09 August 2011 | Banda
Daryl and Carol
Well here we are, two and a half weeks in Indonesia and we have been pleasantly surprised. It is a beautiful country with very nice people. I think you can be brain washed a bit by the media (can you!). We landed in Saumlaki after the sail from Darwin in relatively challenging conditions. We had big swell on the beam quarter and 20/25 knots from the SE. Uncomfortable for awhile but manageable for everyone except Carol.
The reception for rally participants in Suamlaki was fantastic and this was a great place to ease ourselves into Indonesia. We spent a few days there and quickly got used to the new sounds and smells that stimulated our senses. There were tours organised and Carol and James spent a day touring the Island while I took care of some boat chores. The day was spent visiting villages and schools and Cal slipped straight back into teacher mode with a string of kids following her up the road singing row Row Row Your Boat (the only song they knew in English besides The Lord’s Prayer). They were so impressed that Cal was presented with a gift at the end of the tour. The school was sponsored by the Australian government.
From Suamlaki we decided to sail more of the Taminbar Islands and after a quick sail we anchored next to a village called Latdalam 0 7.57,53S – 131,05,94E on the Island of Yandena. This was a fishing village that used mostly canoes with sails. There were some beautiful scenes in the morning as the sun came up with the silhouettes of the sails and the colour of the sunrise.
From Latdalam we sailed the 40miles to Waitutu village 07,38.8S – 131,02.2E arriving on Saturday the 30th of July. Wiatutu is a very small village again mainly fishing. We had heard about the church which you could see for miles on the approach to the village so were delighted to find we were just in time for the Sunday service when we had made our way ashore. We thought this would be a good way to sample the local culture. We were ushered up to the front as special guests. This area of Indonesia is still Christian and the Muslim population is in the minority, (not so for the majority of the 220 million in Indonesia) the church was the equivalent of the best you would find in a large city in Australia. It would be capable of fitting 4 times the population of the town. There were some other rally boats in with us and we all became royalty for the day. We were followed down the street by a group of children that grew to over fifty. Our dingy was now 20 mtrs off the shore on the anchor as the tide had come in. Three boys jumped in and swam to retrieve it for us. Within seconds our carriage awaits. There will be some photos on the blog soon.
From Wiatutu, we sailed to Wotap bay 07,19.35S – 131,14.30E. There were 8 rally boats in there by the time we arrived (Freycinet, Anima, Azzan, Just magic, Shereta, Veedon Fleece , Kelolo and Lady Kay)and the anchorage was superb. The locals from villages around the point were straight onto us looking for stuff. We stayed a few days and by the time we left the trade thing had started to happen. We traded snorkels etc for crayfish and Bananas, it’s a tough life and the beer was cold. We had a BBQ with everyone on the beach the second day in an idyllic spot like something in a post card, palm trees, blue clear water and blue skies.
After a few days RR we left for the 180nm trip to Banda.
Banda, 04,31.38S – 129,53.87E. What a great place. The sail over was one of the best. We sailed in company with the Kelolo crew and Wal and Robyn on Anwynn. We arrived at 17.00hrs on the second day Friday August the 5th. Most of the Sail Indonesia fleet of 25 yachts were in here as we were one of the last to arrive. The French boats left the next day, we wondered if it was our lack of a shower for the last few days. g It is now Wednesday the 10th and we will leave here tomorrow for the 100NM to Ambon. We have a few yachts in convoy again. Veedon Fleece left yesterday to pick up family. We are planning to be in the Wakatobi region at the bottom of Sulawesi by the 20th of August for Carols birthday and the Sail Indonesia rally celebrations