Mandolin Wind under Spinnaker  

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Martin & Sue

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More adventures in the Spice Islands

 

Over the next few days we ambled slowly up the west coast of Yandena. The rally boats quickly spread out and we were soon enjoying secluded anchorages with Southern Mist II being our only neighbour.  We had decided to ‘buddy’ up with Chris and Phil. Besides being great fun and good company, it was comforting to have the support of another yacht should any problems arise.

 

Wherever we anchored we were guaranteed that visitors would arrive within a few minutes. If we were near a village these could become trying after a time as there was a continuous flow of canoes and dugouts arriving to exchange greetings. Very rarely did they ask for anything.

Once a fisherman with his family on board asked for medicine for his sick child – and another asked if we had swimming masks as he caught crayfish by diving. Mostly, however, they only wanted to ‘sticky beak’ and say hello. We did give them some packets of fish hooks and line that they traded for a coconut. This is much better than simply putting them into a gift and ‘no trade’ mentality.

 

 

 

 

 

Of the several villages we visited as we moved north, none were as picturesque as Latdalam. At Welute we went ashore to look at the massive church that dominated the village.

 

 
   

Above: a Local Catamaran being built!

 

We came ashore at low tide and this exposed a vast area of sand and reef. Underneath the many dried out fishing craft and the half built boats the area was filthy. Dead pigs, faeces and rubbish extended from the shoreline out towards the drying reef. Perhaps they had not had a king tide for a while to flush the bay.

 

  As well, pigs were kept in wooden structures built over the sand so this didn’t help the oppressive smell of decay and rot.

 

Beachside real estate in this village was definitely down market! As we cut through a narrow lane between shacks to try and find the main road, we noticed how poor the people were. Generally the shacks consisted of only one room with virtually no furniture visible apart from sleeping mats. Most also had a lean to on the side where big pots were boiling over open fires.

 

 
     
 

Above: Water Supply

 

Above: Power supply!

     

 

  We felt like intruders as we passed by groups of locals squatting in the dirt – the men smoking and the women nursing babies or grinding grain. Once on the concrete road the façade of the shacks gave the impression of neatness but having seen behind the exterior we knew better.

Above: Seaweed Drying

 

   
 

 

As usual, we were soon surrounded by children who guided us towards the church high on the hill. Apparently it had taken them 10 years to build and they were very proud of it.

 

 

 

The houses became flasher the higher we walked and some even had their own wells rather than having to share the communal one. A few of the teenagers knew a little English and we met a teacher who taught English in the local school. ‘English – it is the language of the world. That is what I tell my students.’

 

 
     

 

When we returned to our dinghy it was high and dry but the laughing children all gathered around the dinghy and helped carry it out into deeper water. As we motored away they waved goodbye and we had the distinct impression that we were the most exciting thing to happen in the village for quite some time!

 

 
  By now we were starting to feel the need for some peace and quiet so we made for a secluded anchorage well away from any villages. Of course, with the millions of people living in Indonesia, it is hard to find somewhere without any people!

 

No sooner had we dropped anchor when we were visited by a lone fisherman in a dugout. Via sign language he asked for a hat. Luckily we had a near new Bunnings hat on board and he was extremely happy when we gave it to him.

 

 

 

Later, his three little girls paddled over – the oldest could not have been more than 6 and they had paddled a long distance from their hut. They were obviously very poor as their clothes were ragged. Again via sign language they asked for food or clothing.

 

 

     

  Having no children’s clothes on board, we gave them apples which they were clearly thrilled with – plus a towel, colouring books, coloured pencils and a Koala each.  We were very impressed when the next morning the mother paddled out and gave us a coconut as a thankyou.

 

That night after a spot of socializing, we prepared for the 32 hour sail to Banda. This involved taking the outboard off the dinghy and stowing it, preparing pre-cooked meals and generally getting things ship shape.

 

 

 

Above and Right: Relaxing on Southern Mist II after a hard day

 

We started out early the next morning in 10 knots that gradually built to 20-25 knots by evening so we double reefed to slow the boat down. The two conflicting cross swells of over 2 metres each made it difficult to sleep so we were happy to see Banda on the horizon at dawn. During the night we had crossed water that reached depths of over 7,500 metres!

Thankfully, we now had a few days to rest and explore Banda before pressing on to the next 'Rally Welcome' stopping off point at Ambon.