Alan and Jean sharing our cruising news with friends, family.

20 July 2015 | Rabi Island Fiji
29 June 2015 | Suva Fiji
18 December 2013 | Auckland
05 December 2013 | Auckland
27 October 2013 | Vavau Tonga
12 September 2013 | Samoa
24 July 2013 | Moorea, Tahiti
19 July 2013 | Papeete
19 June 2013 | Nuka Hiva
02 June 2013 | Pacific Ocean
29 May 2013 | Pacific Ocean
24 May 2013 | Eastern Pacific Ocean
19 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
16 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
13 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
06 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
08 April 2013 | Shelter Bay marina, Colon.
28 March 2013 | Belize
27 March 2013 | Belize
03 March 2013 | Panamarina, Panama


07 September 2007 | 8.31S 119.39E
2nd SEPT 2007 Rinca Is 8.42S 119.39E

Selemat Pagi

"There's a komodo dragon on the beach, quick come and look!" 6.30 this morning half an hour of scanning the beach with binoculars I was rewarded at last. I had already seen a monkey foraging along the low tide line, the dragon was what we had battled the currents to see. The huge lizard slowly walked along the 400 metre stretch of dark sand beach and disappeared into the bushes. Tomorrow morning or this evening if he shows up we will sit quietly in the dinghy for a better view.

Days ago we left Maurole our most recent rally stop and the best so far. Along with many other yachts we headed to the Komodo Islands to sight dragons, stock up on necessities, spend time on fine white beaches and swim in crystal clear waters. The people of Masambi at Maurole were very welcoming and perhaps a little overwhelmed by all these white people in yachts dotted across their bay. Most had not seen so many white people in one place, there was always groups sitting on the beach watching us come and go. This was the first time the rally had stopped here and the Regent(Governor) was keen that our experience in Maurole was to be without incident. He gave the impression that if a local had done something to upset the event he would have personally dealt with them. The day we arrived the Regent, Mr Paulinus Domi (Flores Is is dominantly Catholic)sat under the brand new huge thatched roof socializing area drinking bintangs with us and presenting us each with an ikat cap as we entered. The people here had spent a year preparing for the few days the rally was to be in Masambi , unfortunately they couldn't do much about the rolly anchorage, Maurole was living up to its name. Most of us arrived thinking we could only put up with the roll for one night but after seeing the effort ashore for us and experiencing the welcome, the majority stayed several nights. A village which built a tiled toilet with western toilets especially for us was one worthy of staying several days in, getting cold bintangs was a bit more complicated! The roll disappeared after a day or two. The beach front had been turned into a large entertainment/ market area for us. Welcoming huts, medical facilities, fruit and vege market, coffee, and of course Ikat weaving for sale. The weaving in this area is finer than other areas, I bought some nice table mats. The people of the Maurole area are farmers so the produce grown in warm volcanic soil was fresh and luscious. I found, large yellowed skinned delectable tasting passion fruit, sharing the find with others, I soon found them in short supply. Massive cabbages and bundles of fat carrots sat along side piles of green beens , pyramids of oranges and bowls of potatoes. No tomatoes, but having potatoes was good as our Darwin potatoes were coming to an end, this was the first place we had seen potatoes for sale. Everything was 5000Rp no matter which stall, no bargaining but with a raise of an eyebrow or glance towards another stall a few more items would be added. The village of Masambi spreads along Maurole bay , houses shaded by palms, banana trees and spreading cashew nut trees. The water buffalo wallowed in their muddy pool, piglets and their mum nosed around amongst the leaves, chickens scratched the sandy backyards while the villagers prepared for two very important events to be held in their small village. The rally dinner and concert evening as well as the Ordination of 4 priests both to be held on the same day. A long day for some the Ordination starting at 6.30am our dinner finishing at 11.30pm. There was a heavy presence of police in town not for us but for the ordination, 2000 people, with all the Catholic and local government dignitaries there were quite a few people to guard, road blocks around the ordination venue were apparently impossible to pass. The general consensus from rally participants was that Maumere had been the best, friendliest stop, best dinner and concert but now Masambi topped them all. Many groups entertained with traditional items and of course the school kids were the cutest and best received. Dinner was beautiful, a mix of traditional and modern dishes. We can now recognize the ones with chili or so we think, the occasional dish springs a hot surprise. The cynical amongst us say " of course you realise this is all propaganda" and at some places I would have to agree but not at Masambi or maybe I was won over by those cute kids. At most dinners one or two of the cruisers get up and do an item, over drinks the night before( too many perhaps) our NZ contingent decided it was time to do a haka. It was agreed that the experience here warranted a haka, no matter no one really knew the words or actions. A couple of the men had distant memories of First Fifteen haka and someone volunteered the crew of Matariki to help, at least we hoped she would! Flying the Maori sovereignty flag must make them experts!! So it was agreed practice on the beach 4pm just 2 hours before the diner was to start!! Kiwis turned up for the practice some not having lived in NZ for 30 years, Raina gave them a patient run through of words and actions, the locals looking on picked it up quickly and were soon joining in! Back to boats to find black shirts and run through the words again. As they say it came right on the night, the official guests and the hundreds of unofficial guests standing 5 deep around the edge called for an encore but the boys thought once was enough, finish on a high! Two days later a boat load of fishermen motored past two Kiwi yachts on recognizing the skippers they turned around, circled past doing an imitation of the haka!! It made quite an impression!

(I started this several days ago, I left the computer to look at more dragons on the beach came back to find it wouldn't go. Just got it sorted again, thank goodness for the range of expertise in the fleet.)

Since Maurole we have stayed in some interesting and lovely anchorages. Monkey Beach (no monkeys, no beach) was nearly landlocked anchorage, one narrow channel in, a few reefs to avoid. Two yachts managed to hit the last reef before the anchorage, no damage thank goodness. We were following one and were able to pull them off within a few minutes. A lookout is imperative around reefs but in this case we were a bit late in the afternoon which makes reef spotting difficult. At Monkey beach we were not approached by many of the locals, although one day I had a dugout full of little boys watching me make banana muffins. They came back the next day for a sample. The kids that came to see us were just curious and didn't ask for any thing, a few books, pencils and lolly pops were offered and accepted with wide smiles and a polite Terima kasih. At other anchorages the kids and adults have been quite demanding if we do not want to buy what they are selling they then just ask for things, t shirts, sunglasses, shorts(Alan was wearing them at the time!), hats, sometimes they think we are a floating supermarket. The term coined by the yachties for the floating hawkers is, Hey Misters. Anchorages are judged by how many Hey Misters there are. Most Hey Misters here in the Komodo Islands and around Labuan Bajo sell pearls, carved dragons, Solar, benzine, aqua and other souvenirs. Getting solar delivered to the yacht has been an excellent service, saving a lot of time and energy on our part. At our present anchorage we are 2 miles from town so last night a group of us hired a boat to take us to Bajo for dinner wait for us and bring us home, a great service. At Gilli Bodo there were no Hey Misters, a nice break for 2 days. A Kiwi and Aussie get together in the most beautiful anchorage yet. A white sandy beach, clear water, plenty of wood for BBQs, no village, no rubbish and monkeys to watch as the sun set behind Komodo Is. Gilli Bodo was a great place to recharge before the grimy but charming town of Labuan Bajo. Reprovisioning and refueling assisted by the Hey Misters, once we had settled on one boat to deal with the others didn't bother us. Labuan Bajo is a small town that services the tourist area here. There are Komodo dragons to see and the diving is some of the best in the world. There are actually other tourists. The first non yachties we have seen since Kupang.

We spent 2 nights at Bajo before battling the currents to go to Rinca Is, where I started this. 5 days later we are back in Bajo, we got the tides and currents right on the way back. No white knuckle experiences this time. Half way down to Rinca the current turned against us, we had 5 to 6 knots against us, huge whirl pools and white water to negotiate we decided it was time get to the nearest beach to anchor and wait for the tide to turn in our favour. The nearest beach was about a mile way but it still took an hour to get there. 2hours later we were off again, this time up to 3knots with us. The Komodo group has many islands with glistening blue water and white beaches. The islands are very mountainous covered in dry brown tussock grass, dotted with tall palms. The valleys are lined with green vegetation, this is where the huge lizards live and hunt the deer, water buffalo monkeys as well as each other. The landscape at the anchorage in Rinca looked a bit like the Coromandel during the worst drought you can imagine!

Back at Bajo we anchored out side the town for one night, some one said it could be a bit noisy, how right they were. Very early before day light the call to prayers started accompanied by the loud putt putt of the Chinese made single cylinder, dry exhaust, diesel powered fishing boats returning from their nights work. Sleeping was difficult. It was rush hour Bajo style. The noise got us up and going to the market early. Rowing from our anchorage over to the town was a bit dicey, a bit like walking across the motorway but instead of cars we had 10 metre wide outrigger boats to negotiate. The crowd lining the huge ferry docked at the wharf seemed curious or more likely amused that a white man was rowing not using an outboard. (The outboard is still being very temperamental.) There is one thing that continues to puzzle us, the utter disregard to litter in the streets, drains, stream beds, harbours in fact everywhere except houses and shops. Most people are well dressed, their house and shop surroundings are tidy and well swept, shoes off at the door but outside those areas the place is one giant tip. We have not seen any area that has provision for rubbish collection, what a shame the beauty of the place is being spoilt. In spite of the rubbish we are still enjoying our cruise through Indonesia more than we thought we would as every few days there are new experiences to keep us interested. Tomorrow we continue west towards Bali, 300 miles to go.

Selemat Siang
Vessel Name: Tuatara
Vessel Make/Model: Alan Wright 51
Hailing Port: Opua NZ
Crew: Alan and Jean Ward

Sailing in the Pacific

Who: Alan and Jean Ward
Port: Opua NZ