Badas 08:27.9S, 117:22.2E

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Thu 28 Sep 2023 23:39
We departed Bima in the early hours navigating slowly down the harbour as the fishing boats are not always easy to see, or to work out what they are doing. Clear of the harbour at first light we headed west along the top of Sumbawa, on the 70 miles to Miro and our overnight anchorage. We managed to sail a bit but with very fickle winds most of the day was spent motoring to drop anchor in Miro early evening. There were a number of rally boats here all heading down into Saleh bay for the experience of swimming with whale sharks. They departed early morning we waited and had a great sail around the north of Pulau Moyo to the harbour at Badas. Eventually there were 24 yachts moored up in this small harbour, med-moored (anchors down and ropes to trees on the shore) and rafted side by side. This was probably the dirtiest harbour we have been in and the burning of rubbish ashore at night made it unpleasant at times. As always the locals were friendly and welcoming.


Rally boats rafted at Badas
Phil went to the welcoming ceremony in the morning at the old sultans palace, followed by a school visit and lunch sitting on the floor of the museum, lots more singing, dancing and sampling of local food. The school was a vocational school teaching mainly about tourism and hospitality and all of the students spoke good English and at the museum we met younger children who go there to learn traditional skills which appeared to be singing and the making and playing of traditional reed instruments. These instruments are a bit like a recorder and they play them continuously, sometimes for up to 2hrs at weddings, by circular breathing so that there is no pause in the music. Lunch was a boxed Nasi Goreng with fruit and water something we were going to get used to here.


The old Sultans Palace at Badas, built of teak and held together by wedged joints and wooden nails.


Traditional dance at the vocational school


Young boys learning to play the traditional instruments they have made
The next day was the highlight of the time here, Buffalo Racing. A pair of water buffalo are linked together with a wooden yoke and an A frame is attached to the middle of it, the legs of the A dragging on the ground, a pole is attached at the same place and the rider stands barefoot on the A and holds on to the pole with one hand. The other hand holds a whip for steering the buffalo. The idea is to race across a wet paddy field and hit a stick in the ground. This is a big thing here and teams travel miles to the big events, we had a private event so that a few cruisers could have a go. Sarah had committed herself to having a go and was definitely a winner, managing to stay the course on her first and only attempt. She was taken to a well afterwards and helped to clean up by the local women and plentiful buckets of water.


Sarah tries her hand at buffalo racing and manages to stay on for the complete course,
Then onto the hand weaving which even Phil found interesting. A very fine thread is first wound onto a frame and the desired pattern drawn onto it, the threads are then dyed and the thread wound onto the shuttle. As the cloth is woven the pattern is produced on it, a piece 4m by 60cm can take up to a month to finish and is sold for between 800,000 and 1,500,000 Rupiah (£40-75).


And Sarah tries her hand at weaving, the pattern is produced by pre-dying the thread.
Day three, coffee and blacksmiths. They grow coffee on the mountain sides here and it is picked and processed in a traditional way. The beans are only picked when they are red so they have to pick from the same steep hillside for a few weeks. The beans are dried in the open air and roasted in a cast iron pan over a wood fire being continuously moved around so that they don’t burn and then ground in a pot by pounding with sticks. It is a fine powder, like a filter coffee, and they just add it to hot water to make a cup.


Roasting the coffee beans,


And grinding.
At the blacksmith village we saw the production of work knives from scrap steel, the finished products were on sale in wooden sheaths with either bone or rubber handles. Very good looking products but we weren’t tempted to buy.


Hand forging of knives from scrap steel image9.jpeg

And the finished knives with decorative handles and sheaths.

Apart from the first evening, when we taken to a restaurant to buy a meal most evenings were spent on board the boats with bring and share type meals or it was possible to walk to a nearby restaurant.