchorage
Flat seas and stunning coast

Timor-Leste is interesting in as much as it includes the enclave of Oecussi, which is actually located within West Timor (Indonesia). 
Timor-Leste in green
So relying on the charts for those important imaginary 'boundaries', there was a lot of flag changing so as not to upset anyone.
Timor-Leste flag back up

We took 7 days to meander along the coast, alternating between flat, moderately rough and steep seas, with winds anywhere from 0 to 35 knots. Anchoring each afternoon ensured a great sleep and we even had a lay day in one anchorage. 
Local trader
Another easy anchorage
Before the storm came in
All the distances averaged about 30nm between anchorages. On Monday 30th, a week after leaving Dili, we anchored at Kupang. We were back in Indonesia.
Anchored at Kupang

 May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!


Monday, 23 July 2012


'Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world' - Gustave Flaubert
Timor Leste, aka East Timor, is not far from Australia, yet feels like a completely different world (until you meet the Australian ex-pats who all seem to be indulged in money spinning ideas). Timor's 14,874 square kilometres could probably fit four times into Tasmania (remember that little island at the bottom of Australia), but distance is measured in hours not miles or kilometres.

The rugged terrain encapsulated by magnificent beaches is pitted with poorly maintained roads. But of course, all the Embassies and Government Departments have pole position overlooking the bay.
The Australian Embassy
The Rally anchorage in the harbour had recently had moorings added, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Darwin. They were a bonus as the swell often swept through and the distances had been calculated well. It was a very short dinghy ride to Rally HQ to enjoy a cold beer and enjoy the sunset.
Well positioned moorings
Dili Sunset
Rally HQ was set up on the beach with the appropriate bar (lots of Aussies on this Rally) and the participants were all offered free tours of the city and surrounds. 
Rally HQ
The requisite bar
Competitors and the bar products
The flags made it easy to find the landing zone

We did have to divert on one section of the tour as gunfire was heard (still little outbreaks at that time). With everyone crammed into a bus, we visited the Statue of Pope John Paul, an art school with exceptionally poignant work depicting the war, the Museum of the Revolution (which had a lot of Australians in tears) and then the beach below the iconic 27m tall Cristo Rei de Dili. 
It is more imposing up close and personal
The views are stunning

Timor's incredible coastline
The beach drinks were in fact a wake as  Barry Stach, the ex-Commodore of the Darwin Sailing Club had passed away. A beautiful place for reflection.
The toasts and stories beach side
Vale Barry
The Rally Awards were full of pomp and ceremony with presiding dignitaries, bands and a confirmation of the historical sailing ties between Darwin and Dili.  
Rally Awards
The Skippers
Award for Tientos
Tientos was awarded 'Best Dressed' and Lea was awarded 'Fleet Person of the Rally'.  VEGA presented each yacht with a Certificate of Humanitarian Service and each yacht also received a plaque.

A street party, with amazing food, was held outside the Turkish Kebab Club (remember the filo pastry?). Well the delivery of said pastry for their famous Baklava saw Keith and Lea crowned 'King and Queen of the Casbah', so belly dancing on the tables was the order of the day.  I still need to speak with the author of the YouTube post.  
King Keith and Queen Lea
The festivities were over. Some of the yachts headed to Atauro Island, others to Saumlaki in Indonesia. We decided to coastal hop and head for Kupang to meet the Sail Indonesia Rally. 
Real bread

After stocking up at the local supermarket and bakery, we decided against getting fuel here and cleared for Kupang on the 23rd July.

May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Darwin Dili Yacht Rally

'Adventure is worthwhile' - Aesop
2012 was a time for us to return to SE Asia, and we decided to include the Darwin Dili Yacht Rally this time; two for the price of one, literally. This race/rally is an annual Darwin event leaving early July, which meant we could then sail down the north coast of Timor and join Sail Indonesia in Kupang.
We nearly didn't leave at all, as the lock at Tipperary Waters Marina broke down, leaving us trapped for a couple of days. But this gave us time to have the liferaft serviced, install a new radar, anti-foul in the lock and sell the car.
Keith ready for anti-fouling
Sue and Lea supervising the action
Tientos in the lock anti-fouling complete
 We also had to load a tonne of supplies for VEGA, which meant removing the saloon table. 

VEGA is an 85 foot traditional cargo vessel built in 1893. Shane and his wife Meggie embarked on a humanitarian career delivering donated medical and educational supplies to isolated communities in Timor-Leste and Indonesia. Each year the Sail Timor-Leste participants carry the cargo to meet VEGA in Dili. 
Tientos one of the first yachts at Fannie Bay

Before the cargo was loaded aboard each yacht we had lots of time for yachtie get togethers, anchored in Fannie Bay.
Dinner aboard Tientos
Clare makes the best Curry
This year we were also asked to carry 50kg of filo pastry for the Kebab Club; the only maker of baklava in Dili!  What!?  Our freezer is not that will be fine on the floor for the few days...okay.  Lea did not mention this cargo in her ABC Interview... We also took Alexis to join VEGA as crew in Dili. Our humanitarian efforts for 2012 are seriously huge! 
On Saturday 14th, with Lea as Skipper, Tientos crossed the start line bound for Timor-Leste! (in flat seas with little wind - hardly a great race start!)  Oh, that's right, we are actually in cruising division, not racing!
Tientos Dressed to Kill - photo by Nefertiti I
Our 435nm run to Dili was to be anything but dull or consistent. No wind, 20 knots on the nose from the NW, 40 knot storm cells, wind from behind, swell and adverse tidal currents.
Keeping out of his way
"Securite, securite, securite This is the yacht Babar, currently experiencing 40 knot winds and torrential rain with this storm cell..."
After the storm, now you see them...
Now you don't...

Nefertiti I called up having an issue with gear box oil; yep we have spare so a mid-ocean handover performed...
Nefertiti approaching...
Sue grabs the oil - transfer complete

The smallest yacht in the fleet, Colleen a Triton 24 lost its steering on the 16th and called for assistance - read about the amazing rescue here

As I said earlier, nothing dull or boring about this trip...

We finally arrived at 0730 on the 18th, ready to offload our cargo; the filo was off first!

Lexi stows the sails
Vega nice and close for the transfer of goodies

May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!