First Port of call - Indonesia
05 August 2012 | Saumlaki, Tanimbar, INDO
We arrived to Saumlaki's harbor at sunset last night, with the arrival made possible in the daylight because we changed our clocks again by setting them back an hour, HA HA. There were all these fishing barges with huts on top of them lining the channel on the way in, stuff that's obviously not on the charts! There were also two sailboats anchored beyond the pier and three big ships at anchor, so we motored in behind them. One came on the radio and told us to anchor behind him because the direction we were heading, towards shore and shallower water (we're anchored in 70ft. and were looking for the 35ft. on the chart) had a bunch of fishing nets strung out. Those are very difficult to see in waning light. So we fell in behind him and abeam of the larger sailboat. After confirming with that caller for local time, which we had set correctly, we found out that they were leaving the next day. They had been in a rally from Darwin to Saumlaki and now the race was finished so they were going home! Imagine that?! So, we will try to figure out if they can check us in here or not, as that is not the plan (we are scheduled to make several ports before official check in at Bali), because your 30 day visa starts running and that's not enough time if it starts ticking from here.
It was quite interesting to hear the wailing prayer go off just after we anchored, it seemed to go on and on for about an hour. It went off again at daybreak, and sound carries so well over the water. We are assuming this is the Muslim call to prayer, as they did it in Lautoka, Fiji when we were in town by the mosque. I am counting on dressing even more conservatively than in Majuro, with long skirts and sleeved tops. It's so cold here for us anyways, we won't be complaining about the heat! We are surprised what being at 8 degrees south is like compared to only one degree more at 7 degrees north, it's always hot in Majuro unless you're in 20kts of wind and soaking wet. And we're all out of hot chocolate, darn! I don't even have any decaf tea! Some day I might break down and start drinking coffee.
So this morning after some yoga to prepare my legs for shore (ooh boy it felt good to stretch!), a bowl of hot oatmeal, some boatwork, and a new arriving boat that we met two years ago in Fiji and Majuro, we will hit the town! We will report what we find later, but so far it's a low lying island with plenty of buildings ashore, including two very ostentatious looking cathedrals of some sort (don't strike me as mosques, but what do I know?) and it looks like a pretty busy little port.
Good news from the US as well, it looks like we may have company in Bali for Allen's birthday. Calder Stratford and his family are going to try and visit! We are very excited about that prospect! They are flying standby with a 3 year old daughter and 6 month old baby boy! We hope it's a piece of cake for them...I must say I was excited to see a 747 nonetheless on its' ascent over us this AM, bound the opposite direction of the moon!