07/31/2012, Kupang, Indonesia
It's early morning, and the low sun has already begun to wrap its hot hands over the sprawling city of Kupang, Indonesia. Puffs of smoke, perhaps from woodburning kitchens, rise up here and there and drift lazily through the anchorage. The smell is intoxicating as it mixes with overtones of the exotic eastern scents of city life in Kupang.
At high tide, water laps up against a mishmash of concrete walls interspersed with sandy beaches and rocky shorelines. This pattern is randomly pasted together to define the coastline as far as one can see. Buildings of all dimensions stand buttressed behind the walls, stacked side by side in a jumbled mess of waterfront property -a Riviera of sorts, Indonesian style. The cement foundations cling to the water's edge, desperate to maintain a foothold. Buildings of yesteryear lay where the ocean has claimed them, fallen this way and that, foreshadowing the future of the new buildings which have sprouted up around the ruins. Optimism rules here it seems.
On the small section of road which is open to the sea, a steady stream of mopeds, vans and trucks steadily whiz by. Repetitive high pitched honking backed by the dull roar of traffic is interspersed with booming loudspeakers calling the devote Muslins to prayer. It's Ramadan here in Indonesia, a month long period of prayer and contemplation, whereby the devote fast between sunrise and sundown. Despite this, there is a large welcoming area for the Sail Indonesia fleet with colourful flags and kiosks at the water's edge.
After two and a half days and over 450 nautical miles at sea, all of these sights and sounds are magnified: a veritable sensory feast for eyes, ears and soul. Behind this first impression, a city, an island and no doubt an entire country are about to cast their magical spell.
I say, bring it on.
It is 01:30 am in the morning, local time, Kupang INDONESIA!, and we are anchored after another great sail. Today was just one of those fantastic days with a nice wind from the back, and with both our Code 0 sail, and the Genoa out wing and wing, we had a very fast down wind day until midnight when we reached the harbor area. We were neck and neck with S/V Relapse and Ain't Misbehavin all the way for the last 135 nm, beating them by less than 2 nm. There were 5 boats that all arrived in Kupang within an hour of each other after sailing (racing?) for 475 nm from Darwin. We were the first ones anchored, tied with a 52 ft catamaran Beachhouse. The other boats are a 57 ft Oyster (Sea Mist) from Canada, a 57 ft Discovery (Ain't Misbehavin), and Relapse, a 50 ft racer. Over 70 boats from the rally left Darwin headed for Kupang (the others are going on the alternative route).
Very interesting coming into the harbour with dozens of brightly lit up fishing boats. We are now anchored in the customs area, and will be getting a visit from them tomorrow morning. After that we can go and explore!
07/29/2012, Timor Sea
It's early morning before sunrise, and the AIS is showing 2 other boats in close range, S/V Relapse(NZ), and S/V Sea Mist (CDN). S/V Ain't Misbehaving is up ahead as well. The main core of the fleet is now behind us. Like a flock of migrating geese leaving on their annual migration, over 100 boats left Kupang on the Indo Rally July 28th. We left from the Marina about 1/2 hour ahead of the official 'start' time to avoid having to jossle through that many boats. Out here, with no land in sight, it's a strange feeling seeing other boats. As I write this, speedy S/V Relapse is passing us on our port side. If it was light enough I could wave to him, or even offer a fresh coffee! He will be just by us before sun up though, so he missed his chance!
Yesterday after signing off the blog, the seas began to slowly build up behind us, creating the perfect back drop for photos. The Timor Sea is very shallow, only 2-300 feet deep as you leave the Australian coast. Shallow sea bottom means that the waves tend to stack up more than they would over a deep seabed.
We are now back in deep water again, having just zig zagged through some shoals about 130 nm miles from our first way point near our landfall at Kupang. The wind is 12 knots from ESE, and seas are back to being calm. Our big event yesterday was the decision to take down the main and genoa wing on wing plan and switch to the big Code Zero. The seas were still running, fairly steep short 2-3 meters, with winds from behind at 15-20 knots. The main was flogging against the rigging as we rolled around on the seas. Not good for the sail or the sudden loads on the rigging. Furling in the genoa and stacking away the pole was no big event, as we did this going downwind. Taking down the main- well that's a different story. Lashing down the main on Paikea Mist is one of the most difficult and dangerous things we have to do if we have to do it on the high seas. Without a furling main we have to bring down the main while holding on with all your strength while balancing on the pitching deck (of course with life lines and harnesses attached). Our boom is quite high, making the whole task formidable when conditions are like they were yesterday. The main sail is now securely lashed down, but it sure doesn't look pretty! Oh well, that was yesterday, and behind us now. Looking forward to another nice day of sailing, sunny skies and other boats close by!
07/28/2012, Timor Sea
Bracing myself at the back of the cockpit,listening to my new fav Ray LaMontagne, I gently sway to his sweet songs. The wind is cool on my bare arms, but not cold enough to don a sweatshirt. The moon has dipped under the horizon, and the stars are now welcoming me in their full sparkle. Wind from behind us is pushing us along at a steady 8 1/2 to 9 knots in calm seas. Orion stretches himself across the eastern horizon behind me, ready for his slow glide down into bed. Soon the sun will welcome a brand new day. Anyone who has done an offshore passage knows, it just doesn't get much better.
My brother in law Martin sailed his first yacht in Indonesia. He called her Sahid Layar- "beautiful sail" in Bahasa, the spoken language in Indonesia. Fortunately for Michael and I, Martin brought Sahid Layar to Canada, and aboard her I fell completely in love with sailing, and the amazing feeling of exploring new horizons. And so the passion began - sailing had wrapped its wonderful arms around me.
Full circle. Sweet, beautiful sailing. Life is good.
"I could hold you forever" Ray sings...
312 nm to go to Kupang! Six other boats in view, front of the pack!
07/27/2012, Leaving Darwin
Michael and I couldn't be more excited to be heading the nose of Paikea Mist to Indonesia! We just cleared out of the locks at Tipperary Marina, and are filing out in a long slew of boats who are with the Indo Rally. We are expecting a great sail to Kupang, Indonesia, about 450 nm from Darwin, with winds from the SE at 20 knots to push us along.
We've had an altogether too hectic time getting Paikea Mist ready for an extended period in SE Asia! It's been pedal to the medal since getting back from our camping trip. We are a well stocked boat, and if we don't have it now, well, we will have to make do without! It feels great to be off the dock, although are stay at Tipperary Marina was ideal place, with lots of other cruisers to socialize with. If you are thinking of going to Tipperary, you might want to ask for the main dock, as it is close to all the amenities!
We expect we will cover the passage to Kupang in 2 1/2 to 3 days! When we next set the anchor down we will be in entering our 12th country. Indonesia is the first Muslim country Michael and I have visited, and we look forward to learning more about the islands of Indonesia, their people and culture. As always, we will keep you posted as to our progress!
07/24/2012, Tipperary Marina, Darwin, Australia
"Psst - Did you hear Paikea Mist is getting ready to sail to Indonesia?
We are in the last push of preparation for our Indonesia Odyssey! We have 'shopped til we dropped' to provision for 3 months in remote areas, gone over Paikea Mist top to bottom, attended Sail Indonesia Barbeque and Rally meetings, and are ALMOST ready to set sail for Kupang, 450 nm from Darwin! We leave on Saturday and it looks like the Rally might actually have some decent winds from the SE starting by Sunday.
We have been warned to expect a 'different' grasshopper in Indonesia, where we are told that the 'sum it all up saying' is "That is impossible. But it can be done!". We are also told to smile and nod a lot, barter for items like we did in Mexico, to take off our wristwatches and realize that in the Indonesian language there is no such word for 'manana'. Sam, our friendly Indonesian spokesperson for the rally has thought deep and long on this translation of 'manana', and tells us that there is no such word that transmits that type of urgency in his language! Well Indonesia- this sounds just fine to us- we look forward to exploring your islands and your culture.
Darwin has been a blast and very busy time, especially with all the socializing cruisers love to do! For us it's been fun catching up with the fleet that crossed the Pacific the same year as we did, but continued on to Australia ahead of us. We had a chance to catch up with Simon and Jane (S/V Elixir) and their two lovely kids at their gorgeous water front home here. We first met Simon and Jane when they sailed across the Pacific with their two precious little cargos, Hugo and Ethan. Jane is now expecting their 3rd, and we wish them all the best in this new dimension of family life!
We've also been happy to have had the opportunity to spend time with our friends Gordon and Sherry on SV Serenity, hopefully our paths will continue to cross often in more places up ahead.
Once we get into Indonesian waters our internet connections will be slow and awkward- so it is unlikely that we will be able to post as many photos as we have here lately, but will keep our fingers crossed!
In the meantime, check out our new photos in our Photo Gallery! Enjoy!