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indonesia



July 27 - Underway to Indonesia

Last Saturday we sailed out of Darwin with the Sail Indonesia fleet. We headed westward toward Kupang. As the winds dropped, we motored.

12 hours out Dave discovered a transmission leak. With next repair facility in Singapore, several thousand miles away, we decided to turn back to Darwin. We lucked out - winds were light enough to allow us to bash our way back, with Dave topping off the transmission every few hours. Customs let us back in with a phone call, after determining that we had not left Australian waters. Keith locked us back into the marina. Dave used the internet to research the likely causes, and isolated the problem but lacked the parts needed for the repair. We called a Borg Warner mechanic, who happened to be in the marina on another job, which he was just finishing. He worked with Dave to pull the part out and replace an O ring, and our leak is fixed.

Keith kindly drove me around to replenish the diesel we'd burned, and buy extra transmission fluid. Customs issued a new clearance document, and tonight we will exit through the lock at high water, and ride the falling tide out of the bay, again headed to Kupang, 4 days away.

This could not have worked out better. Nate and I even got a chance to visit the excellent NT museum and quaff a few fruit smoothies.

All is well!


July 28 - 1156 S - 12850 E

Easy motor sail day, making slow progress as the alternating tidal currents help and hinder by a knot. We flew the spinnaker for a few hours in 10-12 knot winds, but are again motoring. 3 days to go! The transmission fix did the job - no worries! A coast watch plane flew overhead for a radio check-in, but other than that there is nothing on the horizon.

Nate takes a day to find his sea legs.


July 29 - 1142 S - 12658 E

A lot of nothing, one broom floated by, one seasnake, one freighter 10 miles away, and one brown boobie circled the boat. Other than those exciting distractions there is nothing out here but uninterrupted blue... We are each fighting boredom with audio books. Can't complain if the main feature of a passage is boredom! We are motoring steadily in a very light breeze and flat seas. All is well.


July 30 - 1042 S - 12439 E

Nate has sighted a couple whales blowing, one a humpback fairly close, and Dave saw dolphins last night. We have mostly motored in very light winds and flat seas, but are sailing now, at 4 knots, to slow our approach to arrive in daylight tomorrow morning. All is well.


July 31 - Indonesia!

We slowed down overnight, threading our way through long fishnets lit by blinking lights, to approach west Timor at daylight. We anchored with the 70 rally boats who had already been here several days, and radioed for clearance. After a couple hours wait, 7 officials boarded us, searched a few lockers, filled out a lot of paperwork, suggested we give them a bottle of wine (Dave gave them a polite no which was gracefully accepted) and told us to come ashore to complete clearance with quarantine, immigration and the harbor master. An hour later we were done, a relatively painless process, albeit a pile of documents. It helped to have an official boat stamp, which we stuck on every sheet.

Formalities done, we enjoyed lunch ashore and explored a little of Kupang. Dave and Nate played soccer with a gaggle of cute street urchins who suggested they were warm and needed ice cream. We found the tailors, a street of vegetable stalls, had help working on our few words of Bahasa Indonesia, and enjoyed the traffic - bemos (minivan buses) screaming deafening music, the hornet buzz of motocycles, and everyone enjoying their car horns to the max. Crossing the street is an adventure. Everywhere the people were welcoming and friendly.

Back at the waterfront bar we joined Cardea and Lotus for a beer, then headed home for showers and an early night. Nate is fixing dinner. Good to be here, and at first glance we think we'll really enjoy Indonesia.

Nate and Dave join a street soccer game.

Kupang anchorage.

The racks of liter gas bottles are a gas station for the motos (motorcycles).

The crew gives passengers a ride to the ferry.

Dave and Nate will ferry our diesel jugs out to Baraka.

Local entrepreneurs take our jugs to the gas station to fill with solar (diesel), returning the filled jugs to the beach. Price is 7000 - roughly 70 cents - per liter.


August 4 - Rote Bebi

Yesterday Dave dropped Nate and me ashore to find the market and stock up on fruit and veg. Ayub offered to be our guide, taking us in a bemo (2000 Rupiah, or 20 cents) to the market near his home, a wandering maze of streets filled with small stalls. Meat was presented in tall rectangular baskets (no refrigeration) which were again closed after inspection to keep flies at bay. Rows of plucked chickens lay on tables in the shade. Ayub helped us negotiate prices for what I wanted. Laden with cabbage, papaya, green lady finger bananas and other prizes, we bemo'd back to the beach and radioed Dave for pickup. On the beach a local man was tossing a rooster into the surf to make its legs stonger for cockfighting. Didn't know roosters could swim.

Our anchorage had turned lively in the SE trades, so we picked up the dinghy, lashed everything down, and headed 22 miles to Rote Bebi, on the island just S of Timor. Rowdy ride in beam seas. At least it was short. Once in the lee we nosed in where 2 colorful fishing boats guided us to a secure anchorage for a much quieter night.


August 5 - Rote Bebi

Our anchorage is a little bouncy, and we can hear the chain growling across the coral shelf, but much calmer than Kupang. We slept well and treated ourselves to a quiet day, reading, snorkeling, and kayaking. Our neighbors left during the night, apparently to go fishing, so we have the place to ourselves. Tomorrow we will sail on to Ba'a, also on Rote, for a rally dinner and presentations. Due to our late arrival in Kupang, and our schedule to reach Bali by August 25, this may be our only rally event. Friends on a German boat opted not to join the rally, finding an independent agent to get their CAIT (cruising permit). At Kupang they were forced to hire an $$$ agent to deal with Customs, wiping out the savings of going independently.


August 6 - Ba'a Rote

We had an easy daysail in the lee of Rote, arriving mid-afternoon at Ba'a, the main town. Dinghying ashore, a crew carried dinghy and outboard up the beach, and guided us through town to where the festivities were being held. Turns out we arrived on day 3 of the events, missing 3 days of tours, but in time to take in the final night of feasting, dance and music. Nate and Dave were presented with fantastic traditional hats, woven from the Lontar palm, and each of us received a hand-dyed ikat woven shawl, characteristic of Rote. Officials arrived to welcome us with speeches (and translations), and teams of dancers stepped lightly to a jangle of brass gongs and drums. They pulled us up to join a circle dance, amid a lot of laughter at our clumsiness. Several men played the sasando, a stringed instrument made from a single palm leaf. The pleated leaf forms an acoustical bowl behind the stringed stem.

The people of Rote are charming and friendly, anxious to use this opportunity to put Rote on the tourist map. There is a resort on the far side of the island with a famous surf break, but not a lot to otherwise draw tourism to this remote spot. Today, Adie, the English schoolteacher, took us to his school to meet his class, giving them a chance to hear and practice English, and us a chance to understand something about how people get schooling and (rare) jobs. Government jobs are assigned in faraway Jakarta. Tuition costs ~$50 a year per student, beyond the reach of many.

Walking about we are greeted everywhere, and people seem delighted to help us with our few words of Bahasa Indonesia. It is hard to think about leaving - the people of Ba'a really rolled out the carpet for us, expecting no reciprocation except that we tell our friends this is a great place to visit.

Sasando instrument made from the lontar palm leaf.

Rote ceremony - young kids dance to gamelan music.

These girls patiently wait their turn to perform.

Dave and Nate are presently with traditional Rote lontar hats.

Kids like Nate. This schoolgirl wants to take him home.

Buying produce and a rice tray at the Baa market.


August 8 - Underway to Rinja

Planned to sail overnight to Savu, but I jammed the toilet. I compounded my sin by losing the "good" bucket over the side when my loose bowline untied. I saw the bucket slowly sink, but not slowly enough to catch it with the boathook. Argghhh!

We delayed our plans to leave and arranged a tour with Adie, the local English teacher. Adie had borrowed a car. Toilet repair aboard Baraka is normally a "pink" job, but this time it took both Dave and I. So we bagged the tour, though Nate went ashore and got a more personal tour on the back of Adie's motorcycle. Nate got to give English lessons to a couple policemen, enjoyed at meal at Adie's, and was taken to a number of sights, ending with a freshwater swim at a spring.

Meanwhile Dave and I spent the whole day repairing the head. Problem was simple wear of replaceable parts. By evening it was working again, better than before. We enjoyed a quiet night's sleep and changed our destination, opting instead for a longer passage to Rinja. We are getting concerned about making Bali in time for Nate's and my flights home, and want to spend a few days at Rinca snorkeling and checking out the Komodo dragons. We left Rote this morning, and are wing-on-wing rolling along.

Jan rebuilds the head.

Not every day in paradise is pleasant. The head stopped working, and compounding the problem I lost the bucket overboard! Took all day to rebuild the head, not my favorite job.


August 9 - 926 S - 12046 E

Rolling slowly along under reefed main and reefed jib to arrive at Rinca tomorrow morning in good light. We sailed past nets at night, lit by flashing buoys but otherwise unattended. The wooden fishing boats are a weak return on our radar, requiring a diligent watch. No moon, just black sky with the smear of milky way. Easy trip, though getting hotter as we approach the equator.


August 10 - Here be Dragons!

We arrived this morning at Uwada Dasami, Rinca after an easy 2-day passage from Rote. Tuuvalei is here, and advised us to grab an empty mooring. The steep-to volcanic hills remind us of the Marquesas. Right away 3 entrepreneurs showed up in their wooden boat to sell carvings and pearls. I caved, and bought a big Komodo dragon carving. While I napped, Dave went snorkeling in good coral gardens, and found a huge lobster, but it was just the empty capapace. Dang. Nate kayaked the bay, and beachcombed, finding long-tailed monkeys and dragon tracks. Back aboard we spotted a wild boar foraging on the beach. Dave and Nate also spotted a small dragon on the beach. Very cool place!

We approach Uwada Dasami, southern Rinca.

Jan buys a carved komodo dragon.

Dave and Nate jauntily sport their lontar hats.

Sunset off west Rinca.


August 11 - Rinca wildlife

We continued to spot dragons. These guys can grow to 10 feet, though most we saw were maybe 5-6 feet, still monsters. They move ponderously to the waters edge and patrol the beach. Our guidebook says they can sprint 12 mph. We are treating them with respect. We have also seen macaques (monkeys) on the beach. They squeal a warning to their mates, and bark/growl when you get too close. The beach parade includes pigs or boars, and a couple deer, and Nate spotted a sea turtle swimming toward the boat. Each of us kayaked along the shoreline. Fun to see the abundant wildlife. Maria and Axel of Tuuvalei came for sundowners and we had a great evening with them. We have been watching the diveboat taking divers all day to an uncharted reef in the middle of the bay, which we hope to visit tomorrow before heading on to the next anchorage.

Rinca dragon.

The dragon shows an interest in us. Yikes, back up Dave!!!

One more chance to buy wood-carved dragons.


August 12 - Lehok Ginggo, Rinca

Today we dinghied ashore on an isolated beach to build a fire to burn our trash. We feel sad to see the acres of plastic garbage, adrift in otherwise clear water, and piled deep on the shores. Although this place is isolated, we must be downwind of huge populations. The litter includes every kind of plastic container, flip-flops, plastic bags, styrofoam. Burning our own trash is a token effort, given the tons stacked on the beach. Indonesia is beautiful, just don't look down.

We sailed a few miles north to Ginggo Bay where we again found an isolated anchorage, with lots of monkeys playing on the beach. Nate kayaked ashore to beachcomb. I swam in, but hesitated when I saw a medium-sized dragon walking the beach. After he went by, I went ashore to walk the pretty beach, much less trash here. At the tree where the monkeys had been playing I woke 2 dragons, who came out and walked slowly toward me. Thunk! Behind them a coconut hit the ground (thrown by the monkeys?) and the dragons sprinted! Mostly they move ponderously, but they can hustle!

We ended the day with steaks on the grill and a great sunset.


August 14 - Gili Lawa Laut and Gili Banta

Timing the tide, we rode north on the ebb at 9+ knots, to Gili Lawa Laut just north of Komodo. No dragons here, just goats, but fantastic snorkeling in amazing clear water. Several local boats showed us where to drop the hook in sand, then came alongside to try to sell us stuff - carvings, t-shirts, etc.

Hot now! As soon as the vendors drifted off, we were over the side to cool off. The water clarity is fantastic. We can see the dimples in the sand at over 50 feet. We swam over beautiful coral gardens for an hour, then I kayaked ashore to beachcomb, collecting a string of maybe 100 flipflops in as many yards. A huge dive ship from Bali was on the only mooring, but they pushed off so we had the bay to ourselves - a rolly night, but gorgeous setting.

This morning we sailed west to Gili Banta, an easy 19 mile trip until the last mile against 6 knots and standing waves! The currents between islands are incredible. We muscled through, and anchored in the south bay of Gili Banta - no wind, dead calm. Again the water is clear, and there is an amazing coral colony - beautiful, and unlike any we have seen. Ashore is a mysterious set of gates leading nowhere, and a small Komodo dragon trekking the beach.


August 15 - Wera, Sumbawa

Left Gili Banta early this morning, but had to turn back, having timed the tide wrong. We clawed our way back into the anchorage and waited 6 hours, then had a nice sail to Wera, arriving at dusk.


August 16 - Wera, underway again

This morning we wanted to go ashore to see Wera. There are huge wood boats being built on the beach, and the town looks interesting. As we were getting ready, a couple boys in a dugout came by and seemed a little too interested in Baraka, so I stayed aboard to guard while Dave and Nate went ashore. A student wanting to practice his English became their guide. They got to climb inside the boats and see how construction is being done. Both reported the town was great - Nate thinks it might be a nice place to spend a few months!

We set off along the N side of Sumbawa, heading west. We'll carry on overnight and try to make Gili Air off NW Lombok by late tomorrow. Time is running out, and we need to get to Bali.

Wera stairway.

This cow enjoys the ditch.

Ladies weave on outdoor looms.

Lady shows off her baby.

Photographic kids.

Wera is a boat-building center.

Visitors are welcome to explore. No hardhats here!

Inside the hull.

Work is done by hand...

...with handmade tools.

Our dinghy and local transport.

Bow of ship under construction.


August 18 - Bali!

Incredibly, we managed to zigzag our way in darkness through reefs and a minefield of small boats, fishing and anchored, to reach Telat Kombol on North Lombok. Never would have attempted this without radar and a good Maxsea track from another boat. Dave slowly nosed Baraka in to the anchorage while Nate and I stood on the bow spotlighting boats and buoys. Finally at 65 feet of depth we dropped the hook, ate a late dinner and slept. The night are around us was rent by flat-noted singers wailing Ramadan chants. This morning we woke early to discover just how densly packed were the boats we'd woven through, and despite our depth were in spitting distance of shore!

We headed out at daybreak, to cross over from Lombok to Bali. Hundreds of spidery sailing boats raced past us toward Lombok. With the help of AIS, we dashed across the busy shipping lanes. A pod of dolphins showed up to frolic under our bow, and nice end to Nate's passage with us. We rode a favorable current all the way to the entrance and scored a slip (the only one available) in Bali Marina.

The marina is rustic, but we are happy to be here. We are sharing the dock with some tired looking boats and a couple luxury yachts, the most amazing being drumbeat. You can check it out - it charters for a mere 170,000 Euros per week, about a quarter million dollars.


August 22 - Bali Tourists

We have been exploring Bali highlights - first to Denpasar and its huge sprawling market. Rats frolicked among the cabbages and "mosquitos" - local hustlers - stuck to us like limpets. Colorful, but exhausting. Next day we went to Seminyak, where we enjoyed a great meal, followed by a long walk down the beach to Kuta, epicenter of Australian tourism, full of tacky souvenirs, banana boats, parasailing, bungy, etc. Yesterday we arranged with Niko, a local driver, to take us all day to 2 dances, a Hindu temple, a volcano, Ubud rice terraces, and batik and woodcarving showrooms. Highlights were the costumed Barong and Kris dance, and the Cekak (chak-a-chak-a-chak monkey chant) dance.

One aspect that amazes us is the sheer volume of stuff for sale - shop after shop packed with handmade goods, varying from kitsch to quality, with few customers buying. Bali is still hurting from the bombings in Kuta, now 8 years ago but still taking a toll on tourism.

Produce delivery in Denpasar market.

Stone and wood carvings are everywhere.

Small offerings dot the tourist beach.

We enjoy lunch in Seminyak.

Hindu god Ganesh.

Costumed dancers.

Rice terraces near Ubud.

Balanese enjoy cock-fighting.

Temple carving.

Tourists at the temple. Sarongs modestly cover our offensive legs.


Sept 11 - Back in Bali

I (Jan) enjoyed a blitz trip home to see family and celebrate my Dad's 90th birthday, a fun party with over 100 guests. My 5 siblings had prepared a special 3D cake, and a skit based on an old TV show, To Tell the Truth, to allow Dad to showcase some highlights of his amazing life as a pilot, scuba diver, motorcyclist, mountaineer, skier and photographer. I am blessed to have my vital Dad in my life.

I used my time home to catch up with family, including some precious evenings with son Joel. Meanwhile Dave, back in Bali, was emailing his shopping wish list. I hit all the Seattle marine stores, success!

On the way home I got to spend a fascinating day between flights in Hong Kong, riding the Star Ferry and walking the streets in Kowloon.

While I was away, Bill on Airstream helped Dave move the boat from Bali Marina to an anchorage off the island of Serangan. Dave made good use of his bachelor time to tackle a lot of messy boat projects. Tomorrow is our 40th anniversary, and Dave has arranged a couple nights at a resort on the west side of Bali.

Temple monkeys.

Young couple delivers offerings to the temple.


Sept 15 - Special Anniversary

Dave arranged a very special anniversary trip to Bali Wisata Bungalos in Yeh Gangga on the SE coast of Bali. Our $45/night spacious room had a gorgeous ocean view. Wayan (all Bali firstborn are named Wayan) had placed a huge bouquet of tropical flowers in our room at Dave's request. That night we feasted on local lobster and large shrimp.

The next day we took the coast walk to Pura Tanna Lot, a holy temple spectacularly situated on a rocky islet. On the way we got lost several times zigzagging through rice paddies, and had to dig our sandals out of the mud in a stream, but eventually found our way. Tourists and tacky shops thronged the adjoining beach. With Peter's advice we walked on to the bankrupt Le Meridien hotel, now the Pan Pacific, for a great lunch in the terrace bar overlooking Tanna Lot. Without the crowds we could appreciate it. Dave called it the Mont St Michel of Indonesia.

Yesterday we took a less ambitious walk through the charming village of Yeh Gangga ("holy waters" named after the river Ganges). Below the main temple, ladies bathed and filled water jugs to take home. Peter, owner of Wisata, told us that 80 percent of Balinese do not have toilets in their homes - they just use the rice fields. After the interesting town, we again wandered through rice paddies. Each paddy has a small shrine with a fresh daily offering.

Every home has a shrine, and every village has at least 3 temples. Several times a day men and women lay small offerings at each shrine, and at every doorway. These offerings are usually small trays woven from palm frond strips, and filled with flowers, and maybe a coin, paper money, cigarettes, food, candy, anything the gods might enjoy. The offerings stack up and dry out, no one removes them until eventually the winds or rain sweep them away.

Hiking further we disturbed a gigantic snake in the bushes near a river crossing. The coil I saw was a good 4 inches in diameter. Later Peter assured us the snake would not have been poisonous, but I was spooked enough to want to head down to the beach for our walk back to the resort.

Peter, the 85-year-old resort owner, is a character - with very interesting stories of his days as a tank driver in Nazi Germany, his emigration to Canada, and career working for VW and Mercedes, building assembly plants around the world, including Jakarta. Both of his wives (ex and current) live with him, handy for the grandkids from both sides.

On the way home our driver took us to Pejaten, once very poor but now thriving. In the Hindu caste system people who work with clay are considered unclean. 25 years ago, the village started making quality pottery for the tourist trade. I got several nice small serving pieces.

We stopped at Carrefour to buy produce (fresh baguettes!) and headed home to the boat.

Dave arranges a special anniversary trip to Wisata Bungalos.

The dining area faces the sea. as does our room.

We have a superb meal of local lobster and shrimp.

Next day we see lobsterpots on the beach...

...after loading, the pilot must time the surf.

Woman threshing rice.

Each day we watched this woman work all day, cutting rice, then piling it to dry. She returned the next day and set up a branch for shade, and whacked the rice against a board, then shook it in a tray to blow off the chaff. We will not eat rice again without appreciating the labor involved!

These young men have an easier job, raking the rice to dry in the sun for 2 days.

An amazing system of canals and ditches irrigate the rice fields.

This old woman is shaking the chaff away.

On the beach, tiny crabs create interesting patterns in the black lava sand.

On our beach walk we pass many temples.

A moto delivers fresh eggs to a Yeh Gangga grocery.

Ladies bathe and fill water jugs at the town baths.

Beautiful temples everywhere...

This one is guarded by stairway snakes...

...and a scary figure to frighten off demons.

Pura Tanna Lot.

Pura Tanna Lot is an important Balinese temple, and a huge tourist attraction. Tourists are allowed to pay admission to approach the temple, but may not enter it, as it is sacred to the Balinese. We walked on to what had been Le Meridian, now Pan Pacific hotel, for a fine lunch and uncrowded view. The Balinese did not want Le Meridian, and its golf course built so close to the temple, but don't seem to object to the hundreds of tacky souvenir shops in front of the temple.


Sept 18 - Heading to Lovina

Dave and I taxied to the nearby town of Sanur - nice place with good eateries, shops, and a seaside walkway. I got an excellent massage (about $10 for an hour). This morning we said goodbye to Serangan anchorage and headed out, working our way toward Lovina on North Bali to join the Sail Indonesia fleet for another round of cultural events.

Our initial impressions of Bali were quite negative, though on reflection we saw the armpit of Bali - dirty Benoa harbor, tourist trap Kuta and hectic Denpasar. But as we spent more time in Serangan, Yeh Gangga, and Sanur, we are discovering Bali's charms. Today we passed beaches crowded with colorful spider boats, and are now threading our way through many dozens approaching our anchorage, halfway up east Bali.

Colorful spiderboats line Bali beaches.

Traditional dancing at Lovina.

Cute drummer enjoys his job.

Stone temple dragon.

A pig is cooked for the full moon.

This lady blessed me with rice and posed for a photo.

Temple carvings.

Little kids wait to dance.

We visit a hotsprings.

Dave feeds the macaques.

Macaque twins.

We are served a feast in a small Bali village.

A lady gamelan orchestra accompanies our lunch.

Players wind whips around large tops...

...releasing them with a snap of the whip.

The team waits up to 15 minutes...

...for their top to win.

This huge banyan tree is a holy place.

There are rules.

1929 photo of a carving at Pura Maduwe temple of dutchman Neuwenkamp...

..has been altered over time. The wheels are now flowers.

In the library beautiful carved boxes

hold books etched on lontar palm.

Colorful Bali market.

Rooftiles shaped as barong, to protect homes.

Jan takes a cooking class.

Damon and son take our laundry and bring diesel to the boat.

Misspelled? Maybe not.


Sept 29 - 502 S - 11246 E - Halfway to Borneo

We are well over halfway to Borneo! The current name is Kalimantan, but Borneo is the dark jungle of our childhood, a last frontier of romantic wilderness. Heading north, we are approaching the equator and days are hot - high 90s F everyday.

We are keeping a twice-daily radio net with a dozen other boats, also headed north. The waters are full of hazards - unlit fishing boats, nets, and flagged logs that are fish attracting devices - free floating platforms with dangling growth to attract schools of small fishes which attract bigger ones. Two boats ran into these last night, alarming but no harm. One large local boat, described as a ferry, seemed interested in our fleet and closely approached several boats. No radio response, and the boats changed course repeatedly before it moved away.

This has been a motorboat trip in flat seas - so much so that Dave wants to rename the rally "Sail Indonesia" as "Motor Indonesia". Fuel is cheaper than Australia at 70 cents per liter, though dark and makes our exhaust smoky. With our audiobooks we are fending off boredom, the hardest part of this passage. All is well.


Oct 1 - Kumai, Kalimantan

Our passage ennui was relieved by the discovery of stowaways! Dave found a big cockroach on the kitchen counter, ugh. I put poison out and have my fingers crossed that he is a single male who flew aboard, and not a harbinger of more.

Our second hitch-hiker was a small bat napping halfway up our mainsail, tiny feet clutching at the stitching! We had to drop the main for a squall, so Dave tapped the sail with the boathook. The bat then attached itself to a halyard above my head. Finally it flew away, across the open sea.

We arrived yesterday at Kumai, a bustling Muslim port town up a river. We had good waypoints from other boats and managed to avoid the shoals, ferries, barges and fishing boats. Baraka is anchored across from town, in a long row with 20 other yachts.

Tin Soldier arranged with Harry, of Borneo Wilderness Adventures, to meet with us aboard TS to arrange a 3-day tour up the Sekonyer River to Camp Leakey. 4 cruising boats are going together, TS, Airstream, Linda, and us, aboard a 16-meter klotok, a river boat. The klotok is rustic and meals will be plain (lots of nasi gorang - fried rice). We will sleep on deck under mosquito nets.

The 1,400,000 rupiah price per person (about $150 USD) covers the boat, fuel, all meals, captain, crew, cook and guide, park fees, and a "boat boy" to stay behind aboard Baraka to guard, sleeping in our cockpit. We will be picked up tomorrow. Everyone who has done this river trip raves about the adventure, and comes away enlightened about the diminishing jungle and disappearing species of flora and fauna.

Small bat hitchhikes to Borneo on Baraka.


Oct 6 - Borneo Adventure!

Our river trip to visit orangutans was amazing. Forgive the long description - I'm trying to do it justice. I'll post pictures as soon as we have a wifi connection.

The klotok picked us up, dropping off the "boat boy". With Harry translating, Dave arranged for the boat boy to polish stainless for us. Harry also took our frozen food so we could shut down our refrigeration.

Soon Tin Soldier, Airstream, and Linda were all aboard the klotok, and it headed downstream to the mouth of the Sekonyer River, and the Tanjung Puting park entrance. The klotok motored slowly up the jungle river to Camp Leakey, where we arrived in time for the 2 pm feeding. Camp Leakey was established 40 years ago to study the life cycle of orangutans, and to help captive orangutans return to the wild. The latter has limited success, as captive orangutans enjoy human contact (and food) and can take human disease back into the jungle.

At the Camp Leakey dock we met our first orangutans, who blocked our way and hung onto us to pick our pockets. We ran into Boy, a gibbon who hangs out at the camp, and 3 wild boars on the trail. Hiking on, we came to the feeding platform. The rangers piled bananas and filled tins of milk. More than a dozen orangutans came to snack, including a massive alpha male named Tom. The guides allowed us to come quite close to all of the orangutans except Tom. They were clearly afraid of him. They told us Tom's predecessor got Julia Roberts, here to do a documentary, in a strangle hold, pulled her to the ground and was spreading her legs before the rangers got him off her. Tom put on a show for us, hanging around scowling, and chasing a shrieking female up the trees. Being lighter, she got away into treetops too thin to support Tom.

The following morning we returned to visit the Camp Leakey information center. The guys opted for a jungle hike. Along the way they met Princess, who held their hands and asked for food, using sign language. Princess knows 30 words. They returned from the hike with a few leeches on feet and legs.

We saw several more feedings at different locations, and got to see quite a range of behaviors, including one male who waited for a youngster to grab handfuls of bananas. When the youngster climbed away from the feeding place, the older orangutan swung over and stole the bananas, so the young one had to return for more. This happened repeatedly.

Back at Camp Leakey, Janet got a chance to hold hands with Pan. The day before, Pan had bided his time, and sprang aboard our klotok to swipe a bag of potato chips from the table where we were enjoying happy hour. He took the bag to a nearby tree where he munched the chips one by one.

On the way downriver we stopped at a flooded village. This is the beginning of the wet season. The floors of many homes were already underwater. The village used to be on the park side of the river, but was forced to relocate to the muddier, less fertile side. Sad to see people living in such difficult conditions.

Aboard the klotok we were well fed, slept on mattresses under mosquito netting, and even had a river-water shower and western toilet (though we flushed that with a bucket). It was comfortable enough, and the crew took wonderful care of us. Our 2 guides were knowledgeable and personable.

Tanjung Puting gets only 3000 tourists a year. The park is quite large, and within it are illegal palm oil plantations. Indonesia is not motivated to protect the rainforest and orangutan habitat. It is a tourism draw, but does not offset the money that can be made from palm oil and illegal logging.

Dave and I agreed that this kind of extraordinary experience is why we continue cruising. We loved watching Tom interact with other orangutans, the playful youngsters, and mothers with clinging babies, in their natural setting. You can see intelligence in their eyes - after all, we are a 95 percent genetic match with orangutans. "Orang-utan" translates as "forest people".

Our klotok Dolfin picks up Tin Soldier.

Underway we are served lunch.

We wind up the Sekonyer River.

Camp Leakey boardwalk.

Tanjung Puting Park.

Some rules.

Boy, a wild gibbon, poses and accepts peanuts.

A female picks Steve's pockets.

Then grabs my shirt to check out mine.

Mother and child.

Sekonyer River.

We clean our muddy shoes.

4 orangs in background, 2 in foreground.

The orangutans are all around us.

Steve and Linda get some good shots.

Mature Tom sports a neckpouch for his long call.

Tom's cheeks also show his dominance.

This mom's arms are longer than her legs.

Female orangutan.

Wild boars cross our trail.

Mom keeps a wary eye on Tom.

Tom, the alpha male...

...hangs about, scrowling.

We visit the giftshop at a flooded village.

This is still the dry season!

Mother and child.

We are ferried by dugout.

We have to wade to reach a feeding platform.

Keeping an eye out for leeches, crocs and snakes!

Jaryd climbs the quarantine cage to talk to an orang.

Dave meets Princess, who knows 30 sign language words.

Young orangutan...

...with a long reach...

goes back to mum.

Pan lathers up with a bar of soap.

The orangutans are served milk ...

...and bananas.

Mom drinks...

...while junior peels a banana.

This baby takes early steps.

Glen and Marilyn enjoy the ride home.

Our klotok crew.

Tin Soldier, Linda, Airstream, Baraka.


Oct 7 - Underway to Belitung

Our last day in Kumai was a round of events arranged by the local Regency for Sail Indonesia - a bus trip to a WWII monument where we planted 80 trees (not sure whether this was to demonstrate Indonesia's green side, or using us to help in a landscaping project), a visit to a stadium for a dance festival (nice!) and sport events like flaming soccer (a gas-soaked coconut), blowguns and tops, then a gracious meal with traditional dancing and music, followed by a little shopping in the market. Fun day.

Time to move on. We left Kumai yesterday morning and are motoring west with a small flotilla, headed to Belitung for the final round of rally events. Bringing our anchor up we had a fire drill - the chain stripper caught a link and jammed. We had to drop the Bruce anchor in the river current while we took care of the main anchor. Dave and I make a good team, handling these kinds of problems. Not fun, but we always learn something for next time.

Easy passage, except for the squalls, freighters and fishing fleet. We have to keep a sharp watch here in Indonesia! Last night 2 boats ran over unlit nets, but no harm to boats or nets.

Flaming soccer - high stakes!

Dave auditions with the dance troup.

Ladies compete for cooking prizes.

Gamelan orchestra.


Oct 12 - Belitung

Baraka found good anchorage in a pretty setting here at NW Belitung. This island is not described in Lonely Planet and lacks any sort of tourism infrastructure, but the locals are eager to promote their island as a destination. The island is split into two regencies. Yesterday the east regency hosted an all day tour to beaches, a dam built in the 1930s by the Dutch to support tin mining, a Buddhist Temple, a tiny museum, with lunch at the regent's huge house and a stop at Mangga for local coffee. Highlight was an agonized man wrestling with a spirit that looked like a bamboo shrimp trap dressed in a white gown. After tremendous effort writhing on the ground, the man lost, and was carried unconscious off the beach.

Despite their knock-out efforts, there is little here to draw tourists besides the people. That's another story. Everywhere we meet the most fantastically friendly people, genuinely interested in trying out their limited English. They greet us and take our pictures like we are celebrities. Their hope is that we will tell others, and help promote their island as another Bali. I have been invited to a school tomorrow to give students a chance to practice English.

Ashore there are several good eateries, one that took my laundry to their village, cleaning 2 big loads for $5. Men siphon drums of solar (diesel) into a barrel, where they scoop it in a 2-liter pitcher to fill our jugs. Uniformed men pick our dinghy up and carry it up the beach above the tideline. A stage was built for traditional dancing, and dinners are provided.

CIQ (customs-immigration-quarantine) are here to clear us out of Indonesia for Singapore at no charge.

Man battles a possessed shrimp trap.

Despite heroic struggles, he loses.

Diesel is ladeled into jugs on the beach.

Colorful Belitung anchorage.

Tom mesmreizes kids with a sandcastle.

Belitung moto baskets.

A dinghy dock was built specifically for the rally boats.

There are 5 people on this moto.

Sunset at North Belitung.

Local shop sells Muslim women's headscaves.

We are invited to visit a local junior high school. Jaryd shows the path of Tin Soldier across the Pacific.

Smiling English teacher Yuli is our kind hostess.

First foreign visitors are a photo op.

The girls think Jaryd is cute.

The teaching staff pose for us.

This was a interesting visit. The beautifully managed school surrounds an open courtyard. The headmaster and Yuli welcomed us, gave us tasty food and drinks, and led us to a classroom for a Q&A session, where we explained how we had sailed to Belitung from North America. Afterwards we visited each classroom and posed for portraits with the students. Tin Soldier, Marilyn and Glen, were educators at home. What a nice welcome. Wish we could reciprocate. The next day, our last in Belitung, several people wanted to visit Baraka, but gusty winds churned the anchorage and we had trouble leaping in and out of the dinghy.

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