Island Hopping in the Togeans S00 19 981 E121 56 809
Whilst at anchor in Pulau Waleabahi Kanari Bay a very ancient fisherman came to us with the ancient but broken engine on his boat. He needed help because the start chord mechanism on his engine was completely kaput; he had pulled off the chord trying get it started. On inspection Chris found the workings behind were shattered and tried to explain that it would be difficult to fix, the old chap understood the problem. He also complained of his aching knees rubbing them for ease but we couldn’t help with that. Finally after plenty of fiddling and coaxing the engine fired into life and with much thanking (neither party able to speak the others language) he set off. We thought he would be going to a house tucked into another part of the bay but with failing light he set off around the headland. There must be a few fatalities here because no way could he have worked the tides with an oar, which is all he had, if his engine failed again; he could only be swept out with no phone or radio to alert anyone. One Australian yachtie that we travelled with earlier in the month did find a body when we left Derawan, a very sad affair.
The owners of the Rumah returned the day we were set to leave, we saw them as they set off with several plastic cans to get water. Most of the islands have fresh water a little inland, you just need to dig down a few feet and of course it is nicely filtered by the sand so comes up reasonably pure. The shallow wells we saw had no lids so the water does need to be dusted off so to speak.
We had stayed here in total tranquillity and left in the same way with a glassy calm sea through water that was gin clear.
Next stop was at Pulau Pangempangan that we heard had a small resort near Katupat village where we could eat out, meet some locals and other travellers. Once anchored we went ashore to find several chalets built in traditional Togean style with minimal facilities, lots of young ‘uns employed to rake, litter pick - although there was little of that, and generally keep the place and the beaches spick and span. There was a small bar area, we were invited to take free tea or coffee and made a booking for dinner which turned out very well. There were young travellers working their way around Asia, divers looking for pristine dive sites and a more mature Belgian couple revelling in the Eco-escape of no air-con except the breeze, no electronic communications, no television and limited hot water (but frankly the colder the better here).
We met the resort owner, a local man who started life as a trekking guide and is now able to provide employment for quite a few village people as he has 16 chalets as well as the bar and restaurant. He was very interested in Gryphon II and came on board with his wife, their 3 year old son and father in law. They were truly amazed when they saw below decks as they had no idea what could be fitted into a yacht and understood much better how we were able to live on it long term. They were equally interested in what must have seemed like gadgets to someone living a low tech life but soon got to grips with the GPS, chart plotter etc. and asked plenty of questions about safety and the logistics of long sea passages.
Carroll was already into sailing so it wouldn’t surprise us to find that in a few years he is running a mini charter business. A lovely man who is doing his very best for his island.