Monday, September 5, 2011

Heading South - To Flores

Our friends on Malonga arrived just hours before we were due to depart Wangi Wangi. We had a rushed catch-up before having to get organised. I hope we get to meet up with them again soon! As we left, we had long conversations with Gino on channel 16 about how much we appreciated the WIC's help and how much we loved it here in Wangi Wangi. We gave them a packet of precious TimTam's as a gesture of thanks. 
Our crazy trail finding to get an anchoring spot.
We were the last to leave of 4 other yachts and, being the slowest, were the last to arrive at our next anchorage, Karang Kaputa reef. We were late arriving (1630) and the sun was stuck behind clouds. Our friends were all happily anchored and we ginned about for ages trying to find a suitable spot over sand. The sand proved hard to find as most of this anchorage is reef. Three times Penny and I screamed at Rene to go hard reverse as we were about to hit a bommie!!! Eventually we found a spot in 10 metres and after anchoring, Rene dove down to check. We made some adjustments and then slept soundly through the night. Again, we were the last to leave as Rene and Penny wanted to snorkel over the bommies in the anchorage. I'd had nightmares about jellyfish and opted instead to do my full yoga primary series (something I'm finding it difficult to achieve lately with all these cultural events and socialising and travelling going on!). 
Fishing houses on Karang Kaputa reef.
We had thought we'd have bugger all wind but actually had a brilliant sail all day and all night averaging between 5 and 6 knots with no swell or waves. Rene had fun with our mizzen staysail and we think it helped considerably to keep up our speeds in the light winds. It was the end of Ramadan and during my shift I watched fireworks pop over Sulawesi island. They sometimes looked like a cross between lightning and gunfire. On VHF 16, people were singing the prayers happily. 
Our shifts this time were organised into: 11-3 Rene, 3-7 Cerae and 7-11 Penny. I quite liked the early morning shift and didn't feel too tired despite being disrupted in my time off. Throughout the following day, the wind continued to die off but Rene persisted in making Anima sail. For quite a few hours, we had 6 sails up and in under 10 knots of wind were managing to sustain 4 knots. A pretty big accomplishment for a heavy, small-masted boat like Anima!
Fish Attraction Device - anchored in 3000 metres!!
Rene and I listened to audio books during our night watches. He listened to Les Miserables and I listened to the first part of Eckhart Tolles' presentation entitled 'The Realisation of Being'. Dolphins visited us frequently, sometimes doing strange tricks like poking their tails or noses right out of the water. We also saw plenty more fish attraction devices (remember our pirate raft scare?). During Penny's shift, she was shocked by one such raft as we sailed past it so close she could almost touch it. I still can't fathom how they anchor these bamboo rafts to the seabed in such deep waters of 3000 or so metres!!?
Our toilet had a blockage due to trying to use locally bought tissues instead of toilet paper (of which we have now run out). Poor Rene spent an hour trying to unblock it and ended up having to siphon the blockage out. Gross! 
Poor Rene siphons the head
The winds gradually died off more and more. Rene and I played Blokus on deck as we slowly slid along through calm seas. Rene is very into the idea of just drifting along in the current at 1 knot and eventually arriving somewhere. I, however, am not. It wasn't until we were doing 1.5 knots and only 2.8 miles from a reef in the middle of the night that Rene finally agreed to turn on the engine!! From then on, the engine remained on for 17.5 hours as we motored slowly towards Flores. 
Calm sailing = games on deck to fill the time.
 We changed our minds multiple times and eventually ended up anchoring at Inca village in about 8 metres of water off a quiet village with a huge church surrounded by rolling mountains covered in vegetation. We were all asleep by 7pm and had a glorious sleep with no prayers to wake us!
Serenity in Inca village

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