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Posted by Mei on November 23, 2010 October 11-15, 2010. Belitung is an island off Java. We went to Belitung for the Sail Indonesia Farewell Dinner. We did not know anything about the place. We anchored in a beautiful clear water bay with a clean white beach. The Tangung Kelayer anchorage was just gorgeous. It was just about the nicest looking beach we have seen in Indonesia. Belitung organised the boat boys, diesel form 44 gallon drums on the beach, (yes ladling diesel with bare hands to fill the jerry cans), free wifi area, restaurants (Rushdie’s was the best) and lovely dinner and tours. We cleared CIQP (customs, immigration, quarantine) in Belitung (~ 300 nm from Singapore). The closest port of call to Singapore is Batam (~ 5 nm from Singapore) and we had anticipated clearing out there, it appeared to be the most logical thing to do. It was however not the most expedient or economical. The tour we went on was very interesting. A tour of the museum, a bike ride to the beach (only Norm had a go), kite flying competition, local martial arts exhibition, traditional lunch. The lunch included a band and some dancing. We sat in groups of four on the mats of a traditional house. The food came with rice and we were expected to eat with our hands. Or if we chickened out with a fork. We had the nicest rending thus far. The farewell gala dinner was very enjoyable. The food was very good and we had a huge variety. The band and entertainment was great. Pete and Judith from Camille celebrated their 70th birthday on stage doing “There’s a hole in the bucket, Dear Peter”,

Raymond and Dewi Lesmana

It was sad to say goodbye to Raymond and Dewi Lesmana; the Sail Indonesia Organiser Extraordinaires. They spent eight months organising the regencies to give us this amazing and unique cultural experience (almost all gratis), then spent the three months of the rally shepherding the yachties, making sure everything ran as close to schedule as possible, and sorting any problems that cropped up. It is a thankless task, having witnessed some mental midget bucketing out at Dewi, for some miscommunication. Kevin and I, Norm and Pauline, Suzanne and Terry would like to thank Dewi and Raymond for an excellent job. I think they protected us on many levels, and made it possible for us to see a side of Indonesia that few tourists get to see. It was an extraordinary experience.


Posted by Mei on November 23, 2010

Orang Utans

October 3rd-9th 2010. We went up the tributary of the Kumai River towards Camp Leaky. Along the banks were Nepa palms. Nepa leaves are harvested, dried and made into thatched roofs. Eventually the Nepa palms gave way to fresh water pandanus. The pandanus were heavily laden with fruit. I was informed that if we observed trees heavily laden with fruit, it is an indication that the fruit is un-palatable to most animals because the competition for tasty fruit was fierce. Every now and then the boat would stop and we’d observe wild Orang Utans in the trees. We saw a few macques and a proboscis monkey troop in the distance. The bird life was splendid, we saw a few hornbills and kingfishers with gorgeous plumage. Camp Leaky is the original rehabilitation and research centre. There is a care station that is not opened to the general public (unless you’re on the OFI ecotours which also gets a personal tour with Birute Gladikas). According to the guide the care centre is an interesting place where they care for the sick and the new arrivals. We saw an interesting video on the rehabilitation centre and their research work, and the considerable challenges facing the Orang Utans. The first up close and personal Orang Utan was Sisu. She lay on the floor of a small pergola. Jenie our guide knew a lot about all the rehabilitated Orang Utans we met, He could recognise them and tell us their life history, behaviour etc. It was extraordinary to see the Orang Utans so close without a fence. I was tempted to touch the fur of one but desisted. We were told not to touch them unless they initiated the contact. Fair enough too. They seemed more interested in Jenie, more familiar with him and his small cache of bananas. We visited the feeding station. The feeding station consisted of a large platform with tapioca and bananas scattered all over. You spotted the Orang Utans arriving by the swaying of the trees. A huge male Orang Utan would sit there munching and others would sneak close and grab as many bananas as they could (generally stuffing about 10 in their mouth) and scamper up a tree and scarf the food down. We went to two other feeding stations the next day. One of the feeding stations had wild Orang Utans and their behaviour was different. Their platform was smaller because only one Orang Utan at the time was socially accepted behaviour. The wild Orang Utans were fed twice a day by the OFI because there is not enough food in the National Park to support the population. The Orang Utans had begun to stray into the farmers crops to forage for food, creating animosity between the villagers and the park.


Posted by Mei on October 18, 2010

On route to Kumai

September 30- October 3, 2010. Kumai is the river port nearest to the Tanjung Puting National Park home of the Orang Utans. The trip to Kumai took about 3 days motor sailing. It was hot and stifling on the boat. Norm and Pauline had one day to rest and we left. When they left Melbourne it was 11 degrees Celsius. The heat with the high humidity must have been excruciating. Norm suggested we might find Tony Abbot’s love child. Kumai is quite a big port with large windowless buildings (like silos) dotted all over the river front.

Pangkalun Bun

Paangkalun Bun is a big city inland from the river port of Kumai. We were invited to check out the cultural festival that the city was holding. There was a lot of dancing and singing. For the first time we were seeing dances by Dyaks, the wild men of Borneo. The young guys were fairly puny, looked quite removed from fearsome headhunters. They used spears and shields. There were a group of women singing with tambourines. What made us all gasp was the head to toe garments, only their faces and hands were uncovered, none noticeably raised a sweat. The next day at the stadium held traditional sports. The sport that caught our attention was a remarkable game of fire football. A green coconut was husked and shaped as round as possible, say a centimetre from the shell. It was subsequently soaked in kero and lit. The young guys played barefoot soccer with this ball. I did not observe any headers or evidence of an offside rule. Their kicking legs got quite black. It was enthralling. As usual the Indonesians are nothing but inclusive in their hospitality. They invited the Sail Indo Participants to join in a game of fire football. Only the Kiwis and Aussies had a go. The Europeans and Americans went into hiding. Kevin and Norm joined in and enjoyed it. Kevin noticed the hair on his leg was singed off. Norm mentioned that the football was quite hard. The dyaks demonstrated their blow guns. The participants had a go. It was quite easy. We had a Gala lunch with the regent and Kevin had to give the thank you speech. Lucy and Robert (Ballyhoo) were there at the lunch. They found out what the big black five storey buildings in Kumai were. They are man made caves for nesting swallows. I’m not sure what the cost of the birds nest soup is in Singapore but I do recall it is extraordinarily expensive (will check). The swallows make the nest with their saliva. The nest hangs from the ceiling. After the birds lay their eggs the caretaker waits till the bird leaves to hunt and replaces the nest with a plastic facsimile and carefully puts the eggs back. The cleaned birds nest varied wildly from $480 - $2750 (USD) per kilo depending on who you asked. The man made caves had loudspeakers above them with calls of swallows. The building had been there only three years. With the figures we had been given it was impossible to estimate the possible profit. The locals said it was controlled by the Chinese, and looked darkly at me.

Tanjung Puting National Park

We met Harry from Harry’s Yacht Services. We hired a Klotok from him for the four of us. A Klotok is the river boat with accommodation. We booked an overnight stay with 2 full days, all meals included. Our crew consisted of a captain, guide, cook and able bodied seaman. Harry also provided a boat boy to stay on our boat for the two days to ensure its safety. We got him to do some polishing. Our guide was Jenie, Harry’s brother. He was excellent; his knowledge on Orang Utans was encyclopaedic and he spoke English fluently. He and his brother Touris were good wildlife spotters. Jenie knew a lot about those animals and birds as well. There are several ways to visit the Tanjung Puting National Park. The one day tour gets you a speedboat and a visit to all three feeding stations, but you miss the wildlife along the river because you are really moving. The noise of the outboards also scares wildlife away. The overnight stay is a good compromise as we leisurely motor up the river stopping anytime we want to look at wildlife. We only visit the feeding stations and Camp Leaky exhibit with enough time to watch the video. The three day, two night includes some trekking; we were told to choose the dryland trek not the swamp as some peeps attracted leaches. This is a chance to see the Orang Utans that are not chewing. It would be nice to see them grooming each other. Also it is a chance to see other wildlife. What is interesting is the orang utan politics. Orang utans are becoming extinct, because their habitat is shrinking. This is due to the expansion of Palm oil plantations into virgin equatorial rain forests. The impetus for palm oil plantation expansion is the expectation that biofuels and world wide demand for cheap vege oil will escalate. The Tanjung Putting National park extracts a considerable entry fee. Yet none of it is actually reaches the rehabilitation centre and all the feeding stations which are managed by Birute Galdikas (Orang Utan Foundation International). They operate on donations only. The previous political head of the National parks in Kalimantan supported illegal logging of the Tanjung Puting National Park. Not much is known about the new leader, except he has done nothing to correct the misdeeds of the previous leader. Policy decisions by the previous leader has resulted in the banning of the burning off of the padi rubble after harvest. As a consequence the farmers have been prevented from planting new rice crops. Subsequently the land adjacent to the Tanjong Putting National Park was sold very cheaply to the palm oil plantation owners for 800,000rp/ha about $90 AUD/ha. Smells bad??? Oh Yeah.!!


Posted by Mei on October 18, 2010

Bali Tour

September 26 – 28, 2010. Jenny and Campbell (Cherelle) were kind enough to look after the yacht for the three days. We rented a taxi to drive us from Lovina Beach to Ubud. We took the long way there via the Bali Botanical Gardens. This is a serious botanical garden, and is beautifully landscaped, well maintained and gorgeous. It was the weekend and as a public space it was well patronised by the locals, There were busloads of locals having organised picnics and games e.g. tug of war, karaoke (yes with generators and PA systems) etc. We went to the temple on the lake, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. As we entered the carpark Kevin noticed security checking underneath the car with mirrors. I observed explosive sniffer wands they have at the airports. There were these tiny little islands with temples on them. The landscaping was beautiful. We enjoyed the walk. Driving down the main road into Kuta, were shops selling large garden ornaments, eg. Buddha (two meters tall) and assorted Hindu statues. There was a lot of large garden furniture and a large nursery. There were also many furniture shops.


I could spend a bit of time here checking out the shops. First they were air-conditioned and second they had interesting stuff. But we didn’t stop as Kevin had to check out the surf. Kuta had a large Hindu entrance gate into the beach. The beach was surprisingly huge, a long open bay with lots of beach breaks. Extraordinarily there appeared to be surf life savers and flags. There Large shade trees were located near the wall bordering the beach. The shady areas were populated with hawkers selling drinks, food, tee shirts and renting surfboards and boogie boards (no need to bring your own), this sequence was repeated every 25m. Many of the tourists were hiding in the shade or playing in the water; except for a few incandescently white intrepids who were actually lying in the sun (I am talking noon in Bali, 32 deg C and 90% humidity, no cloud, burn in sixty seconds). This beach was also swept manually. We had lunch and sped away to Ubud.


We tried trip advisor and unfortunately all accommodation in Ubud under $100 USD was booked out. Luckily the rally grapevine came to the rescue. We found an air conditioned hut with ensuite, nice and clean for $50 USD at Sama Cottages. Ubud is an intriguing place, there is accommodation for 1000 USD/night and you wouldn’t necessarily know which ones these are. The buildings are kept within the Ubud style and there are no high rise chain hotels. The accommodation sometimes looks like a temple at first. On closer inspection you notice the hotel name stuck in a discreet place. The hawkers are smarter here, they hold up signs e.g. TAXI as you walk pass, and it is so much more relaxing. No one is in your face. There are several art galleries and museums, arts and craft shops, a really good bookshop, and interesting boutique shops. We visited the Mueseum Puri Lukisan and it was very informative of the evolution of the Balinese art through this century. The complex consisted of three large museums in a beautifully landscaped garden with lotus pond. Very peaceful and contemplative. The local market had a lot of very average souvenirs and boring badly printed and fabricated batik shirts. We strolled down Monkey Forest Road. Kevin found a lovely shirt at a nice Batik shop. We found only two Batik shops (with different fixed price points) and discovered they had the same owners. Someone had twigged that tourist do like batik and can fork out Australian prices for a quality shirt fabric and design. It was a bummer that the ladies wear didn’t fit Aussie sizes (I’m a chub bub here). The silk sarongs were gorgeous; unfortunately got dragged away before I could look properly. The food was excellent and reasonably priced relative to Australia, but relative to Indonesia it was exorbitant. We went to a great restaurant called Mumbuls on Glen’s (Tin Soldier) recommendation. The next night we went to the Lotus Garden which had a huge lotus pond and visage of a temple as a scenic backdrop. This restaurant’s view was shared with Starbucks (sacrilege). The restaurant served predominantly seafood and declined to serve beef as it was disrespectful in the vicinity of the temple. Food was good and the floor show at the entrance of the temple was really amazing. We spent two days in Ubud and barely scraped the surface. I think a week would do it justice. There were so many hidden things and places. It is also a lot cooler here and much more comfortable to walk around.

Celuk and Mas

Celuk is a furniture centre. This is where a lot of wooden furniture was made. I guess if you wanted to deck your house up you could spend some time here and commission some furniture, alternatively buy it ready made in Kuta. Mas is stuffed full of jewellers. Silver and gold aplenty. We got there before the shops opened and we didn’t stop; damn!

On route to Gunung Batukau

We drove north towards Gunung Batukau the second highest volcano in Bali. Along the route out of Ubud were wood carvers. There was shop after shop of wooden nik naks. Not just Balinese souvenirs, there are items I recognise from Australian gift shops. E.g. wooden painted cats (plenty), giraffes, lions; Christmas hangings; Pinocchios (50cm high) for the Italian market and wooden flowers. In fact gifts for the world wide export market, quite impressive. Along the route we stopped at a ravine with padi terraces. It was beautiful and there were a few comfortable cafes overlooking these terraces. They had the most expensive coffee and coconut drinks in Bali. I think peeps just stop for the view and feel obliged to buy a drink because we have to trample through these cafes to take the photos. We arrived at the ridge overlooking Gunung Batukau. The volcano was not smoking, we observed lava flows from a 2004. The touts were out; I tried to be polite to a lady trying to sell me a tee shirt, “Terima kasih” (thank you) and shook my head. She kept dropping the price as we walked towards our taxi. The price got ridiculously low; $1 AUD for a nice Bali tee-shirt, I gave in. We visited the Pura Luhur Batukau temple. A very impressive temple. I had sarongs for us both, but no sash (oh for an ikat scarf). A bunch of ladies surrounded us and insisted we needed a sash and charged us 10,000 rp (1.20 AUD) for the loan of one. After we paid they pointed us at the donation box and said we had to donate some money to the temple. Another 10,000 rp each. A ticket/receipt was issued and I happen to read the English information on the ticket. Guess what; for the price of the donation they would lend us a sarong and sash. Done again!@! There was a ceremony in the temple and the worshippers were out in force. A bunch of women all dressed in purple came and knelt on the mats in the sun and began to pray. They left and went to the hut with the Gamelan (musical instruments) and proceeded to play. Other worshippers came and prayed as well. There were many offerings of enormous fruit platters. The worshippers take the fruit home when they leave for their own consumption. The spirits cannot consume food, but appreciate the intention or thought. Balinese Hinduism has many gods, but according to Dewi Lesmana (Sail Indonesia Organiser extraordinaire) there is really only one god; Sanghyang Widi. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and are simply facets of the one god. October 29, 2010. Norm and Pauline arrived in Denpassar at 6pm and their son Ryan organised a taxi to take them to Lovina Beach. It was great to see them. Hiring taxis in Bali is very reasonable. It is much easier to hire a taxi for the whole day than to rent a car and get very lost. It is even cheaper (ridiculously so) to hire a scooter. Don’t forget to bargain. The trap is the travel insurance policy insists you must have a valid Australian motorcycle licence; otherwise they will not pay or help should you hurt yourself in an accident. Not sure of the policy wording if you’re a scooter passenger.


Posted by Mei on October 9, 2010 September 21st- 30th, 2010 Lovina Beach, on the north coast of Bali, is a black sand beach. The black sand is quite sticky and the keeping the dinghy and yacht clear is proving quite difficult. The anchorage is protected by some fringing reef and is not too sloppy. There are large storm water drains emptying into the bay. The beach is swept manually everyday to keep it clear of rubbish. There are restaurants, souvenir shops, hotels and spas on the beachfront and surrounding area. Bali is 95% Hindu. Everyday we see fresh banana leaf plates with offerings of flowers, fruit and food for the gods at the entrance to every shop. Some shops have their own shrine to place the offerings. As we drove through down the main road from Lavina to Kuta it seemed that every third house had a set of large shrines in their front yard. There appeared to be a temple for every ten houses. It is extraordinary. In the fresh fruit and vege markets there is an industry to make and deliver the offering plates. For the first time in Indonesia I am seeing cut flowers for sale. I found a temple on Lovina beach and I have some photos of it. The gate is actually padlocked. They clearly leave the tourists out of that equation. There are however some temples that are open to the public and a sarong and sash is required to cover knees. I am intrigued. I have read some of the Hindu texts, but it doesn’t give me a clue about the rituals. Sail Indonesia organised four days of events with the local regency that includes Lovina Beach. This regency is the poor cousin to Kuta and Ubud; the influx of yachts here do make some impact. However the rally boats will make a minuscular perturbation on the economy of Bali as a whole. Bali gets 2 million tourists (ref. local newspaper) a year; Alor in comparison got 300 (ref. tourism organizer).

Welcome Performance

September 22, 2010. Balinese dancers have very stylised dances. The ability to keep their eyes opened wide without blinking throughout the dance appears to be extremely important. The Balinese hand movements are apparently symbols of language. Some of the dancing is quite riveting and intense. We had a lovely rally dinner later at the Sea Breeze restaurant. Many of the rally participants have congregated at Bali. There were about 70 boats there. We caught up with most of the yachts we had met on the east coast of Australia.

Bull Race

September 23,2010. The next day we went to the races. The Balinese farmers use bullocks to plough the padi fields. For the race they strap two bulls with a wooden frame and leather harness and sit on a seat on the modified plough. The plough doesn’t dig into the ground here, this would slow the race, a travois type arrangement is used instead. Traditionally the race is held in padi fields whilst full of water, and there is considerable spray, as they tear around the corners. We got a soccer field and the race was rather sedate.

Wayang Kulit

That night there was the Wayang Kulit; a shadow puppet show. The visual and sound effects are great. Unfortunately there was a lot of talking, and it was like watching Shakespeare in a foreign language. We left early but did notice the show was not wasted on the rally folk; as the locals began to fill the vacated seats. They laughed and thoroughly enjoyed it. September 24th, 2010. We had the day off. The others went on the tour and enjoyed it. We are going to tour around later and I had a ton of things to do, like cook meals for the long passages.

Cooking Class

September 25th, 2010. I attended cooking class. I was late and the organisers quickly asked someone to deliver me there. I didn’t know how far it was but I wasn’t keen on getting on a scooter. “Not far”, the driver said. It was literally 400m away, hmm I could have walked. A good bunch of peeps I knew were there and we had a lovely time. The course started at 9:30 am and finished at 2pm. We were so stuffed we could barely walk. Two meals were really lovely, the gado gado sauce and the pepe ikan (fish in banana leaf). Putu the Chef showed us how to cook salt fish. What was extraordinary was the similarity between the salt fish in Norway and Indonesia. According to Reidun the Norwegians don’t deep fry the salt fish, but the taste is similar. The little flat dried salt fish were deep fried, tasting oddly like crisps. The chef’s little restaurant was called Barracuda; it didn’t look like much but his food was excellent. There was another Gala Dinner and cultural show and it was pretty stunning. The Balinese dancers had created a new dance about sustainability. This time the regent came and sang some karaoke, he sang “my way” with a lovely voice.


Posted by Mei on September 30, 2010 September 14th -19th, 2010 Medana Bay has a several moorings near the dinghy jetty. The area where the mooring bouys are is well protected from the swell. The bay is protected by a couple of reefs on either side. For the boats anchored further out the rolling was quite annoying. It was pleasant here. The little restaurant was nice, laundry cheap, diesel delivered to the marina. The gos around the restaurant was the amazing little shop (on the premises) that sold strawberries and frozen meat. It was funny how excited we were. Fresh meat has been a big issue for me. The markets sell meat but there is no refrigeration and it unnerves me to look at all the flies settling on the meat. Once we saw a table of red meat with a dogs head on it. Josy (Bennick) a French yachtie told me where to get some plump chickens. She said she had eaten it 3 days before and was still alive. She gave me a few tips on looking for meat. We wanted to find and ATM or money changer and had to go Sengigi about 30 minutes away by Bemo. We hired the whole Bemo for 2 hours and filled it up with lots of yachties. Sengigi had a money changer with such a decent rate we forgot to bargain. I found a little café (Café Lombi) that had French patisseries and was air conditioned. The crew from Island Time came with us. We were so happy to experience the first air conditioning in a restaurant since Darwin, we really felt pleasantly comfortable. We nearly fell off our chair laughing when Jo picked up the A/C controller and showed us the temperature; 27 deg C. This café also sold the first decent wholemeal bread since Darwin. We found an arts and craft shop and the women yachties had a good browse. Kevin and I trotted back to the waiting Bemo, when Jo strolled up and waved her new fan, “Want one?”, she asked and I nodded (Suzanne had bought one in Kupang, it was such a good idea, but I hadn’t seen one since); she grabbed me by the hand and we ran to the shop. We went on a tour of Lombok. Monkey forest was on the side of the road to Sengigi. The guide gave us some peanuts to feed them. I took picture while Kevin fed them. I always wonder if it’s a good idea to feed wildlife. They certainly get aggressive if they don’t get their way. I also wonder whether it is healthy for them to eat the offered food; which is probably not too good for them. The peanuts were full of salt. A monkey found a scooter with plastic bags of water and yakult and grabbed it. He figured out how to open the plastic water cup and drank from it.

The Balinese King’s Summer Palace.

It is now a dilapidated park with a few ponds and a public swimming pool. There was a flying fox and few yachties tried it.


We had a look at the little factory that makes pots. They made large vases and did it without a proper pottery wheel, They had a round wooden platform that had to be rotated by hand by the potter. It seemed a very slow way to make these pots. The warehouse was full. The Arts and Craft Lane (Sayang Sayang, Mataram) with furniture makers was interesting. We saw teak and mahogany furniture made with pearl or nautilus shell inlay. The arts and crafts here were significantly more expensive then the Sengigi store.

Weaving Cooperative

The weaving here was somewhat interesting. I have seen rather a lot lately and really didn’t want anymore. Good thing too because another yachty had bought some fabric at the cooperative and found an identical one in the market for 10 times less. Ouch.


We hired a car to have a look around Lombok. The only things left to see was the volcano crater lake and the Hindu temples. I was told that If I wanted to see a Hindu temple to do so in Bali. The volcano was many miles away and we didn’t want to do so much travelling on the windy roads. What was left was to go to Mataram the major city in Lombok. What did we need there? Well we heard rumours of a supermarket that had cheese in Mataram and a proper butcher?? The Mataram Mall was a dilapidated shopping centre. Most shops did not have air conditioning. You know how I love to browse in bookshops? I could not pay for my dictionary quickly enough. The supermarket items were extraordinarily expensive compared to Australia. I knew our Million Rupiah would not go far. But I got most of what I needed; maybe not in the quantities I required. I did the maths; the Carrefour’s in Bali (where the other yachties promised me I could get everything) was a 3.5 hour drive from the yacht anchorage. If I was going to stock up there I’d be hard pressed to do it efficiently (considering I needed three trips to the supermarket in Darwin to stock up). So it was best I got what I needed when I could. There was a Kentucky fried and a MacDonald’s. Peter (Gypsy Rose) tried the chips at Maccas and it was horrible. I think they were using palm oil. The KFC chips were better. Why did we even go there???  Kevin insisted he was just curious. Lombok is next to Bali and is supposed to be the next area to take off. But I’m wonder… I’m beginning to think Bali might be unique. Bali has had three quarters of a century to evolve into what it is today. It has everything from beach shacks to $1000 USD/night rooms. Most buildings and parks in Lombok appear half baked, badly built and inadequately maintained. There is a distinct lack of style, follow through and sophistication.

On route to Lombok

Posted by Mei on September 30, 2010 September 12th -14th, 2010.We were running low on time and needed to get to Lombok for the next rally stop. We got went pretty fast in large day hops to get there. We did not see much of anything except giant volcanos along the way.

What can be Done with Plastic Trash in Indonesia?

Posted by Mei on September 30, 2010 Plastic trash has been observed floating on the sea, plastic cord on the reefs. The trash gets washed up onto the shore and found on the high tide level.  It is hideous. The little towns are full of plastic litter, bottles, cups, things, wrappers and bags. In the towns and little villages that care will have the locals sweep the trash up into little heaps and periodically burn it.  There is no organised garbage collection.

Trash Bank

Labuan Bajo is the main town next to the in the Komodo National Park (a world Heritage Area). Labuan Bajo has instigated a system to try and minimise the trash. They are getting the locals especially kids to collect plastic trash and deliver the trash to the “Trash Bank”. There is a small payment which is recorded in a bank book and it is hoped over several years the kids can cash it in to help pay for further education. We had a tour of the Trash Bank and an enthusiastic man told us of his work. This initiative had only been going for 3 months and everyone was getting their A into G. The trash was sorted manually and sent to Java to be recycled. Another way to tackle the problem would be to make widespread use of biodegradable plastic decreed by government policy. To get the kids on their side they also enlisted a pop musician to be their Plastic Man. The Welcome Ceremony for the Sail Indo Participants was held at the Tourism school at Labuan Bajo. When the Plastic Man appeared a bunch of students screamed; ran to the stage and danced.

Alor Solution

In Alor we had a Gala Dinner with the Regent. At the dinner Finn (Hilde) was talking to one of the government representatives, and mentioned that plastic was a big problem in Norway as well and described the project underway to reduce the impact of plastic. The project managed to get assistance from a large world organisation. The government representative got enthusiastic about this and asked Finn to write the proposal for him. Hopefully there will be a “Plastic solution for Alor”.

Participants Solution

We arrived at the lovely southern anchorage of Gili Banta. The land on the southern side of the island appears uninhabited. The currents brought in the plastic trash as flotsam, carried onto the reef and shoreline. A beautiful beach marred by this horrible crap. Jo from Island Time organised all the boats to spend an hour to pick up as much trash as possible in that time. Her husband Matt dug a deep hole to put the trash in. We managed to clear a 30m stretch and the hole was overflowing. We debated how what to do with the collection. Do we burn it or burry it? We decided not to burry the trash because we wanted the UV to destroy the plastics. Yes a micro step, but a step forward all the same.

We’d like to invite the future rally participants to help clean this spectacular beach.


Komodo National Park

Posted by Mei on September 30, 2010 September 8th- 11th, 2010. The Komodo National Park is the premier marine national park in Indonesia and is a World Heritage site. There is a foreign NGO that manages the conservation of the area with connections with the San Diego Zoo. It is the home of the Komodo Dragon a sluggish looking predator that can take down a wild pig, galloping horse or a Timor Deer. The landscape in this area is unexpectedly dry. The hills are covered with grasslands (savannah) and the coast is fringed with mangrove and white sand beaches. The beauty of this area for me was underwater. The abundance of healthy coral and the fish varieties was wonderful. Fish sizes were as large as those observed on the Great Barrier Reef (also a world heritage area). It was a privilege to see this; clearly the no fishing zone was adhered to. I observed turtles swimming underwater gracefully and slowly. I wondered how they caught anything. The channels between the islands were extremely deep and the currents ferocious. Apparently the water is very high in nutrient values.  We saw a pod of tiny black pilot whales. It pissed me off no end to watch an American yacht catch one of these large fishes off the back of their boat. We went to tell him it was a maritime national park and there was a reason for the size of the fishes, but the guy didn’t give a shit. The Gilli Lawa bay was full of dive boats. Diving is the main tourist activity on these waters. We were anchored and admiring the stars when we noticed the night divers wonder around beneath our yacht. The water was clear but we couldn’t quite see what they were doing. If we had we would have laid a turd. The next morning we pulled anchor and saw the Chinese and English graffiti scratched on the anchor flukes with a knife.


Posted by Mei on September 30, 2010


Aug 23-26 2010. This little village was hosting a welcome ceremony for the Ende province in Flores. They had built a pavilion out of bamboo and some little shops; drinks, food, handicrafts and tours. This is a catholic village. The welcome ceremony had a dance where the preppies had to do the traditional dancing. They were awfully cute and looked bewildered about the whole thing. The snorkelling here was OK. Peter from Gypsy Rose caught four painted crays with Kevin’s help and we had a BBQ. Delicious!


August 27-30, 2010. Riung was pretty and tidy. There were two sections, one at the harbour and one inland. In the tidal mudflats fringing the harbour was a fishing village; houses built on stilts. These mudflats were underwater at high tide. It seemed a damp uncomfortable way to live. I didn’t see any outhouses with long drops. How the essential disposal of human waste was dealt with boggles the mind. We found the only restaurant (on dry land) and had a nice meal. I also found a hairdresser. Could only get a 6pm appointment. By the time it was finished it was pitch dark. I had to call Kevin on the VHF radio to come with torches and fetch me. The 17 Island Marine National Park was in this area. There was a big diversity in soft coral. The fish were quite small. We encountered a few tours at these islands when we went for exploring. They came off the Indonesian styled tourist boats that were anchored in the harbour. All were from Europe. We have not yet encountered Aussies travelling overland.

Lingeh Bay

August 30-31, 2010.This is a gorgeous looking bay. The kids here are pretty enthusiastic and paddle on the outrigger canoes and sail boats to chase that boats into the anchorage. I am talking about 30 - 40 kids under 12. They wanted school exercise books but we didn’t have enough. We gave them all kopikos and stickers instead. We caught up with Matt and Jo from Island Time. They had sailed their boat on the Darwin to Banda route.


August 31 2010. They build boats in Bari. It would have been nice to wonder around, unfortunately Kevin hurt his leg, and he didn’t want to walk. Two boats of teenagers came up to chat. They wanted to try and improve their English by talking to us and brought a dictionary to help. They knew how to read English better then conversing in it. It was really difficult. We borrowed their dictionary and discovered that it only had the dictionary from P onwards. We gave them a novel. One guy mentioned he had a computer so I gave him a CDROM of the IT Crowd. God knows what they will think of it. They were going to University in Sulawesi.

Gili Moro

September 1st -3rd, 2010.This is a great anchorage with lovely coral bommies on white sand. The island was full of monkeys. We think they were the Crab Eating Macques. It was pretty here and we stayed a few days. It was a bit rolly and Gypsy Rose did not like it one little bit. We had intended to go to the Komodo National Park, unfortunately we had heard on the rumour grapevine that the costs and treatment to one yacht was quite grim.

Labuan Bajo - Sail Indonesia comes to the Rescue.

September 3rd-8th, 2010. Sail Indonesia Management and the Komodo National Park Management met and resolved the issue. The participants attended a meeting to clarify the costs with the Park Management. It was all resolved happily and fairly.

Labuan Bajo - Tours and Ceremonies

I went on a tour to a waterfall. It was a huge walk down a slippery clay path. It was lucky Kevin didn’t come he would have really strained his leg more. Down we went through this wet tropical rainforest path into a valley. The valley floor was covered with rice terraces. The view was gorgeous. Just how they got the rice out of the valley would be interesting to know. I hoped it wasn’t up the path we were on. I have never walked through a rice padi, and now we were balancing on the narrow banks. In the end I was almost wading ankle deep in some of the padi fields. The waterfall was pretty with orchids growing on the flanks. The water was muddy from rainfall and it was actually cold. The Indonesian guides were doing it barefoot and barely raised a sweat. The villagers in the valley came to watch the tourists. We had a packed lunch at the waterfall comprising of mie goreng, rice and a chunk of chicken. The villagers brewed up some coffee and passed around some more food (the guide had organised it). It was a nice touch as it had begun to rain and we could huddle underneath their bamboo hut. The next day we went on the welcome ceremony/tour. We were taken to the local market, the mirror caves and to the tourism school. The school trains the kids up in hospitality, management and languages. They performed a dance and gave Peter (our ceremonial head) (Gypsy Rose) a live rooster. Luckily he could hold the rooster as like an experienced local. They did the welcome dances and a few speeches from the regent. To our horror they asked us to sing. The musician played an instrumental of Sailing by Rod Steward, I turned around and caught Peter’s eye (Camille) and said “we could all sing this one”. So we hustled everyone up to the stage. The musician then changed the tune to something unrecognisable and panic set in. I noticed the musician had a keyboard that automatically spat out the tunes and he handed me the book of tunes with the lyrics. Hooray we could actually sing the words and not hum. It was fun. They had a whip dance with drums and gongs. It was quite skilful and if the guy could not defend properly he got a nasty whip slash. It was probably a good way to let off steam for the young men. We went to an orphanage and had a look around. The Catholic nun was from Germany and had been there many years. They also looked after kids that were severely handicapped. The nun mentioned that three to four teams of Australian doctors would come every year for a week to perform hundreds of operations. The orphanage had a lovely hydrotherapy pool to rehabilitate the patients. The place was pretty and by the sea. They had some handicrafts for sale but we donated cash instead. We asked the guide about the medical system. It was sad that although there are doctors and hospitals the local farmers and fisherman generally cannot afford them, and will go to the village medicine man first. We were dropped off at the Golo Hotel and we had a nice dinner there. It was a clean pleasant hotel run by two Dutch women. It had a beautiful view of the bay. Labuan Bajo is ringed by steep hills. The bay has a spectacular view of steep hilly islands. The restaurants overlooking the bay and harbour are sitting on properties that will zoom in prices in the next 10-15 years. The town has not really reached its peak; presently humming along at a low tourism level. It is the gateway into the Komodo National Park. Unfortunately owning property and businesses in Indonesia is fraught with special difficulties; however it has to be said there are a lot of foreigners owning and operating businesses there. We have yet to meet any Australian tourists that are not associated with the Rally. We have however met many European tourists. They must be more adventurous.