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Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 11, 2012 - Island of Kawula, And a Caution About Balurin Anchorage

About 30 miles from the Blangmerang anchorage at Pantar is a place called Balurin on the Island of Kawula (which is now renamed Lembata) where Renegade is waiting for us to catch up to them. We departed leisurely around 8 AM and had caught a decent current taking us out of the bay. By the time we arrived at the top of Tuwah Lewang, however, we got hit with a 2 – 3 knot current on the nose. We sailed a little bit but mostly had the motor turned on for the 6½-hour trip. On approach the colorful bay was picturesque and inviting. It was scattered with coral reefs and we thought this would be a good spot to just kick back, do some snorkeling and relax for a couple of days before going into Lowobela Harbor. As we approached the anchorage several dugout canoes filled with laughing, shouting and waving young children immediately converged upon us. We waved and smiled back at them, however, as we were trying to anchor they paddled determinedly to get up next to the boat. When Frank reversed, backing down to set the chain a group got behind Destiny. I was concerned that we would run them over, or that one of them would fall out of the rickety hollowed-out logs and get churned into our propeller. They seem to have no spatial sense, and definitely no sense of fear. It was very distracting in that their excitement attracted even more little canoes. We needed our full focus on the job of setting the anchor. I noticed that Imagine was dealing with the same interferences.  They were all yelling "Hey Mister! Give me money", while trying to grab onto the boat. Seeing that we weren't biting, the munchkins turned their attention to Renegade where Peter and Evelyn had come out to lower their dinghy. In a heartbeat the kids had paddled over and were all over Renegade's back steps. We busied ourselves getting our deck and lines tidied up and within a few minutes noticed Peter and Evelyn heading over to us in their dinghy with three canoes full of children holding onto their straps, being dragged along. It was quite a sight. The entire troop arrived alongside Destiny. Peter and Evelyn were heading out for a snorkel and told us that they had locked their boat up tight because there had been rumors of vandalism from others yachts who'd been here before. He also said that they had given the children balloons and pens although they wanted money, and if we didn't want to encourage their begging we should just go inside and they would quit bothering us. We took his advice, but the children persisted in their effort to extort some form of treat from us. I told Frank I was not looking forward to being held a prisoner in my own home by a group of juvenile bullies. They had transcended cute – they were now down right pushy and obnoxious yelling and banging on the hull. They did eventually leave and later we found out why.


Returning from their snorkel, Peter and Evelyn stopped by to invite us for sundowners aboard their catamaran. When we arrived they informed us that while they were away someone (take a guess), had climbed up on their boat, slipped open one of their front portlights (small window) and had stolen their basketful of oranges. It appeared as though they would have gotten more than that but might have been frightened off. I guess it goes to show, whether or not you give them something they come back for more. Now we are all wondering whether the splattered mess on our boat was an accident or an act of aggression because we did not give anything to the beggars in the Alor anchorage. Furthermore, we're receiving emails from friends on the eastern route that are having a hard time keeping locals OUT of their boats. What a pity it has come to this. Sitting there with our friends my mind wandered to whether our boat was safe while we were away visiting, we were anchored about 200 yards away and I found it hard to concentrate on being social when my eyes kept stealing over to Destiny where she sat vulnerable in the approaching darkness.


Judy & Bill Rouse aboard S/V BeBe said...

Appears that you are enjoying the 'local anchorage experience' of Indonesia about as much as we did. And for the same reasons. We gave fish hooks and line to the men; lipsticks, nail polish and cheap flip-flop sandals to the women; and crayons and paper to the kids. None were satisfied except the women. The men and kids just wanted money or cigarettes. I do not understand people who enjoy cruising Indonesia and do it over and over again. Once was plenty for me. Hope you aren't too overwhelmed with the little beggars. It has reached the point that all they really want is money. After all, you are the rich least in their minds.

Ruth Cawston said...

Hmmmm - not sounding great Barb. Keep your pecker perky....or get Frank to keep his perky.!!x