Monday, September 30, 2013
Kupang, W. Timor, Indonesia (Saturday, August 3 to Wednesday, August 7, 2013)
Kupang is the capital city of W. Timor – it’s a busy, noisy, scruffy old city where Captain Bligh hanged out after his mutiny. Because the Portuguese had once settled Timor, there is a Catholic presence on the island; including a university and a few churches nestled in amongst the mosques. Despite the Catholic/Christian majority on Timor, we did hear the Muslim call to prayer five times a day (Indonesia is about 75% populated with friendly Muslims).
For us, it was mostly cruiser business stuff – like checking into the country, getting internet and phone service, provisioning up with diesel and food. We were boarded by customs, immigration and quarantine and then went to shore to meet again with customs, immigration and quarantine - Indonesians sure like paperwork and many, many copies of all your documents!!!
Very little English is spoken in Kupang, so good to have an Indonesian phrase book handy! Warm days and language struggles wore us down at times. We ate out very little as other cruisers were getting sick from the food but did have two nice prawn lunches at Resto 999 on the beach near Teddy’s Bar.
It was here that we had our first experience with toilets in Indonesia – thank goodness that my 87 year old mother chose Singapore over Indonesia to visit us. I honestly don’t know how older people or people with joint/knee problems handle these toilets buried in the ground – you must squat to use the toilets. Aside from the toilet being on the ground, they do not flush – you must use a bucket sitting in a nearby sink filled with water to flush. I’m still struggling with the squatting position. If this isn’t challenging enough, keep in mind that Indonesians don’t use toilet paper. Instead they use their left hand to wipe, really, I kid you not. In fact, it is an insult to touch someone with your left hand. When I was in the market, the shop keeper wanted me to taste some sugar. At that moment, I was holding many bags with my right hand so I naturally reached over with my left hand. The shop keeper blocked my left arm and quickly stuffed the sugar directly into my mouth as I suddenly realized what she was doing!
We attended the SAIL INDONESIA farewell ceremony and enjoyed the young dancers. After that, we lingered a few days to get ready for our Indonesian cruising adventure!
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Passage from Darwin (Tuesday, July 30) to Kupang, Indonesia (Sail Indonesia Rally)
Day 1 (July 30) - Although Dennis was still in pain, we finally took off in very light wind and calm seas. How lucky we were to have single hander Jim Pearson along for the ride! Had chicken, rice and veggies for dinner.
Day 2 (July 31) – No wind, no fish! Motor sailed all day. Clear skies, about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, water about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Read and checked in with radio nets. Brilliant night skies lit ups with stars, the southern cross, milky way and other galaxies. Same dinner entrée as day one.
Day 3 (August 1) – More of the same from Day 2 except that we caught a lovely Wahoo. Passed wells and oil platforms along the way – joint Australian and Indonesian project. Chicken salad for lunch and Wahoo with zucchini, tomato, mushroom and onion sauce for dinner.
We got buzzed by Australian customs for the last time! So strange to be leaving a very western world. About 150 miles from Indonesia, we saw a fleet of Indonesian fishing boats – all old wooden boats painted red and green with an oriental look about them.
Other boats underway with us were Solstice (Southern California, USA), Nahani (Vancouver, Canada), Libertad (Santa Barbara, CA, USA) and Galatea (Menlo Park, CA, USA) – most of the other rally boats had arrived by Wednesday.
Day 4 (August 2) – Still no wind! We slowed down before entering the channel to Kupang – too many fishing boats and nets to make this final leg of our passage and arrived at Kupang on Saturday morning, August 3rd.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Darwin (Wednesday, July 17 to Tuesday, July 30)
Well we finally got to Darwin after a very long passage from Bundaberg – probably somewhere between 1800 to 2000 miles – all long day hops from Bundy to Seisha and then three short passages from Seisha to Darwin for the last 800 mile stretch, including the Gulf of Carpenteria crossing. Almost every cruiser that we spoke to said that they were exhausted – what a haul!
On top of being exhausted, we had boat and body parts to fix plus the normal provisioning, laundry, fueling chores for the upcoming passage to Indonesia with the Sail Indonesia rally. The jib sail was an easy repair but the “body” part was more onerous. Poor Dennis had fallen hard on his rear/tailbone when we got to Wigram Island. This injury triggered a painful sciatic nerve condition from his tailbone to his foot plus a severe outbreak of psoriasis. The pain did not let up and was quite severe. The doctor had xrays and blood work done, initially thinking that Dennis might have a form of bone cancer – we anxiously waited a week for the results and fortunately, no bone cancer was found and the doctor gave Dennis clearance to continue on sailing from Darwin to Kupang, Indonesia. At this point, Dennis had been in severe pain for nearly three weeks. About all of Darwin that Dennis saw were doctor offices.
Fortunately, Jim Pearson flew in on Friday, July 19th and joined us on the boat on Sunday, July 21st. Jim was very helpful during this period with provisioning and boat chores – fortunately we were able to take a few nice walks along the scenic Darwin coastline and MaryLee was able to swim in Fannie Bay (with no croc’s).