As you will know from our previous reports, in July 2015, 52 Cruising boats of all shapes and sizes, from all over the world, came together for the start of the 2015 Multihull Solutions 2015 Sail 2 Indonesia Rally run by the Island Cruising Association.
Having cleared out of Australia in Thursday Island and clearing in to Indonesia at Debut, this group of more than one hundred people from all over the world including New Zealand, Australia, England, Northern Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, USA and Canada has since visited the Banda Islands, Namrole and Wakatobi, the fourth mustering point for the Rally. Their adventures continue…
The district of Larantuka is home to one of the last traditional whale hunting villages where the men paddle out in traditional outrigger while the harpooner stands on a bamboo platform and then launch themselves, harpoon and all, at the whale. As whale hunting is quite an emotive subject some of the fleet opted to bypass this stop while others took part in the festivities, but not all visited the village, a bone shaking two-hour dusty drive away.
The anchorage is quite dramatic with two live volcanoes as a back drop. The area is trying hard to promote tourism but after another uncomfortable ride out into the hills for the Gala dinner and entertainment, many felt they had a way to go to attract tourists. With Larantuka tied up with local elections, this stop was canceled giving the fleet a chance to enjoy some of the remoter anchorages and deserted islands before congregating at the Maumere to get their first visa extension.
Anchored off Sea World Dive Resort, this delightful quiet refuge became a home away from home as Indonesian bureaucracy reared its ugly head in the form of local officialdom placing roadblocks in the visa extension process. Raymond, and his local team, along with some tireless work by some of the fleet sorted it out, but not without frustration for those that had the longest wait. For many the enforced stop allowed boat maintenance and exploration of the surrounding area, as well as topping up with much needed supplies and enjoying cold beers, good food with friends. Small groups took day trips or stayed overnight to view the three colour lakes in Mt Kelimutu National Park, enjoying breathtaking views and cool temperatures.
From Maumere the fleet started to spread out again with only a few stopping at the next planned stop of Maurole. Those that did were not disappointed. After a challenging dinghy landing the group were not only treated to a wonderful dinner and entertainment but the event started on time (unusual for Indonesia), and had an MC who kept the program on schedule. The night ended with a traditional circle dance with everyone joining in.
Riung was a delightful, well protected anchorage, within a conservation area consisting of 21 islands off the coast, giving the fleet some time to relax and swim. The festivities were very relaxed with afternoon tea and cake laid on, and only a couple of local dances for entertainment. A tour up into the central highlands to Bena, a traditional village with ancient stone megaliths, was a highlight for many. Although the area is Christian, ancestor worship is still practiced. The stone megaliths connect clan members with their dead ancestors and are used for animal sacrifice for momentous occasions or when a new house has been completed. Outside many of the homes women spun cotton or wove on traditional looms the beautiful Ikat cloth the area is renowned for.
Labuan Bajo and the fearsome Komodo Dragons was next port of call. Komodos are the biggest lizards in the world, incredibly gnarly and though they prefer to eat carrion, they will eat anything – including their young and each other. They eat infrequently but when they do they eat 80% of their body weight. Not only are they fast on land, they are also great swimmers. One group saw 5 dragons on their guided walk along with a nesting site, complete with mama. Komodo National Park also gave the avid divers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the undersea world with many large fish, manta rays, turtles and colourful coral. Being a tourist area, provisioning was easy and many opportunities to eat out. Many enjoyable days were spent exploring the Park before heading to Lombok, next port of call and the first Marina of the trip.
About the Island Cruising Association
Our motto is “We make Cruising more Fun” but there’s a serious side too. ICA offers an ever-growing knowledge base of cruising resources and information specific to Extended Coastal (New Zealand and a developing section on Australia) and Offshore, with an emphasis on the South West Pacific. We offer a wide range of fun events, cruising rallies, training, practical demonstrations, on the water preparation and back up to assist cruisers to get out there. Upcoming events include the FREE “All Points Rally” in November 2015 (all major SW Pacific Ports–Opua, NZ); the CPS (Cruising Prep Seminar) in Auckland in November and Brisbane and Cairns in June/July 2016; Multihull Solutions Sail2Indonesia Rally; Doyle South Pacific Rally and Pacific Circuit Rally all in 2016.
Membership in the Island Cruising Association is NZ$65.00 per year and membership gives you access to the entire knowledge base. www.islandcruising.co.nz
– Andrew Keays