August 1-3, 2012, Eastern Hemisphere
We arrived at Kupang in the middle of the night and after adjusting our watches to the new time zone, were able to get a good nights sleep. The next day was quite the experience as checking into Indonesia is quite complex. The main reason I chose to do the rally was to ease the hassle of entering this very officious nation.
First, I had to pick up the customs and quarantine officials with the dinghy. One of them couldn\’t swim and was afraid. Only one spoke English, but that was fine. The young lady from quarantine for some reason wanted to assure me that this was a more Christian part of Indonesia than Muslim. I wasn\’t really sure why she felt that was necessary?
Both influences are quite visible here including hearing the daily calls to prayer from the local Mosque over the loud speakers. As Nikki had lived extensively in Arabic countries, this seemed almost natural to her. It was actually fascinating to listen too.
Back to checking in! After lots of paper work filled out, we were told that we had to take one piece of paper ashore and meet customs in a special set up area for the arriving boats. Long story short, we needed to go back to the boat to get LOTS more documents and had to visit 5 different sets of officials, blessedly all in the same place. Had we come in as a single vessel, this process would have taken at least two or three days! You must do the steps in exact order and the offices are all driving distance from each other. So, the rally paid off for sure in this regard. Essentially, we looked at Sail Indonesia as our \”agent\” to check in.
The first night there was a welcome dinner for the boats, about half of whom had arrived at this point. Lots of speeches by local Mayor\’s and Governor\’s and some dancing entertainment. A good time was had by all.
The next day, I found a local mechanic refereed by the rally who spoke English and he cleaned the carburetor out on the dinghy motor which had been acting up. We got 100 liters of diesel fuel (which is the dirtiest I\’ve ever seen), and we will filter it extensively before adding it to our tanks. Again, a dinner was to be attended on the second night (now about 85% of the boats were here) and it was more of the same, speeches, entertainment and dinner. Nikki and I didn\’t stay for the dinner, we heard they ran out of food. Probably expecting the same number of boaties they had the night before!…
To keep the dinghy safe, we all had to pay $4.00/day to insure they were watched….. The water was the dirtiest I\’ve ever seen. Plastic is floating everywhere, the beach was filthy, lots of broken glass and no one seemed to care. Welcome to a different part of the world…….
We were anxious to move on to cleaner waters and motored up the coast 47 miles to anchor for the night before crossing the Sulu Sea to Lembata. Stay tuned!
KIT, Scott and Nikki