When we returned from our day tour around
Kupang on Tuesday we found that an emergency meeting had been called.
Richard, a BWR director, had been trying to negotiate with the customs
officials for days about clearing all 22 boats in to Indonesia. The quarantine
and immigration processes were completed but they just weren't willing to clear
the boats. In previous years boats have been expected to pay 10% to 50% of the
boat value (which would definitely, possibly, maybe be refunded) in
order to be admitted, or more recently a small of sum of around $600 per
boat. Anyway, it was announced at the meeting that all boats needed to be gone
by daybreak the next morning, Wednesday, or skippers could face arrest and the
boats could be impounded, something which has happened on previous rallies.
Most boats upped anchor around 4.30am and
there was a line of boats leaving Kupang. It's crazy! You'd think they'd want
the tourism as that's all they kept talking about at the welcome party and in
the bar where tourism office officials were circulating, but no, we had to go.
There were mixed emotions, people were angry, worried, upset and nervous as
no-one knew what to expect. Would we have to sail straight to Bali to attempt to
check in there or would we be turned away from there and would we then have to
go straight to Singapore. If we stop at any islands could we be arrested. No-one
quite knew what to do!
Amy, ready to pick up the anchor at
The amount of different colours in the sky
over the space of 30 minutes was amazing
The fishing boats were out in
Richard agreed to fly to Bali, not in his
original plan, to try and sort things out there for us. We have received
information today that a local agent is willing to negotiate access into
Indonesia for a fee of US $ 800. This could take three weeks to process and
we're still not really allowed to go ashore until it is all completed. However,
we have decided to make landfall at one or two places, although sadly we are
missing out on a lot of islands we had planned to visit, including climbing the
'must do' Kelimutu volcano on the island of Flores.