From Labuan Bajo to Medana Bay in Lombok was ugly. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t any bright spots. There were. It means that sailing in Indonesia is; well, not sailing. A half dozen times or more we put out the sails. We covered a few miles under sail. However as I’ve mentioned before; each island has its own wx system. The morning starts with a light offshore breeze. Around 10-11am the breeze dies and as the day progresses and the land heats up an onshore breeze fills in. Then we’re looking to anchor for the evening. Traveling at night is a serious no-no in Indo.
Hell, even during the day there are hazards. We were traveling along the coast of Sumbawa. There are heaps of fishermen with nets out. By heaps I mean every km or so there was a net strung across the water. Nets 500 meters long or sometimes more. We had done well avoiding them by staying farther offshore. We came upon a fisherman up ahead. He was slapping an oar in the water. We’ve seen that before. They do that to drive fish towards their nets. Then as we got closer he began to wave, like a madman. We had no idea what he was waving about as his arms seemed to be all over the place. About a boat length in front we saw the floats for a net. I wasn’t worried. We had gone over nets before. The advantage of a full keel boat. But before we were sailing. Now we were powering. All seemed to go well till I noticed the net had caught on the shoe of our rudder. Obviously I hadn’t cleaned all the barnacles off. More than that, my fishing lure too caught something; you guessed it, the net. I was afraid we had wrapped the prop. Others have told me that they had reversed the prop and the net would unwrap. Don’t try it! It didn’t and most likely made it worse.
All this time the fisherman was paddling over. He too wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy, W/ wasn’t happy. The only good thing was there isn’t any wind, the Sun is shining and the water warm. I donned my swim trunks, got my dive mask and fins. In I went. I couldn’t unwind the net. It was firmly tied / wrapped on the shaft and prop. The only option was to cut if free. The fisherman was hanging out, hanging onto our dinghy. He had already freed the lure we had and given that back to W/.
W/ handed me a filet knife and I set about cutting the part of the net wrapped around the prop and shaft. A few dives later we were floating free. I got back into the dinghy (we had been towing it) and removed my gear. The fisherman hung on. He indicated he wanted money to repair his net. I felt a little wronged. Little floats one can barely see on the water. No discernible end and a wild fisherman waving his arms in every direction. Such excuses I can make! W/ brought up 200,000 Rp and handed him the money. For a cruiser, that isn’t much money. For him fishing was his livelihood and we had made his life more difficult. I can’t say he was happy. I can say we weren’t. He did seem satisfied and let go of the dinghy. We started up the engine and continued our trek west.
The majority of anchorages on the N coast of Sumbawa are open roadsteads. Any serious winds from the N puts a boat on a dangerous lee shore. There are not many choices here. Fortunately this time of year the winds are light and at night they blow offshore. So we don’t worry. One such anchorage we had the hook down and W/ was preparing Dunch (Dinner and Lunch at the same time). Something large banged on the boat. We both scramble up on deck. A mid-sized Bagan bumped into us. The winds and tide had changed. I had anchored a 100 meters away from him thinking we were safe. They had more anchor line out than I thought and they were sitting away from the island. I was able to push them free enough that there was no more colliding. W/ started up the engine and we moved farther away. Damage. A little. A small nick in our paint on the hull. We were lucky we were aboard, the winds were light, and it was daylight. In the middle of the night that would have scared us silly. We didn’t take a break till we hit Moyo.
Moyo looked like a good anchorage. Protected from N winds around to the S. Only open to the W and SW. We anchored in 15 m of water and with the light afternoon onshore breeze we drifted nearer the reef. The anchor was doing its job keeping us in deep water. We set up the dinghy and went exploring. We walked the village. Smaller than a town. Checked out a Covid closed dive resort. Discovered there was not any Laundry Business and looked for a place to get a nice cold drink. We checked out one place that looked inviting only to discover they didn’t sell beer. With our mixed up Bahasa and their hand signals we were directed down the road; really much closer to a path, to a restaurant. There we found a cold beer and great view of the harbor and if we stayed long enough; the Sunset. And as so often in our travels we were lucky.
An Aussie ex-pat with his daughter hanging out joined us for a chat. He had just built a place on Lombok with his Indonesian wife. And he said…. he had a great meal at the restaurant a couple doors down. Now, we’re not one to turn our backs on any place that has good food. We were getting hungry and the beer alone wouldn’t quench our hunger . So…. We wandered over.
The cats and the restaurant’s 6 year old daughter took a shine to us. She worked it so she could climb up onto my lap while we checked out the menu and ordered food! She sat there playing with her phone. On the front of the menu was a lovely picture of a waterfall. Another tourist; Chinese this time, wandered over. He had an electronic device that translated English to Chinese and visa versa. There we learned that he and his partner had this am returned from the waterfall. The one in the picture, and it was well worth visiting. The manager of the restaurant could arrange a trip. The device was cool. We need to get one. It made communication much easier. Anyway, we arranged for the following day to visit the waterfall. Our food came and I wriggled enough that my lap mate decided she had had enough. She wandered over to another tourist looking for more lap time.
The following day we had lunch at Mary An and then began our tour. Our guide took one motorcycle plus W/ and I took another. I was glad he had W/. The trek to the waterfall was not on a smooth, well paved road. Even a path would be an optimistic assessment. Some areas were paved with cement, others stones and many areas eroded. A four wheel vehicle wouldn’t have an issue. The motorcycles worked well but not fast. I tried to follow W/ with her driver, weaving between ruts, the side of the road and a few places of smooth pavement flying down the middle. But, I couldn’t look around. I had to watch the road. Forty minutes later we came to a stop; the parking lot! Parked the bikes and began to walk.
A story circulated that Princess Di visited this place. The rumor was she would walk up above the falls and bask in the shallow pools – san’s clothing. I rather doubt this last part as this nation of majority Muslims is quite conservative. We walked up to the upper pools and waded through the cool water enjoying the emerald green water color. The forest here is cooler than at the beach and we enjoyed this place. Next time (as if) we would being some food, maybe a bottle of wine! 🙂
Hiking downstream we arrived at the waterfalls where the main action was. There were several falls from about one meter to five. Under the five m falls was a pool of water asking for a swim. Our guide jumped in and I followed. I didn’t jump. The water was cool. The depth unknown and my training with water was never to dive or jump in water of an unknown depth. I don’t and I didn’t. It was about 3 meters deep and in the middle and was a bit over my head. We (our guide and I) swam to the falls, climbed up the rocks and sat behind for minute or two while W/ took some pics. I was told there were fish here but never did see any. I don’t believe any were food.
As we exited the pool to dry off a slew of tourists from a Liveaboard arrived. 15 or so. They strolled in as I was getting my new drone out for pictures. We hung around till they tired of the swim. I got ready to fly the drone to the middle of the pool and take a few images of the falls itself. The rocks with the water cascading over them would have made a wonderful pic. Notice the tense of the sentence! The drone was up and I manipulated it towards the middle of the pool, about 4 m above the water. As I was about to snap a pic it took off! I wasn’t doing anything! Shit! It flew towards me and then lurched into an area bounded by three large trees. Water is deadly to drones. Trees not much better. This one does not have any avoidance circuitry and if it hits a tree ; well, I won’t be able to repair it. This was only the 3rd time flying. Losing it here in Indonesia; where it is not easily replaced, including how not cheap it was, was frightening. My heart was racing. I quickly moved to where it had paused in the middle of the tree triangle. I reached out my hand, held the joystick down for landing and landed it on my hand. It was only the second time I had caught my drone. And I was lucky. It didn’t end up in the water, it didn’t hit any trees and I wasn’t injured by the propellers. Enough of that. I put the drone away.
A few more pics with the phones and we headed back. The ride down the mountain was as exciting as the ride up. Weaving in and out of the track I only high centered a couple of times needing to help the bike with my feet on the ground. We caught up to the truck carrying the tourists from the Liveaboard as we arrived in the village. The road / ditch / path turned into an easier ride and we finished where we began. A couple of drinks to cap off a great day, then back to Elysium.
At the dock there was chaos. Our dinghy had moved. We didn’t mind. It is better if they move it than work around it or damage it. The town was getting new electric poles. With one vehicle and many men they were removing the cement poles from the delivery boat. They already had several poles off but were having difficulty with the last one. The tide had come in. The pole needed to get it onto the pier, off the boat, onto a cart and moved to the storage place. 20 or so men were guiding the pole; plus the truck pulling. As the cement pole moved off the boat some the boat would rise and create a problem. The trucks wheels would spin on the sandy cement pier and work would stop. A new discussion with many chiefs and no Indians ensued. They would go to plan C, and then to plan D etc. During one of their brainstorming sessions we worked our way around the activity and into the dinghy. On the way to Elysium we heard a cheer. I’m sure the pole was off now.
On Elysium we discussed where to next. A place called Badas! Interesting. We needed some supplies and a calm anchorage. This anchorage had turned on us. The winds were fine but a swell had begun to work its way into the anchorage. We were starting to roll from side to side. We DO NOT like rolling. Tomorrows trip is only 25 nm. The restaurant owner had actually said we could order supplies from Badas and have stuff shipped the following day for 5,000 Rp / box. However Badas was on our way and we prefer to choose our own supplies. Badas here we come.