08/05/2012, Rosalin Kupang Orphanage
While we were in Kupang, we viisited the Roslin Orphanage, where 92 children from ages 2-19 live in a small rural area in very modest conditions. These brave young children blew us away with their song and dance performance. They live together as family as they have all lost their own parents. Without anything in the way of material goods, they showed us how little it really takes to make a child happy and successful. Love, a sense of family and a belief in the greater good goes a very long way.
For folks following this path next year, don't miss the opportunity to visit this orphanage. In one of those twists of human circumstances, these children who have so little gave so much to us, and we want to thank them for sharing, and wish them all the best in their lives, in their education and future endeavors. We will remember you fondly.
08/05/2012, Alor Island, Indonesia
Current takes a bite out of our boat speed- the top number is our speed over water, the bottom one is the progress we are making over ground once the current takes its share
Michael and I just completed our first overnight passage in Indonesian waters, leaving Kupang yesterday afternoon for the next island of Alor. While Michael slept on his shift from 3-7 am, I had Paikea Mist screaming along at a steady 10.2 knots, however with the current against us we were only making 6.8 knots over ground. Darn! Running against us at 2-5 knots the entire trip, the current turned what would have been a pretty short hop of 140 nm passage into a 22 hour trip!
As we approached the island archipelago in the early morning, the first rays cast their light across steep volcanic hillsides. The scenery was stunning, and we had loads of time to enjoy it seeing that we were progressing at under 3 knots for many miles! We passed several villages scattered along the waterfront, while some were nestled high on the hillsides, and a few could be found snuggled right under steaming volcanoes. Through our binoculars we could see signs of people starting to stir, going about their daily tasks, while fishing boats of every color steamed by, some of them coming in for a close look, a warm wave, smiles and welcome. Even the smallest village has a large Mosque, towering over everything else, their shiny peaks glistening in the sun as the calls to prayers ring out.
It is mid afternoon now, and we are safely tucked into our new anchorage as other boats pile in. Children are lining the breakwater, shouting and waving in excited anticipation of the large fleet of sailors about to descend on their town.
Michael has just left the boat in the dinghy to help another Cdn boat, SV Ainia, who has experienced engine trouble and has been pulled in to the anchorage by a French catamaran. Michael will tie our dinghy alongside to help him anchor - with its 20 HP engine it will make short work of finding a snug spot for Ainia. Behind Ainia is yet another boat under tow who has also experienced engine troubles. This is one of the benefits of travelling in a larger group, where there is always another cruiser who is interested in your safety and well-being.
Once Michael gets back onboard, we will enjoy the late afternoon over a cold beer! I forgot to mention that it is HOT here, about 34 degrees today. No wonder engines are bothered!
08/01/2012, Kupang, Indonesia
Kupang is a kaleidoscopic of colorful images.Our camera has been trigger happy- hope you enjoy the new photos in our photo gallery!
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!