Heading west from Alor and the beginning of the long island chains of Indonesia, we cross swift and narrow straits to reach the northern shores of the stunning volcanic island of Lembata.  It's rugged beauty is only surpassed by it's remarkable cultural diversity. 


S/v Ariel & s/v Strider leaving dramatic and nightmarish anchorage off Balaurin Lembata

 In a calamity of events 28 boats anchored in the SE corner of Balaurin Lembata were unaffected by a 7.5 earthquake 110 km off the east coast of Djakarta Java.  But an increasing south wind off a 5000ft. mountain created a confusion of boats swinging in every direction.   S/v Ariel came precariously close to one boat when their anchor entangled on a coral head and Ariel was forced to move in the dark of night between dangerous fingers of reef  hidden below.  It took another boat almost an hour to find a good anchoring spot while a single hander ended up dragging anchor.  

                              It was a night of high tension and anchor watches for most boats.  


Sailing westward in the Flores Sea along the north coast of Lembata we were between two smoking volcanoes and dodging small fishing craft coming up close for a look.  As we entered Selat Boling with a SE wind blowing us around the cape and into the passage,  we had a 2+ current on an ebb tide helping  s/v Ariel fly along at 10kts. 


Lewoleba Lembata is a relaxed little town rarely visited from the outside world with a beautiful anchorage under the towering Ili Api volcano. 

Known also for it's whaling & natural kitchen villages, 60 rally boats made a stop here in time for the Lembata Cultural Festival.

S/v Gentle Lady going ashore
  We are welcomed ashore by a small marching band and soon realize that WE were the parade!

We were paraded along a one kilometer route joined by natives from surrounding villages and followed them to the regional governors office where we were officially welcomed to Lembata.

During our long march we had time to admire the fascinating, colorful beadwork ahead of us worn by the women of the Atawolo Village



In the evening we were again welcomed with native dances, speeches and a delicious gala dinner.



Nuba Puken Beach

A police escort and mini vans were furnished by the regancy for the one hour ride up the coast

The festival was an all day event bringing villagers from all over Lembata to enact special ceremonial dances and traditions for the rally.  

We had special ring side seats, treated with a tasty lunch and sampled local treats while relaxing and visiting with the native children.


    s/v Cat'chus                                                                                                    s/vMoon Dancer

A traditional dance was performed by each individual village


Broken arrow ceremony to take the soul to eternal life and a fire making ceremony

A chicken beheading was performed with the chicken hopping all over and into the seating area just before a boxed lunch was served.

Dua Bola the boxing ceremony named Hadok was performed with great enthusiasm and determination.
Textiles and basket weaving, feather head dresses and hand worked silver jewelry showed pride of tradition and made it a very colorful event.


After a great day we join s/v Jusroamin, s/vDesperado and s/v Arnak  at a local restaurant near the mosque for a varied meal of squid, chicken, soup and omelet. 


Our schedule, so full of events, rarely left us time to cook but provisioning was essential.  We hired whatever transport available and found the local markets full of interesting and delicious varieties.   Getting to the markets was often an event in itself.



There was so little time to cram in all there was to see and do so we sometimes had to split up to take it all in.  We both had our eye on the towering  volcano but for different reasons.    I opted for doing the day tour to the Atakore kitchen village while Steve and several other cruisers went for the big hike to the top of Ili Api volcano.

Transport to Atakore kitchen village was provided but this time there was a charge of $15

Along the way we stopped to
inspect cashew trees and learned
the main crops are corn, cassava
and peanuts with beans planted 
only in the rainy season. 
The bumpy 45km journey
took us up the side of a
volcano for spectacular
views across the Java Sea.
Our day began at 9AM and
ended at 6:30PM.

A welcoming party lined the path to the village.   We were escorted to an area on the side of the volcano where various holes of different sizes were dug into the hot soil.

                                                      Dapur Alam or Natural Kitchen

 Due to the continual steaming hot vents from the volcano all kinds of food can be cooked in the ground.  Here leaves and hot rocks were removed from the holes to uncover cooked corn on the cob, cassava and peanuts then passed around for us to enjoy. 

         Cliff and Ruth s/v Icicle I                  Tom s/v Matariki            Noel's magic tricks s/v Icicle I


Weaving demonstrations      Ahar & Gelete Kera traditional ceremonies            Buying handicrafts

A final show of hospitality was lavished upon us with sweet coconut milk a variety of vegetables &
        A Roasted Pig Lunch

The local children loved the attention and made a final
pose as we left the village after an exhausting fun filled day
 Cliff s/v Icicle I checks out the 'head'

Group photo of the local children Akatore village     

              The Bamboo 'HEAD'




The day started at 5AM with taking one hour to the village at the base and a 5 hour climb to the summit then 4 hours down returning back on s/v Ariel at 8:30PM.  For 115,000rp or $11.50US this included a guide, transport but no meals.  The volcano is 1463 meters high.

Dave s/v Amoenitas, Frank s/v Circe  Steve s/v Ariel  Keith s/v Kirsten Jayne and Midge s/v Four Star

                 The guide
          View from half way            Salt deposits from evaporation     View of anchorage from summit

   The village children welcome back the intrepid climbers in the village below Ili Api.                                           

                      HE MADE IT!

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