Kupang and welcome to South East Asia

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Thu 22 Oct 2015 22:59

Date                Monday 19 to Thursday 22 October 2015


Kupang is very different from anywhere that we have previously visited on this trip.  That is not be surprising as since Vanuatu and New Caledonia we have not only changed continents and oceans  but also moved from a Polynesian culture to an Asian one complete with the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer.  Add to that the fact that Kupang is a very bustling city with chaotic traffic and a general free for all between bemos (mini-buses), cars, trucks and the ubiquitous and very populous motor scooters.  The traffic is definitely different. There appears to be a competition as to who can create the most ungainly structure on the back of a scooter.  Indonesia drives on the left, the centre and the right but mostly on the left.


As I put in the last entry this is not a good anchorage.  It is an open roadstead that suffers from a 15 to 20 knot on shore breeze every afternoon which makes getting ashore and back at any time after midday, and to use a term used by Firefly in an email, “sporty”.  However on the up side the guys who look after dinghies on the beach next to Teddy’s Bar are great and for a fee of Rp 50,000 (do not get excited about the zero’s it is £2.30 or US$3.50) not only ensure its security but carry it up the beach and back and heave shopping and whatever else is required.


Beach landing just east of Teddy’s Bar and the jetty


We sat out the first afternoon pitching and rolling on the anchor.  We had been given the name and email of an “agent”, Frenky Charles frenkych {CHANGE TO AT} yahoo {DOT} com , who would look after us and take us around the various offices.  Unfortunately he had been knocked off his motor scooter and was laid up in hospital with multiple fractures.  His brother responded to his email and gave us the name and cell phone number of Michael, +62 813 3912 8027.  Our first contact with Michael was an interesting one as the small Norwegian sailing boat anchored next to us started to drag towards the shore.  Our dinghy was still in the passage mode, the outboard was on deck and launching in the running swell would have been decidedly iffy.  A satphone call to Michael however had the dual effect of arranging a meeting for the following morning and alerting the Norwegians to come and rescue their boat.  This they successful managed before any damage occurred.


Tuesday morning in a flat calm we went ashore and met Michael.  For a fee of Rp2.1m (£97) he would arrange everything.  This included him accompanying us to the various offices, all taxi fares all official fees and any unofficial donations required to ease the way.  We managed Immigration, Quarantine and Customs on Tuesday and saved the Port Captain for Wednesday.  Indonesian bureaucracy is obviously a practiced art.  The Quarantine officer was by far the best example as multiple forms and certificates were produced plus a book to record quarantine events suitable for a cruise ship.  There was even a form that had to be completed by the officer laborious one finger typing on a mechanical type writer – remember those? Each certificate was filled out with care and then stamped with a selection of rubber stamps, four or five to each certificate.  I am sure that it all meant something at some time.  There was much evidence of a “No tipping” campaign in the first three offices but not with the Port Captains office; that being the only place where we saw a brown envelope change hands from Michael to the receiver of “donations”.


Customs sent along two young officers to inspect the boat, we suspect that the more senior ones did not want a soaking.  By the time that we all arrived at the beach, us by taxi and them two up on a motor scooter, the sea was getting up and after a certain amount of indecision and hopping from foot to foot they bit on the bullet and it was off with shoes and socks and rolled up trousers before hopping into the dinghy.  They were a charming pair and made a cursory examination being much more interested in asking me about England and about various books that they found.  Their English had or was being learned from movies and computer games


Scooter plus five water containers – the diesel containers were much larger


Before our Port Captain visit on Wednesday we played the refuelling game.  We required 250litres and Michael organised it in two trips from the fuel station using four borrowed 30l containers (OK you made the calculation – he squeezed 35 litre in two of the containers).  What was fascinating is that they carried the four containers on the back of one motor scooter.  We did not see that happen but did spot the scooter, pictured above, carrying water containers which gives the general idea.


250 litres was a good guess as that was spot on to fill the tank.  Pouring the fuel from can to filter funnel to tank was a heavyweight game fortunately carried out by two men from the beach party, for a small fee.  We do require to acquire a transfer pump for the future.


The fuelling party who managed to complete the job without wearing the diesel


Fuel and Port Captain completed we celebrated with a beer and lunch in Teddy’s Bar


Kupang street scene complete with colourfully decorated bemo


Thursday morning and getting the shopping back to the boat with outside assistance


Thursday was shopping day.  We used the supermarket at the Lipo Mall.  Whilst there were some mysterious things absent, or at least we did not find them, it was very well stocked very clean and modern and not expensive.  William the taxi did the return trip, total cost £7.50 for the morning, but getting the shopping afloat was a different matter as the sea was starting to kick up.  Using one of the beach guys was a very good solution to lifting the bags onto the pitching deck.  The Mate came aboard in trip number two.