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The 2006 Sail Indonesia Rally
Darwin to Kupang and through Indonesia

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THIS Indonesia page - Page 1

Indonesia, page 2: Lembata to Makassar

Indonesia, page 3 - Makassar

Indonesia, page 4 - Makassar to Lombok, the accident

 Chrissi describes our Indonesian Adventures

Text and the page layout is by Jack , photos by Jack and by Chrissi .

How do we express our utter delight with our adventures throughout the vast island nation of Indonesia! Here's a country whose cultures range from Head Hunting in some remote areas to the highest and most sophisticated arts in others. Dance, music, painting, sculpture, and temple architecture are frequently nothing short of breathtaking. Muslim, Hindu, Animist, and Christian generally live in harmony and mutual respect. Here's a country whose military slaughtered 500,000 people to prevent a red uprising of the poor in 1965 and to maintain the privileges of the still very privileged rich. Here's a country of vulcanism and earthquakes that's called the Ring of Fire, a country with the most awsome and diverse scenery and with no cyclone / hurricane season. And most of all Indonesia is an archipelago of the most friendly smiling and super-humanly generous people. We loved our time in breathtaking Indonesia - one of the most special places we've ever visited.

It's worth a visit to the Sail Indonesia Rally website. You'll learn more about the Rally and the country. There are links to other cruisers' experiences and resources. And if you're in the region, you might want to sign up for the next Rally! I guess this is a good place to thank Rally organizers Ray and Dewie and David, along with all who helped them, for leading us to discover wonderous Indonesia.

The Sail Indonesia Rally was our ticket to all this and a lot more. It was the best "ticket" for the money that any of us had ever bought - by far!

Lembata Sunrise - click for full size

We don't normally sail in company. And we certainly had never sailed in a "rally" with something like 100 boats! So this was a new experiment for us. Why did we try it?

The CAIT -
Indonesia is a sufficiently "traditional" type of country that getting anything done that involves government is normal expensive, time consuming, tricky, and difficult. We needed a CAIT to cruise there - a cruising permit. This is something you get BEFORE you arrive - or you risk being expelled or worse. Normally getting the CAIT involves finding an agent in Indonesia to do the footwork (and palm greasing) for you. You hope this person is efficient and honest and that he will indeed get you your CAIT - in a timely manner and at the least possible expense. All this is done by phone or fax or Internet - and requires faith, patience, and a certain amount of luck.

Sail Indonesia? You send some email attachments and make a reasonable payment to them in a bank - and your CAIT is ready and waiting for you in Darwin before you leave for Indonesia! THAT'S reason enough to do the rally! But it gets much better.

It would be hard to count the number of "galla dinners" that were included free for the price of entry into the Rally. We've lost count of the number Village and Regional events that hosted us and treated us with respect and kindness - and, yes, even as VIP's. There were extravagant tours - both paid and free - that revealed many aspects of this remote and fascinating land and culture.

Sail Indonesia makes it easy to figure an itinerary in this vast and varied archipelago. The mysteries of weather systems and currents and times of year and good places versus not so good places - all these mysteries are magically dealt with by the experienced organizers of the Rally! We hadn't had time to research all this complex and obscure stuff at all, so by being part of the the rally it was all figured in advance!

So. Sail Indonesia? 100% Positive Recommendation. It's the best way to go sailing in Indonesia.

The Start -
We intentionally made a terrible Start on July 22nd from Darwin - way back in the fleet. That way we got to pass everyone! Here we go! And there's only about 92 boats to pass!

Naga at the start - click for full size

It was moderate winds for the "start" and it quickly demanded spinnakers. By the time night fell we had pretty much lost the fleet behind us.

The weather was light and fickle,the perfect situation for everyone to try differing tactics.

The mystery, or course, would quickly become: where is everyone else?



The Rally Route -
Here's the route we took with the Rally through Indonesia. A lot of boats went their own way, sometime with the "fleet" and sometimes completely off on their own. We basically stuck to the Rally's very good intinerary. It included visits to Kupang in West Timor, Alor to the northeast, Lembata, Ruing in Flores, and northwestward to the old spice capital, Makassar. Onward then to islands off Lombok, including Gilly Lawang in the northeast and Gilly Aer in the northwest, and to the magical mystical super-busy island of Bali, the island of endless temples, artisans and art and charm. Northwestward again with visits to a number of places, especially the very charming island of Bawean, and finally to the region of SMOKE - off Borneo/Kalimantan and the nearby islands of Surutu and Pejantan. The rally finished at Batam's Nongsa Point, and then we went off to Singapore - where we would continue our trek - with the Sail Asia Rally! We were three months in Indonesia, and sailed or motored about three thousand miles.





Kupang waterfront.

Yes, Kupang is a funky city, one of the least attractive places in the region. But it was great to be there - such a refreshing change to be back in the cheap and friendly " third world" where smiles and ease come so naturally.





The sail to Kupang had been a light air affair, and sometimes a "no air" affair, but the seas were kind and the city was welcoming. After a few days of festivities - we were a special event there! - we were off on a slow overnight light air sail against currents up to 4 knots, destination Kalibata, the main "city" on the island of Alor!


Chrissi with Alor kids - click for full size


We were certainly received as honored celebrities in Alor - most especially by the children! There's Chrissi surrounded by this enthusiastic crowd, and that's our traveling home, Naga, just behind. The kids somehow had this thing about getting our names and addresses and autographs in their notebooks and we finally resorted to using stamps to speed the process. Did their teachers put them up to it? No matter: such enthusiam and happiness!





Flutes in Alor - click for full size

Our arrival coincided with an annual regional Cultural Festival, with visiting artists and acts from all over the state. That was one of the great things about the Rally - much of our itinerary put us right into the middle of special events, and we became a part of the events. Lovely.

These flute players serenaded the Festival and us along with traditional gongs. Wonderful and lovely.






Talkpala man - click for full size



Welcome to Alor's "traditional village" of Takpala! We visited Takpala with a bunch of other yachties on our first excursion tour with the Rally. The traditional dance and its accompanying rhythm and singing was mesmerizing. And it was just a start of our introduction to Indonesia's otherworldly mesmerzing cultures.

This fella was, in fact, very friendly, but traditional foes back in the good old days would have had to look out and be fast on their feet!




Takpala dance - click for full size


A sussuru of hypnotic rhythms and the plaintive wailing songs of several transported us to far away times and places where we shared some deep stuff. At least that's how I responded. . .


Click Here for a little video
of Takpala Dance

(opens in a new window)



Ah, the Naga Boat -
Yes, Naga, of course, is the name of our boat. And as it has turned out here in South Asia, it was a very well-chosen name indeed! There are enormous varieties of the Naga stories, myths, and legends in these parts, but these dragons / sea serpents are in every case that we know of very benevolent and special entities.

In Alor local mythology tells of the original inhabitants of the island arriving on a Naga Boat. And the myth goes on that a special Naga lives under the island and protects its population.

We were very specially welcomed everywhere we went when the people discoved that we had arrived on NAGA.

This photo, taken in the Kalibata, Alor, museum, depicts the original Naga Boat
that brought the first inhabitants to the island.

Naga boat in Alor - click for full size


From Alor, we sailed on to Lembata with a stop at "Murder Island" along the way.

Use these Links to Continue:

Indonesia, page 2: Lembata to Makassar

Indonesia, page 3 - Makassar

Indonesia, page 4 - Makassar to Lombok, the accident

 Chrissi describes our Indonesian Adventures


Click Here for our Adventure Pages INDEX


Enjoy some books about Indonesia!


Our sailing adventures in photos and textEvery kind of helpful resource for sailors and travelersWeather for sailorsMaking a living onboard or on the roadLinks to friends and related sites
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