The crew of Amandla sadly bid farewell to Bali on 17 September and set sail for Karimunjawa (read here for September Part I: Bali). After a two night sail, we decided to stopover in Bawean for a night’s rest before continuing onward to Karimunjawa. Thank goodness we did.
After a failed attempt to thwart it back in Townsville, Australia, our fuel tank leak morphed from a trickle to a gusher. We went from losing a glass of fuel per day into the bilge to twelve liters per day. Luckily, The Captain was quickly able to implement a creative solution, replacing our damaged 230-liter fuel tank with a 20-liter leak-free version.
On 22 September, we set sail from Bawean to Karimunjawa. The absence of wind allowed us to full test our new fuel tank. Success! Although we needed to refuel after every five hours of engine usage, the solution seems robust enough to get us to Malaysia where Amandla will enjoy a full refit.
We arrived in Karimunjawa on 23 September and were greeted by many friends in the Sail Indonesia fleet that had arrived ahead of us. It was up early the next morning for a series of welcome activities arranged by the local community.
The first of these was a parade of over 30 fishing boats from the local fleet decorated for a friendly competition. It was absolutely magnificent to see them come unexpectedly over the horizon and through the anchorage to shore.
A couple of fishing boats brought the Sail Indonesia Rally participants to shore for the next event. This time, much to our surprise, the Rally participants were the entertainment. The crews were dressed up in local Javanese costume and asked to perform a 30-second welcome skit.
The talented crew of Amandla were among the six ‘winners’ selected to perform this skit again that evening for the community and local officials. We took second in the final round. Next stop, Broadway! Luckily, there was also a wonderful sunset jazz concert and a talented local dance troupe to round out the evening’s entertainment.
The following day, we jumped a fast ferry with 12 other crew and our guide Brother Pram (+62 8112 88827 | firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com) for a three-day temple-hopping tour through Central Java. If you want to visit Central Java, see it with Brother Pram; he knows where to go and will get you there quickly and in style. Everyone on the tour agreed that Brother Pram was the best guide we’d had in Indonesia (which says a lot because we’ve had many amazing guides).
Our group was met in Semerang, Java by our drivers with two vans and two Tourism Police escorts. The first eight of our group lucked out and got to ride behind our police escorts in a Hello Kitty van. The Captain and I with Stedham from MV Atlantis, Melian and Ian from SV Indian Summer, and Jan from SV Jenny D followed behind in a less conspicuous grey van.
Our consolation was that each of us got to take turns riding in the backseat of the Tourism Police escort car, sirens blazing as they moved traffic aside, often creating a third lane in the middle of the road when needed to allow us to visit as many sights as possible in a limited timeframe. And the Tourism Police had a great sense of humor.
In addition to the vehicular entertainment, the highlights of the tour for me were as follows.
No one was in sight as we made our way around this ninth century Buddhist temple and ascended its nine platforms. However, many tourists were waiting for us when we reached the top of this UNESCO World Heritage sight.
Luckily, there were far fewer than expected given we chose to visit Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination at sunrise. I managed to shoot around the tourists on the top level and their presence was limited on the other levels below.
Looking back, I wish I stood at the base to watch the sunrise reflected golden against the entirety of this magnificent temple (the world’s largest) and then ascended to the top shortly after sunrise when the predominance of tourists had departed.
Borobudur is a survivor. ‘In its 1200 years, Borobudur has repeatedly suffered attack from forces of nature and at the hands of humans.
During its period of abandonment, which lasted for as much as a millennia, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions destabilized the monument and the Javanese jungle reclaimed the site.
After its rediscovery in 1814, it popularity grew and many of its sculptures and relief panels were removed by King Chulanlongkorn of Siam in 1898. On 21 January 1985, bombs planted by opponents of Suharto exploded on the upper layers of the monument, since restored. Periodically, the highly active Merapo volcano has also damaged the site.’ 
Prambanan was built as the Hindu response to Borobudur and is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia. With several temples spread out across a larger area, Candi Prambanan felt less crowded than Candi Borobudur.
‘Prambanan was abandoned in the 930s when the power base shifted to East Java. The temples collapsed during a major earthquake in the 16th century but the ruins were still recognizable and known to the local Javanese people in later times. Temple restoration started in the earth 20th century and is still underway today.
The temples suffered extensive damage in the 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake. Though the temples survived, hundreds of stone blocks collapsed to the ground. Today, the main structures have been restored though there remains a lot of work to be done.’ 
‘Plaosan temple was built around the same time as Prambanan by Sri Kahulunnan a descendent of Sailendra Dynasty (Buddhist) who was married to Rakai Pikatan (Hindu) combining both traditions.’ The best part of Candi Palosan for me was the group if visiting Buddhist monks that were touring the place at the same time that we did. Our experience was enhanced by their presence and their chanting.
Next Up: October With The Orangutans
,  Sources: Wikipedia and Lonely Planet Guide To Indonesia8 Thumbs Up!