Pacific Transit 2013 to Asia and Thailand 2016

We spent 2014 in Fiji, 2015 in New Zealand and 2016 in Malaysia and Thailand. Always Saturday was sold in 2016 in Malaysia


We are in Maumere which is on the coast and about 5 miles from the main town. Yesterday we took a tour to Three Lakes which is basically three calderas. Each has a different color of water. We got up at 3:30 am to leave at 4:30 am to be picked up by a ten-seater bus for a three hour drive up to the top of the mountain. We started in the dark and ended up in the light and arrived around 8:00am. We had to hike about a mile to get into the area with the lakes and all the hiking was up hill. The view was wonderful and we were lucky because the clouds rolled in and out but we managed to see everything and Ron's photos turned out good.

The most interesting thing as well as the view of the lakes, was the ride up and down the mountain. Oh, by the way we went with eight other folks from different boats in the anchorage. The ride up and down passed lots of shacks that were built on the steep hillside and I think during the monsoon season lots of shacks are washed down the hill. Most are on bamboo stilts with tin roofs or palm leaves. These folks are POOR and I mean POOR.

It is also interesting as the Indonesians are very excited to see white people. Why I have no idea but It must be a novel thing here. Anyway the locals wave and smile and laugh when they see you. Yikes I can understand how Tom Cruise feels. We also got to see a big rice growing farm. It was an amazing thing as the rice fields are terraced up and each section has a mud boarder built by hand to contain the water for the rice growing. I am sure each plant is put in by hand and the rows were perfect. They used the string method like I do for the garden but they were much more devoted to perfection. Huge rice fields and the women working were standing in water and mud doing what ever they do with a hoe. Picking is also done by hand. We also saw women working in rock quarries with small pick axes crushing up rock into different sizes and then sorting the rocks by size and piling these rocks on the road-side for buying. All very organized and stacked perfectly. I found it very interesting that these people live in slum conditions if you could even say that but have a personal pride in their work. But they throw their garbage all over the place so I found it very interesting to ride up and down the mountain.

The other interesting thing is that cars are rare here because of the cost (I think) so the main form of transportation is scooters. They drive like crazy and carry everything you can imagine. I have seen a family of four of one small scooter. Driving these scooters is another matter. Scooters weave in and out of traffic, stop on a dime and drive three abreast down the street. Mixing in with the trucks and few cars. I have seen scooters loaded up like SUV'S and the driver managing to balance everything. I guess when you grow up doing this you get pretty good at it. Small children stand on the floor in front of the driver and just smile.

We are trying to get our visa's renewed here but I think it is going to be an event. Everyone and I mean everyone gets their palm crossed for just about anything. Also the rules change daily or hourly with customs and immigration. It is a way of life here and has become the norm. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out. Our visa allows us to stay the first sixty days and then a thirty day extension is issued at an additional cost of course. Then we will have to extend one more time before leaving for Singapore. I think the reason they do all the extension business is the money flows into different regencies and more people get a share of the pie. My opinion only!

The next topic will be about the repair on our in the mast furling system for the mainsail. It has just flat worn out and we are no longer able to take the sail out and put in back in the mast. Ron has been working with a machine shop to repair the part that has failed. I don't even think we could buy a replacement part in the states due to the age of the furler. We spent an entire day in town with a driver who speaks pretty good english but not great. Since we don't speak any Indonesian we are doing our best to make this all happen. The driver found a machine shop for us and with Ron's drawings and our driver speaking for us we just might get the repair that will work. If not we will be storing our mainsail inside the boat and fly our spinnaker as we don't really expect much wind from here as we go further west.

I have read a wonderful book, called "Indonesia, Etc", that gives wonderful insight into the culture and the history about the last two dictators. I helps put things into the proper perspective as we experience the local side of Indonesia not the high buck tourist side.

All is well on Always Saturday