September 9th: Departed Maumere straight after I finished doing my final stint as the SSB radio Net Controller. I have done it for 6 weeks on a Tuesday on the SSB radio, time for someone else to have a turn. We saw a lot of tuna jumping in the water and Robbie had 3 lines out but didn’t catch one. But, not long before we headed into our anchorage we hooked up and he caught a beautiful Wahu. A lovely long one about 1.3m. Very exciting! Robbie filleted it and we got enough fillets for just about all of the fleet. Still heading West and we arrived at Maurole (or Mausambi) at 1:00pm. It’s quite a big bay, sandy beaches and a lot of coral reefs in the bay, we had to navigate around for our entrance.
It’s been a long time since I had my hair cut and it’s been driving me nuts for a while so Heidi, Elizabeth and I headed to the beach with a deck chair, and the hairdressing scissors for a styling session! Heidi is not a hairdresser but has cut her kids hair when they were younger. Andrea has also experience cutting and she also popped over. We were met by a few kids and the group grew, especially when Heidi pulled out her lollipop stash! We even had a water spray bottle and Heidi went for it. It was a lot of fun and believe it or not she did a really good job. I am quite fussy, and like my hair bits and piecey, not straight lines and short on one side and longer on the other. Anyway we had a lot of fun with the kids and after Heidi finished mine Andrea cut Heidi’s and she did a very professional job. We went back to the boat and decided we deserved a cold drink, then Peter, David and Steven & Clair from Almacantar arrived so we had a few drinks on the fly bridge.
September 10th: Had a quiet morning and then went into the beach to go for a big walk. The locals had set up a stage and signs for the rally for the gala dinner tonight. We set off intending to walk from there to the other end of the bay, it is quite a distance. There were a few locals wanting photos with us and for us to take their photos – this is very common. We continued on, but it is so disappointing and makes me mad, very mad, and sad! The amount of rubbish and plastic on the beach, and in the water is just horrific! We saw suitcases, clothes, broken glass, lots and lots of plastic items from food packets, water containers, oil containers, nappies, motorbike tyres, old fishing nets, sanitary items, you name it I am sure we saw it. It’s depressing actually. We will be sending our rally contact –Raymond – an email focussing on this point. The water itself is actually quite clear and inviting but the crap in the water just turns you right off swimming. There is no way we would swim in it. Anyway we carried on our walk, albeit both us very silent, until we reached a river towards the far end of the bay and as I had my joggers on (due to the broken glass and crap on the sand) we turned back. It was actually really hot and it was good to be heading back. We had climbed around a headland on the rocks on the way, but on the return trip we took the inland route through the village. We walked over the soccer ground, which had about 30 headstones right on the sideline. They take a lot of care and pride in their graves and usually the headstones are in the front yard of the houses, and very elaborate affairs with coloured ceramic tiles and quite big structures, sometimes with a patio type roof over them. You quite often see the people lounging around on the top of the graves. We went back to the boat absolutely exhausted. Kiwi Blue – Gert & Mies invited us over for a coffee so we went and had a beautiful coffee they had actually roasted the coffee beans and made real coffee – it was lovely plus Mies homemade nut and fig crunch yummy. We went back to the boat and had a nana nap. At 4:30pm Tom brought over a young Indonesian Engineer he had met to have a look through the boat. There is a new power generation plant going in and he is a qualified Engineer and he was keen to see what was on the boat. We set off about 6.40pm to attend the gala dinner but it was so dark and because the bay has a lot of reefs I wasn’t happy so we turned around and went back to the boat. We were both really tired anyway. Robbie cooked a fish curry with some of the last of the NZ Blue Cod we had in the freezer and it was beautiful. While he cooked dinner I did a stock take and wrote down all the food we have, and what we need. We actually will never starve or go without anything, except stuff like cheese, ham, bacon which I am hoping we can obtain in Bali.
September 11th: We pulled the anchor up at 6:00am to head West along Flores Island. Stormvogel, Kiwi Blue and Elonnissa also joined us. Unfortunately Oda did not receive their passports back after the extension process so they have to wait another day. We are hopeful they will soon catch up. We had a beautiful passage with hardly any wind, real “Southern Star weather”. We anchored overnight at Ruing, it looks quite pretty and there are two wharves, however we did not get off the boat apart from Anchor Schnapps on Stormvogel.
September 12th: Another 6:00am start and still heading West along the Island. Another perfect cruising day for us, but not so the Yachts – no wind. I baked Banana Bread and cleaned out both freezers. We did have fun dodging a lot of fishing boats and nets but we all made it through with no hook ups. This is the most boats and nets we have come across yet. We headed into Telok Levilia and tried one bay but it was too exposed so we went a little further and around an island and successfully anchored close to a fringing reef. It was not the nicest anchorage but it was quite calm. There were a lot of the local boats who enjoyed coming rather close for a sticky beak. Their engines can be VERY loud and make a fast pop pop noise. You always get a friendly wave and a smile. Anchor Schnapps on Southern Star tonight and it was the most beautiful sunset but the most amazing thing was the number of bats that came off that Island. It was MILLIONS. For at least 20 minutes there was a continual, thick flock of bats flying over us. It was spectacular!
September 13th: 6:30am start this morning, slight sleep in. Again, perfect Southern Star cruising weather, it was glassed out a lot of the time. We had to negotiate around some small islands and reefs but this is no drama with the Google Earth and the Goops program Robbie has installed on the laptop. We have a GPS hooked up to the Laptop and he runs the program and it shows us on Google Earth exactly where we are travelling and we can see all the reefs. It’s incredibly accurate. The two chart programs we run are not at all accurate and in fact show us to be on the reef when we aren’t. So we now have 4 navigational aids, the Furuno, the Apple Mac running Coastal Explorer, the iPad with Navionics and now the Laptop with Google Earth and Goops. We didn’t buy any paper charts for Indonesia as we have for all the other countries as it gets too expensive and we hardly used them anyway.
We arrived into Labuan Bajo at 11.45am, this was exciting as there is an Italian Restaurant and some other Western style restaurants apparently, AND shops! Can’t wait to go out for a nice meal.