Feature storyKailani

sailing around Flores Island aboard their Antares catamaran s/v Kailani. Here’s a glimpse of some of their adventures sailing in Indonesia’s vast archipelago.

We arrive to Maumere (pronounced Momerry) 14-aug-2013 after a 10 nm journey from Wudong. NO wind, motored all the way. Sometimes we think the ocean resembles a lake! Maumere is on the north side of the large island of Flores as we head west. We sail past Mt. Roketenda – the volcano that recently erupted, sending rocks, lava and smoke 2 km up above it.

As we set the anchor, the boat boys approach us – each wanting to be our sole provider of whatever we need – solar (diesel), air (water), benzin (gasoline) as well as any fruits or vegetables. They charge about 6 times the price for water, diesel works out to about $1 / litre, and veggies and fruit are up there as well; but we pay for the convenience of having all the above delivered right to our boat.

Food was good at the resort (called Sea World). We ordered our Bintang Beer under the coconut trees on the beach. Sounds decadent again, but I use the word “resort” very loosely. The restaurant is fantastic, probably the best food we have had yet! The geckos can be found scurrying along the walls in all the buildings (which are made from bamboo, wood and thatched roofs). Some have very transparent skin; and all are very cute. It’s amazing how Flores Island brings in the European tourists – we would not have thought of it as a vacation destination.

We plan a day tour to Kelimutu Lakes – they are three beautiful lakes formed at the top of Kelimutu’s volcanic craters, each one is a different colour. Our trip started at 5:30am, hired a car and driver for the 4 of us for approximately $70 AUD, for a 12 hour day. By the way, you should never drive yourself in this country for one reason – not safe. If a foreigner is in an accident, there will be no question as to who is at fault – it will be the foreigner – and there is no argument to be made whether you are or not. There are no street lights, lots of communication by beeping horns (constant by the way), many bimos (people movers), cars, and tonnes of motor cycles.

It was a 4 hour trip – one way along a very curvy road. We stopped at a veggie stand along the side of the road and picked up some beautiful ginger, cucumbers, and tomatoes. We crossed the island leaving from the north side and through the middle to the south. And oh, the sites we see. Rice patties – fantastic! Many villages with houses literally built just a few feet off the main road – amazing!

At one point, we hailed down an ice cream man. He had two large containers of ice cream, one strapped on either side of his motor bike with the ice cream cones stacked up in the middle. This was a case of where the idea of the ice cream was better than the reality. We tried it , and I promptly decide it was not my favourite. I admit I had to throw it out the window. No doubt, a little dog gobbled it up.

We notice cocoa beans and cloves drying in the sun. The cloves are big business – they are used instead of tobacco for cigarettes! Cheap. However, the effect of the cloves is quite dangerous – there is a numbing feeling in the mouth, lips and throat. If a person smokes too much, they can lose their swallowing reflexes . . . so you can imagine the complications that could develop!

19-aug-2013 we depart for Maurole (pronounced Morolee). I say Maurole is rolly! It was extremely rolly through the night so we all decide to leave in the morning for Monkey Beach. I can’t figure out why it is named as it is – no monkeys that we could see and no beach but lots of mangroves. It was a beautiful calm spot we stayed two nights.

From this anchorage we could dinghy into the village of Riung, which was about a 30 minute dinghy ride of 2 nm. What we experienced here, we will NEVER forget. There was a community gathering of hundreds of people, all dressed in their best clothes. From what we understand it was the changing of a political party, so the ceremony was beginning. A large buffalo was tied to a couple of trees . . . we all had a bad feeling from just the way it was tied up. Sure enough, we see a large rooster sacrificed in the middle of a circle of well-dressed men. Next was the buffalo. I had to turn my head as a lump appeared in my throat. One minute that buffalo is alive, the next, he’s not.

We had barely dropped anchor near the village of Linger, when we were inundated by an the onslaught of children. There were kids waving from the beach, in canoes, and swimming out to us. We were quite a distance offshore and these young children – swimming out to us! We felt like we were surrounded and these children were the most aggressive we have come across yet, they wanted to get on to the boat, kept hanging on to the transom, just wouldn’t give us a break. There had to be 50 kids within a few hours, some had their father with them. Fortunately as the sun was setting, they were no longer coming out to us. We started to give out pens, pencils and paper along with a candy until we realized how many kids continued to appear! We did not go to shore due to the mobbing that would have most certainly happened. Since we left, we have talked to other cruisers who also had a very difficult time on shore.

Off now to Labuan Bajo 2013-aug-24, a larger city at the most western end of the largest island of Flores. It is a city that provides all sorts of tourist excursions for diving, Komodo National Park (the infamous Komodo Dragons), daily boat tours to beautiful snorkeling and beaches, and the list goes on.

On 2013-aug-28 we head to the island of Padar and enjoy spectacular snorkeling on the reefs and great walks on the wonderful pink beach. We even did sundowners each night on the beach. Also found my most beautiful shell yet on this beach.

2013-aug-30 we arrive on SE Rintja Island to Komodo National Park and luck out getting a mooring buoy about 300ft offshore where we see the infamous Komodo Dragons, wild boars, deer and monkeys! Hop into the dinghy to see them even closer. They can swim up to 500 metres, so we do not go ashore, there are too many dragons around. If they bite, they inject a bacteria from their saliva that will slowly kill their prey. All they need to do is wait til the prey dies and no worries, that’s their meal. We see what we came for – very fortunate to have our own Jurassic Park.

2013-aug-31 we arrive on the NE side of Rinca Island and had a good sail here. The anchorage is called “Teluk Ginggo” and we are fortunate again to see the Komodo Dragons on the beach with monkeys this time.

By early September, we arrive back at LaBuan Bajo and prepare for our next leg of the trip – with a couple of overnight passages planned, we head further into the Indonesian archipelago and beyond.


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