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Sea Child: Big Cat Sailing Around the World
Tales of our journey around the world aboard our 56' Catamaran, Sea Child.
Two Months Gone By
09/26/2013, 07 20'S:114 29'E, Enroute from Bali to Kumai, Kelimantan

We arrived in Indonesia 8 weeks ago, and have visited dozens of anchorages and several incredible islands. The Sail Indonesia Rally 2013 just completed the visit to the island of Bali, where Sea Child was anchored for about a week. We visited Ubud, the artsy village above Kuta with its compact streets and bundles of tourists all crowding around the scenic palace and across town, the monkey forest where wild monkeys scavenge for food from the tourists. We had to watch our sunglasses and pockets, and as Eric crouched down to take a look at a monkey, it became aggressive and went for his wedding ring and took a bite out of his finger. The monkeys at the monkey forest are protected and worshipped by the Balinese people.

We were so blessed to have the kids visit for a too short 6 days in early September. Sea Child was full, minus Brittany who stayed back on Maui, and while we were able to hike Rinca Island in Komodo National Park and search for komodo dragons, we felt incomplete without her with us. Carter returned to Maui shortly after arriving, but before he left, we took the family to the welcome ceremony at Labuan Bajo. There, we were regaled by the local dancers, speeches from the local regency heads and tourism officials. A week after this welcome ceremony, the President of Indonesia arrived in Labuan Bajo for the Sail Komodo Sail Pass, a parade of sorts by various nation war vessels and the Sail Indonesia Rally boats were asked to sail past as well. As Americans, we understood the security measures that the Indonesian police force adopted during the preparations leading up to the Sail Pass. There were Navy Seals in numerous RIBs taking notes on every vessel at anchor, and several rally boats were searched as well. On Sea Child, we were invited to visit a local maritime school and with other rally participants we were given a formal escort to the school, where a festive native dance show awaited us along with a traditional lunch. We visited the school for about an hour, then invited the students out to Sea Child for a quick hour lesson on an ocean-going catamaran. We had about 24 people on board, students and faculty, and they were truly thankful at the opportunity to ask us questions and learn more about what Sea Child is capable of doing on the sea. Many of the students had never been on board any type of boat, so as we opened up about what we do, we could only wonder what they may think about crossing an ocean themselves, let alone if they would ever have the opportunity to do so in their lifetime.

We are currently on a sail from Bali to Kelimantan Island (Borneo) about 300 NM away. We will sail through the night to reach the Kumai river anchorage and make arrangements to take a river cruise up to see the orangutans. Hopefully they will be a little nicer than those pesky Ubud monkeys. The rally fleet is splitting again, with several dozen heading up to Kumai, and others heading to the largest temple in all of Indonesia on the island of Java. Our visas have been extended another 30 days, a process that took about a week in Bali, and its hard for us to believe that we have been in Indonesia for 8 weeks now. Sea Child will be leaving the rally a few weeks early, and head up to Pangkor, Malaysia.

Circumnavigation
One Month Gone By
08/30/2013, 08 22'S:120 0'E, Gili Bodo, Komodo, Nusa Tengarra, Indonesia

The Sail Indonesia Rally 2013 includes the Sail Komodo 2013 Rally, taking the fleet to several villages along the northern shore of Flores Island. The 6-week Sail Komodo Rally culminates in festivities at Labuan Bajo, the capital city of Flores Island, and highlights of this visit to Labuan Bajo will be a flotilla "sail-by" and gala dinner with the President of Indonesia. Every anchorage along the route, whether at a village or a picturesque island, keeps us busy with either boat projects or exploring the world around us. We are now at Gili Bodo, a beautiful little island surrounded by a picturesque coral reef system, pure white sand beach, even monkeys who play along the shoreline. There are two lobster farms here, where the locals charge $65 per lobster and sell them primarily to China.

After we left Maumere, we stopped at Batu Boga, another excellent anchorage just to the east of here, about 60NM away. There, we anchored in a tiny bay surrounded by high peaks, and with room for only about a dozen boats, the anchorage was also the night layover point for a dozen tiny fishing boats. They would sleep during the day, one man on board their tiny crafts, then their loud 2-stroke engines would fire up at around 3 am, taking them all offshore and through the sleepy rally fleet. The diving at Batu Boga was spectacular, the colors of the Indonesian reef a symphony of red and pink and blue and green corals, along with pipe coral and giant ear-shaped coral that had us convinced that the orchestra was well in session at 80' below the surface! The water clarity here is spectacular, though the bits of trash that float along the sea grass makes fishing impossible. We have tried to catch something to eat, anything, but have only scored one barracuda which we threw back. We have now resorted to approaching the local fishermen to buy directly from them, and save the frustrating efforts at fishing while underway.

Today we head to Labuan Bajo, well ahead of the rally. We are meeting up with Holly, Shaun & Kelsea, who arrive tomorrow for a 9-day visit. Andrew arrives the next day, and mid-week Carter & Brittany arrive. This is the first time in 4 years that all of our family will be together on Sea Child. We are excited to share the unique things we have found in Indonesia, and to discover even more as we visit the Komodo National Park in search of the infamous Komodo Dragon.

Circumnavigation
08/30/2013 | Carter
Really love to read your blog posts! Keep it up! See you soon!
Current Position
08/14/2013, 08 30'S:123 13'E, Kawula Island

The sail north, from Rote Island to Lembata, was flat at the start, with a nice following sea and gentle breezes. As we neared the passage between Rote & Timor Island, the winds picked up to SE 25 knots, with a 3-6' swell, and Sea Child was soon sailing along at +15 knots, surfing down the waves on a nice reach to the north, course 8 degrees. The winds did not hold, though, and we ended up motoring for the next 8 hours on one engine to conserve fuel. We were able to make water, though, which was needed since the tanks were getting rather low. We had met another yacht in Nemberala, who mentioned the sketchy fuel situation coming out of Bali. A barge delivers fuel to the yachts, with the locals using buckets to transfer fuel. The fuel is watery and dirty, and the better option to fuel up is at Labuan Bajo, where fuel is constantly consumed with the tour boats and dive companies that operate there. The scenery has changed from the flat island of Rote to the volcanic peaks of the surrounding Lembata Island and Flores Island in the distance. Crystal clear water with beautiful fringing reef nearby, its now time to snorkel and take in a stand up paddle!

Circumnavigation
08/15/2013 | susan
Love your blog. So glad you are writing, Tamara. I miss you....
Rote Island
08/14/2013, 10 52'S:122 49'E, Nemberala Village, SE Rote

From Kupang, Sea Child set sail south to Rote Island, the southern most island in Indonesia. The SE trades picked up to well over 30 knots, and with a double reef and storm jib, we still took a beating as we tried to sail on. We decided to turn back to Kupang and wait until early the next morning to again sail south to Rote. Our departure was delayed from Kupang, as we needed to recharge the freezer system and get those ice cubes back! Leaving Kupang at noon was not the best idea, since the trades fill in rather strong in the afternoons. Waiting another day was smart, and gave us a nice sail south to Ba'a, Rote, the capital area of Rote Ndau. The anchorage at Ba'a was terrible, though, rough and rolly and choppy, so we headed 2 miles up the coast to a beautiful protected beach and spent the next 3 days exploring the Ba'a region. Again, there was another welcome ceremony, with traditional dancers and musicians, speeches, and local food given to us. Eric was asked to gi ve a speech to the local people, and he gave a brilliant talk about the welcoming nature of the Indonesian people and their unique way of life. Again, more pictures were taken, and afterward we decided to walk around the village of Ba'a in search of a cold beer. We found a town similar in nature to Lahaina, Maui, where the shops lined both sides of the street along the water front. Everything from hardware, clothing, food, and even street vendors selling local produce were available,and once we found the Grace Hotel, we were able to enjoy the local Bintang beer. We made plans to tour Rote Island the next day, and on the tour we hiked memorial peaks, toured the beautiful rice fields, and visited the endangered long neck turtle, who closely resembled a snake head in a turtle shell. The full day tour had us returning to Sea Child at the low tide, and this was a problem since the shoreline was now a mud field a hundred yards long. We trudged through the mud, knee deep in p laces, finally returning to Sea Child dirty and exhausted! We made plans to sail to the most south eastern point of Rote, to Nemberala Village where the surf is legendary.

Nemberala Village was the cleanest village we have seen yet in Indonesia. The tidy village is populated with pigs and piglets, goats, cows and horses meandering the area, and local children run through the palm trees on any given moment. The village is wealthy, homes are updated with concrete block and tin roof construction, rather than the traditional thatch huts that we saw in other villages on Rote. Surf hamlets are everywhere, and motor bikes are the means of transportation rather than automobiles. The village people are not only making a living on the surf, they are literally making a living in the surf, too! They grow a special type of seaweed in Nemberala, that is used in cosmetics and foods as a natural thickener. Most of the seaweed that is harvested is sold to China, and the beaches are lined with natural racks where the seaweed is dried in the sun. The surf break is spectacular, too, and the anchorage at Nemberala is set between two breaks and protected by th e surrounding reef. Nemberala is stunning, and lured Sea Child into a few days of total relaxation. Eric surfed the break on the stand up board, Tamara read two books, and we both rode bikes through the villages to another surf spot, Boa Beach, where we spent hours watching the surfers get tubed on the perfectly formed, overhead waves. We ate ashore at the Nemberala Resort, and took in a few very inexpensive spa treatments! When it was time to sail away, we took Sea Child offshore, just outside the surf break where several local ponga boats sit and wait for their surfers to come back to them for a ride in shore. We raised the full main, as we watched several of them catch their waves, and we bid a very fond farewell to Nemberala and Rote Island.

Next stop, Lembata Island, in the Solar Archipelago, middle Nusa Tengarra, Indonesia, +150 NM to our north. We expect this sail to take almost 24 hours, and with our cruising partners, Zangezi and Gemini V, we expect an exciting sail in good company.

Circumnavigation
Kupang Arrival
08/14/2013, 10 09'S:123 34'E, Teddy's Bar, Kupang, East Nusa Tengarra, Indonesia

After the amazing sail across the Timor Sea, we dropped anchor in Kupang, Timor, Indonesia on Tuesday, July 30, 2013. The 5am arrival was quite interesting, as we navigated the channel into Kupang from the south, with many unmarked fishing buoys, boats, ferries, etc. creating obstacles that demanded not only our eyes, but also our ears to navigate. As the anchor settled in front of Teddy's Bar, the nearby drummer was providing a back beat only to be matched by the mosque's call to prayer 100 yds. apart. This was Kupang, the air scented with a mix of fried rice and spring rolls, with a little brush fire smoke for effect. For our first Asian country, our senses were on fire with everything new.

The welcome at Kupang for the Sail Indonesia 2013 fleet was amazing. The rather large city of +250,000 put together a red carpet extravaganza! After the CIQP visit to Sea Child (Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Port Control), where every drawer was opened, every mattress was searched, even the engine compartments were inspected! The boarding part of 6 Indonesia Officials took pictures of everything, including the take down of the Q flag! We finally received approval to leave Sea Child and finish the clearance process. The shore was decorated with hundreds of flags, lining the beach and pier where dozens of dinghy boys were waiting for the fleet of rally boats to come ashore, lifting the dinghys out of the water and placing them neatly along the sand. Sea Child was the first cat to finish the rally, even passing up 2 cats that left Darwin a day earlier! When we went ashore, there were about a dozen other rally participants or so that came in after us, and we were to ld to wait near the dinghys by the local Kupang officials. We were parched, tired from the night sail, and eager to be done with the government process. However, this would have to wait. We were finally led up the shore, through the growing crowds to the waiting traditional dancers that led us up to the covered stage area. Each one of us was presented with a traditional Rote Island hat & embroidered scarfs, and once under the large tent, we were given front row seats while the governor and mayor of Kupang gave speeches in both Bahasa Indonesia and English. We were then all gathered on the stage, where throngs of photographers took hundreds of photographs. One of these pictures ended up on the front page of the Timor Daily News. The national radio of Indonesia was there interviewing rally participants, and we were told that these interviews were broadcast simultaneously throughout Indonesia! We were in shock, all this attention from a welcoming nation, and as we fina lly were able to finish the clearance process and grab an icy beer at Teddy's Bar, we watched the remaining +75 boats sail in and drop their anchors, too.

Kupang was interesting, a bustling city with thousands of motor bikes everywhere! Signs & flags were all over the city, welcoming the Sail Komodo/Sail Indonesia rally. We were treated like royalty and given shirts, rally flags, and local food at every official function held for us. On Friday, there was a technical briefing where rally books with charts were handed out. Then, a wonderful buffet dinner & dancing followed, along with a local fashion show by a Kupang designer. We noticed how beautiful the Indonesian men & women are, their fashions conservative as you would expect in a Muslim country. On Saturday, the Kupang Gala was held for the Sail Indonesia participants, and this was more like a beautiful wedding reception than anything else! We all sat around the tables that were set for the government dignitaries, and were thrilled to watch more native dancing and another fashion show. After all the government officials were seated, we all enjoyed a delicious local d inner and listened to several speeches welcoming us to Indonesia. The week long series of events culminated with a sail-off on Sunday, with more speeches and more entertainment on the massive stage that was set up at the anchorage. Every night music played until well after 3am, and the call to prayer would come at 5am. As this was set during Ramadan, we were intrigued by the Muslim influences, where after dark dozens and dozens of food carts would line the city streets and the pier by the giant stage. We took a tour of Kupang and visited their local museum, water falls, and even a crystal blue cave with deep spring water and pool big enough to swim laps! This pool reminded us of the caves we saw in Poor Knights, New Zealand. All of this is just the beginning of our rally through Indonesia, a week spent in Kupang, Timor, to be followed by several more interesting ports!

Circumnavigation
Morning Skeds on the Timor Sea
07/28/2013, 11 06'S:125 40'E, Sahul Banks

For the past 46 hours, Sea Child has seen beautiful sailing conditions! This is a wonderful change from the radical sailing across the Top End of the Northern Territory of Australia. The Timor Sea is calm and peaceful, with gentle swells and light winds. While we would prefer more wind, the average wind speed has been around 8 knots SSE and therefore our boat speeds average 6 knots, we are thoroughly enjoying the sail and are in no particular rush for this passage to end. The rally has a morning radio net at 8:00am on the HF radio, and its fun to see where all the other boats are currently located, then place their position on our chart relative to our position. For the past two nights, the watches have us gazing at the amazing array of stars overhead, as well as wondering which vessel is that to our port or starboard. Then the morning roll call comes, and we learn that we have been sailing along with a power cat, Harmony 888, and keeping up with his speed. He must be surprised to see Sea Child on his port quarter at the 8:00am call!

A highlight of our crossing so far has been our interaction with a Catana 47, Zangezi, and the American family on board. During the last night dinner at Darwin, we were talking about how the So Good Lite Soy Milk tastes most like non-fat American cow's milk. We promised to give them a box of ours for their tasting, and with the rush of the rally start, did not get a chance to pass one along. As the sun was setting on Saturday night, we were enjoying our dinner on the bow of Sea Child, noticing the rally fleet scattered around us. And right up behind us came Zangezi, like a pirate ship in the night! Their two young children, son Gavin (13 yrs) and daughter Lindsay (8 yrs) positioned themselves on their starboard swim step as Tamara was on the port bow of Sea Child, soy milk in hand. With dad Doug on the controls of Zangezi and Eric on the controls of Sea Child, the pass off was made while sailing along at 5 knots, while mom Robin captured it all on camera! A thrilling moment for the kids on Zangezi, a successful pass at sea, and as twilight fell upon the fleet, Zangezi and Sea Child sailed along together for the next few hours, maybe 200 yards apart. During that first night, we eventually lost sight of Zangezi, but when we checked in with them the next morning, we learned that the hand off of the soy milk was one of the most exciting things Gavin has ever done on the sea, and it made his day! What a fun memory and we look forward to sharing the photos both boats took of each other once we arrive in Kupang.

Our purpose in joining the rally was to meet people, socialize more on Sea Child, and learn more about the westward options after SE Asia. In Darwin, we met the Sail Malaysia Rally representatives, and others from Malaysia who own marinas and shipyards. We also met a transport company, Seven Star Yacht Transport, which gives us the option to place Sea Child on a yacht carrier for transport through the Red Sea and up to Eastern Turkey. But we also have met very special people, other cruisers from all over the world, who are out here doing the same thing we are doing, enjoying the passages and building relationships. The peaceful, beautiful weather we are sailing through makes the experience that much more special. The mud green water of Darwin is long gone, and we now enjoy the blue waters of the Timor Sea. The morning visit by a large pod of spinner dolphins playing on Sea Child's bow makes it all perfect.

We are approximately 22 hours out of Kupang, Indonesia.

Circumnavigation

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