Sept 3 Our sail from Banta was wonderful for a change, with 18 knots and 1.5 knots of current against us only for the last several miles. First impressions of this bay were uninviting but we decided to anchor amidst the whitecaps and found the anchorage very pleasant as Ascension lay into the wind.
We were surrounded by fishing boats and were immediately visited by many of the young local boys.
We joined Ventana, Ocelot and GWTW for a trip to shore to see the enormous wooden boats being built.
It was impressive how these boats, many in excess of 20 meters, were built using wooden pegs, no nails, everything hand crafted. It takes 2 to 3 years to build one of these boats.
Since it was Sunday, we did not see any men working but could hear the wailing from the mosque in the village.
As usual, everywhere we went we were surrounded by children asking for school supplies. I gave out dozens of pencils but there were so many kids I didn’t have nearly enough to go around. The children quickly insisted on showing us around their village
2 kinds of kids in the streets
The village was Muslin, the narrow dirt streets harboured rows of wooden shanty houses on stilts made from corrugated tin and bamboo, many had beautiful tile roofs.
Piles of garbage were fodder for the livestock.
As everywhere, the children loved to be photographed.
Kapok, used to make mattresses.
Shy boy watches us leave the village.
When we returned to our boat we noticed that some kids who had transited by dugout canoes, had been aboard, their curiosity impelling them to look in our windows and investigate the cockpit. Nothing was missing but GWTW found their dinghy tie stuffed under the shirt of one of the boys and the kids had reached in through a hatch and taken toothbrushes and a soapdish from another cruiser.
Sundowners on Ocelot
That evening we all got together on Ocelot for sundowners. Pictured with us below are Annie & Liam (GWTW) , Rob and Dee (Ventana), and John and Sue (Ocelot).
September 4 - We made a quick stop-over at Satonda Island where I joined GWTW and Ventana for an early morning hike through the bush and up a number of stairs to the summit.
We climbed a hill that offered a good view of the boats at anchor.
A steep path led down to the peaceful inland fresh water lake.
Before 10 am we set sail for Labuan.
Sept 5-6 After a glorious spinnaker run for 30 miles we arrived in the inner harbour of Labuan. A young man was soon at our boats offering to organize a trip to the big modern town of Sumbawa Besar to visit the open air market and supermarket as well as arrange for fuel.
Six of us cruisers, as well as the three locals jammed into a bemo along with 13 jerry jugs to be filled. The market was excellent and we were able to stock up on all the fresh supplies we were out of. A nearby cement dock made loading into the dinghies easy.
Early afternoon, GWTW and ourselves set sail for an anchorage 35 miles down the coast of Sumbawa, blessed with perfect sailing conditions and a quick trip despite the current against us.
Teluk Potopadou, Sumbawa
September 7 - We found this spot a delight, totally protected in a calm lagoon with a pretty backdrop. GWTW and ourselves were the only boats in the anchorage but we were soon barraged with an onslaught of dugout canoes laden with children from the nearby village.
The boys were accompanied by girls, unusual in the Muslim communities and older men and women also came to visit.
One man proudly held his grand daughter up for us to see. I gave the child a stuffed elephant and grandpa and the little girl were delighted!
The children were very friendly and polite, thanking us profusely for pens, books or candy. One boy had a nasty infection on his leg so we gave him some antibiotic cream and sent him over to Annie on GWTW for treatment.
One little girl took a liking to Gord and wanted to come aboard. In fact I think she wanted to come on board permanently! She was a sweetie, maybe 12 years old.
An older man paddled up to us to proudly present his offering to us. He opened his bag to reveal a squawking chicken! We had to decline but sent him on his way with a bic lighter, which really delighted him.
The kids loved to go FAST!
I was trying to prepare supper and get the cabin cleaned up as Annie & Liam were coming for dinner but the interruptions from all the children made it near impossible as they all wanted to see me and know my name. Finally Liam turned out to be the perfect distraction. There he was, with a dinghy full of kids, towing a number of canoes, the children screaming with hilarity and absolute amusement!
The fun and play went on all afternoon and the kids were having too much fun to go home. Finally darkness set in and they departed.
We hated to leave the idyllic little anchorage, as calm as glass with beautiful surroundings. It would have been interesting to go ashore but time restraints pushed us on to Lombok.