August 1, 2007 the rally arrived in Kalabahi Alor to coincide with EXPO ALOR a cultural event held yearly for the last 7 years.   The people here were so welcoming, even the children swam out to greet us and a special event was held where one of the the rally participants is chosen to be King.


A Turkish man nominated an Australian, crewing on a Canadian boat to be King for a day.  It was not a difficult choice as Noel, our cruiser/Magician who always captivated the local children with magic tricks, was ceremoniously escorted off s/v Icicle I with Mrs. Noel and Captain Cliff and honored by local dignitaries.


 King Noel being interviewed by          Jan s/v Arnak (center)               Steve signing autographs
   local Kalabahi radio station         surrounded by local children     We all felt like MOVIE STARS!

 Traditional dances were preformed at the harbor upon our arrival.  Cruisers were invited to join in.

We were the guests of honor at the Alor Culture  Expo which took off with a BANG! 

 Bamboo cannons were set off to begin the opening ceremonies. The cruisers had ring side seats and given snack baskets full of cookies.  We waited three hours for the events to begin and endured long speeches, none of which we could understand. 


Of Alor's 187,000 population, there are 54 different tribal dialects and  73%  Muslim.  With a mix of ethnic, religious and cruiser attire there was  much to keep us entertained while waiting for the ceremonial parade to begin.  


Booths with handicrafts were set up along with weaving demonstrations.

                                                          Traditional Alor wedding dress
Once the cultural parade started, thousands of natives from all over the island marched  past us with great fanfare modeling traditional costumes from their individual villages.  We were most impressed by the colorful head gear made of beads or feathers and the colorful ikat woven fabrics.  


Despite the fact that as recent as the1950's some tribes were still head-hunting, today on the island of Alor it is not uncommon to see cell phones in use.  

Grateful for the many cell towers along the coast, the cruisers were well into text messaging each other.  

                                Cruiser's invited to locals house
Spread out over two anchorages, sometimes stopping by to coordinate a dinner ashore was just as easy, like here by s/v Cat'chus. 

 We had a fantastic huge meal at Hardy' house just on shore, a local who welcomed Geoff and Cal of s/v Arnak and s/v Desperado with a semi cold Bintang while we got to know our fellow cruisers from the Norwegian contingent.  We were also introduced to many unusual dishes and one familiar specialty of the area  jagung ketama or corn and peas, along with a variety delicious fresh picked fruits.  

The local market was full of fresh veges but fish however was small and bread was conspicuously absent. 






Old mechanical pop corn popper>


                                             TAKPALA VILLAGE

One of the rally bus tours took us 14km from Kalabahi then a short climb up a gravel road the last kilometer to the traditional high-roofed village of Takpala overlooking the Flores Sea. 








While this was only the second year the rally has visited this village, the locals were well aware that we enjoyed looking at all the handicrafts and ikats which they eagerly sold at reasonable prices.

                Moko Drums - Gifts of the Gods?

Thousands of these mysterious drums were found buried all over the island of Alor.  The designs indicate they are either from the13th century in Java or from Viet Nam or China in 700BC. 

Today these Moko Drums are highly prized by the Alorese and are an essential part of a brides belis (dowry)

Today a persons status in the community is assessed by the number of drums they posses. 

                                                                                          Takpala Village Lego Lego Dance


We were seated around the village gathering area and within minutes were mesmerized by the trance like Lego Lego dance.  Facing inward and clasping each other around the waist a human chain marches round and round chanting and following the beat of the Moko drums.  A unique rhythm is created by the synchronized movement from the clanging of the brass ankle bracelets.

The people were curious and friendly and proud of their traditions.


Also included in the tour was a picnic on the beach

s/vZarafet & s/v Strider
discuss the chicken option of serebuk, a vegetable dish mixed with coconut.


s/v Windmiller and s/v Jovic enjoy a more formal Gala Dinner at the Kenare Hotel along with a performing dance troupe and fashion show using traditional fabrics in a modern style.

  After a press photograph of rally participants, the cruisers make efforts to entertain in appreciation
Julian of s/v Cat'chus contemplates playing     Steve sings 'Waltzing Matilda'     King Noel's magic


Up at the crack of dawn with the call to prayer from the Muslim mosque each day and the hustle bustle of activities during this festive time in Alor, we are all a bit ready to move on in search of more placid anchorages.   Our electronic C-map charts were slightly off so entering bays along the coast was dangerous with rocky outcrops and hidden reefs. 
Steve pulled up on the computer, downloaded from google earth the Indonesian Archipelago and zoomed in on possible anchorages with amazing visibility from a satellite view.    With an overlay of the latitude and longitude he was able to make safe waypoints into an otherwise unknown anchorage

 Aug. 7, 2007  At 7AM s/v Ariel left Kalabahi Alor in company with 18 boats on a heading of 255 through Kumba pass.  20.7nm later we turned left from waypoint S0811' 026 and E12415'603 into the beautiful snorkeling anchorage of Pandai.  The reef was completely visible and eight boats made a safe passage into the bay and anchored for the night.  Our first 'google earth anchorage'.


                                   Local fisherman off  Pandai Anchorage Alor Indonesia

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