Monday, September 7, 2015

Labuhan Bajo, Komodo, and Sumbaya

The anchorage from the Sylvia Resort

Labuhan Bajo (LBJ) is the gateway to Komodo.  The National Park has Komodo Dragons on Rinca and Komodo Islands.  The sea life and water clarity is much better than other places because of the protected status of the area and the revenue generated by tourism.
We picked up a mooring ball in Waecicu Bay in front of the Sylvia Resort.

Labuhan Bajo Waterfront
Rinca Island Ranger Station Dock
The main street in LBJ is one way but runs in a loop.  This make it very simple to hail a bemo or cab.  They all go the same way.  We had been running on only one engine for the past week due to a water leak in the sea water cooling pump.  The bearings are metric and no other towns since Alor had the slightest possibility for these kinds of things.  There are no real industrial stores and the places that had bearings were mostly car and scooter parts and repair places.  Our Indonesian language skills did not include the art of bearing buying so I brought along an old one to use as an example.  We walked almost the entire loop of LBJ and finally got them at, go figure, a scooter store.  Most places had bearings but not the correct size.  So that was a great success and the next day was spent rebuilding the pump and snorkeling the reef around the anchorage.

Not just a big gecko
We took the dinghy out exploring and went ashore on a sandy beach not more that 100 meters from Tortuguita.  I brought my machette and one of the coconuts our trading a few days past.  It was a green one and the meat has a gelatinous consistency unlike the mature brown coconuts we mostly see in stores.  I made a scoop from a piece of the husk and ate most of the meat.  A while later, we were back on Tortuguita and, sure enough, there were monkeys on the beach and the left over coconut was the prize to be had.  Over time, about 10 were there fighting over it and someone actually took it away.  Unfortunately 100 meters is a little far to get a decent photo of a monkey the size of a cat but it was still one of those 'Indonesian Moments'.

Warming up in the sun
We stayed another day then sailed with LUNA BLU to the Loh Buyah, Ranger Station on Rinca Island.   We made the morning 'LONG TREK' with Ranger Markus and Paul and Lillian.  We saw quite a few dragons and, as expected, learned quite a bit about these giant monitor lizards. 

Dragon Food

Dragon Land

I guess I shouldn't sneak up on it

On The Move
Here are the highlights:
1.  They have 60 types of deadly bacteria in their saliva.
2.  They hide by the sides of the trails and ambush  their prey.
3.  They bite their prey on a leg or somewhere else easy to grab.
4.  Their teeth are small but the saliva does the work and starts to infect the animal.
5.  They follow the bitten animal around for a day until it can't go any more because of the infection.
6.  They use their strong muscles and sharp claws to rip the prey apart.
7.  They hunt alone but eat as a group. 

The Papaya Ladies in Potopaddu
We left Rinca and headed to Gili Lawa Laut Island but were not able to anchor because of the coral and diverted to Montjo Bay on Komodo Island.  This was a nice quiet anchorage in front of a sandy beach where wild pigs (ie: dragon food) were rooting around at low tide.

Main Street, Potopaddu

Moonrise over Moyo Island

Our next stop was a long day to Wera Bay on the island of Sumbawa.  There were quite a few large wooden boats being built right on the beach under thatch roof sheds.  Apparently this is a fairly wealthy town and the canoe kids were the most obnoxious we have encountered so far.  I guess there are spoiled brats in every culture.

The next town was Kilo and, according to the cruising guide, was supposed to be poor with lots of begging kids.  The town was for sure poor.  People were living on the beach under blue tarps.  But, the kids were polite and once we let them know that we would trade with them or buy fruits and vegetables, things went real well.  Parents were even on the beach sending their kids out in canoes with fruit to sell to us.

Veggie Kids
Our next anchorage was Kananga.  This was a nice clean town and no canoe kids.  We went to town in the morning to see about buying more data for the SIM card since my entire unused balance was taken away after the 30 day expiration.  Telkomsel has the lousiest support of any tech company ever.  There is no way to recharge your card online or even make an account.  Their links don't work and there is just no information about what plans are available or what you're buying.  Don't believe me, check it out at  Anyway, success with getting 2 GB added to my SIM card.

Hard Working Net Fisherman
2 miles from Kananga is Satonde Island.  This is a volcano island with a saltwater lake in the calders.  We went there on the way to our next stop on Moyo Island but the moorings were taken and there was no way to anchor without destroying the coral.  The anchorage at Moyo Island by the Russian's Resort was very deep but well protected.  We anchored in 50 feet of water along with ALUA and LUNA BLU.

The Potopaddu Anchorage with Alua and Luna Blu
Just another Indonesian Volcano
 The next anchorage was a beautiful small protected bay called Potopaddu.  This place by far was the best anchorage that we have found so far in Indonesia.  It's the kind of place that you could spend weeks.  Too bad we are trying to keep at the front of the rally pack so we can get a marina berth in Lombok.  So we spent an extra day there anyway.

At Anchor with Fishing Boats
The Alas Strait separates Sumbawa from Lombok.  The winds in alot of places are blocked by the high mountains but winds funnel through the straits between the islands.  The same happens with the current.  We had a spirited run to Lombok hitting 9+ knots in 20 knot winds.  We anchored at Gili Lawang inside the coral reef in fine mangrove sand and silt and hiked the trails on the tall grass looking for a beach which we never found.  

We've made it to Lombok.

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