Kupang Timor, the capitol of East Nusa Tenggara, was our first stop and entry point into Indonesia after a 472nm sail from Australia.

We anchored in 6 meters off narrow high rise cement buildings built on rocks next to Teddy's Bar, the happening place for the cruisers arrival.


Dinghy boys were provided for our landing, taking our tenders and pointing us to the official tables for signing in.

Formalities included getting checked in, procuring fuel and signing up for many of the different rally functions that had been planned for us.


David Woodhouse, organizer of the rally, and volunteers were there to help us deal with the uncertainties of arriving in a strange a different environment.

                                            Dewi & Raymond our
                             Indonesian hosts for the next 3 months

It was all very well organized except for the immigration procedures.  

The power boat with the officials lost their 60HP engine overboard coming through the surf.   Without a boat, the cruisers took over and ferried the officials from boat to boat.  In the end it took about 3 days for all to get checked.  "After all"  we were told.....................

                             " THIS IS INDONESIA!!" 

S/v Ariel used 140 liters of diesel (solar) on the 4 day passage.  We  had not filled up in Australia because diesel was cheaper in Indonesia at 6,000r per liter.  (10,000 rupiah = $1US) 
($2.20 a gallon)


We topped up with 600 liters siphoning it into Ariel's tanks through a Baja filter out of 30 liter jugs. 

While waiting for all the boats to arrive we had free time to check out the town.  Noisy 'bemo's' or local minibuses with loud music blaring from huge speakers, crammed with people was the mode of transport.  Cost for bemo's around town was 25 cents.




Many of the Bemo's were so colorfully decorated inside and out, it was difficult to see out of the front window's so we never knew exactly where we were or where we were going.  It was a real adventure.

                                                                                                      Riding inside a Bemo
Bob and Kathy of s/v Briana find the local market
full of weird and wonderful fruits and vegetables.

The durian a smelly, spiky fruit, that has such an offensive odor when cut open, that it is often barred from hotel rooms and rental cars.  Some say the glorious taste over rides the stench. 
Papaya's were 50 cents, hand of banana's 30cents and a dozen eggs 70cents. 

  We tried our best to communicate at the markets and found most speak the Bahasa Indonesian and that learning the numbers beforehand helped with bargaining for a good price.

It was very hot and humid so reaching for one of the local brews was always a refreshing treat.  Bintang beer was the preferred choice at  about one dollar for a 750ml need to bargain here!

Meals were especial delicious and cheap.  We learned that nasi goreng (fried rice) and mei goreng (fried noodles) were even better with a splash of sambel a crucial spicy condiment.   Sate (skewered meat) and gado gado (vegetables with peanut sauce) were always on the menu and a meal never cost more than a couple dollars. We ate our main meal at lunch time, had cruiser parties aboard or we were invited to special functions in the evening.


As guests of the Indonesian Government Department of  Culture and Tourism all rally participants were invited to a huge Gala Dinner and Cultural Expo at Flobamora Mall.

We were given Sail Indonesia T-shirts to be worn that night as we were being welcomed by the governor of the region.  After a short speech and huge buffet meal we were entertained with a cultural dance performance.

This was to be the first of many such events gratis to the cruisers. 


Phobe of s/v Blue Sky receiving an ikat

One person representing one of 33 countries participating in the rally was presented with a beautiful ikat weaving by the governor of the regency.  These intricately patterned cloth of threads woven together have a long tradition in Indonesian culture.  

After a fantastic meal we were invited to a fashion show of the regions different traditional dress.


During the professional entertainment Dave of s/v Amoenitas was invited on stage to represent the rally participates and ended up  entertaining the locals.  


Organized tours were also on the agenda, which we could attend one or all.  Special buses where provided with police escorts.

     "Mountain Tour'
  to Mt. Mutis & local
ethnic village.  There are over 300 ethnic groups in
             (Mt. Mutis village photo's compliments of s/v Strider)



The tours were arranged back to back leaving at 7AM and often not returning until into the night. The rugged interior was dry and hot and the roads were often little more than rocky one lane trails.

The central hills are dotted with villages of beehive-shaped huts called ume kebubu or lopo which give the area a distinctive character.


We visited two of these village in one day and again were welcomed on the road as we entered the village with a traditional dance and then presented with another ikat weaving.   Demonstrations of  making the thread for weaving the ikat showed much patients is involved. 


While we were trying to understand the tradition of chewing the mildly intoxicating betel nut, a stimulant with a narcotic, espresso type buzz that turns the mouth to a scarlet dripping stain... the natives were curiously checking us out.


Chewing betel nut involves a mix of three parts, the green stalk, the nut and lime.   These are carried in beautiful beaded bags with each in a different pouch. 


Entering the traditional village of Boti we were surprised to see a banner welcoming sailors.



We were greeted personally by the village elders and introduced to the chief, kepala suku, who adheres to the strict laws of adat.   


The 300 villagers still follow the ancient animist religious rituals, shun education and still wear the traditional ikat sarongs made from local cotton, handspun and painstakingly dyed with natural dyes.
Once again we each humbly accepted one of these special hand woven textiles, Ulla of s/v Chez Nous accepts hers.  

In return, one of our cruiser's, Noel on s/v Icicle I, demonstrates the art of magic to an attentive tribe.


Another ritual is the entrance of a baby out of it's hut for the first time after birth, when a name is given by the elders.

The elders sit around and chant names of ancestors until the baby stops crying, then that child will carry on that name.






Our last evening in Kupang we were again invited to a fabulous meal, this time a pig roast. Local dance troupes entertained us then invited the rally participants to join in, obviously entertaining them. It was all great fun.

After an amazing week attending Gala dinners, visiting local villages and being entertained by the Indonesian Government Department of  Culture and Tourism all on their expense, we were at a loss as to how to repay them for there overwhelming generosity.  Fortunately last year s/v Ventana came up with the idea of starting a scholarship fund to send three specially chosen graduates on to collage at the Universitas Nusa Cendana. 

The three student scholarships from last years donations were awarded by Kathy of s/v Briana to Sumiyati Djamal Assa, Margaretha N. Beggo and Yulinana Amelia djehaman.  This year 2007 the donations amounted to over $3000 enough to send a fourth child on to collage.  Even still we all felt we owed them so much more.


While the Kupang sunsets were beautiful, it was not the best anchorage.   A strong wind would come up in the afternoon swinging the boats around stern to the shore.    Currents in the passes between the islands are notoriously strong.  It was mass confusion deciding when to leave.
At 11AM July31, 2007  s/v Ariel sailed out of Kupang in a SSE wind in the company of s/v Arnak and s/v Gentle Lady to arrive at the island of Alor on a flood tide.

Many decided to do an overnighter as it would be necessary to get up in the middle of the night from a half way stop anyway.


 It was a spectacular evening as we sailed into the night surrounded by several other cruisers. 

At 3AM s/v Ariel and s/v Pegasus came very close but a 10 degree starboard turn avoided an incident.  We all kept close tabs on each other  visually & through VHF radio.  It was nice to hear the voices of s/v Zarafet, s/vAmoenitas, and s/v Icicle I close behind. 


By daybreak we were motoring up the Salut Panter, a channel with a 3+ knot  flood tide going south against us. s/v Gentle Lady was powering up to 2200rpm's and barely holding a straight course and s/v Arnak was barely making headway at 0.3kts in mid stream.

Steve made a decision to head toward a rocky shore, using visual only as the electronic C-map charts were off.  Four other boats followed suit, all of us a bit mystified  at the direction  of the tide after such meticulous calculations. 

As we skimmed the shoreline off to our starboard we were still in 100 meter deep water with 7kt boat speed weaving in and out of eddies and whirlpools but making headway. 

                             IT WAS EXHILARATING!

From here on we started using the Total Tide computer program to make our decisions on when to leave or for a planned arrival.

Another obstacle in navigating these waters were the many fish farms and traps of various sizes and shapes a real hazard especially at night as they had no lights.   These would be the first of many we were to encounter.


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