Ashore in Debut
Sunday 23rd July 2017
It took two days to get our clearance. Our first official, John, from Quarantine, arrived late in the afternoon of the day we arrived. He was friendly and spoke quite good English, having learnt it from watching TV apparently. He issued us with our Certificate of Pratique and told us to take the Q flag down. Customs would follow shortly. They didn’t. Nor did they come the next day, until late afternoon when Steve went over to collect them from another boat. Three young men, and I mean young (no, it’s not my age!) were on board for about half an hour. Two stayed in the cockpit and practised their English with me, while Steve took the other below where he took various photographs, including one of our AIS transmitter. Goodness knows why. Then they left saying that we could collect our clearance papers tomorrow ashore.
So we first stepped ashore on Indonesian soil on the island of Kei Kecil (Kai Ketjil) in the town of Debut on Sunday 23rd July 2017, to a very different environment from Australia, but no less welcoming or friendly people. At the dinghy dock we were met by a large group of children, all keen and eager to take our lines and tie us up, all under the eagle eye and instruction of an adult who had only to speak and they did as told (we assume!)
Lots of happy, smiling faces and “Hello, Mister” at the dinghy dock.
Our first sight of the town from the jetty. The red-roofed building on
the right is the market place where an Information Centre and Customs
and Immigration desks were set up.
We spent an hour buying SIM cards and activating and topping them up, then went for a wander around the town while our paperwork was being processed. The streets were decorated with colourful flags which made them look very bright and cheerful. There had been a special religious festival the previous week and they had been left up for our benefit. The town was very clean and well-kept with gardens that were well-tended.
The road from the harbour up to the RC church. A side road.
The local children love to have their photos taken. They call out “Mister, photo” and pose without even being asked.
A new boat under construction. This family were stripping palm leaves to make brooms.
The main road through town, to right of the big church... and to left of the big church.
A wooden bridge leading to the next village around the bay. The anchorage from the edge of town.
When we returned to the market building, our paperwork was still being processed, so we waited around a while. It was interesting to note that although only half the fleet of sixty-ish boats had been inspected by Customs, a group of officials sat around chatting and looking at their phones for much of this time. It may have been that there was not a local boat to take them out to the yachts, but had they said this, the yachties would have been more than happy to speed up their clearance by coming in their dinghies to collect them.
Customs officials at a loose end, apparently. Immigration officials checking visas and stamping passports.
Whilst waiting, we saw a local ferry arrive, and watched in amazement as it disgorged an unbelievable number of passengers and their luggage, including a wardrobe and a mattress!
A mattress is unloaded from the local ferry.
Eventually all our clearance paperwork was ready and our passports stamped and returned to us, and we headed back out to the boat. We enjoyed our first look at Indonesia, and tomorrow we hope to get a bus into town and see lots more.