Some names are even funny to the locals. We stopped at a place called Fak Fak and even when the locals said it they had to chuckle. Now we’re heading to Badas expecting a comfortable anchorage. And we did get that. However the town wasn’t within walking or dinghy distance. This is an active shipping port.
We moved deep into the harbor and a local waterman suggested where to anchor. Not one to argue with local knowledge we heeded his advice. After all, we can always move. The depth was manageable, 5 meters and calm. We didn’t yet know about Mossies (mosquitos). We settled in, W/ dug up lunch, I set the forward awning and our waterman stopped by in his tinny (small aluminum boat). Introductions were made and we invited him aboard. We asked a lot of questions. Not all the answers were to our liking. We needed to hire a car to get stocked up on our stores and find a market. His daughter would take care of our laundry; of course we would pay her, and he could dispose of our garbage. We hoped in an environmentally acceptable standard. That doesn’t always happen in developing nations.
The following am we had a car. We picked up Borak (our new Indonesian friend) at the boat he was working / living on. With his directions we headed to where we would meet the car. By Indo standards it was expensive. Initially he asked how much we had been paying and that seemed fair. Then he said he could get a car… for double that price. We hedged. We ended up paying 50% more than usual. In the end we paid 300,000 Rp for two hours. Not wanting to leave the dinghy at the waterfront Borak suggested he take it back to his place. We would call him when we returned.
The Grocery was well stocked and a long way from the harbor. The majority of our consumables we were able to find there. Of course, I’m still having an issue with sweets! So far, everywhere we’ve been in Indonesia I’ve not found Peanut M&M’s. I have found Toblerone; but not here. I have enough I hope, to make it to Bali. I often tell people I don’t have a “Sweet Tooth”, I have “Sweet Teeth”!
After the grocery we hit the fresh market. W/ was able to find the veggies she wanted and our driver assisted in some of the money translation. It worked out well. Back to our drop off place, call Borak and unload our goodies. That evening Borak returned with our Laundry, nice and clean with minimal perfume. It seems that in Indonesia the majority of the laundered goods have been washed in a heavy perfumed soap. We gave him a a nice tip for his time, advice, and extra money to cover the Laundry. He was happy, we were happy and ready to retire for the evening.
Both nights as we were heading off to our berth the fishermen came out. They had a light on the bow of their small boats to attract fish. Then they laid out their nets. Each night there were three such groups. They spent all evening enticing fish with the light, surrounding them with a net and hauling in their catch. They were quiet. As there were not Mossies that found us, the ports were open and we could hear anything happening outside.
In the am they would be pulling in their final catch and head to shore. With all the fishing I am actually amazed there are any fish left. Like any liquid, I guess when fish in one area are caught others move in to replace them. Some in the government / scientific community recognize the problem. Indonesia is being overfished. Of course Indonesia has a lot of people to feed. The locals have told us that their grandfathers hauled in fish that were a meter long. Their fathers hauled in fish that were smaller; say 50 cm long (about 2 feet) . Today, whenever we see fish drying, fish caught; generally they are all less than 30 cm. Banda had a conference (the Spice Islands) while we were there. The focus “Over fishing”. Education is important. People must eat. In the years to come there will be a huge question for Indonesia to answer. How to feed a population that lives on dwindling fisheries?
We picked up the anchor and slowly motored out of the harbor. Rounding the bend and heading along the coast towards Lombok we came across the day fishermen. Every km or so they had nets strung across the reef. These fishermen and their nets went on for as long as we were on the coast here. As we crossed to the Island of Lombok we passed out of the net mine field.
The straits were getting to be more knowable. Every strait here has unpredictable currents. Every one! Depending on the tides there is a N or S flow. Depending on the bottom configuration there are often whirlpools and eddies. Large enough that Elysium’s shoved off course by 20º or more. As we reached Lombok we saw a large area of standing waves. At first we were not sure what was happening. Charts in Indonesia are not accurate. Reefs extend farther out than charts show, Islands may to be off by not only meters, but a mile or more. We changed course and approached cautiously, staying in deeper water.
I climbed up on our mast pulpit to get a better view. I saw no shallow water. Here the water is so clear that the water color will give me a good indication of the depth. All deep water. We kept going. Our trusty Perkins kept us chugging along right through the chop. We were paralleling the N shore of Lombok. The majority of fishermen were gone and we motored to an anchorage suggested by the Book of Lies (Andy Scotts Cruising Indonesia Guide). For once he was right.
I can’t say spot on. Those familiar with cruising guides in the Caribbean would know the difference. Caribbean guides have bearings for an approach, depths along the way, and lat/long for anchorage’s and ports. All the Book of lies has are positions and all too often something isn’t right with them. So often the bottom isn’t correct or the anchorage isn’t safe in this season. But; we listen to; read, all information and learn to be leery of some. We made it into a beautiful, calm anchorage, surrounded by reef, and dropped the hook. Later we would explore a lovely beach that was off the bow. A fisherman was repairing his nets in his boat. We settled in for a few days. I looked forward to flying the drone and getting some new images of the Anchorage.
Next stop is where we expect to haul Elysium. We’ll stop there and check it out. We’ll make sure she’ll be safe and then on to Bali. There we will secure our plane fare back to the states. It’s time to line up our Ducks and stop juggling. We are still not sure exactly how everything will play out. We just know from experience that it will.