You know it’s time to leave (a country) when you pay $7.00 USD for HALF a head of cabbage. It wasn’t even imported it was locally grown. Granted, we were in northern New Caledonia and I remember the cabbages in Noumea were reasonably priced (if on sale). Anyways, Arbutus was ready and our expensive provisioning was complete. We didn’t even have to buy much diesel because we used the sails for 3 weeks while Charles and Massel were with us. Wind Power!! Always minimizing our carbon footprint
Twenty three days…23…the number of days we were at sea from Poum, New Caledonia to Kupang, Indonesia. Our Atlantic Ocean crossing was 17 days. Can you imagine? We were making great ground from Poum to the Torres Strait with consistent winds on our beam. With the SSB radio we checked in every morning and evening on the South Pacific cruisers net to report our position and weather conditions. Most boats were in Fiji, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia and were making their way south to New Zealand or Australia. These radio nets are always a welcome distraction because we are able to hear and speak with other cruisers. Amazingly we were still able to check-in to the net when we were 3 days from Kupang. We were able to hear boats as far as Fiji. Incredible! A big thank you to all of the net controllers.
Our plan was to stop at Thursday Island and anchor for a night to rest. We reported our intentions to the Australian Border Force airplanes flying over head and they gave us permission to anchor as long as we remained on the boat. However, our timing through the strait was perfect with a favourable current and the crossing was done in day light hours so we didn’t need to stop. We could have stopped…but we were well rested and didn’t feel the need.
After passing the strait we still had wind for 3 days but we knew this wouldn’t last because the GRIB files were indicating very little wind the closer we got to Indonesia. So we used the engine A LOT and when we could hoist the sails it was only for three or four hours at a time. This coupled with the increase in temperature and humidity made for a sticky sweaty sweaty passage.
As we were getting closer to the east coast of Timor island we were more cautious and we were looking out for fish aggregating devices. Fortunately we didn’t come across any but unfortunately we started to see plastic floating at the surface of the water. Humans are the culprit and with a population of 260 million people with no waste management system much of Indonesia’s plastic ends up in the ocean.
We dropped anchor at 8:30 am at Kupang near Teddy’s Bar and were taking in our new surroundings. It was a landscape that we were not familiar with, rows and rows of dilapidated houses and shops lined the shoreline and multiple prominent phone towers pierced the sky. I like cities with character :). Armed with detailed information from Noonsite (cruiser’s planning website) we were able to handle all of the clearing in procedures ourselves. The only hiccup we encountered was when we were trying to get our VOA Visa on Arrival. We went to the wrong bank to get the visa and didn’t figure it out until we taxied to Immigration 30 mins away. We needed the VOA receipt from the bank before we could proceed with Immigration. We went to BRI bank but we needed to go the the Main branch in Kupang.
Everything else was straight forward but so time consuming. It literally took us the day to clear in from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. If we hired an agent we would have saved an hour. We went to the bank to pay for our VOA, taxi to Immigration, taxi to Quarantine, walk to Customs (short walk), bemo bus back to boat where we met the Customs officer whom Paul took to our boat with our dinghy. They were completely soaked because the wind picked up and there was a lot of surface chop. After quick check of the boat, another wet dinghy ride back to shore, and a taxi back to Customs office to pick up paper work, and one final visit to the Harbour Master because we were leaving Kupang the next day.
All officials were friendly and the only problem we had was at Quarantine where they asked for 100,000 rupiah (6 euros) for payment of a boat inspection. Customs did not charge us anything and Quarantine didn’t have anyone to go aboard Arbutus to do the inspection. So they wanted to charge us for a service they weren’t even going to perform. I argued a bit and said if they could give us a receipt then we would pay. When they couldn’t provide a receipt the official gave me back 100,000. It was only 6 euros but if we paid then they would continue to charge others cruisers this ridiculous fee.
In the evening we had a spicy soup and fresh mango drink at the evening food market sitting on plastic stools. Ahhhh I was back in South East Asia. Dinner was $3.00 cad each.
We had just enough diesel to make it to Lombok, a five day passage, but we didn’t want take a chance so we got some diesel in Kupang. We made friends with one of the locals who lived near the beach where we landed our dinghy and he called up a taxi for us. He was telling us that it might be difficult to fill up our jerry cans and we might have to go to a few different stations before someone will fill them…We didn’t really understand why…but ok. Our taxi driver was the kindest person. You could tell in his eyes and gentle demeanour. We were able to get diesel at the second station we went to but we but we had to park a few meters away and bring the jerry cans in twos to be filled up, then take those two back to the car, and bring two more…Diesel is subsidized for the locals and we shouldn’t have been able to get diesel at the pump. But we did. Since being in Indonesia for awhile the locals told us it’s even illegal for them to get multiple jerry cans of diesel. Only one at a time is ok…I guess it depends on which station you visit and the station attendant.
Our passage to Lombok island was five days and uneventful…because I can’t remember anything from it…I do remember that since we arrived in Indonesian waters we hadn’t caught one fish.
We made it to Lombok in particular, Lombok Marina Del Ray to secure a mooring. I was worried because the last correspondence I had with the marina was not promising. They informed us that there were no more moorings available. However, when we got there and spoke to the staff we secured a mooring for three months. Their berthing rate depends on your boat’s length and width and they could make a lot more money if our smaller boat occupied one of their moorings and a larger boat would have to use the berths.
We were happy to secure a mooring in this protected bay at Gili Gede and wouldn’t have to worry too much about Arbutus while we are home for the holidays. Arbutus was safe and sound so the crew could travel ON LAND! We went on a 5 day trip to Tetebatu in the interior of Lombok. We had a fantastic time being on land exploring the beautiful rice paddies and hiking to crater lake on Mt. Rinjani. We extended our visas at Matartam, went back to the boat to pack for France, Canada, and Tokyo, and with all of our luggage we toured a bit of Lombok and then ferried over to Bali.
We stayed in Bali for 3 weeks. Paul worked for 10 days and the rest of the time we were tourists. You can’t get bored in Bali there are so many temples, rice fields, waterfalls, and beaches to visit, plus many activities including: cooking classes, massages, yoga, river rafting, jewelry making, carving, seeing a traditional dance etc. We got around by motorbike for only $5/day rental. The food was fantastic too. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in Bali but we were both excited to go home for the holidays. Three weeks in France, three weeks in Canada, and 10 days in Tokyo. So grateful we are able to see our families. It was our first time since 2013 to be home for the holidays.