14 August 2013 | 10 52'S:122 49'E, Nemberala Village, SE Rote
From Kupang, Sea Child set sail south to Rote Island, the southern most island in Indonesia. The SE trades picked up to well over 30 knots, and with a double reef and storm jib, we still took a beating as we tried to sail on. We decided to turn back to Kupang and wait until early the next morning to again sail south to Rote. Our departure was delayed from Kupang, as we needed to recharge the freezer system and get those ice cubes back! Leaving Kupang at noon was not the best idea, since the trades fill in rather strong in the afternoons. Waiting another day was smart, and gave us a nice sail south to Ba'a, Rote, the capital area of Rote Ndau. The anchorage at Ba'a was terrible, though, rough and rolly and choppy, so we headed 2 miles up the coast to a beautiful protected beach and spent the next 3 days exploring the Ba'a region. Again, there was another welcome ceremony, with traditional dancers and musicians, speeches, and local food given to us. Eric was asked to gi ve a speech to the local people, and he gave a brilliant talk about the welcoming nature of the Indonesian people and their unique way of life. Again, more pictures were taken, and afterward we decided to walk around the village of Ba'a in search of a cold beer. We found a town similar in nature to Lahaina, Maui, where the shops lined both sides of the street along the water front. Everything from hardware, clothing, food, and even street vendors selling local produce were available,and once we found the Grace Hotel, we were able to enjoy the local Bintang beer. We made plans to tour Rote Island the next day, and on the tour we hiked memorial peaks, toured the beautiful rice fields, and visited the endangered long neck turtle, who closely resembled a snake head in a turtle shell. The full day tour had us returning to Sea Child at the low tide, and this was a problem since the shoreline was now a mud field a hundred yards long. We trudged through the mud, knee deep in p laces, finally returning to Sea Child dirty and exhausted! We made plans to sail to the most south eastern point of Rote, to Nemberala Village where the surf is legendary.
Nemberala Village was the cleanest village we have seen yet in Indonesia. The tidy village is populated with pigs and piglets, goats, cows and horses meandering the area, and local children run through the palm trees on any given moment. The village is wealthy, homes are updated with concrete block and tin roof construction, rather than the traditional thatch huts that we saw in other villages on Rote. Surf hamlets are everywhere, and motor bikes are the means of transportation rather than automobiles. The village people are not only making a living on the surf, they are literally making a living in the surf, too! They grow a special type of seaweed in Nemberala, that is used in cosmetics and foods as a natural thickener. Most of the seaweed that is harvested is sold to China, and the beaches are lined with natural racks where the seaweed is dried in the sun. The surf break is spectacular, too, and the anchorage at Nemberala is set between two breaks and protected by th e surrounding reef. Nemberala is stunning, and lured Sea Child into a few days of total relaxation. Eric surfed the break on the stand up board, Tamara read two books, and we both rode bikes through the villages to another surf spot, Boa Beach, where we spent hours watching the surfers get tubed on the perfectly formed, overhead waves. We ate ashore at the Nemberala Resort, and took in a few very inexpensive spa treatments! When it was time to sail away, we took Sea Child offshore, just outside the surf break where several local ponga boats sit and wait for their surfers to come back to them for a ride in shore. We raised the full main, as we watched several of them catch their waves, and we bid a very fond farewell to Nemberala and Rote Island.
Next stop, Lembata Island, in the Solar Archipelago, middle Nusa Tengarra, Indonesia, +150 NM to our north. We expect this sail to take almost 24 hours, and with our cruising partners, Zangezi and Gemini V, we expect an exciting sail in good company.