When we returned home last night after our visit with the gang over at Renegade, we found our sweet Destiny thankfully unmolested yet we were determined to leave Balurin ASAP. So on Sunday at 8:00 AM we were underway and amazingly caught the outgoing tide. Even more amazing was that there was good sailing wind on the beam. Our intention was to head over to the next bay, some 5 miles to the west where Sea Mist had found a good hideaway. As we rounded the point we spotted half a dozen yachts setting sail from that very anchorage and at first we thought, "Great, we'll have the place to ourselves", but then one of the departing yachts said that it had been a rolly night in there. We were of two minds: since the sailing is so good right now we may as well enjoy it while it lasts and carry on into the pass to Lewoleba, Lembata; the other thought was why not find a quiet spot for the night before joining some 50 other yachts? Imagine really didn't want to go into the Rally anchorage just yet and did continue on to a quiet place outside of Lewoleba. We were just too happy with the way things were going for us, and with an SOG of 8 knots we were very content to continue on. This is apparently unheard of – catching both wind and current in these islands. By the time we hit the pass a 3-knot current was pushing us – OK, decision made.
We arrived at the anchorage to find it flanked by majestic hills and two volcanoes. The bay is massive and abuzz with fishing boats and bobbing yachts. We arrived at around 2:30, anchoring well to the periphery of the group. I went down for a rest and Frank plopped down in the cockpit to watch the activity around us. A few fellow cruisers stopped by for a chat to give him the lay of the land and to invite us for happy hour in one of the rally tents up at the beachfront. I opted out but Frank was keen to go and returned late evening with brochures and information about tours, parties and celebrations. I looked the agenda over. It was written in an elemental form of English and was difficult to decipher, but was made very official by the signature and stamp of someone from a government office. I went into "Google Translate" to find that the Head Officer of "The District Office of Cultural Services and Tourism" for the Lembata Regency signed the stamp. God Bless them, they are trying so hard to welcome us and to make a good impression. This kindness and hospitality more than makes up for the ill-behaved urchins and scam artists we've encountered.
Up until now we have been more than a little confused with names of places here in Indonesia. For instance we are on a rally named "Sail Indonesia" but have been given armloads of pennants, bags, t-shirts, hats, etc. with the logo "Sail Morotai". Morotai is another island to the northeast of here. We thought perhaps Morotai is another name for Indonesia but now think they are marketing the "Sail Morotai" rally that is a separate event. Also, back in Kupang, we received all this stuff labeled "East Nusa Tenggara". What is that? I finally turned to "Google Translate" and am using it regularly especially since our internet and phone services are all in Indonesian. East Nusa Tengarra is a portion of Indonesia that includes (but is not limited to) the islands of West Timor, Alor, Pantar, Lembata, Adonara, Flores, & Komodo. On our charts some of these islands have "other" names, such as; "Kawula" is Lembata. Also on our charts, the islands are prefixed with "Pulau". Pulau means Island. My friend Jeri Lyn wrote an email to me saying, "…I also looked up a map of Indonesia and am having a hard time locating where you actually are - there are so SO many little islands throughout there!" Her email is what precipitated me to attempt to understand what all these names are about and to write about it here. So when in the blogs I refer to an anchorage that sounds odd or doesn't seem to be on a map it is because our charts have the Indonesian or not yet updated names. So much has changed here in this Archipelago (comprising some 17,000+ islands) in the past few years. What a vast little republic it is. I can't imagine how the explorers who first mapped this area figured it all out. Oh, and also, on our charts, are words "laut" and "selat" in front of the names of bodies of water, so now I know that "laut" is SEA and Selat is STRAIT. "Teluk" is BAY. That's enough Indonesian for now.
We're happy to be at Lewoleba. In spite of the fishing boats that set out at night and return in the wee hours with no mufflers sounding like lawn mowers running around the bay, the fishermen are so very friendly. They sing and wave at us as they go by. We joke that they are out mowing the anchorage again! We are far enough from the mosques that the dueling cantors no longer jar us or perhaps we are getting accustomed to it. The dinghy boys get very excited when they see us coming and can't wait to help us secure our dinghies. Locals excitedly whip out their cameras and phones to snap our photos on the street and in the market. We feel like celebrities until it is time to haggle for the goods we want to buy. All of a sudden they become hard bargainers, charging us tourist rates for goods. It's all part of the culture though, and nothing we haven't seen before in many other countries.