After hours of negotiations with one of the locals, Lori got her pearls.
Kupang, The Check-In from Hell
09/14/2014, Kupang INdonesia
I woke early ready for a long day of check-in hassle...but I had no idea the extent of Indonesian bureaucracy. In preparation I printed 6 copies of every document that I could imagine that would be needed.
At 9 am Lori took me to the beach in the dingy and dropped me off where I met our "Check-In Agent" who basically took a cut of everything you do while in Kupang such as taxis, fuel, beer, food etc.
First I negotiated a price for his services and then a price for the car hire for the entire day.
Long story short, the check-in process involved two visits to the Customs Office, one visit to Immigration 30 miles south of town at the airport, two visits to the Port Captain, a visit to the port captain's house after hours, a boat ride in the dinghy for the Customs inspection of the boat, and two visits to Quarantine. At each step of the process, I was required to give every person triplicates of every document. By the end of the day I had given over 24 copies of our passports, Cruising Permit, US documentation and various other documents collected along the way. It was fucking insane. The funny part was, each agency had computers, but nobody entered data into these computers. Everything was done on paper and it remained on paper in triplicate. Also, at each agency, everyone was smoking cloves so when I returned to the boat I smelled like I had been to partying all day.
Darwin to Kupang Crossing
A long video showing just how boring 4 days of motoring across the Temor Sea can be.
As can be seen in the photo and video, the crossing was dead calm for 4 days and nights. So calm we could count turtles and sea snakes. We bumped into one turtle and he seemed not to appreciate the rude awakening. We counted more than 2 dozen sea turtles in just one day!
Komodo National Park
09/13/2014, Komodo Island, Indonesia
Visit Komodo Island and see dragons....CHECK
Thar be dragons...sleepy dragons, but dragons nonetheless. We got a ride to the park with a couple of young kids on their motorized duggout. These two guys have been working us hard ever since we arrived, so we accepted their offer of a ride and we looked at their collection of pearls...Lori reminded me that our anniversary is in a few days.
Komodo looks and feels a lot like Mexico. Dry, hot, cheap beer, spicy food and people trying to sell you their junk. Perfect!
When you arrive at the park entrance you notice that it hasn't changed much since David Attenburough's documentary 30 years ago. We paid a park entry fee of $24US which included the fee for a camera and the guide named "Assman" (seriously) who was very friendly and seemed to have answers with exact figures to every question asked...there are 2832 dragons on the island and 1842 people.
The dragons were big and appeared really tired from the previous night of drinking too much Bitang. We didn't see them make too many movements other than to open and close their eyes just to assure you that they are in fact alive. We were lucky enough to find 5 dragons and all of them were stretched out like drunck'n sailors after a rough night.
Our guide "Assman", said that in the past, they would do dragon feeding shows which involved a live goat being fed to a group of dragons. Apparently the animal activists got wind of this and put a stop to a seriously interesting show...to bad the vanilla squad has found it's way to the furthest corners of the world.
We have the island all to ourselves!
We seriously considered making this our "Beers of the World" for Indonesia. Bitang in Komodo. We didn't stage this...he was actually lying there next to a half full Bitang beer that someone (park ranger) fed him. Apparently they really do like beer.