Wangi Wangi, Wakatobi.

Wed 11 Aug 2010 06:45
Recent location, Wangi Wangi Lagoon, Wakatobi region  05:19.96S 123:31.75E
Current position  06:16.8S 121:39.45E
Wednesday, August 11th
Wakatobi has a Star Wars ring to it, but Wangi Wangi is right out of the past; though like the rest of Indonesia struggling with the pace of modernisation. The local tribe are Bajos, reminding me very much of the San Blas Indians. We were greeted one morning by two grinning naked kids about 5 years old in their tiny dug out canoe, half waterlogged, and hundreds of yards out to sea. Hannah, who was herself reluctant to dress in anything at that age, was a little taken aback! 
We put in here as the wind was dropping to nothing, and there seemed no point in staying at sea. A very peaceful lagoon anchorage within a protected bay, but only accessible at high tide over an artificial cut in the coral. Shades of the Cook Islands, but actually plenty of depth here, and room for about 15 of us inside. Ashore the Harbourmaster grabbed our ships papers and introduced us to Nortea and Rian: Muslim schoolkids whose grasp of English was amazing, and who were to be our guides to the small Port. We found some basics: fruit, veg, and bread (though the bread has turned out to be a sweet sort of bun, with black treacle in it; keeps quite well, tastes yummy, but not with cheese). The Central Market and Fish Market was the best thing, hundreds and hundreds of stalls crammed together, paths deeply rutted by rain run off from the roofs, folk asleep on their shop 'counters', and the pungent smells of fruit, spices, and fish around every corner.Back at the dockside we arranged an evening meal at the town's only eatery, returning at 19.00 to platefuls of freshly prepared steaming hot food, only for Hannah to go deathly pale and anounce that she felt unwell. Gulped down most of my fish, settled a surprisingly large bill, and took H back to the boat where I diagnosed appendicitis, Dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis etc, until she woke up in the morning as bright as usual, demanding breakfast. 
Promises of wind via the satellite phone forecast saw us trying to check out, but the HM had other ideas: he didn't want his charges wandering off before the Regional Mayor had made his Official Appearance. In the event The Mayor never showed up, and the slight delay to ourselves was of no consequence, as when we left yesterday afternoon, the sea was like glass. 
Wakatobi has fantastic coral, and the rest of the fleet hope to spend time in the outer Islands and reefs before moving on. We are headed straight for Bali, another 525 miles, and after two hours of motoring yasterday, an evening easterly breeze sprang up, and with a few fits and starts this has held up so far, and we have made good progress with some current under us, and relatively flat seas. On a large scale chart the route looks easy, but there are quite a lot of reefs, and a fair few fishing boats to keep us on our toes.