We were a little disappointed that we weren’t the among the first boats to get cleared by Customs the day we arrived at Debut Island, in Indonesia, but passing the time while we waited for them the next day was not without excitement.
Around mid morning a disembodied and panicked voice suddenly came over the radio “Please help! Miranda is dragging, no anchor, no engine. Heading for other boats!”
Jonathan and other skippers jumped into their dinghies and raced towards the disabled Miranda who was perilously close to Fyne Spirit.
The brave little dinghies pushed Miranda out of Fyne Spirit’s bow averting a major collision and with just a cracked light and a slight ding to the pulpit. Then they headed Miranda out of the way of another yacht Shakti, before she was able to be re-anchored. A disaster averted! What an amazing piece of teamwork.
For some inexplicable reason while I was snapping away taking photos, with my heart in my mouth, I kept on thinking of the movie Picnic at Hanging Rock and the words
“Miranda, Miranda, come back Miranda!”.
Strange what the mind does in potentially dire situations!
When eventually, the Customs people did board, we ended up with eight officers on our boat!
It seems that the three officers who were clearing us had some essential papers to hand over to the others but when they opened their manila folders – whoops, they were empty!
“Never mind, come and have some coffee” I think was the gist of the conversation. Another pot of coffee was made.
Two of the younger chaps did the processing as they had excellent English. They seemed justifiably pleased with this responsibility as it had dawned on them, and no doubt, on their elders, how important it was to have this skill.
While one or two of the older men checked their work, another busied himself with poking around our cabins. We had heard from other boats that Customs had “wrapped” their liquor cabinets which didn’t make a lot of sense and even confiscated some or asked for a “gift” of a bottle or two.
Although we have quite a number of wine casks we only have a couple of bottles of gin and a few random bottles of other spirits that we keep for visitors but these sit in a handy hidey hole in the middle of our saloon table and remained unexamined!
Some bottles of wine and a couple of wine casks were pulled out and displayed on our bed but what lay underneath was undisturbed. I don’t think they had seen wine casks before and were quite intrigued by them. They didn’t ask me if there was any more and I wasn’t about to volunteer the information!
Anyway, they were very nice and again, there was much rubber stamping and pieces of paper flying about.
Once they had left we were free to go ashore so we drove over to the dock where local children were helping the dock official tie up and watch the dinghies.
We went for a walk and were amazed to see every street festooned with flags and bunting and a huge poster with a welcome message to the Sail to Wonderful Indonesia fleet on it.
There were stalls set up for our custom in the little market place by the Harbour selling Bingtang beer, soft drinks, snacks and light meals. We bought a beer and some delicious (cold) fried potato and sweet potato.
We were able to buy a SIM card with data for my phone but the bad news was that there was no 3G let alone 4G in Debut as the Internet was “oversubscribed”. We later found out that the 3.5GBs we had purchased did not even make it on to my phone!
After a walk round, a quick look at the Catholic Church, chats with an English teacher, lots of photos, and many “Salams”, we returned to Bali Hai for an early night – the five day, five night voyage was quite exhausting and the next day of official welcomes was going to be a busy one!