Let’s go fly a kite!

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.
 

Sunrise
 
There is always so much to see and observe, especially when doing day sails along the coast as we have been doing recently.

Gorgeous rock formations

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. 

Some beautiful stops along the way

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?
 

Stunning turquoise water often means danger- reefs, shallow water etc

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.

 

Gunung Sangeang

 

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!

 

The clouds gather around Gunung Sangeang

 

 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.

 

Labuan Bajo with lots iof ships at anchor
 
 
The menu at the restsaurant where the photo of the ships was taken – how appropriate!

 

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.

 

Loh Gebah with Dream Maker 2, Alllure of NZ and Amity

 

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!

Farewell to the party boats!

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.
 

A Phinisi Boat near Komodo Island
 

The scenery has been amazing, each place seemingly trying to outdo the last. 
 

The boys settle in!
 

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 children loved our boat stamp in their exercise books but most of all, they loved it on themselves!

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. 

 

The children help Jonathan put the snubber on

 

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!

 

Waving goodbye but they werent’t done yet!

 

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!

 

Making an impression!
 
Things were much quieter at Medang Island and we enjoyed a good sail, with an even better one to Gili Lawang the next day.

 

Lovely Gili Lawang
 
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 channel into Gili Lawang

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.

Medana Bay

Disaster averted – relaxation and recharge 

We have just had the most amazing week of swimming, snorkelling, eating, drinking and generally relaxing, anchored off tiny Hoga Island in the Wakatobi Group. 

Birds on our approach to Hoga Island

After a near disastrous entry into this rather tricky-to-get-into island we made up for the stressful moments by staying for almost a week and relaxing totally.

  

Looks innocuous but getting over to those boats wasnt easy!
Boats in the Hoga Island anchorage

The snorkelling on the Hoga Island reef is spectacular. Even people who have dived on reefs all over the world were impressed with the vast variety of corals and the hordes of fish of every colour and pattern imaginable.

 

Crystal clear water
 
  
Apart from a couple of walks and some delicious lunches and sundowner drinks at the low-key dive resort, we only made one trip to land – to the much larger sland on the other side of the bay – to buy some food. 

 

The women on the bridge are buying fish from the ladies in the boats below
 
  
 
Shopping!
 
 
View from the dive resort. Life is tough.
 
 
 
Sundowners!
 
 

More sundowners
 
  
  
We also had a wonderful trip to the nearby Stilt Village which could only be reached by boat. A dive instructor from the resort was a resident of the stilt village and he took us round, introduced us to his very large extended family and answered all our questions.

  
  
  
  

  
It was great to have some time to relax and recharge although we were sorry to miss the festivities in Wanci due to the very shallow entrance there. As our keel is deeper than nearly all the boats on the rally, we weren’t willing to take the risk of running aground. It was a great excuse to stay put!