Sunday August 2

Left Kupang 0700 with light winds and motor sailed for a short time until the breeze filled in. A great days sailing with minimal motoring for once. 57 Nm in 9 hours.

Our anchorage was picked off the Google Earth Charts. The rest of the Bay was around 300m deep. We found a section between 2 rivers that had deposited a lot of silt. Here we found good holding in about 10m of water.

Marathon Lady soon joined us and Parlay came in just on sunset. Bali Belly had got me in Kupang and I was not feeling too good. Our plan was to spend the next day here and catch the good breeze forecast for tomorrow night to Alor.

Bit of a rolly night.

Monday August 3

Woke up about 0300 feeling a bit better. Decided to leave so as to arrive in Alor in daylight rather than hang around a rolly anchorage all day. Crew preferred a daylight sail even though little wind was forecast.

The trip was 80 Nm and we only managed to sail for a few hours. The current against us was relentless varying from 1 to 3 kts. Parlay steamed off ahead of us on a more westerly route. Marathon Lady and Gemini Lady headed straight for Trewig Island to get settled before dark.

Washing and watermarking enroute.

Arrived a Trewig to find a pretty but uninspiring anchorage. Steeply shelving and uneven bottom with bommies galore.

Finally picked a likely spot and managed to get holding. Amazing phosphorescence in the water caused by little discreet entities that we couldn’t identify. Large patches would form and glow like an Aurora.

Marathon Lady came in after dark guided by our anchor light.

Tuesday August 4

Terrible night after 0030 as the tide changed and jiggled us about quite severely. We had planned to walk on the Island but the surf on the beach put us off, so we decided to catch the last of the flood up the Selat.

We didn’t get very far as the anchor chain was jammed at the 30 m mark. A quick snorkel and John and I could see that the chain was wrapped around a large bommie in 12.5m of water. I pulled out all the scuba gear and went down. It only took a couple of minutes to unwind the chain and all was well. Fortunately it was calm with very little wind. It would have been much more difficult job with the boat pulling on the chain.

Marathon Lady pulled up with no problem but as she left the anchorage she burst a hose on the engine. She had to re anchor to effect repairs. We checked with them and they had the situation under control so we continued on.

We hoisted full sail as the breeze came in. At one stage we had 26kts of wind and we’re doing 9.5kts through the water and making 2.2kts over the ground. Now that’s a strong current. Initially we headed for the shore to get out of it but that didn’t work. We found the centre best for less current. Large lazy pressure waves were in the channel. As it turned out we picked the worst possible time to attempt the Chanel but a least we had good breeze to drive us through.

Around Pura Island the current and wind did strange things and were everywhere. We headed for an anchorage used by our friends Kerryn and John last year but it didn’t look appealing. We continued into the little strait or Selat between Alor and a small Island. Here we spied a fuel station nearly right on the beach presumably to service the fishing boats of the village of Alorki.

We managed to anchor in 14m of crystal clear water about 50m from the shore. John and I went ashore with 5 jerries and filled them up at 6900Rp/ liter. They were charging 13000Rp/l at Kupang. We topped up tha tanks then went back ashore to refil them. Should be ok for fuel until Bali now.

We stayed anchored there for lunch and enjoyed watching a pod of dolphins herd a school of fish into the strait. The town people got very excited and ran into the water with nets and spears trying to catch the fish. many good size fish were caught. Ther was lots of frenzied activity and laughter as the town people pulled out canoes to chase after the fish and dolphins. We saw the Dolphins in the distance leaping high out of the water.

We also overheard on the radio the the incoming members of the Rally fleet were treated to the sight of a Blue Whale as well as the Dolphins we saw.

John was keen on a swim but didn’t last long as the water was so cold. I checked the temp and it was 18.2 degrees. we figured the strong currents and deep waters result in an inversion bring cold nutrient rich water up to the surface. Certainly the area was teeming with life. Not what we expected in overfished Indonesia.

We decided to move on and find a more secure night anchorage and again using Google Earth we identified a possibility in the Bay to the north, off the village of Sebender. The water depths here are generally 300-400m coming straight up to coral reef so finding somewhere to anchor is difficult.

We anchored just off the edge of the reef in about 12m then we all went for a snorkel. Water temp here was back to a much more pleasant 30 degrees. The reef was in surprisingly good condition with much lovely coral. Underwater we also saw beautifully woven fish traps all along the drop off zone. By luck our anchor had missed them all.

Lovely peaceful calm night.

Wednesday August 5

A perfect morning with a smokey haze drifting over the bay. The call to prayer at 0425 was muted by the distance this morning.

John was soon in for another snorkel while I caught up on the blog. As the tide went down the fishermen were all around us loading and unloading boats, checking their fish traps and coming over to be say hello.

John, Jo and I headed ashore to check out some boat building activity we had spotted. Lea stayed onboard in case Gemini Lady started to swing toward the reef.

Ashore we checked out the new boats noting the dowelled planks and what looked like low density foam tape impregnated with epoxy used a a gap filling glue.

We arrived back on Gemini Lady with Lea holding her off the reef with the engines. Time to go! We still wanted another snorkel so headed of to Pura and its world class dive sites, to see if we could find anywhere to anchor.

Not to be! The current and wind chased us from all directions and to anchor you need to be just about on the shore. Headed back to the Fjiord like arm that runs up to the main city of Alor, Kalabahi. Chased a couple of local boats while dodging fish traps.


Had a lovely sail up the Fjiord and anchored in amongst the fleet in about 22m of water. While I stayed on board the others dinghied in to register and check out the town. The locals were very friendly and the kids were out in their canoes working the fleet for whatever they could get. Some were very loud, persistent and cheeky, even coming aboard. These were firmly told to get off.

Thursday August 6

The morning call to prayer went on for about 30 minutes starting at 0425 at full volume. First a female “singer”, then a very earnest male “singer” chanting away with the speakers over amped and distorting.

Then the acrid smoke for plastic being burnt permeated the boat. Around 0530 more singing started of a more modern type which we believe was part of our welcome to Kalabahi.

Lea was not impressed as she had a headache and a touch of Bali Belly.

We went ashore leaving Lea behind. John and Jo to confirm their flights and me to find some more Imodium for the runs. Found the local Apotik and they had some Imodium at very expensive prices. Tried to bargain them down but got nowhere. Paid about $32.00 AUD for 30 tablets. Had a look through the local markets.

No shortage of fresh fish but no meat to be seen.
Another load of rubbish ready to be washed into the ocean with the next rains.
The kids had been given a school project. To talk to us and ask a series of questions. This all usually dissolved into giggles but was great fun.

After lunch on Gemini Lady we headed back into town for the local expo and festival. The Rally participants were guests of honour. We had VIP seats under cover and in shade, right in front of the massive speaker array shaking the ground with the overamped music they seem to love here. We wandered around checking out the displays of local businesses and products.

Some interesting displays of mini hydroponic gardens made out of large diameter bamboo pipes and local weaving. We sat back down for a wonderfull parade of people, costumes and traditional dancing from all parts of the regency.

Next were the long winded speeches and more traditional dancing. It was getting late so we decided to leave. As we were near the front it was a bit hard make our exit discreet. On the way back to the dinghy dock we caught up with Jean and Jerry off Poppycat having a beer in front of a local hotel. We soon converted it into a little Aussie Pub and crews joined us for a beer as they made their way back.

I tried the ” Whisky Cure” for Bali Belly that night with John but it didn’t help. Maybe it should have been Scotch whisky not Irish. However, a good night was had.

Friday August 7

Ashore for the 0900 official welcome with traditional music, dancing and costume. The girls looked stunning.

Organised a Bemo to take us and 6 others to a traditional village. The village was up steep hill and the Bemo couldn’t make it with all us heavy westerners.
The village had beautiful huts up off the ground, with an open first floor then a ladder to the second floor. A third storey was high up under the thatched roof and used for food storage. and extra sleeping space if needed.
Inside on the second floor was a central fireplace. Suspect life was pretty smoky as there was no chimney.

Inside we were shown the traditional dowry drums (Moko’s). A man can’t marry until he can afford to buy his intended one of these drums

Lea tried on some local bead work.

Then off to the largest market in the area where we picked up some fruit and veggies. Enjoyed a fresh cooked pancake at the market.

The official Gala Dinner was another huge event with more traditional dancing. We really like the music with gongs drums and stick. A nice change from the high amped disco music they love here. Again we were all presented with beautiful hand woven scarves.

Saturday August 8
Ashore another a walk into town to explore the markets and grab a box of Bintang. This kids was having a ball being pulled by his dad in his makeshift cart.
Ordered 100 litres of water. They have Reverse Osmosis plants around the town to provide good water. We just had to pay 7000Rp/20l for delivery.
Afternoon drinks on Reverie then into town for dinner. Reasonable dinner for 8 of us totalled about $20.00 AUD.

Sunday August 9.

Said goodbye to John and Jo. They were flying off to Kupang. From there they had to get back to Melbourne somehow which could be difficult as Bali is still closed due to Volcanic Ash.

Later heard they flew to Jakarta then Singapore then home. Better than a 12 hour bus trip from Kupang to Dilli.

Said our goodbyes to Eve and Geza on Rotor as they were heading north to Wakatobi. We have decided to head west actor the top of Flores. Should catch up with them again at Komodo in about a months time.

Coffee on Reverie then off to Blang Merang. Again we got the currents all wrong and had to fight our way out. Apparently we need to study the zenith of moon transits to get the time of current reversals in the Selats. Have down loaded an educational file but it is heavy going.

The top corner of Pantar Island was very rough with gusty winds up to 25 kts. Good to sail after motoring for so long.

We caught up to Flomaide an Amiel 54 and came in close to get some photos for them. No trouble with the entrance but glad to have the Google Earth images.

Joined New Views, Marathon Lady and Tortuguita in the anchorage furthest from the Mosques. The anchor wasn’t even down before we were accosted by dozens of kids in canoes. We sat and chatted for a while but it was obvious they wanted stuff. Some were quite cheeky and went to come aboard. However, I pointed out that they had bought nothing to trade and shooed them off the boat. We retreated inside and eventually they went away and we enjoyed a peaceful night