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!

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