Kupang - West Timor Part I
As mentioned on the previous blog, the passage from
As we were one of some 15 BWR boats who had left
First of all a brief introduction to
We approached the western most tip of
We successfully dodged around a couple of them, and had a third one in our sights, about 200 metres away. He then turned out all his lights. HELP!!! We completely lost him in the dark. Then a couple of minutes later, this dark shape ghosted past us, no more than half a boat length away. As he went past, he turned on his “navigation light” This was a little LED lamp that flashed alternately Red, green, red, green. What laugh. Do we pass red to red or green to green or just through the middle?
Later on, once it was light, we had another one who was on a collision course with us (we had the right of way under COLREGS), but he was on the mobile phone and didn’t even notice we were about to ram him! Needless to say, we had taken the appropriate avoiding action in good time.
The sun rises and sun sets in this region of Nusa Tenggara are a sight to behold.
The fishing boats are a very basic construction. Narrow in the beam, with a very pointed bow and the whole affair sitting very low in the water. They rarely have a silencer on the exhaust system, so sometimes you can hear them before you see them! Many of them are very brightly painted.
This one even had a matching tender. Some of these craft were loaded to the gunnels with people being ferried from Island to Island or just bay to bay. Quite a few of them diverted from their course to come and have a look at us. They were all smiles and waved frenetically as we closed up to them. It was a wonderful welcome to these incredibly warm, happy and friendly….not to mention, curious people.
As we came into the bay, opposite what was (and still is)
called Teddy’s Bar, the VHF radio sprang to life. It was BWR’s
agent in Kupang, “
Robins bar is in the right of the picture and Bligh’s steps in the right of centre. Note the collapsed building on the extreme left
Richard had “set up shop” in what was
Teddy’s bar. (Teddy fell out with the new Mayor so he is no longer in
town), the bar has been taken over by a Chinese guy called Robin. He and his
staff were incredibly helpful and we had our first lunch there. Nesi Goring (the Indonesian national dish), of course.
All of £2 per meal! Even the local beer (Bintang) was about £0.70 a one litre
bottle. Very good beer it is too. But you have to treat it with respect because
it is much stronger than most
Robin (second from the right) and some of his team)
Kupang is the capital of what is now
Kupang it has to be said is a noisy, dirty, run down town of some 50,000 people. There is rubbish discarded everywhere. The waters here are just full of plastic bags, and cartons and all manner of debris. The locals seem to have no concept of environmental well being, and I assume there is no local government rubbish collection or disposal service. There is great poverty here. That said, in all the time we were walking about the town, we always felt safe and we only ever saw one beggar, for the whole time we were there.
That night a bunch of us went out to the so called best restaurant in town. We ordered a wide selection of traditional Indonesian food. Now it turns out that this was a Wedding parlour. It was huge. Seating for an intimate group of around 1200 people!! We were about 24 souls in all so we rather rattled about the place. The food was quite average, but our hosts did try to give us a good time. One of our minders was even exchanging Australian dollars for Indonesian Rupeeha at a far better rates than we could get at the banks. All this as we were having dinner.
On the second night, Robin bought in several boxes of Crayfish (lobster) tails and arranged for them to be barbequed with chips and salad. So it was one more BWR party. They even brought in some chilled dry white wine that Jennie liked……so we were all happy!
We had the usual boat jobs to attend to, but we did arrange
to join the crews from Big Blue and Stargazer for a day trip around the local
sights to get a flavour of
We are currently on the north coast of
08:21:71S 120:08:36E. This position is shown on our C Map electronic charts as being over a quarter of a mile in land…………………….still based on the original paper charts made by Dutch Hydrographers maybe 100+ years ago. So eye ball navigation is essential. The forward looking sonar has also REALLY earned its keep on this part of our journey.