One of the pleasures of Indonesia is
making friends with the locals. Peter is particularly good at this, perhaps
because of his height or his (inherited) good looks he attracts the locals'
attention. He has also made a big effort to learn a smattering of the language
and this has clearly helped him, they love it when visitors speak their language
although they are very keen to develop their English as well.
On this occasion he was
trying to get his phone unlocked in a local mobile phone shop.
At anchor in the bay some locals had come along
side us to try to sell souvenirs but Peter noticed that they had a chess set on
board and in no time an international chess tournament ensued. Peter played 3
different men for over 3½ hours, they
cooked a lunch of rice and fish which they ate together despite Ramadan. Peter
is a good chess player and did manage to beat one of the men but 2 of them were
too good for him!
One of the continuing supply
problems we have is getting fresh potable water. Our water maker is working
satisfactorily but it cannot keep up with our consumption so we have to buy
water in large demi-johns. We bought 10 of these 19 litre containers and a lot
of other shopping at Roxys, a local supermarket who assured us they would
deliver. ...and this was how!
What this photo fails to show is the
occasion they had 2 demijohns and a selection of other shopping on their knees
Labuan Bajo is the first touristy place we have
arrived at in Indonesia with a large number of dive shops. The water clarity is
particularly good around here and the strong tides that make their way between
the Flores Sea and the Sawu Sea to the south bring plenty of nutrients to feed
the reefs. The reefs are mostly in good condition and there are many corals we
have not seen before, lots of beautiful soft corals too. There are plenty of
small fish but the waters are fished intensively by the locals so there are few
bigger fish to see, at least for us snorkellers. Happily we have not seen any of
the methods of extreme overfishing that have been reported by others in the past
including dynamiting reefs and poisoning them with bleach or cyanide.
On a sadder note the attitude to rubbish seems to
be that it will take care of itself. Of course, with the litter chucked in the
sea and the watercourses there is a small amount of truth in this as the next
high tide or the next rain storm will make the rubbish disappear. Sadly we see a
lot of rubbish, including masses of plastic bags, miles from the shore; the
impact on turtles in particular is well known. Even the poorest market stall
holders want to put everything in plastic bags and express mild surprise when we
decline and put our veg straight in our rucksacks. So the problem is not going
to go away without a concerted campaign and effort especially by the politicians
who want to develop tourism.
Labuan Bajo is an important port for
the island of Flores and there were a lot of interesting local craft in the
harbour, some clearly for tourists but others just local trading
didn't see Captain Sparrow but he must have been there