Year 5 Day 178 Passage To Kupang: Day 3
31 July 2012 | Kupang, West Timor, Indonesia
We have arrived safely at Kupang, in West Timor, Indonesia. When we arrived, we discovered that we were about the 20th or so boat here. Thus, we were in the top 20% of the boats to arrive first. We have seen a few other cats and we passed a few in the long channel leading here. However, we were also passed by another cat. From what I can see, most of the monohulls are the 50 foot plus ones. They are just too fast for us to keep up with when the wind is behind us. However, overall, we are very pleased with how Leu Cat did and the passage was a very pleasant one. We arrived as planned, at 1100. (AU time - Indonesia time 8:30)
As we were sailing up the channel between West Timor and a large island to the west, we spied a number of small cargo boats sitting on their anchors. I went on deck and took a picture of one. Soon after returning to the helm, we were hailed by the captain of that boat. He welcomed us to Indonesia and said that he hoped we enjoyed our stay. How kind is that!! The Indonesians have a reputation of being very friendly and kind and this captain certain was that. This is the very first time we have been offered a greeting from a captain of a cargo boat.
Clearing in to Indonesia was an experience all to itself. The original plans of having the custom officers drive out to each boat quickly changed as the motor to their little boat died. Thus, we cruisers took turns ferrying them between boats. We had to sit until late afternoon before a general call went out to the fleet for more dinghies to ferry the officers. I jumped at that opportunity and rushed in and picked them up. Of course, as I was running into shore to get them, another dinghy filled with customs officers was heading to our boat. Since I would not be there, I told Frank of S/V Destiny, who was driving the dinghy, to just take them to his boat and I would take the officers I was picking up to our boat. In the end, it all worked out well, but it certainly was a bit hectic and entertaining.
After clearing in with customs, health and quarantine, we went ashore to do emigrations. This was a bit more organized but we had to go to six different tables to be processed. All told, there were about 20 officials we dealt with. Each was very friendly and nice so this process, while very slow, was pleasant.
After finishing with all of the massive paperwork, we joined our friends at Tony's Bar where we celebrated our reunion and a great sail from Darwin. After a few Bintangs, the great Indonesian beer that I have missed over the last 15 years, we were then greeted by the Governor of the province and entertained by local dancers and music. While the speeches were long and in Indonesian, the entertainment more than made up for it. Unfortunately, there was no artificial lighting and I was too far away for my flash to do any good. Thus, I have no pictures to share.
While a dinner was also offered, when we saw the mad scramble of officials and then cruisers into one very long line, Mary Margaret and I decided to pass and return to the boat for dinner. We were still tired from our 3 night passage and just did not have the stamina to weather a long line to get some cuisine.
Tomorrow, I go to shore to get an Internet card and a sim card for our cell phone. At that time, I will post the blogs that I was not able to post during our sail. The connection to SailMail through our SSB radio was not good during our passage.