August 18th: We woke at 7.15am and departed for Alor Island. (Diomedea, Soul Sacrifice, Kiwi Blue, Moonbeam and us) We actually slept in, we were supposed to be leaving at 7am. Elonnisa came around the corner of the island as we left. Actually had a bit of ship traffic this morning and had to negotiate with Lars Maersk to go around the fleet of 5 boats. It came quite close to Moonbeam, close enough to see the skippers blue eyes reported Ken. We had a very slow passage we had over 2 knots of current against us. Otherwise it was a pleasant passage. We attempted to anchor around 5.30pm on the North side of Alor but it was not a protected anchorage and we tried twice to anchor with no luck. Then when we were trying to get the anchor up it got a bit stuck but came away eventually. It was a coral bottom and very steep until quite close to the shore. Kiwi Blue also tried to anchor with no luck. We made the decision to do an overnighter and continue onto Kalabahi, on the island of Alor, at a slow pace to arrive at daylight. We spotted the dreaded flashing fishing lights during the night but they were well offshore and we were quite close to the shore so it was no problem. We carried on through the night at a slow pace, 3-5 knots and once we got through the entrance to the channel the current was with us.
August 19th: We arrived to the anchorage before daylight but with our big spotlight and the brilliant radar we were able to safely anchor in the dark. We did have to dodge some local fishermen in their canoes with their nets but that was OK they were helpful. We crashed for a couple of hours sleep before I had to do the net controller for the radio sched (Oh God its Tuesday already?) That was OK, it’s difficult as we can’t pick up some of the boats that are far away, but thankfully lovely Andrea from Diomedea relayed for me. I tried to pass my gig to someone else to takeover but got told I have to do 6 weeks at least. I just feel bad when I can’t pick up the other boats.
August 20th: Went to the markets at 8:00am with a local Ahkmet and his niece Petrie, who helped us to purchase our fresh fruit and vege. I brought beans, tomatoes, bananas, chillies, and a Paw-Paw. It’s all very cheap, we have to soak anything we are not cooking in a mild bleach solution. I still have some vegies I am trying to use up so didn’t buy too much. After the market we were taken back to Ahkmets house where his wife and niece gave us a cooking demonstration of the fresh produce they got at the markets. They cooked whole fish, which were quite small, deep-frying them in very hot oil for 15 minutes. Then they cooked rice, vegetable and a Sambole which was tomato, chilli, garlic and onion. I didn’t eat a lot. Had to feel for the ladies, cooking in this heat, in their long pants and Burka’s. It’s about 50% Muslim here.
Got back to the boat and Robbie had organise to get fuel at the wharf in the city. The diesel comes in 20 litre containers and they had to pump it into 44 gallon drums to then pump into Southern Star. We needed around 3,000 litres. Andrea and David from Diomedea very kindly agreed to help us as it’s quite a chore, especially on a concrete wharf and if the winds blowing it can be hazardous. It was arranged for 3:00pm and we were there a minute or two after 3. We attracted a lot of attention and had about 70 people lined up on the wharf staring at us. Most of them can’t speak English. Unfortunately the diesel did not turn up and Robbie told the guy if it wasn’t there by 5:30pm we were leaving as he didn’t want to fuel up in the dark.
We left at 5:30 and once we were in the bay we could see the truck turn up but it was too late. We got back to our anchorage and Steven and Clair joined us from Almacantar for a few drinks. It ended up with us cooking some steak and I made my Crunchy Noodle Salad, Andrea made a yummy Watercress salad and we had a great night.
August 21st: Second try for the diesel, arranged for 9:00am this morning, again David and Andrea kindly agreed to help us. It was stinking hot, no breeze. We headed around to the wharf again. This time the truck was there but no-one English speaking so Robbie was trying to say that he wanted to inspect the diesel before it was pumped into the tank. Again we had a lot of spectators, but this time there were police officers, most likely wanting their cut on the deal. There were two locals who spoke English who were happy to tell us they learnt their English in Jail in Australia for people smuggling! They talked about Ashmore Reef and the boats. They seemed to enjoy their stay in Australia! Long story short, after about 2 hours we got 1600 litres of fuel including 120 litres for Diomedea. Then Robbie was told they couldn’t give us any more today as we had used too much of the towns allocation. Back to the anchorage where we needed recharging, it was hot, dirty and the boat is filthy. We are not inclined to use the watermaker in this anchorage as there is SO much rubbish in the water. It is so sad, bags of rubbish, plastic bags, plastic bottles, hessian bags and just enormous amounts of trash float by us every day. The country is beautiful but very third world and the rubbish in the town and the harbour is appalling.
Stormvogel and Oda arrived this afternoon, very cool to see them again. We have missed their company. Actually most of the fleet of 23 boats are now in the anchorage. Per had caught a Tuna on the way in so we had some fresh Sashimi and a couple of drinks which was lovely.
August 22nd: Sam’s 29th birthday today. Managed to call him which was cool he was due to go into a meeting so couldn’t talk too long and we don’t have much credit on the Indonesian sim card (this is another long story, very difficult to get credit) so will talk more later today. We do have internet and were able to successfully talk to Nat on Skype which was lovely. Will try again tomorrow when the kids and Troy are home. We went into the town for a meeting with our Indonesian agent, Raymond. Robbie has my coldL, so not feeling well. We came back to the boat and he’s having a rest and I am trying to get the blog and photos up to date. This is not as easy as it sounds. Most places we have not had internet.
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