People who don’t sail might think that those who do spend their time staring at the sea for hours at a time in a state of perfect contemplation but at least on some days that certainly is not the case.
There is always so much to see and observe, especially when doing day sails along the coast as we have been doing recently.
Take yesterday for example. We were sailing merrily along when we saw three fishing vessels dead ahead. Not at all unusual as of course we see fisherman every day. But what was unusual was that these three were all flying kites.
We were intrigued – do they do this to stop themselves getting bored? Is it a novel way of attracting fish from the hidden depths of the very deep ocean shelf in these parts? Or a new way of propelling their dugouts?
Fortunately we have excellent Internet reception in these parts and were able to look up “kites-Indonesian fishermen” and found out that it is a traditional method of fishing around here.
Apparently the kites are most often flown from the end of a long pole, and operated by the fisherman in the front of the canoe. A line extending from the bottom of the kite carries the bait. There is no hook, only a loop of line.
The bait can be played on the surface of the water, a long distance from the boat. When the kite dips the fisherman knows the fish, usually garfish cruising in shallow water, are ready to be snared and pulled in.
We marvelled at the sight of the live volcano Gunung Sangeang on our trip to our next rally stop, Medana Bay on Lombok. It was amazing to see the smoke puffing from its summit and to watch as the clouds formed around it in the afternoon. We can understand only too well now why this area is called “the Ring of Fire” – we have seen so many live volcanos!
We really enjoyed Labuan Bajo – the lovely harbour, the Phinisi boats, the Komodo Dragons and the calm anchorage were just a few of the things we liked, but time was running out so we had to keep moving to arrive in time at Medana Bay.
Sailing through the islands of the Komodo National Park we vowed to return to this area to explore it properly. The scenery was stunning and there were so many little bays and reefs to visit.
The area is renowned for its incredible dive sites and wonderful snorkelling – sadly we didn’t have time to even sample these delights so we have to go back!
From Loh Buaya on Rinca Island we sailed in day hops to Medana Bay on Lombok, stopping at Loh Gebah on Komodo Island, Were Bay and Kilo on Sumbawa Island, Medang Island and Gili Lawang on Lombok.
The scenery has been amazing, each place seemingly trying to outdo the last.
At Were Bay we were overrun by children on canoes when we arrived but they were great kids and I enjoyed our conversations – me asking questions in guidebook Indonesian and them trying to answer in English with Jonathan and I helping with pronunciation.
The thing I did not appreciate was that they came back in the morning when we were still in bed and would not take the hint to go away. At one point I was washing up (still in night clothes) and turned round to see a row of kids standing up in their canoe waving at me through the window.
After that we decided to hightail it to our next destination even though Jonathan had wanted to go ashore to see the work of the boat builders in the village. Were Bay is famous for its wooden boat building and some of the boats are as large as 30 metres – all built with wooden pegs and not a scrap of metal!
At Kilo we were inundated with canoes again. We still enjoyed chatting to the children and loved hearing them sing the Indonesian National anthem after one of the spotted the courtesy flag we were flying. It ended up with about 15 young boys belting the anthem out in their canoes, all saluting the flag! Former President Sukarno, who was a founding father of a united Indonesia would have been proud!
Things were much quieter at Medang Island and we enjoyed a good sail, with an even better one to Gili Lawang the next day.
The scenery at Gili Lawang was breathtaking – folds of hills and mountains stretching as far as the eye could see – again photos cannot do justice to its beauty.
The final leg to Medana Bay was disappointing as there wasn’t enough wind to sail. We ended up motoring but enjoyed the changing scenery along the genuinely lovely Lombok coast.