The start was great, now it is day 2 and we are over 2/3rds of the way there but it is horrible, no wind sloppy sea. Last night we motored. We passed many gas wells all lit up like Christmas trees. We have better wind today, I just want to get there
Day 3 We are second in the monohulls to a giant Kiwi boat - Go Jaraman!! We went through the middle of an oil field at 3:00am rigs everywhere and all lit up like xmas trees! Hit something in the water which took 10 years off my life, it may have been a turtle, I inspected the hull when we got in and there is a bit of a mark on the bottom of the rudder but no damage, thank goodness.
We also tried out the new spinnaker on the way over it went well but a bit more wind would have been good.
This place is fantastic. We got here Tues at 1315 in just over 3 days. We motored a lot as there was little wind most of the time. We were in the top 5 monohulls in - and some of those motored more that us. Thursday AM there are still boats arriving, purists who dont know what motors are for!! The people are very friendly and the local lads formed a co-op to look after our dinghies. This rally is the biggest thing that happens in Kupang each year. A yacht that was a week ahead of the rally said the whole town had a working bee to clean up before we got here - bonfires of rubbish ever where!
Teddy's Bar on the beach is a focal point. Teddy is making a killing - he also runs the laundry service, the tour company and who knows what else. Local Beer is very good. Local food very cheap, a meal for about $2.
50% of the population is employed by the government - we had 11 Customs and Immigration people board the boat - a bit daunting but we smiled a lot and had no problems. We were well briefed on what to expect. When the customs man found John's rum ration - a dozen large bottles of Bundy - he said 'Oh my goodness!!
John had bought a captain's hat for $5 in Townsville and it impressed them greatly Capitan Capitan!
We had fun with the 11 officials on the boat when we got here, I looked after the Immigration mob and Sally, the Customs. The Immigration head honcho was after whisky beer or coke and he was a bit disappointed when I said we had none, just as well he didn't drink rum!
Kupang is at the western tip of Timor. West Timor has similar history to East Timor having been colonized for 400 years by the Portuguese, Dutch, Japanese and English before becoming independent as part of Indonesia in 1945.
We went on a tour of the museum so are a bit up on the history thing. Unfortunately for us our guide did not have a lot of English or knowledge or Timor's history.
The markets were fascinating with fish, chickens, eggs, fresh greens, five kinds of rice, beans, beetle nut dried and and lots of other stuff. Also fresh pork killed that morning but not refrigerated and we were there in the middle of the day! This is not at all a tourist place and as everywhere we were welcomed with open arms.
On the Friday night we had the Governor's dinner with traditional dancing. Saturday night, the Mayor's reception. Much fun for all yachties with traditional dancing as well as old style rock and roll !
The people in Kupang are really beautiful and friendly. The Mayor asked us, in his speech through an interpreter to tell the United Nations how safe and friendly Kupang, Timor and Indonesia really are.
We have moved on from Kupang to the island of Alor Our anchorage is off the town of Kalabahi at 08°14 S 124° 30 E It is much smaller than Kupang. Kalabahi Bay is long, narrow and deep with high mountains on either side giving a fjord effect.
The local kids come swarming out to the boat in dug out canoes each afternoon calling Mister! Misses! We gave out some balloons but they just want to look, ask our names and generally yahoo, like kids any where. When we went for a walk yesterday, we had an entourage on about 15 kids, laughing and playing as we walked down the road, dodging the ubiquitous motor scooters.
We are ahead of most of the rally boats. It will be very crowded when they all get here.
Today we took a tour with some of the others, in 3 'Bemos' which are like Taxi buses. They are decorated with decals all over.
Bad Girl and Guns'n'Roses seem to be popular. The head room is low, the roads narrow and bumpy but we had a good time.
We visited the food market with indescribable smells, me of the cast iron belly nearly lost it, then on to 2 traditional villages for a picnic lunch on the beach in between. Totally stunning ! This is definitely not on the tourist track.
Our guide Akmen sang us local songs and was very informative. He provided water, banana fritters and fresh bananas along the way.
Lunch was little packets of fish and rice with vege and of course chilli, cooked by his wife and picked up along the way so it was still hot. All this for less than $25 each. Akmen is making a killing!! I can see him in years to come, with a fleet of buses with 'AKMED'S TOURS' written down the side.
When the other boats arrived we found that the official price for the tours was more like $12
but the cheaper 'Official Tour' did not include the markets or the first village, so we didn't feel so ripped off.
The second village was on the top of the hill with stunning views of the azure Banda Sea. We joked about a resort with condo's and a spa!
Later in the week there are cultural displays associated with the rally but Katani II and Jaraman will probably move on to find a deserted bay with clear water and white sand. Another shitty day in Paradise! Many more boats arrived here last night. Its getting crowded and we had to re-anchor. It's about time we moved on I think.
We bought some fuel and beer, essential supplies. The diesel is run out into an open drum then ladled by hand into our jerry cans. The blokes get fuel all over them, this can't be very healthy.
We use a filter as dirty fuel is a big problem but this lot seemed alright.
The beer shop was next door. It was dearer that in Kupang but when we pointed this out to the lady in the shop she said in no uncertain terms "Here Bintang this much!" not negotiable!! Amazing how the language of commerce is universal.
The Alor Expo opened to coincide with the Rally Yachts. There was a big ceremony with lots of speeches and prayers in 4 flavours. The cultural display involved people from each of the many regions in their traditional dress parading round a large stadium. It was all very interesting but a bit tedious.
Next day there was a re- enactment of the coming of the foreigners - three war canoes went out and met our and met our elected 'King" (Dennis from the US yacht Harrier) and brought him to shore.
John and Sally Potter are from Townsville in Queensland and sailed their Beneteau Oceanis 393 Jaraman up the Australian East coast and west over the top to Darwin to be part of the 2006 Darwin to Kupang Rally. They then sailed through Indonesia using the 3 month cruising permit they received upon entering the Rally and then on up the coast of Malaysia to Langkawi.
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