While Sumbawa is a large island situated between the more touristy islands of Flores and Lombok it proved to be a very colorful, and very Muslim island with a famous history.


Sumbawa is the largest island of the province of W. Nusa Tenggara and home to Tambora volcano.  In 1815 a cataclysmic eruption sent 150 cubic km of ash up into the atmosphere, enough to lower global temperatures.  The following year was known as 'the year without a summer' and snow fell on London in 1816.

The arid western region is sparsely populated and transport infrequent other than by boat.  We would stop for a few hours on the NW corner of Sumbawa to visit a boat building village before moving on to Bima to meet up with the scheduled stop for the rally.



Wera is one of the few boat building villages in the world where traditional wooden boats are still built without blueprints using only hand tools and  made entirely of wood including the nails.
No metal is used other than the keel! 

On shore were at least 6 huge monster wooden hulls covered in thatch.  Each boat was at least 70feet long with a 20 foot beam.





Three traditional wooden boats in various stages of  construction


We were greeted on shore by naked village children and walked across a very polluted beach for a closer look under the boats




All holes are hand drilled then wooden pegs hammered in through the planking and attach to the ribs inside.

Inside hand chiseled ribs give form

We were escorted up a wooden ladder by the children to have a look inside. 


Inside one of the traditional wooden boats being hand built in Wera



The main street and  colorful houses in the village of Wera.



Sumbawa's chief port in Bima and the rally's anchorage

We were met at the harbor dock by English speaking guides eager to help us in any way. They took our trash and helped us out of our dinghies onto a newly asphalt paved lot made just for us.
Bima was a pleasant surprise! This was a new venue for the rally, and for the town of Bima to host such a large contingent of boats.

Bima was a good anchorage with good holding, calm at night but every noon a north wind came up and made it very rolly and the dinghy dock hard to disembark.

Steve and Marsha of s/v Strider enjoy a first ride to town, very expertly negotiated for a good price in the wrong cart. $1 for 1km to the supermarket or half that for locals.
The best part of Bima was their mode of  transport

Riding in donkey carts called  'BEN-HUR'S'

 At first we did not realize there were two types of cart, one for passengers and one for cargo.

The market was very colorful, friendly and had a good selection for good prices.

Cucumber 3=1000rp
Tomato 1kilo 5000rp
Papaya 2 = 1200rp
Eggplant 1kilo=5000
Banana 1 hand=1000
Mango 3 = 10,000rp

Bob and Kathy s/v Briana returning from
the market in covered passenger Ben Hur.

Sumbawa is a poor island and health is still at the development stage in most parts. We had to wash all vegetable carefully and drink only bottled water.

Cuts and guts of meat were laid out on fly blown tables and totally indiscernible


Fuel and Water Deliveries

S/v Ariel gets 400 liters of diesel delivered in 35 liter plastic jugs.  It took forever as with each jug the local would suck on the hose to siphon and also got a mouth full of fuel.  Total for Ariel 2,400,000rp.  ($240US)

Our visa's for Indonesia were also running out so it was here in Bima the rally organizer, Dewi,  collected them and for a $60 US fee we got our extension.  It was great to have such service!


The big event for an evening was held at the Sultan's Palace.   Sultans held a degree of power, even under Dutch intervention in 1908, but after Indonesia's independence the only trace of old sultanates are the palaces.       

We were again invited to a huge buffet meal served picnic style inside the Sultan's Palace


After the meal we were entertained with a cultural show and found the dancers were more of the Balinese style typical of eastern Sumbawa


Lloyd s/v DeJaVu                 Steve s/vAriel

Cruisers are always encouraged to a photo session

Accepting woven cloth from regional government 


It was a grand evening but the best time was terrorizing the town with cruisers racing through the streets at night in dozens of  BenHur's.  All the drivers took on a Charlton Heston personality and the race was on back to the anchorage.

          s/v Icicle I                                  s/v Pura Vida                                         s/v Desperado




A typical rice hut village on Sumbawa consists of little thatch roof huts clustered together and raised off the ground.  Inside corn and rice are stored on platforms.   On a tour of the village we were entertained by ceremonial dances which are preformed during the harvest time and depict the planting, harvesting and pounding of the rice.

The men also performed using knives, playing a ceremonial instrument and a ritual butting of heads


It was a great time mingling with the villagers and were even encouraged to hold their children. 


We were provided with a big air conditioned bus to take us up into the dry hilly countryside to the village only 15 miles from Bima.

On the way to a weaving village  we stopped at swimming pool for lunch

                                                                     LUNCH BREAK

Nothing like a nice swim after a great meal of fish heads and rice





Weaving demonstrations were done by the ladies who are trained in the craft at a very young age

Very unique bird cages hung from porches all around the village 

Gayla and Kathy dinghy for dollar contributions in anchorage  while Steve helps with computers

In between all the rally functions and sailing on to meet up with the rally events, we must keep up with chores, provisioning and whatever else comes along. 

Birthdays while cruising are also a necessity and one we make a point not to miss



Tom s/v Sundance  Stephanie Lembati from Labuan Bajo,  Bob s/v Briana, Dave s/v Strider

The whole gang showed up in dresses, (men included) and a surprise guest Stephanie Lembati a local lady in traditional dress came all the way from (s/vAriel) Labuan Bajo to celebrate with Dave

 Geoff and Jan s/v Arnak the Aussie's come by for a surprise and got a little 'shock and awe'
when they meet Stephanie.  Geoff clams she was quite charming but it was the 'hairy legs'
that put him off!

Pulau Madang Island


Our last anchorage in Sumbawa was Pulau Madang Island before sailing off to the island of Lombok


We met up with several other cruisers and had one last farewell with 'sundowners' on the beach

         s/v Piping Shrike                                                                                   s/v Second Winds

Crusier Sundowners on Pulau Madang Island Sumbawa

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