Tuatara

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

LOMBOK IS

07 October 2007 | KUMAI
JEAN
7th October 2007 Written while anchored in the Kumai River on Kalimantan Is (Borneo) 02deg 44S 111deg44E

Selemat Pagi

Our condolences go out to all New Zealand and Aussie rugby fans on this day of loss. A beep on the phone here at 4am in the morning, a text from Sarah in London bringing the sad news!! With that news and the mosque starting up it was hard to get back to sleep. Lying there awake I realized I haven't written an account of our travels since Komodo. Time to catch up, today is the first quiet day for a long time, we have been busy and on the go since Komodo. The Java sea was windy and bouncy so no writing was done on the way here from Bali. So no more excuses, time to get on with it. Talitha and crew left the Komodo area to sail to Bima on Sumbawa Is , we picked up a good sailing breeze as we passed Banta Is, an amazing looking island. The Northern side of Banta was a huge semi circle of steep grey barren hills, half of a crater left from an ancient volcanic eruption. The town of Bima is on the banks of a deep bay, we had heard lots of stories about the harbour and town. The water is very dirty, lots of rubbish in the sea and town, but we did not find that at all. Bima was no worse than any other place we had been although we did only stay 2 days. Water, fuel, Gala dinner and arranging for our visa extensions then we started off towards Bali. I felt miserable with a cold so only went ashore for the dinner at the Sultans palace. Alan enjoyed some time ashore including lunch of Chicken and rice which included the head. The whole time he was eating the head stared at him from the plate, not the most enjoyable meal he has had! Transport around Bima was done mainly by a "Ben Hur" , a pony drawn cart. The cart is for 4 people, that is Indonesian size people. The "Ben Hurs" transported us to the Sultans palace for dinner 4 Westerners in each, the poor ponies nearly lifted off the ground when we all got in! The days between Bima and Bali were long days of very little sailing and lots of motoring between mostly rolly anchorages. The Northern Coasts of Sumbawa and Lombok do not have very good anchorages. Over night sailing was out of the question because of the unmarked, unlit fish traps and nets that float aimlessly up 10 miles out to sea. We are continually amazed and impressed at the skills of the fishermen roaming the seas in small boats locating their traps and guarding their nets. The men are often on their own, no radio or safety equipment just generations of knowledge and probably a lot of luck. Sailing close to the Sumbawa coast we saw very few villages, the steep hills looked inhospitable, occasionally we could hear machinery, saw milling we thought. There were no people to be seen, we passed two housing complexes, not villages as the 500 or so identical iron roofed houses were set out in long rows, a planned town. The strange thing was there was no sign of life, no gardens, no dugouts on the beach. Many theories were discussed over drinks that night. Along an isolated stretch of coast we both jumped as the phone rang, not a sound we are used to as we mainly use it for the cheaper option of texting. A call from Raewyn, Alan's sister, to check we were okay as an Indonesian earthquake had sparked a tsunami warning. We were fine but very puzzled as to where the phone signal had come from as there we hadn't seen a radio tower all day.

Gilli Lawang on Lombok Is was the last night anchorage before we got to Gilli Aer, a resort Island with restaurants and pools. A few days of lazing around was planned. 13 or so yachts left the Lawang area on a bright hot still morning, the ever present blue haze hiding the mountains, auto pilots on an easy motor to Gilli Aer. Within 20 mins all thought of an easy motor disappeared with the first call on the VHF, "rally fleet there is a very long fishing net right in our path and more up ahead" We had to weave our way past nets that were up to 50metres or more long. Buoys were not visible but there was usually a canoe at one end or if we were lucky a canoe at each end. The fishermen not wanting their nets destroyed soon realized they needed to point us in the right direction, one guiding us through a very small gap between two long nets. The nets were eventually passed then the afternoon wind blew up just as we were to negotiate the reef into the bay. Gilli Aer was full and breezy so across the bay to Teluk Kombal, no restaurants or pool but a calm anchorage and clear blue water to swim in. The lack of facilities was made up for by Mohammed the local entrepreneur, he provided, cars, vans, bemos, water, solar, laundry, visa extensions, he endeavored to meet all our needs with the help of his assistant Abdul. Mohammed provided us with a driver and aircon (what a luxury) van for ten of us to tour to Mataram , the largest town on Lombok Is. We wound our way over steep rain forest hills stopping to feed monkeys, visited a temple and pottery then on to the supermarket and internet, on the way home stocked up on fruit and veg avoiding the "Ben Hurs" in the market place. The mall at Mataram (the best since Kupang) had a great supermarket, still couldn't read the labels but could recognize the products. Ramadan made finding some place to eat lunch difficult, even MacDonalds (first since Darwin) was closed. A Chinese run bakery with a restaurant at the back satisfied our hunger. Yachties are great at passing on the good finds and soon the place was full of yachties passing on news they had read on the internet a few doors away. Being Aussies and Kiwis we naturally wanted to stop for a Bintang (beer) at the resort town of Sengigi on the way home but it was too late, being Ramadan the driver had to get home before sunset so he could go to the mosque before he broke his fast. The coast road was very hilly and before every hill he turned off the aircon to have more power for the hill. The coastal road from Mataram through Sengigi was becoming a popular resort area before the Bali bombing, it has not really recovered and there are run down and closed resorts for sale along very beautiful palm lined beaches. 2 days later on a return trip from Senggigi 6 of us had to get out of our bemo and walk up the very steep hill. Those of us anchored at Teluk Kombal enjoyed being in touch with shops, restaurants internet etc not quite as immediate interaction as those at Gilli Aer but then again we didn't have the 20knot onshore breeze every afternoon. We did have, though the pleasure of two mosques in the bay, less than half a mile a part, competing with loudness and length of call to prayer. Several times a day the loud speakers boomed out over the bay, bouncing off the hills giving us a double dose and being Ramadan the night calls were longer and louder. There was a seemingly small break until the 4am call started, Mohammed told us that was a longer one during Ramadan as the call to stop eating was given just before 4.30am. After a couple of days the sound became a bit like wallpaper .. very bright coloured wall paper! The effect of lack of eating and drinking during daylight hours and partying all night was very evident among the local men especially, many sleeping the day away. Our driver to Mataram spoke excellent English but by the end of the day with out food or water the mind moved very slowly and words were very slurred, one of us probably should have driven the last few miles. But we did get back in one piece, that's all that matters.

We decided not to stay to the dinner at Sengigi, thinking we would leave for Lovina on Bali Is a little before the main bunch of rally boats. We got to Lovina and realized many others had the same idea but there was room for us all. Beautiful Bali, so different from the rest of Indonesia not surprising as every island group has their own individual culture, scenery and ambience. Next installment, Lovina and Bali.

Sampai jumpa lagi.
Comments
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