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Pasar Wajo on the island of Buton, Sulawesi, is the home to a dance and culture festival. The rally is timed to be here for this event and the welcome we received was amazing. We sailed the 45 miles from Wakatobi in light winds using our cruising chute, a lightweight sail for running down wind and managed good speeds of up to 7 knots, not bad considering how much growth there is on Serenity’s hull, and managed to find an anchoring spot in 14m depth. Most of the coastline is quite open and drops very quickly to 20+metres. There is an amazing amount of rubbish in the water in Indonesia so it is not very inviting near towns or villages to go in for a swim, each place we have visited we have made a point of refusing plastic bags in the markets putting veg direct into rucksacks or into reusable bags. We saw locals just throwing their bags of rubbish direct into the sea but hopefully the message is getting into schools that plastic is killing the planet but it may take a couple of generations to see any real difference.
Traditional fishing boat and Hospital boat in Pasar Wajo
We arranged for a car with driver and guide on our first day here to go over to Bau Bau, the capital of the island, with Andy and Ludmilla from Somerset. We didn’t want to go by boat as it looks to be deep open anchorage off the city with all of the dirt and noise that go with it. If we get the call to prayer five times a day from at least five different mosques when we are in a village I hate to think how many there would be in a large city all slightly out of phase with each other. Our guide was born in Bau Bau and still had relatives there and knew the city fairly well but more importantly he could communicate with the driver. We visited the fortress, walls originally built to separate the sultans palace from the town it was fortified to hold off the Portuguese and Dutch, successfully as this was one place they didn’t get control. Then on to lunch in a Warung, a small family run eatery or cafe well patronised by locals, the Nasi Goreng was excellent. A quick look at the harbour and then on to the supermarket, the first we’ve seen since Tual. Regularly eating out and doing our shopping in local markets, we didn’t need a great deal but did manage to buy some milk and cooking margarine. Then on our way back to Pasar Wajo we topped up with fruit from a roadside vendor and locally grown , roasted and ground coffee. All set now for a few more weeks of local shopping in traditional markets.
A wedding party at the fortress in BauBau
Solid walls surround the fortress, the largest in Indonesia.
17 century mosque within the fortress walls, originally it had planked walls and a thatch roof it has been modernised but is still very plain compared to the modern mosques.
The start of the dance festival was in the evening, teams of young girls 14-16yrs from local schools were performing their interpretation of the traditional welcoming dance. Very colourful. Younger children had a fashion contest with costumes made from recycled plastic and we were entertained by a very good group and singers. At the end everyone was up and dancing. The rally were of course the honoured guests and were seated at tables at the front.
Entertained each night by a very good local group called Nice Day Ben!.
The dancers in their colourful costumes
The next night was the welcome dinner with speeches, music, more children fashion parades, local dancing and plenty of food.
We shared a table with our Dutch friends: Renee, Bertus and Jacqueline
And more entertainment
At some time we managed to get our diesel cans filled, hire a motor bike and go to the local market and see more cultural displays by the school children.
10yr olds crocheting and two with the bags they had made
Boys demonstrated traditional cooking of rice in banana leaf inserted into bamboo and cooked by an open fire, and some marshall arts.
Some of the super guides, always there and willing to help
Guides and children from Nobel School who gave demonstrations of local culture
All to soon we were ready to move on, we decided against going to Bau Bau and sailed south to Taka Lamungan a coral atoll, very quiet with just a few boats anchored. During the day fishermen from the local islands come out to the reef in their outrigger motor boats, spend the day anchored and return at night. We had one man indicate that he would like a tee shirt or similar from us and Phil went and had a look at his boat, propelled over the reef by bamboo pole it also has a small inboard diesel a lump of rust but it still worked. The fisherman would have traded a fish for the tee shirt but Phil was happy just to take photos.
Beautiful corals and colourful clams on the reef at Taka Lamungan. The snorkeling here was some of the best we have seen
And a local fishing boat
After three days we were happy to continue south and are now anchored off Palau Bonerate.