After an uneventful overnight sail from West Timor, the crew of Amandla arrived safely in the town of Kalabahi, Alor and joined the other boats in the anchorage for sundowners on MV Atlantis. (Click here for ‘August Part I’ to read about our time in West Timor).
The next day, we were introduced to Itha Peni (+62 823 4055 2732), a wonderful local tourism official who would be our guide throughout our stay in Kalabahi.
Itha took incredibly good care of us sorting out data plans, arranging dinners in town, helping us provision and finding a doctor for a minor treatment.
On 5 August, we went out on the first of two snorkels/dives on Alor’s Pantar Straight and saw the best coral reefs we have since The Tuamotus. With the exception of a few local fishermen, we had the pristine reefs all to ourselves.
We opted to snorkel/dive Alor with Thomas (+62 813 3964 8148), a dive master and owner of Alor-Dive given his extensive knowledge of the area and his ability to navigate the VERY strong currents.
In between our two days with Alor-Dive, Adriano, Fabio, and I accompanied a few other boats on an organized tour of local villages while The Captain remained on board fixing things ☹.
The first visit was to Kabola where we met the Monbang Tribe who notably once wore clothing made out of bark. The greeted us with a welcome dance and then shared several of their crafts with us such as fire making, home building, stone carving, and manufacturing bark clothing.
The second visit was to Kampung where we met members of the Takpala Abui tribe.
The highlights for me included a tour of one of the multi-story homes made from bamboo and palm leaves…
and seeing my first Moko Drum. Used in rituals and generally required as part of a bridal dowery in Alor, these drums are in short supply, and must often be borrowed or mortgaged.
The formal Alor welcome ceremony for the Sail Indonesia Rally Fleet was held on 9 August with dancing and gift giving during the day followed by a dinner in the evening.
After posing for many selfies at the request of local girls, Fabio and his father Adriano sadly departed Alor on 10 August.
Given a tip from Thomas of Alor-Dive, The Captain and I headed off to the uninhabited, volcanic island of Komba / Batu Tara. There was lots of smoke but sadly (or possibly luckily) the lava was not flowing while we were anchored there for three days.
From Komba, we headed to the Sea World anchorage on Flores, via North Hading and hired Afram (+62 821 4617 8540) to drive us and the crew of SY Tiger Lilly to the tri-color volcanic lakes at Kelimutu. We set out on Indonesia’s Independence Day (August 17) and came across many towns celebrating along our way.
After a 3-hour drive (with many stops for pictures) we arrived at Kelimutu. Rising to 1,639 m, Kelimutu is believed to be the abode of spirits and to have a very powerful force of nature.
The color of the lakes is always changing as a result of chemical reactions from minerals contained in the lake, perhaps triggered by volcanic gas.
There were several macaque monkeys about which made the experience just that much more awesome.
From Sea World, we sailed to Labuan Bajo via Bari to purchase Komodo National Park tickets and provision. Linda Takko (+62 811 447 657) owner of Komodo Cruises was the go-to provider for us and many others in the fleet that sought clean fuel, water, engine parts and/or general assistance.
After a few more repairs, we left Labuan Bajo for Komodo National Park on 23 August. We opted to visit the famous Komodo Dragons on Rinca rather than Komodo Island.
From the house dragons (fed nearby the ranger station to ensure all tourists see a few dragons regardless of how deeply they choose to explore the island) to those feeding on feral water buffalo captures far in the interior, we were not disappointed.
Accompanied by our knowledgeable local naturalist guide, Sofiana, we set off with the crew of SY Tiger Lilly in search of dragons. Sofiana carried a long forked stick to protect us from dragon attacks.
The dragon thinks the stick is the forked tongue of another animal. However, the stick will not be enough to detract an angry dragon or one drawn to the smell of blood.
Dragons infest their prey with the bacteria in their bite and feast on their prey after they succumb to the poison. In brief spurts, dragons can reach speeds of 20k per hour but when we saw them they were moving slowly.
More dangerous on the island are the snakes with the green pit viper holding the ‘most dangerous’ title. We managed to avoid encountering these asps, much to the disappointment / relief of those in our touring party.
Komodo National Park is not limited to dragons!
We spent time in several anchorages exploring the extensive underwater paradise of Komodo National Park, swimming with mantas, turtles, and a variety of colorful fish and anemones.
On 28 August, we left Komodo National Park and bid farewell to East Nusa Tenggara, our home for the month of August. Westward Ho!