Slow Sailing

25 February 2020
29 November 2019 | Vero Beach
09 October 2019 | Washington, NC
27 September 2019
06 September 2019 | Norfolk, VA
07 August 2019 | Washington, NC
07 July 2019 | Washington
10 June 2019 | Washington, NC
15 May 2019 | St Augustine
30 April 2019 | Black Point, Exuma
16 April 2019 | Bahamas
02 April 2019 | Washington, NC
15 March 2019 | Washington, NC
10 February 2019 | Washington, NC
22 January 2019 | Washington, NC
07 January 2019 | Washington, NC
15 December 2018 | Washington, NC
03 November 2018 | Thetford, VT
21 September 2018 | Bradford, VT
13 August 2018 | Thetford, VT

Hanging with Dragons & Scorpionfish

23 September 2015 | Komodo National Park
Heather
From Sail2Indonesia Rally 2015

From Sail2Indonesia Rally 2015

From Sail2Indonesia Rally 2015

Not long ago, a fellow sailor reached behind my ear and moved my hair aside and jokingly asked if we had gills. At first I wondered if he'd been talking to our friend Bob who'd nicknamed us "The Gills" back in Belize, but then I realized that was impossible. Well, if Mark & Anne were here we'd have company... but we are having to do all this water work on our own while we can. We hear after Bali, the water clarity and life aren't as good and we kind of believe it. This area is mainly national park and the rules are enforced somewhat. There aren't many people either. Lombok is not a park and has 3.2 million people and Bali has 4 million. But that's nothing compared to Java which has 140 million! I'm not even sure we want to get into the water after here.

From Sail2Indonesia Rally 2015

The highlight of Indonesia has been Komodo and we are out diving the spots that we can easily do on our own. It has been fantastic. We're now officially bringing up the rear of the pack as far as the rally goes but it is hard to leave this beautiful place. There are no regrets doing the dives with Uber Dive because they showed us the best of the more challenging sites and so many creatures that we would never have found on our own. We have now gone back to a few of the easier spots and even found the same coral heads that has some of that life on them. Today, we did a dive called the China Shop which is so delicate and full of life you feel like you're surrounded by fine china and you could bump into some and break it. One coral head has three leaf scorpionfish on it and this day, the maroon one we saw last time was hot pink! We did the muck dive again, a couple of the island dives and now we are going back to the China Shop again tomorrow because we aren't done with it yet. I don't know what it is, part psychological really, but picking up a free park mooring is something we never get tired of- it is just so easy. I can't say there are tons of park moorings, but we are scoring quite a few. The one we're at now is in this cirque of mountains with wild pigs & deer on the beach, and a cell tower way in the distance that will allow me to upload this when I'm finished. There are lots of liveaboard dive boats moving around by day from site to site (these are called Phinisi boats and have their own look) but it is otherwise extremely quiet. No mosques, no mopeds, no fires, few people.

The island in front of the China Shop has several trails on it that are dragon free so you can hike up for sunset. There are eagles riding the thermals, deer grazing down below in the field and beautiful coral reefs beckoning below. Sound like an ad? Well, I could do an ad right about now. Does it pay? We've done this hike twice and I think tomorrow will be the last time.
From Sail2Indonesia Rally 2015
From Sail2Indonesia Rally 2015

From Sail2Indonesia Rally 2015

From Sail2Indonesia Rally 2015

The Komodo Dragon tour was really fun and interesting. We've seen a lot of monitor lizards in Australia which were pretty big but these do look much more substantial and they move differently. They have sort of a swagger and their tongue is quite large. We anchored at the ranger station the night before and set up the hike for the following morning at 6:30a. As soon as we got to the dock the monkeys were there to greet us, followed by the park staff. They guide you to the ranger hut where you pay quite a bit of money to see these dragons, but its worth it. We watched a monkey carefully peel a banana and proceed to eat every bit of meat off it leaving only the peel behind. One funny thing is, when you pay, you get 10 tickets for 2 people. There is the entry fee, the hiking fee, the tour guide fee, the watching wildlife fee, the yacht fee and I'm not sure what else. This a a real revenue generator for the park and you'd be amazed at the number of dive boats that make their way through here each day. But our tour was early and we had a quiet start to the day. Our guide renamed himself Cuba Fidel Castro a few years back and his custom painted staff, for which he uses to repel dragons, had the words "Danger is My Business" written on it- funny! When the rangers found out we were from America, they asked if we liked politics. They were more up on who is running than we were by far and they were thinking we needed a female president. I found this interesting since most of Indonesia is Muslim which as far as I know, doesn't have a feminist movement. It made us remember back when we were in the mountains of Guatemala in Spanish school and we watched President Obama get elected. Our teacher was so choked up and elated. He felt that the USA was setting a precedent for racial equality and he hoped his own country would follow the lead since he was a poor Mayan with little opportunity. It is interesting meeting different people around the world and getting wisps of what they think. Anyway, most of the dragons were hanging around the ranger station because the guides live there for 10 days on, 10 off and they have a cook. The dragons only need to really eat once a month but they are interested in the smell of food more often. Their food source is water buffalo, wild boar, deer, monkeys and each other. I learned that the mothers lay eggs in holes in the dirt that are first started by megapode birds and then they take over and make them deeper. The eggs incubate for something like 9 or 10 months and then when they hatch, momma is there to eat some of them! The ones that make it up a tree will live up there for years while they mature, then they'll move down onto the ground when they get big enough to defend themselves. The eggs are soft like a turtle egg, sex is determined by temperature of the dirt just like turtles, and dragons are very dependent on body temperature for digestion. After getting some pics and visiting with the dragons, we took a guided hike through the woods and golden fields to some great views. It was so nice to be walking on a trail! In the spring, these fields are jade green. Right now, they are frizzled with the heat. We are too. The boat is in need of some TLC. We haven't had any rain other than a few drops since Cairns. Everything is cooking. We try to wash the boat off periodically with extra water or at least wipe off some of the salt with the morning dew but still, it is aging under the salt residue and the strength of the sun. Hmmmm, we are too. We did manage some engine maintenance yesterday and have some re-bedding of deck hardware planned for the next down time but for now, we should just focus on enjoying this scenery.

Here in Komodo, we drive everywhere we go whether we have a sail out or not, in calm seas. There may be tide rips, whirlpools, eddies or boils but this is the closest thing to being on a cat because we don't even stow anything anymore- the boat just stays level. The currents here are a trick. One minute you're doing 7+ kts riding it and at the next corner, you've got it blasting against you. There is no planning it, so we don't!

He next rally stop is Lombok and we've really got to get moving soon if for no other reason than our visas will have to be renewed again relatively soon. This is really a drag. I read on someone's blog the other day who is doing the other Indonesia rally this year, that the motto in Indonesia at times is: "It's impossible, but it can be arranged". One reason we are doing the rally is to be able to turn this frustrating bureaucratic stuff over to someone else which has worked so far, we just have to be there to hand him our passports.

There's a big volcano in Lobok that is popular to hike and we have all of our backpacking gear on board, but we hear there is a lot of trash up there so are not sure we'll like it. Second only to air pollution, trash is right up there with stuff that drives us nuts. We'll see. We got word that the stop where we were to take a river boat trip up to see the orangutans has been subjected to such intense smoke from deliberate fires started in Sumatra, that they aren't taking tourists up there right now. This is the kind of thing that makes you wonder about mankind....... and the fate fo the orangutans.

Well, I'll include some pics here. Its been really good lately. This area has some truly special things.

From Sail2Indonesia Rally 2015
From Sail2Indonesia Rally 2015
From Sail2Indonesia Rally 2015
From Sail2Indonesia Rally 2015
From Sail2Indonesia Rally 2015
From Sail2Indonesia Rally 2015



Comments
Vessel Name: EVERGREEN
Vessel Make/Model: Tashiba 40 Hull #158
Hailing Port: E. Thetford Vermont
Crew: Heather and Jon Turgeon
Extra:
Hello! We are Heather & Jon Turgeon of S/V Evergreen. We started sailing in 1994 on our first boat, a Cape Dory 31, then sought out a Tashiba 40 that could take us around the globe. It has been our home for 19 years. We've thoroughly cruised the East coast and Caribbean and just completed our [...]
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