To keep in touch with us and one another as you cross Indonesia there are THREE ways - you can see Sam's Blog or join our closed Facebook group at Sail Indonesia 2103 Event Update (email us for access) or SMS to Sam directly. Photographs from Darwin and Kupang will be added in the near future.
The start gun was fired on time at 11 am on July 27 by His Excellency Mr Nadjib Riphat Kesoema the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia. Yachts for Kupang and Saumlaki departed together.
A special thank you to JR Duty Free for your continued support of the Sail Indonesia Rally and the Kupang Scholarship. They donated a number of prizes that were raffled at the Darwin BBQ and we raised $350 dollars which will go towards sending young people in Kupang to Univeristy that otherwise would not be able to go. Thank you JR Duty Free.
The fleet of yachts left from Darwin on schedule in light variable conditions under a slightly overcast sky. The start was unevenful except for a small collision between the yachts Poco Andante and Kappa close to the start boat.
On Monday, the first yacht Reflections arrived - not via Darwin but as part of a group of yachts arriving direct from the Pacific to join Sail Indonesia - after arranging their Social Visas in Dili and Port Moresby.
On Tuesday, the yachts from Darwin began to arrive in Kupang and the combined offices for Indonesian Customs – Immigration – Quarantine (CIQ) and Ports began operation, offering a one stop shop right at the anchorage for all the incoming yachts. CIQ officers worked quickly and efficiently, clearing yachts and then participants were able to come ashore and finalise their inward clearance in a temporary office set up at the anchorage especially for the Sail Indonesia occasion. A number of participants were cleared in just in time to watch the sunset and mingle with the local Timorese people who had come to the anchorage to satisfy their curiosity and offer the visitors a warm, Timorese welcome.
On Wednesday, CIQ had their hands full as more yachts arrived and waited for clearance. They worked quickly and more participants were able to come ashore. Local vendors set themselves up at the anchorage, selling weavings, wooden braclets, custom made t-shirts, necklaces, pearls and other textiles. There were also a number of tours being offered to participants if they wished to see more of West Timor, taking them to places such as Soe, the waterpark, traditional villages and waterfalls. As in previous years, Telkomsel set up a temporary work space at the anchorage where participants were offered a free Simpati SimCard for their phone, and staff could help them set up their phones, tablets and other communication devices for use in Indonesia. There was also money changers, an ATM, and Free WiFi available at the anchorage, which some people were even able to access uninterrupted on their yacht at anchor!
A few yachts had a little difficulty securing their anchors today, due to the amount of debris on the ocean floor and also the wind, which had been quite strong for a few days. However, after a few problems everything settled down.
As the sun went down, close to the anchorage, local vendors set up coal BBQs and toasted whole corn cobbs for purchase. There was also a variety of "Gorengan", fried Tempe, Tofu, Bananas and Cassava - all served with a small plastic sack filled with bright red chili sauce. People were selling flourecent sticks of all colours and toys that flashed colours and pretty soon, the whole beach was covered in children throwing them up into the sky like missiles. Participants wove through the crowds along the bustling streets and took in the warmth and hospitality, the sounds of bemos wizzing past pumping loud music, and the smiles of the local people as they passed by.
By Thursday, most of the boats had already arrived in Kupang with the exception of a few yachts that had been late to leave Darwin. CIQ began their operation at about 10am and quickly began clearing yachts around the anchorage. The process of finalising the inward clearance for participants on the shore was a very easy process, with CIQ set up close by to the anchorage. Soon, participants were free to begin exploring Kupang. Some walked to the large wet market to buy vegetables and fruit. Some were happy just to eat a plate of Nasi Goreng for $3. Some participants puchased tradition "Ikat" weavings from local vendors and some participants even went and got a new haircut for $3 also.
Participants really seemed to be enjoying themselves and were sharing information with each other. Participants were organising a trip to one of the local orphanages among theselves, with the help of a local named Alfredo. The visit to the orphange has been scheduled for Saturday.
During the evening, many participants went to the night market on the advice of many locals. At the night market, your senses are really brought to life. You can choose your own fish to eat, sample local food, "Terang Bulang" pancakes covered in sweetened condensed milk, and chicken fanned over hot coals. It really was lots of fun to sit on a plastic chair, crouch over a makeshift table, and mingle with local people while eating some delicious, hot, fresh food. You could even have mudcrab or prawns if you wished. An authentic Kupang experience!
On Friday, the feeling at the anchorage was a little subdued as about 50 participants left early for a tour to Soe in the morning. Still, CIQP arrived to clear in the remaining boats and people ventured out to the markets and to the mall. There was a Technical Briefing held at 5pm which many participants attended. Unfortunately, the participants who went on the tour did not make it back in time to attend. It was unexpectedly a lavish affair, with dinner provided as well as performances, traditional dancing, and singing. Participants discussed the option of sailing to either Alor or Sabu before meeting up again in Labuan Bajo. Those who attended said it was great fun, as well as informative. They were given specially designed t-shirts with pictures of komodo dragons, specially designed fanny packs, and informative books containing charts and details of anchorages along the route. In true Indonesian style, the participants who were on the Soe tour did not get back to the anchorage until 2030hrs but they did not have to worry, as the next day, the gifts and books were available for collection at the anchorage. By all accounts, the tour to Soe was excellent and even though they missed the technical breifing, they did not have any regrets. They really enjoyed the tour.
By Saturday (the last full day of festivities), everyone was excited for the Gala Dinner, hosted by the Mayor of Kupang and the Govenor of Nusa Tenggara Timor province. During the day, most participants finalised their provisioning, water and fuel, as well as explore Kupang a little more. By late afternoon, people got dresses and met on the beach to board the buses that would take them to "Subasuka Paradise", an open air venue located 3kms from the anchorage along the shore. When they got to the venue, it was clear to see that a lot of effort had gone into hosting the event. Participants were welcomes by hosts dressed in traditional clothes, elaborate decorations covered the entrance and music played. The buffet dinner was opened quickly to participants who as the guests ate first, in accordance with Timorese tradition. What folllowed was a wonderful evening, filled with dancing, speeches, gifts distributed to participants and even fireworks.
Importantly, this was an occassion where Sail Indonesia representatives from Darwin were able to take the stage and introduce a number of scholarship recipients to the participants of Sail Indonesia (a number of scholarship students had arrived late to the event and were too nervous to advance to the stage at that time). A recent graduate named Yolvina Bimusu, a fantastic English speaker, addressed the crowd and expressed their collective gratitude and ambition to complete their studies and follow their dreams, with the help of the Sail Indonesia Kupang Scholarship Program.
Participants were invited to join in with traditional dancing, and there was also a traditional war dance from Sumba, which everyone really enjoyed. There was a short fireworks display, followed by more dancing. It was a fantastic official welcome and "selamat jalan" for participants about to embark on Sail Komodo, and then onto Bali and Karimun Jawa. It was a fantistic evening, one that will be remembered forever.
This page will be updated as opportunity allows as the group of yachts cross Indonesia - but as the yachts are now widely spread across Indonesia and internet access is very poor it will not be until the yachts arrive in Bali when more information will be available.