Friday, November 29, 2013

YOLO in Belitung, Indonesia Oct 2014

The anchorage in W Belitung was behind a couple of reefs.  It was a harrowing task to bring YOLO in around the reefs, but luckily we had good light to do it.  Other yachts hailed us on the radio and gave us directions to work our way around the reefs, too.  We got there early enough to get behind the inner reef and lots of boats came in after us, making the anchorage crowded.  Some boats dragged or anchored too close to each other and when the wind changed and got stronger, boats started to touch and tempers flared.  Glad we weren't one of them!
We went ashore our first full day and were met by large orange tubs of turtles that the local folks had raised and wanted us to set them back into the ocean.  These turtle babies were bigger than the ones we'd paid to let loose, and these were free!  We each let many of them go and guided them into the ocean again.  They are so cute!
 One of the turtles I set free into the ocean.
 Jason with two turtles at a time.
 Some of the turtles got turned around and had to be repositioned to head into the water, but eventually they were all swimming away with their tiny flippers going overtime.
 In a kiddie park behind a museum, they had a wide range of animals.  This local squirrel looks like he rusted on the bottom.  We'd seen these squirrels eating off the platforms with the orang utans on Borneo, too.
 Tortoises tucked head-in to try to find some shade on this hot day.
 In a traditional leader's home, now used for tourists and ceremonial dinners and such, they had a marriage bed set up with the colorful hangings.  Quite colorful.
 That is me with some dancers in their elaborate costumes.  They hung around for a while, but they never got in front of the crowd to do any performance.  Very strange, we thought.
 Another elaborate costumed girl who hung around for photos but never got in front of the crowd to do any dance or performance.  These costumes looked ungainly and heavy, so perhaps they were just there for photo ops.
 We took the dingy to a nearby Eagle Head island to look around and do some snorkeling.  We climbed the ladder on the left rock, but the one on the right looked a bit daunting for us.
 A view of Eagle Head rock from the shore.  The catamarans draw less water than most monohulls and could get in shallow behind the reef here.
We took a tour to a batik factory near Manggar and got to watch them make some batik, then got to try our hand at it.  This lady is dying my 2nd attempt at making a decent design on a scrap of cotton cloth.
The vat they throw the fabric in to boil off the wax of the design.

The ladies were dying the bigger pieces of cloth that they made.  Not a high-tech work area, eh?

The lady who helped me make a design.  She didn't speak English.

 A firm hand to push down the hot iron with wax on it.  They space the design by hand and it's all freehand work.
 You can see the lengths of cloth they press the designs onto.  They make sarongs and scarves and material to make shirts and such, too.
 Dying my piece of batik cloth.
 You can see this is a small operation, but they turn out beautiful stuff.
 Me with my 2nd attempt at a decent design.  This one came out pretty good!
 Me waiting for the iron to get hot enough to use.  They have what I think is an asbestos pad floating on the wax and they set the iron on the wax over a burner.
 My first attempt to press a wax butterfly onto a cotton cloth.
 My second attempt was this flower design and it came out quite good.
 My blobby first butterfly in wax.
 After the batik factory, we stopped at the first literary museum in Indonesia--the Words Museum.  This is one of the paintings on the wall inside.  An appropriate sentiment some mornings.
 We had a traditional dinner with the local Regent at his home.  We sat on the floor in groups of four.  Dinner on the platter is meant for four people to share.
 Dinner came under the cover.  The covered glasses was our drinking water and the bowl of water in the middle is the finger bowl to wash your hands.  You eat with your hands/fingers, not utensils, so you need the finger bowl.
 This is the inside of the replica of the schoolhouse from "The Rainbow Troops" book and movie.  Its about some kids who put up with the hardships of life here to get an education.  This is really what their school looked like inside.  They REALLY wanted to learn.
 Jason and guide, Srai, on the mangrove river tour.  Love the shades and the hat!
 Srai took us into the mangrove forest nearby and we walked across some mangrove roots to see this huge beehive in the trees.
 Nypa palm fruit growing out of the mangrove river water.  We hacked off a bunch of these and we got to try the nuts/fruits.
 A close up of the nypa palm fruit bunch.  They are hard, like mini coconuts with tough husks.
 You can see the white meat of the nut inside.  It tasted a bit like coconut.
 The Rainbow Troops schoolhouse from the outside.  Dilapidated and propped up by logs.
 Close up of Srai in his mangrove hat.  We called him the mangrove man.  The black is like duct tape cut to hold the rim and pieces together and as design.  The little balls are tiny pinecones from the casuarina trees.
 They put on a performance for us where 2 guys take these stick whips and try to whack each other.  They were supposed to "pull their punches" I think, but a couple of the swipes connected and drew blood.
Manggar is the town with 1000 coffee shops and they supposedly hold the record for over 17,000 people drinking coffee at the same time.  They even had a monument of a coffee pot in the center of a roundabout.  We bought some coffee here to take with us, too.  Coffee here is powdered, not rough grinds.  The locals throw the coffee into the cup of hot water and when the grounds sink, its ready to drink.  You just have to remember there are grounds on the bottom of the cup before you take that last big gulp!!  "White coffee" here is 1/2 sweetened condensed milk and the other half black coffee that has been squeezed through a filter.  Too bad I didn't get photos of the monument in Manggar, but we're still drinking the coffee--we put it through our coffee maker, though.  How civilized....

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

YOLO in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia Sep 2013

Labuan Bajo, Indonesia is where the northern route yachts and the western route yachts were to meet up for the big gala dinner with the President of Indonesia.  It was a big deal politically and the harbor was full of military ships from the SE Asia area, including the huge hospital ship from China below.
A rusty military ship in the harbor.  Not sure what country this was from as there were ships from many countries here to make a showing in their sail pass, too.
 The Presidential viewing area on shore.  He was supposed to be somewhere in the crowd ashore, but we have no idea if he was there or where.  His tight schedule may have had him gone before we even went by!
Another big ship in the parade.

 YOLO had all her flags a flying, too!  We looked good.  You just can't get a picture with the right perspective from onboard our boat.  We'd need another yacht to take a shot of us.
  Children singing and dancing for us for the welcome dinner.
 The dancers flipped over rice baskets that spelled out "SAIL KOMODO", the government program that paid for the Sail Indonesia support at all the islands we visited.  The umbrella program at the highest government levels was known as Sail Komodo.
 The captains discussing the route for the sail pass where we were to follow the military ships in a big loop in front of the President's viewing platform on the shore.
 A lady playing a very unusual round harp in an expo tent in the city of Labuan Bajo.  I've never seen such an instrument before.
 Jason waiting his turn to fill our water buckets at the Eco Lodge in Labuan Bajo.  He then had to cart them across 100 yards of sand and load them into the dinghy and drag it across the shallow sand bar and get it back out to the boat.  The hassles with water when we don't use a watermaker....  The pool in the background was a lifesaver in the heat here.
 Another American boat, Water Musick, in the sail pass, with their sail and flags out.
 The yachts parading in  a line past the President's viewing platform on shore.
 You can see the micro lights buzzing around as our friends on Velella get in line for the sail pass.  The Indonesian armed forces had paratroopers jumping out of helicopters in front of the viewing area, too.
 Karen cooling off in the pool at the Eco Lodge in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia.
 My sarong drying near the pool, with the Eco Lodge in the background.
Main street in Labuan Bajo
 Jason and Lyn dancing, with Helane and Peter from Velella in the foreground.  They were all dancing up a sweat at our welcome dinner.
 Peter, Lyn, and Jason having a good time at the welcome dinner.
 Karen and Lyn dressed up in our Buton finery for the dinner with the President.  We never really had dinner with him; he ate in an air-conditioned room with the ambassadors and dignitaries from many countries while we balanced plates on our laps in a hot foyer in the gov't building.  Disappointing that he didn't even address us as the banners along the road and at all the events touted Sail Indonesia all over the country.
That is the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in the blue shirt in the center of the photo.  He said "See you tomorrow" as he walked past us on his way out and that was the extent our interaction.  We thought he was coming to our gala dinner, but it turned out we were coming to dinner at his political reception for others; at least that is how it felt.  We weren't impressed.  We'd been treated like Super VIPs until now and we felt like poor relatives here.
Lyn with some of the dancers at the welcome dinner.  They had whips at the end of those poles and they danced and swung them at each other in some ceremonial performance.  Once in a while, they connected and drew blood.  They had swishy bells on their backsides that stood out like tails, too, but they never stood still long enough to get a clear picture of them.