North Hading Bay to Labuan Bajo Flores
Tue 16 Aug 2016 08:30
Early start and on across the bay with a good wind and had a lovely sail nearly close-hauled until the wind died and we had to motor the last part to the next anchorage off the Ankermi Dive Resort at Wodong.
The plan was to book a trip to see the Tri-coloured volcanic lakes at Kelimutu so we swam ashore to the small resort to try and book this for the next day. I spent the afternoon trying to sort this out but the prices quoted were crazy as the only way of doing it was to hire a car and driver as it was a 4 hour drive away. We asked around the dive resort (German) to see if anyone wanted to join us but everyone had already visited them and the general response was they were nice to see but not spectacular and not worth sitting in a car for 8 hours for. This combined with what I had read on good old Tripadvisor highlighting the rubbish issue once again, made the decision.
Wednesday, 10th August another early start on a windless, cloudy day, motor on (syd not happy!). But the wind eventually did come up later in the day and we managed to put Syd’s downwind sailing system in action for a few hours and passed our selected overnight anchorage (mistake!) We ended up anchoring off a village and spent a very rolly night as it was not protected from the swell. Early start next day and up went the Spinnaker for it’s first airing in a long time and we had a lovely sail in 10+ knots to Riung – the gateway to the 17 islands National Park.
We decided we had earned a day off so headed out to explore a few of the 17 islands. Sadly the Indoneisan idea of National Park does not include picking up the litter or protecting the coral so it was a bit disappointing but we did have some nice swims and the snorkelling on the second of the three islands we visited was actually quite nice. We chose an island to overnight on and left the next morning for Lingeh Bay. Spinnaker up again in a nice 10-15 knot wind and we arrived ahead of schedule looking forward to a relaxing afternoon – no such luck – suddenly we were surrounded by small boys in canoes calling ‘mister mister’, ‘misses misses’. They wanted anything we had to give especially books and pens and had cocunuts, cassava and aubergine to trade. This trading and chatting went on most of the afternoon but they showed no signs of leaving so we decided to organize a swim/paddle back to the beach. It must have looked a strange sight Syd and I leading a pack of little boys, some swimming with their version of a float (a piece of balsa wood), all laughing and splashing as they tried to copy our front crawl. It worked and we managed to leave them on the beach and swim back to peace.
Another early start and we motored (again!!!) the short distance to Gili Bodo. It was a tricky entrance through reefs and with the inaccuracies of the charts would not have been an option without the great Cruising Guide to Indonesia which we had purchased in Darwin before we left. We were surprised on getting to the anchorage to see that the depths were double what was shown in the Guide and rather than being calm and protected the dreaded swell was getting in but the water was clear and the snorkelling was okay though not as good as it should have been with a lot of damaged and destroyed coral (definitely a ‘should have visited 10 years ago!). After re-anchoring 3 times when the reef appeared to be dangerously close as the tide went out we were suddenly surrounded by local fishing boats who obviously used the anchorage as an overnight stop. No peace and solitude to be had here! Highlight was the monkeys who came out to play on the beach at dusk.
Early start and another motor round to Labuan Bajo (gateway to Komodo National Park). We anchored off the Eco Lodge 5km out of town as we had heard that anchoring in the main port could trigger off another stream of official visits and paperwork.
Tuesday, 16th August – We arranged for a local guy to pick us up and take us and fuel cans into Town – he had agreed to get us diesel (‘solar’ in Indonesian). As a foreigner you pay double what the locals pay for fuel so it is a nice little earner for them.
Labuan Bajo is a very busy port and approaching it in a local fishing boat was a great way to see it. There is an amazing collection of wooden boats in the harbour ranging from the enormous Phinisis styled on Turkish Gulets that take divers and trippers out around the Komodo Islands to smaller versions in every shape imaginable.
The fish market was a smelly very unappetizing place with stalls of dried fish and lots of flies and the vegetable market was small but we managed to get enough veg to last us until Lombok and Bali.
Back on board and another 60 litres of fuel was put into the tanks. Laundry collected from the Eco Lodge and next stop Rinca and maybe some DRAGONS.