Wednesday, 31 July 2013

We're here ........ :-)

After 4 days and 19 hours, we have anchored outside of Teddy's Bar in Kupang. We stated the leg from Darwin with 7 of us (a mix of monohulls and catamarans) a day ahead of the main fleet as the winds were only moderate and were expected to drop to nothing for the official start on Saturday.  

Over the next 24 hours we slowly separated into 2 groups of 3 and 4, Kittani sticking with Tintin and Gemini for the entire crossing. Pete organized a daily morning and evening catch-up on the VHF with our small fleet, so even though we lost sight of the other 4, they were never far behind us. The winds did drop as expected so we sailed whenever we could manage it, reverting to motoring when necessary. 

The first 2 days we saw nothing but sea.  Kittani was on auto pilot so Pete and I spent the days reading, snoozing and watching the scenery (360 degrees of beautiful indigo blue flatness). Some may find this boring ....... I did !!! Just as we crossed the line of Australian waters, there was our first Indonesian fishing boat ! 😄 This meant that the night sails began to require a little bit more attention. One afternoon we came across a fishing boat attached to a big black mooring buoy in the middle of the Timor Sea. It was in a depth of 500 meters and had no lighting or markings at all. Imagine meeting these in the dark of night and they are apparently quite common ....... scary thought. We advised the others by VHF to keep a watch out for it. 

By late afternoon on day 3, we could see the outline of land in the distance. This meant we would be negotiating the main channel between Roti Island and West Timor in the early hours at 3.00am - this would be a challenge! With Gemini out in front (mother duck) we headed single file, Kittani then Tintin (2 big ducklings) towards the islands thinking this would be the safest way.  Trying to identify lights was a guessing game with much communication between the 3 boats. "What the heck are those lights - are they on land? Is that a cruise ship? That looks like a car park! Those flashing like look like a disco! " They turned out to be strobe lights being towed behind fishing boats marking the nets. We inched our way up the channel dog tired from lack of sleep but by now running on adrenaline. Daylight was starting to show us the way towards Teddy's Bar and our anchorage. We were there. Our senses were assaulted by the oh so familiar smell of wood fires and the haunting sound of being called to prayer - we were definitely in Indonesia. 

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