07/26/2012, Fanny Bay, Darwin, AU
Today we just about completed all of our errands. Top on the list was to go to the Westpac bank and get some spending cash in Indonesian money. The Indonesian currency is called the Rupiah and the exchange rate is just under 10,000 Rupiah to the US dollar. Thus, each $100 US is just about a million Rupiah. The Westpac bank had a deal going for cruisers in the Sail Indonesia Rally where they would not charge any commission on the exchange. What at deal! Anyway, when I walked out of the bank, I realized that I was carrying a few million Rupiah in my pocket and that I was a millionaire!
The last time we were in Indonesia, which was about 15 years ago, I believe the exchange rate was about 7,500 Rupiah to the dollar. We thought things were cheap then, it will be interesting to compare what things cost now.
We have learned that our friends who are staying in Tipperary Marina are all leaving early tomorrow. The lock schedule opens to let them out around 0830. Stuart of S/V Imagine has encouraged us to leave at the same time and sail with them. Thus, instead of being one of the last boats to leave the anchorage here in Fanny Bay, it looks like we will be one of the first. Right now, there has been no wind so we may have to motor out of the anchorage. However, as we clear the Australian coast, there may be some nice winds developing across the Timor Sea. We will just have to wait and see how much sailing we will actually be doing. It is just a 450 nm jaunt but we hope that we will not have to motor too much.
Another errand was to run over to Coles and finish our provisioning. After we were done, poor ol' Leu Cat sunk another couple of inches in the water. She certainly will not be the fastest boat sailing this time. We have been told to stock up on western products and foods since we will not be getting any in the smaller villages in Indonesia that we will be visiting. Mary Margaret took this advice to heart and now I am thinking of advertising Leu Cat as a grocery store. Actually, I am very glad that she went on this shopping spree since there are a number of goodies that I love and she was very generous to me by getting lots and lots of goodies that I love.
Right now, our freezers are stuffed to the seams, the refrigerators are stuffed to the seams, our pantries are stuffed to the seams, our cupboards are stuffed to the seams, and I even found a few new places to stuff goodies into. Poor Portia and Steve... When they come to visit us in Bali and then sail with us for a bit after that, they will just have to sleep on the deck since their suite is now a food locker!!!!
Here is Brian and Gayle in their kitchen. Brian, being the very proper bureaucrat, is offering Gayle lots of advice. Fortunately for us and our dinner, she ignored it all and did it her way!
Here is the view from the back porch of Brian and Gayle's beautiful home near Darwin. Something else, don't you think?
07/25/2012, Fanny Bay, Darwin, AU
We spent the day plugging away on boat projects. We had an unexpected issue when the generator stopped this morning. It was signaling that it stopped due to lack of cooling water. I had just changed the impeller so I knew that was not the problem. It turned out that the thru hull and the line attached to it were plugged with seaweed that got sucked in. Ugh! I had to clean the cooling water filter and the screen I had added downstream of the water pump that collected the bits and pieces of the impeller when they break off. Both were filled with seaweed.
Next I had to remove the hose from the thru hull and remove a plug of seaweed from that. Finally, I hopped in the water and dove under the hull to remove seaweed that was blocking the thru hull. All this took a couple of hours. There is never a dull moment on the boat.
We drove over to Brian and Gayle's house for dinner this evening. Gayle put on a spread that was delicious starting with appetizers and then moved on to roast pork with crackling, roasted yams, sweet potatoes and carrots. Mary Margaret had whipped up a great salad to round out the meal. Then to top everything off, Gayle brought out a dessert called Pavlova. Oh my, oh my! I rolled away from the table with a big smile on my face.
We were joined for dinner by Brian and Gayle's son, Ben. He is working as an electrician's apprentice. Their daughter, Alicia, had return to her university in Adeline last Sunday so she was missed by all.
After dinner, we had requested that Brian and Gayle show us their pictures that they had taken of their recent European trip which included two weeks sailing in Turkey. Wow! The pictures were great and we cannot wait to sail up to the Med so we too can share in the rare experiences they had.
We said our sad goodbyes after the slide show. We depart for Indonesia on Saturday and will not have another chance to see them before we leave.
When we returned to Fanny Bay I donned my swimming suit. When we came to shore this afternoon, the tide was way, way out and we had to tie up to a mooring ball that was about ¼ mile from the beach. However, when we returned after visiting the Canns, the tide was in and I faced a ¼ mile swim in the dark to reach our dingy. The tides here range up to 24 feet and the water was now lapping up to the riprap that protects the bank on which the Darwin Sailing Club is situated on. As I swam I could not help thinking of what Brian had told us a few days prior. He said that they capture and relocate about 300 crocodiles a year from Darwin harbor and Fanny Bay. Needless to say, when I finally reached the dinghy I climbed in without hesitating for a second. When I brought the dinghy to shore to pick Mary Margaret up she told me that she was worried for me since it was so dark and she could not see me or the dinghy from the shore. However, all ended well and we are now safe and sound on good ol' Leu Cat.
07/24/2012, Fanny ay, Darwin, AU
Today's big event occurred this afternoon. The Sail Indonesia Rally had their big meeting where they shared all kinds of information with us. Unfortunately, their mantra was: "What I tell you today will change tomorrow." We are learning that in the Indonesian culture, time and commitments don't have the same emphasis as in the western world. This rally is in its 12th year and this year's rally has had a full year to plan things out and get organized. However, the events that are "scheduled" at each of the rally's stops are still up in the air. Even at our first stop, which is Kupang at the west end of the island of Timor, the events and activities are still not confirmed. We leave for Kupang on Saturday and are hoping to arrive on Tuesday. We are told this state of uncertainty is the "charm" of Indonesia.
We love to visit new places, meet new people and learn about and experience new cultures. This is the primary reason we are cruising. We have been to Indonesia once before but we stayed at a ritzy resort in Bali and just conducted day trips to explore that island. We fell in love with the Balinese. They were very kind, gracious, and generous. We have been told that this is typical of most of the people in Indonesia. However, you have to "go with the flow" and adapt to their way of thinking and doing things if you are to truly enjoy your time there. We are now in the process to adjusting to their way of thinking by realizing that we really will not know what to expect until we get there.
We have just three days left to finish our various boat project and provisioning efforts. I feel we are in pretty good shape and should be ready to go when Saturday rolls around. As we have said before, this is really our first formal rally and the concept of having to leave at a set day and time is an adjustment for us. They have a formal start, which is at 1100 on Saturday. There is a starting line, they will shoot a gun to indicate the start and they are offering prizes worth a total of $1,000 for the first one across, the best dressed crew and one other category. Of course, none of that is of interest to us since we are cruisers, not racers. I told Mary Margaret that we will raise our sails and then weigh anchor at 1100 just to give the others in the rally time to clear out. This way we will not be caught in the may lay of 110 boats all trying to win that prize to be the first one across the starting line. I can see us being the last ones across! However, since Leu Cat is a pretty fast boat, we expect to pass most of the boats on the passage over to Timor. Fortunately, the weather forecast is encouraging and we might even have some wind for our crossing to Timor. It is about 450 nm away so we are thinking that it will take us three days to get there.