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LEMBATA - Sailing INDONESIA  

August 6

Motored to Lembata Island, as there was no wind at all. I managed to contract the bad cold that Gord had been suffering with Motored to Lembata Island, as there was no wind at all. I managed to contract the bad cold that Gord had been suffering with Motored to Lembata Island, as there was no wind at all. I managed to contract the bad cold that Gord had been suffering with so spent the entire 60 mile passage resting. We sailed with our constant companions, Gone with the Wind and Stardust.

Lembata is an island located at the end side of Flores Island


Balarine

We were first to arrive in the anchorage surrounded by dangerous reefs so helped the other  boats in as the sun set over Ali Api, the smoldering active volcano that towers over central Lembata.

We were anchored in front of a little village complete with mosque that split the early morning silence.

 

The beach was active with fishing boats that left at dusk and returned at dawn with their catch.

Starting early morn we were  greeted by hoards of kids in canoes, just wanting to say hello.

One of the rally boats, First Light, lost their anchor and chain so, along with Stardust & GWTW, Gord, Bob and Liam spent the next 2 days retrieving it in over 100 feet of murky water. The wind in the anchorage  picked up by midmorning so the girls remained onboard constantly on guard as the boats were dragging anchor.  
This anchorage at Lembata offered the most spectacular sunsets of anywhere. Here rests Ascension peacefully at dusk.

 

August 9

It was a fabulous sail around Lembata Island, with the backdrop of volcanoes and high mountainous terrain.

By the time we arrived at Lewoleba Harbour, we missed a lot of the activities. However, that evening we attended a Welcoming Dinner with traditional dancing performances and more speeches.

Lewoleba Harbour

Lewoleba is the capital of Lembata. The anchoring area was surrounded by ramshackle wooden houses on stilts. Although the area is predominantly Roman Catholic, the Muslim domes were present in the town.

Later, the group was moved to the stage area where we were again guests of honor among thousands of spectators, crowding around our seating area. There were interesting dance performances including dancing with baskets and one head-hunter group dressed in primitive grass skirts parading around with a skull on a stick!

August 10

We accompanied Bob to town on a quest for a fan belt. The streets of Lewoleba were hot and filthy but the little sell-everything stores were fascinating and finding a fan belt amongst the foodstuffs, tire tubes, houseware, perfumes, etc. was like looking for a needle in a haystack

   

August 11

There was a village/snorkeling tour planned but because of our colds, we decided to forgo the outing. Instead we walked to the town carrying jerry jugs to the fuel station. The process of getting diesel was very interesting. The diesel flowed from a hole in the end of a pipe sticking out from the wall. It was caught by a cut off 45 gallon drum, whereby it was scooped out by hand into whatever container you supplied. Of course, everyone stood around smoking.

While the men returned with the fuel, the girls wandered around the streets. Everywhere the friendly people smiled and said hello. There was a large number of the usual mishmash of items for sale in every little kiosk and store, where one could hunt for days looking for anything specific!

On our walk back to the anchorage we were constantly overtaken by hoards of children armed with notebooks and questionnaires for us to fill out for their schoolwork assignments. What is your name? Where are you from? How did you get here? How old are you? Have you any children? What religion are you?....and the interrogation went on and on. Okay the first few times, but after filling out the hundredth notebook, you were ready to run! But the kids were so enthusiastic they were impossible to resist.

We headed to the market where we were able to bargain for bananas, beans, huge avocado (1000 rupiah), papaya, pumpkin and bok choy.

Partying on Ascension

Afternoon brought on an impromptu get together on Ascension with Tony and Gary on Tactical, Bob and Becky on Stardust and Liam and Annie on GWTW. We threw together an potluck meal and partied hardy til late that evening.

After everyone else had called it a night and were crashed in their berths, Gord, Liam and I managed to go ashore and watch the Goodbye Ceremonies. We were glad that we were there to represent the yachties as most had already left the anchorage that day.

After the usual speeches, there was dancing and the locals insisted the cruisers join in and learn the steps to various traditional dances. It was very fun and the locals are unbelievably friendly and sociable. Again they continually made us feel welcomed and important, all wanting to shake hands and try to make conversation, although few spoke any English at all. They really do want to encourage tourism and always requested that we return to their country and bring our family and friends!

Afterward a group of younger kids got on the stage and surprised us with their break dancing. The kids were dressed in the usual contemporary American-style clothing which goes to show that present-day US influences reach kids no matter where in the world they are.
August 12

We left Lewoleba to try and catch up to the rest of the Rally boats that were headed for Ruing, our next Rally point. We made a short hop around the point of Lewoleba Bay and dropped our pick adjacent to a beautiful sandy island, surrounded by seaweed aquaculture but marked only by hundreds of pingpong size floats bobbing just under the surface of the water. The volcano silently smoked in the background and the scene was truly an amazing sight.

There was a large group of boats in the tiny anchorage and they all got together for a potluck dinner on the tiny sand spit at low tide. We were just too tired to join them and opted for an early night to bed in the rolly anchorage..

Very early the following morning, as a result of tidal change and a strong current we drifted very close to another boat. So we picked up the anchor just as the sun was rising and left the anchorage for a sail to Flores.

The following morning we encountered the typical sailing conditions of Indonesia…very little wind and current that always seems to be against you. We managed to sail (slowly) periodically but it was mostly the dieSAIL that we used.

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