Despite arriving at Kupang
amongst the first wave of boats, the arrangements for checking in were so
arbitrary that we had to sit on Carelbi for the whole of the first day,
hoping that the authorities would visit us. As more and more yachts
arrived we realised that matters had to be taken into our own hands, and
on the second morning Chris set off in the dinghy and literally kidnapped
them off the first boat they visited that day. They were
a friendly bunch when they finally arrived, Indonesians have
great smiles, and the checking-in procedure went smoothly from that
We did, however,
visit a fascinating workshop which produces the "sassando", a musical
instrument much played locally and not well known elsewhere, not
surprising since Indonesia is a huge country made up of thousands of
islands stretched in a long crescent over thousands of miles. Below you
can see Chris playing one and on the right a trio of different size
We were grateful to the
rally for getting us into Indonesia with so few problems. Other
friends had to miss it out all together because of the 48% value of
your boat deposit demanded by Customs - the rally had organised a
bond to cover all the yachts taking part. Various dinners and visits
to " typical local villages" had also been laid on by the rally organisers
and the Indonesian Tourist Board, but we felt that was not for us. We
have always preferred to meet people on a one-to-one basis and, as much as
we have been able, experience their lives and culture as if we, too, were
living them. So, we left the rally at Kupang, and it never caught up with
us. For the record, we would recommend any boat sailing that way to go
with the rally, their organisers did a fantastic job of organising
officialdom on behalf of a huge number of yachts, and if you like lots of
company, it's a good way to see Indonesia.
A lovely beach near Alor
where we had a picnic lunch.....
The colourful market at
We sailed on to the Komodo
National Park, where the Komodo dragons live, a wonderful experience.
Here is one of these fabulous beasts, probably three metres in
length, just walking casually past us.
Komodos live off the
buffalo which roam the island. they kill them by sinking their poisonous
teeth into a leg or nearest available portion of flesh, and then wait for
the animal to die, which can take up to two weeks or more. On the right
you can see the remains of a buffalo feast, probably shared by several
Final glimpse of a dragon,
climbing to the top of a rock to warm himself with the last
rays of the setting sun.
We anchored off Lovina in the north of Bali and found ourselves a car
with driver for about 200,000 rupiah a day, plus petrol. When you realise
that exchanging US$100 makes you a rupiah millionaire, this is not a lot
to pay, but is the correct rate. Our driver was called Nyoman and
was a delightful person, taking really good care of us and
introducing us to his island. We spent three days with him. On the right
you can see Chris in his temple-going gear, sarong pleated in the correct
fashion. We visited a lot of Buddhist temples...
Nyoman, our driver, playing a xylophone in a restaurant. Food
in Indonesia was incredibly cheap and we would typically eat a good meal
When we arrived the
Balinese were about to inaugurate a new temple for Lovina. This entailed
chanting, praying and music non-stop from about ten in the morning to ten
at night. Sound carries very well over water and we felt as if we were in
the temple precincts themselves. The Balinese practise a gentle melange of
Buddhism and multiple deity worship, with splendid demons guarding temples
and shrines everywhere. Here you can see Balinese carrying
offerings for the inauguration ceremonies.
I think this is
a fisherman god guarding the rice paddies behind him.
This is my favourite deity, the Hindu elephant god, Ganesh. He's
generally in charge of knowledge and happiness and also in charge, that
day, of the excellent restaurant we visited with Nyoman which
specialised in all the hundreds of tasty ways you can tempt a human person
to eat duck.
On the way back from
Ubud we stopped off to feed the voracious monkeys who fight for the
over-priced bananas and peanuts sold by the roadside vendors.
After leaving Indonesia we
headed for Singapore. Our Swiss crew had never crossed the Equator by boat
and so, of course, Neptune had to be placated with the right ceremonies.
Chris, as Captain of Carelbi, is representing Neptune, and the two victims
are about to be pushed into the water at the bow, dead on the Equator by
GPS reckoning. (Having been unacceptable to Neptune, they were allowed to
climb back on board again up the ladder at the stern).
be returning to Singapore mid-February 2007 when we will be cruising up
the Malaysian coast to Phuket. We then return to France for the summer of
2007, heading back to Thailand mid-October. We will be leaving Phuket in
early January 2009, to sail Carelbi back to the Mediterranean and
expect to arrive in April 2009.
return to Europe we will be selling Carelbi, probably in 2010, and would
like to ask all our blog readers to put the word around. We would be
really happy to invite any prospective buyers you might find to sail with
us anywhere between Singapore (Feb 2008)and the Mediterranean (end 2010).
She is a beautiful boat to sail and very comfortable for cruising... she
should be, she has been our home for the past 8 years! Just email us to
sort out the details.
We left Darwin with good
winds and arrived eighth out of a rally of 120 yachts, mainly Australian
and New Zealand but with a respectable number of British, German and other
European nations represented. We were actually able to fly the spinnaker
on several occasions.
We had a delightful Swiss
couple, Anya and Lucas, crewing with us on this trip. They were
hoping to carry on down to New Zealand, buy a boat and cruise for a couple
of years, had put their careers on hold and saved up enough cash for the
project. Sailing with us was a trial run, to see if the cruising
Together with four or five other boats, we hired one of Kupang's
colourful buses and a driver/guide and set off on a tour of the local
sights. Indonesians are tiny people and large Europeans find it quite hard
to squeeze into the narrow seats, the bus had long ago lost any suspension
it might have had, and, once out of the city, roads deteriorated rapidly.
It was a decidedly uncomfortable experience and we vowed to hire cars
We visited a local village, an experience which made me feel
exceedingly uncomfortable. I personally would not like a large group of
very rich (as we appear to Indonesians) people wandering around my home
village in France, exclaiming about the quaintness of my home, my simple
few possessions and the primitive way in which I live my life, all the
while snapping off photographs. It made me feel as if I was treating
people as if they were animals in the zoo.
The waterfront at Kupang...
Because Indonesia is really a long archipelago of islands, people go
everywhere by small ferry boats. I love their variety and have
quite a large collection of photographs of them. We particularly liked
this one, just outside Kupang with the passengers standing on the
Fishing in a little bay off Alor where we moored for a
couple of nights. Because a large proportion of Indonesians earn about $1
per day, they feed themselves from fruit and vegetables, which grow
easily and in abundance, while getting most of their protein from fish and
scrawny chickens. We were horrified to note the tiny size of most of the
fish, and when you know that an average family has six
children, and that you can see a minimum of 10 boats fishing every
night in every bay, with paraffin lamps to attract their
prey, you cannot but wonder how sustainable this lifestyle can be.
Sailing through Indonesia was the first time that we did not catch any
fish when trailing our line, there just weren't any large ones
In Indonesian markets you have to haggle for at least 5 minutes over
each purchase, and I am convinced that, at the end of the process, there
are two dissatisfied people. The buyer, because he is sure he has paid too
much and the seller because she is convinced she might have got a bit
more. I began to dread the phrase "How much you want to pay?".
Manjuki, one of the park's rangers took us on a guided tour which
included many other sights, like this huge wild bees nest which he offered
to knock down for us. I think this was one of his personal jokes for us
On your left you can see a dying buffalo, he's been there for ten
days or more, the komodo dragon in waiting on the opposite side of the
stream, and Manjuki, delighted that he has been able to show us the whole
food cycle in one place.
We sailed on to Bali where, for the first time since leaving the city
of Alor, we saw village lights along the coastline at night. Until then
the villages we had passed were too poor to have electricity. The culture
in Bali is totally different to the rest of Indonesia, we thought the Post
Office, on the left, illustrated the point quite well.
... as well as a temple instrument workshop. You can see gongs,
which are made from metal melted in little pots and poured into primitive
moulds, and also xylophones.
It was the mango season. Bliss! We bought large numbers and ate them
until we looked like a mango. I then made the leftover fruit into
mango sorbet, served with little caramelised strips of lemon, all of which
was totally delicious and kept well in the freezer.
The gongs and xylophones waiting for the players to come
and celebrate the new temple with their music...
A temple dancer: we could not understand what he was shouting, but
the kids were all shrieking with excited fear and the adults were
laughing... he must have been some kind of demon.
On one of our trips with Nyoman we went up to the mountains to Ubud,
the centre of Balinese wood carving and art. This is a shrine in the Agung
Raka Fine Art Gallery, well guarded, as you can see, by lots of toothy
visited the Botanic Gardens, but, unfortunately for us, they were shrouded
in mist that day. Beautiful none the less...
We left Bali and headed for Belitung where we planned to check out of
Indonesia. Here are a few of the wonderfully diverse Indonesian boats that
we saw on the way...
The two sacrifices, happy not to have been taken by Neptune,
receive their certificates of Equatorial Passage.
We wish everybody a great Christmas 2007
and all our best wishes for 2008.