Cruising Indonesia – Pulau Leti to Maumere
We left for Indonesia, from Darwin, on Thursday 13th of November. The trip was uneventful and very pleasant. We thought we would have to motor-sail the entire way but fortunately we got a couple of really good sails in.
We didn’t see another ship, or boat, once we left Darwin until we were about 25 miles from our destination, Pulau Leti. We arrived at Leti at 2330 and anchored in the dark. It was a little disconcerting heading to shore to find water shallow enough to anchor and the depth going from 1300 feet to 20 feet in a matter of seconds.
The 31.5c degree water was crystal clear so we jumped in for a snorkel before breakfast. We got underway and headed to Kisar.
We stopped at a little port town on Kisar and put the dinghy in and went to shore. The local kids greeted us and walked with us while we had a look around.
We sailed throughout the night to Wetar, where we anchored out the front of a village at 0800 that morning. As soon as we dropped the anchor some of the villagers paddled out in their out-rigger canoes for a visit.
They all clamoured aboard Thorfinn and we sat and had an animated conversation with a lot of miming and very broken Indonesian from us and very few words of English from them.
We went ashore with them for look around their village. They took us to the ministers house (Christian village) and the minister, a young guy from Ambon, then took us to look at the school.
Back at the ministers house where a guy climbed a coconut tree to get us a coconut to drink. It only took him a minute or two.
We moved on to Pulua Alor and anchored for the night. The next day was Dwayne’s birthday and I made him a “booby banana cake” to wish him a happy birthday. It was a wonderful day with Dwayne enjoying one of the best sunrises he has seen yet (his words) and he saw a manta ray jump out of the water several times…. all before 0700.
Later in the morning we spent an hour with some whales. We got a few pictures and one of the whales waved goodbye to us with his tail before disappearing. We were travelling very close to shore in 500 feet of water. The land close by was mountainous and absolutely gorgeous.
We sailed down to the western end of Alor and anchored at Tk Kebola. It took us a long time to find anywhere to anchor as the water is so deep so close to shore.
That night we sat on the cabin top in the cool night air listening to the muslim prayers and then had the first really good sleep we have had in a week. The nights are much cooler here in Indo than they are in Darwin at this time of year and it has been a relief getting away from the ‘build-up’ in Darwin. We were underway the next morning by 0700 and we sailed to a little flat, dry island called Lapan. We went for a snorkel and saw a lion fish; it was so beautiful.
Leaving early the next morning we sailed to Kawala and pulled up at a wharf in the village of Baluaring. By the time we had secured our ropes the we had a crowd of visitors.
We learnt the Indonesian word for Diesel (solar) and before long Dwayne had the jerry cans in the back of a ute and was off to get fuel. He came back with the fuel, his long awaited Bintang and the whereabouts of a Warung (eatery).
At the warung ordered ayam gorgeng (fried chicken). It was delicious. It came with noodles, some veg of some sort, rice and a thin veg curry.
After lunch, on the walk back to the boat, we bought some fruit, veg and a small loaf of bread from the produce stalls they had in the street. It cost us Rp5000 (50c) for 3 mangos, Rp5000 for a large bunch of bananas (about 12), eggs were 10c each (most ended up being off), pawpaw for 20c and the bread was 50c. There were some things for sale we didn’t recognise and Dwayne managed to ask for a sample from one of the ladies. He ended up chewing, what we think is, beetle nut and something else. He looked like he was swallowing nails and started to spit it out. The old ladies and I had a good laugh at him.
We went back to the boat to relax and ended up with a bunch of kids visiting us. We practiced our bahasa Indonesian and managed to have a good talk and a laugh with them.
After a couple of hours I told them I wanted to sleep and they left the boat… but they sat on the wharf saying mister, missus. Dwayne said he’d go for a walk with them so I could rest and off he went. Five minutes later the kids were back saying missus, missus and when I ducked my head out to see what was happening I saw Dwayne sitting off in the distance friendless. Apparently they all wanted me ha ha.
We spent the next couple of hours with the kids showing us around their village. We saw their school and one of the mosques (the village religion is predominately Islam) as we made our way around the convoluted streets of the village.
Later we watched people playing volleyball and badminton and then went back to the warung and had nasi goreng for dinner. The next day we were sailing again due to our need to get to Bali to meet the kids on the 14th December.
We anchored near Watu Peni and jumped in for a snorkel. Although there were no large fish there were many colourful fish and I saw several sea anemones with their clownfish (my go-pro malfunction so no photos).
We moved on and anchored at the Island of Adunara. We went snorkelling, and I got a photo of the clownfish this time. While in the water Dwayne decided to clean the barnacles from the thru-hull fittings and I took some more photos.
We arrived in Flores the next day and anchored at Tk Hading. Once again it was beautiful clear water and we jumped in to cool off. The next stop on Flores was Maumere. This is where we have come to clear customs. We arrived on Sunday as customs was closed we just had a wander around the town, watched some guys racing there scooters down the dry river bed and then had sate kambing (goat sates).
The next day was spent at customs, with customs on our boat, at immigration and then quarantine, after which we had to motor down and anchor off a resort in order to get fuel. Here in Maumere you can go to a service station to put fuel in a vehicle but you cannot fill jerry cans without a permit, hence the trip to Sea World Club Resort where a local filled our jerry cans with 200 litres of diesel.
We hired a scooter today to go back to immigration for our clearance to leave. We spent a few hours riding around sightseeing and then stopped at a tiny warung for lunch. We visited a resort where we had chatted with the owner about all sorts of things, including the litter, the dynamite fishing and the earthquake and tsunami that hit here in 1992. He had some very interesting views on the litter problem and had once organised some education and clean up, but the government failed to remove all the rubbish that was collected. Unfortunately, they do not have rubbish collection here in Maumere, so it all ends up on the ground and ultimately in the water. Very sad to see.
We begin the next leg of our journey tomorrow as we set sail to the Komodo Islands. We will stop four or five nights along the way. It sounds like we are going to find some more awesome spots to snorkel and visit. We have been told of an Island that is a volcano and a beach with pink sand. Kye and Kailey are meeting us at Labuan Bajo and they will sail through to Bali with us. We are on target to reach Bali on the 14th for the arrival of the other boys and look forward to spending Christmas with them, perhaps on the Gilli Islands. Sampai Bertamu Lagi… until we meet again.
For more information about cruising Indonesia read – All you need to know about Cruising Indonesia
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