Tuesday, 13 August 2013


After heading away from Kupang, we followed the coastline north. The wind patterns here are influenced by the lay of the land, giving us land breezes in the morning and sea breezes in the afternoon. We managed a reasonable amount of sailing, reverting to engine occasionally. Our next destination was Wini. That evening we anchored on the southern side of Tanjung Gumuk, the half way point, along with 7 other rally yachts. Slightly rolly but that settled and gave us a very pleasant evening. Up at 6.00am which we thought was an early start only to find 4 boats had already headed off. Rounding the point of Tg Gumuk we could see their masts about an hour ahead. Winds were very slight and we motored most of the way to Wini. A new rally destination this year so an unknown quantity. The anchorage was 30m deep with a large mound in the centre with only 6m depth, the place to aim for. However only so many boats can fit on a mound. We all tried to get on the outskirts of it, but with strong currents flowing all around, it was tricky. Then the wind decided to get up and boats were swinging every which way. Oh what fun!

                                   Arriving into Wini - nestled at the base of the mountains

Not exactly a modern guitar but it works           The girls about to start the beetlenut ceremonial dance

Jacqui dancing in a woman's only dance, done when someone dies.

Cheeky faces who just love having their photo taken.

The following day ashore was a tour to a cave used as a church, then on to the King's palace for a welcome ceremony and lunch. We headed off in 2 minibuses with a police escort, along with sirens and flashing lights for the entire 2 hour drive to the first stop. All other approaching vehicles must get off the road for our little convoy - rock star treatment. At the cave, the entire village had turned out for our arrival with dancing, singing and blessing for our safe travels. 20 minutes on from there we arrived at the palace.  We were treated like royalty ourselves with much pomp and ceremony (Indonesian style) and met the King and his family inside his house. After a Beetlenut juice ritual which we accepted with a smile and promptly left on the tables, we headed outside for a number of traditional dances and ceremonies. This included the killing and bleeding of a cock which Jacqui and myself could not bear to watch, having a drink of their homemade alcohol which we also declined with a smile. We planted some sandalwood trees in recognition of our visit, watched local women weaving, lunch followed by lots of dancing and singing then home.

On arriving back to the anchorage we discovered one of the boats - Mokisha had come adrift and disappeared - your worst nightmare. The call went out for everyone to turn on their radars to see if we could pick her up. We immediately detected something about 1.5nms straight out to sea so we offered to up anchor Kittani, with a few other volunteers on board and Mokisha's amazingly calm owners Tom and Colleen and headed off into the dead of night. With spot lights scanning ahead of us we found her - silently, slowly drifting nowhere. It was such a relief. Once boarded, both boats headed back to Wini for undoubtedly a sleepless night. Nothing like that to raise the fear factor that it can happen to anyone. These guys have been cruising for 12 years and it was a first for them.

From Wini, Kittani and Tintin headed further NE along the coast to the very picturesque anchorage of Gurita Bay.

Looking down into Gurita Bay - a total of 13 yachts anchored together

Looking from Kittani across to the village 
This is a village that few if any tourists ever get to. As we were the only 2 boats yet to arrive, we persuaded the organisers to postpone the start of the ceremony from 6.00am until lunchtime, knowing that another 10 boats were following us from Wini. Just after 11.00am, the fleet rounded the head and entered the bay. We spread the word that everything was on hold so everyone quickly anchored, tendered ashore and into a bus to whisk us away. About 500 children had been waiting since 6.00am to perform for us. It was jaw dropping, amazing - words can't express the welcome we received. These beautiful people never cease to amaze me with their warmth and friendliness. Again a Welcome ceremony that left us speechless.

                          Hundreds of children in traditional costume dancing to welcome us
Bamboo flutes - the sound was so pure  

          A lovely elderly man watching on
Me surrounded by young girls all wanting to take a photo
The farewell dinner and ceremony was more singing and dancing, then we were presented with a scarf and traditional drum. Sad to be leaving this piece of paradise. All 11 boats had decided to head off in the early hours of the morning (1.30am - 3.00am) getting us up to the straits near Alor in daylight, so if was off to bed as soon as we had said our farewells. They love their karaoke here and the locals remained after we had all retired to our boats. The volume was cranked us and even wrapping a pillow around my ears did little to drown out the often off-key notes from shore. They eventually wrapped it up at 1.45am - and our alarm was set for 2.00am. Oh well, we will sleep well tonight.
Me with our guide/interpreter Ivan at local food markets


One of the young girls who performed our welcome dance

Pete amongst some local villagers

Couldn't get this young guy to smile

The face of innocence

The group photo at the traditional village

Our police escort whenever we did a tour

Receiving scarf and drum as souvenirs at the Gala Dinner (Gurita Bay)

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