Darwin, NT, Australia >Kupang, West Timor, Indonesia: Day 3 (2015-07-30 - 00:30 UTC - 10:09.471S 123:34.473E) - DTF 0nm
Pretty relaxed last part of the passage, had to put to the brakes on in order not to arrive before dawn at the Straight between Semau and West Timor. Dropped the hook in front of Kupang at 8.30h LT (UTC+8hrs here, which is Central Indonesian Time) this morning, and by 9.30 a Quarantine- and a Customs official boarded us, accompanied by a local journalist. By 10.30h the officials had finished their checks on board, basically having me sign lots of copies of lots of forms, unfortunately for them without an official (looking) stamp from us, which we are going to have made here in Kupang. After these official proceedings I was told we could take our yellow quarantine flag down, and to my surprise I was supposed to do that right there and then, accompanied by both the quarantine official and the journalist. Only then I realised this was the most important part of the whole inward clearing procedure, as the official solemnly lowered the flags flown at starboard (both the Indonesian courtesy flag and the quarantine flag), pressured by the journalist filming all of this to hurry up a bit with the solemn part, probably because he was running out of batteries.
An hour later we had the dinghy down from the deck to go ashore and do the remainder of the inward clearance procedure, organised by the Sail Indonesia Rally organisers. When we arrived at the beach we were welcomed by some 10 dinghy handlers, who carried the dinghy ashore and promised to watch over it for the day at a fee. It did not seem wise to deviate from this local ‘custom’ and do it yourself.
Very impressed how the Rally organisers got at least some 20-25 public servants (Immigration, Customs, Port Authorities and what have you), all with impressive badges, in one room to finalise formalities with all the cruisers of the Rally in an extremely efficient 30 odd min chair dance, which would otherwise have taken the better part of day, if not two. Also there a stamp with the boat name would have been a definite plus to officialise matters.
After the official part was done and we were declared free to roam Indonesia for 3 months we first got our local sim cards, a process of its own to figure out what is on offer, and then we went to Teddy’s , the place we’re anchored just in front of to drink our first Bintang with a group of cruisers and have a delicious and spicy nasi goreng. For the coming months food will not be an issue, it seems, and dining out for around €2.50 per person should not put too much strain on our budget, so Daph will finally have someone else doing the cooking most of the time.
We were only allowed a short nap back on board before we had to attend a welcome ceremony by the mayor of Kupang in the evening in honour of the Rally participants. A representative of each nation participating was called on stage (since Aquamante is the only Dutch boat participating in this year’s Rally, there was no way out for me) and honoured with a locally woven sash by one of the local dignitaries. After some local folklore with elegant dancing and a beautiful harp-like sounding instrument in a big shell we were served a sumptuous and divine meal and then treated to a Miss Kupang election, followed by a performance of a local hip-hop band. Fascinating to be in a different culture again.