Wow that was a fun and exhausting day
03 November 2013 | 05 39.632'S:132 37.789'E, Ohoilitir, Kei, Indonesia
What a day. Yesterday we thought we would leave Debut for a quiter, more scenic anchorage. We definitely found more scenic! Our current anchorage is off one of the loveliest long powder white soft sand beaches that we have seen. And just to the west of us is a coral ridge that comes close to the surface not far from the boat, and then drops off hundreds of feet in a sheer wall. We got a chance for our first snorkeling in indonesia. The water wasn't as clear as we like, as something seemed to be blooming in the water, but it was still god. And its UNBELIEVABLY warm, our thermometer reads 89.7F--the warmest ocean water we've ever been in (except for thermal pools caused by volcanic vents, but those don't count). For comparison, most of the Caribbean is in the Low 80's, in most of the south pacific we also saw the low 80's, with the high being near Savusavu in Fiji, where we 84 or so. The coral was pretty nice, with lots of fish, including some new ones that we haven't seen before--but we didn't get to explore much. Our snorkeling was cut short due to a long boat coming to visit.
A few older gentlemen hopped on board to say hello. The couldn't speak English, and we don't speak Bahasa Indonesia, but we soon figured out that they were inviting us to shore for some Tuna. We weren't quite sure what we were getting into, our guess was that they were either inviting us to join them for some Tuna on the beach, or they were going to offer to sell us some fresh tuna--either way they didn't know just how good of a lure Tuna was :). It turned out to be some sort of Sunday afternoon party for friends and family. Though one fellow did seem to say that a manager was moving to Ambon, so maybe it was a going away party. Or maybe they didn't like this manager and they were celebrating his departure. In any event we had some wonderful food on the beach. Some traditional coconut rice wrapped in little woven palm leaf packets. A spicy seaweed salad with shredded coconut--which may be the best local food we've had anywhere so far. Some delicious fish, though we n ever did see any Tuna. I think Tuna was the only english word the fellow who invited us knew--or perhaps he just knew it would get us to the beach, which it did. Plus there were a number of other fantastic dishes--a spicy chicken, some sort of greens, a variety of vegetables--all fantastic. The communication was rudimentary--we know about a dozen words in Bahasa Indonesia, and most of them knew about the same in English. We'll be working hard to increase our vocabulary. Fortunately, there was a lovely 16 year old girl named, phonetically, something like Ulfa. Her English was very good, so she did a lot of translating.
In return we ended up having about 20 of them join us on board for a tour of MG. All were dressed well for nice Sunday outing--most of which shouldn't have gotten wet, but they nevertheless climbed into a long boat and came out to Morning Glory and had a great time taking pictures. They were all very polite and nice. It was clear that these people were something like local professional families. I only wish we were able to ask more questions. We did learn that one woman was a nurse, and one fellow was a soldier.
Every girl wanted her picture with Stephen and every boy wanted his picture with Rivers. And all the others laughed at each one as they got their picture taken. It was a lot of fun. However, as soon as this was done, the next family down the beach wanted to do the same thing! And on and on. We must have had 50 people through Morning Glory today. The picture is of a small sample of those on board. The young girl to the left with the grey head scarf is the one who spoke English very well.
This is so different from the south pacific. Most of the south pacific more or less ignored yachties. And the places where they did have an interest in us, were still used to yachties. Some in the south pacific were clearly in need of some supplies as they were in such remote areas--and they often came to trade or to see what we migh thave. Here everyone today appeared to come from prosperous families, and were just out for a bit of fun on a Sunday afternoon. They were just surprised by us pulling into their neighborhood. It was like some famous or otherwise interesting person driving into a really small town in America and arriving at some big town picnic at the park--where everyone would turn and look and say "wow you don't see that everyday" and then march over to see if they could get introduced and get a picture. Many asked if we were on twitter or facebook, and we passed out some cards. I'm guessing we'll be all over facebook in Kei for a time.
So we found a beautiful scenic spot, but we didn't find quiet. Lots of fun, but we'll need a break now and then! Ha ha.