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A rest from the hectic schedule...
Whimoway, in company with SV Riki Tiki and SV Galaad, anchored
for a night at Nustabun Island for a rest from the hectic
schedule of the rally, then sailed next day to Nantabun
village on Selaru Island.
A gorgeous anchorage lies inside the reef, but a clear day
and local knowledge is required. We clipped our first reef
here and so anchored outside for the night.
Finally we felt like we were cruising as these islands had
relatively clear water, some reefs for snorkeling and we
were away from the bustling crowds.
The children accompanied us on the beach, the locals cooked
us up crabs and played native tunes on handmade instruments.
Traditional Ikat weaving was for sale in the village and
whilst onboard we were left in relative peace. The children
here sail on outrigger canoes and we exchanged
a ride for a t-shirt from a most competent crew.
The locals here are farmers and fisherman and as with
Yamdena, are hoping for an increase in tourists and plan
to construct some form of accommodation for them in the
By calling in at these places, you are able to contribute
a little to their livelihoods and enable them to have
contact with people from other lands.
This was the beginning of Mike’s search for Boat
Building Islands and so he was quick to find the local
shipwright and exchange knowledge on wooden boats. He
gave the man an electric drill as he was amazed by what
these people do with limited tools.
He was flattered by a return gift of an Ikat weaving.
The rest of us visited a few schools and purchased some
odds and ends that had been made for us. They requested
that on our return visit, second hand typewriters would
be most appreciated along with English dictionaries.
All of us enjoyed our few days here and it was made easier
as Higi, a local man who had invited us originally, spoke
fluent English which made communication possible.
Babar Island was to be our next port of call but daylight
was running out so Riki Tiki and Whimoway made for Masela
Island where anchoring is possible but only in the fairest
of weather. It was the beginning of Indonesian anchoring
whereby the deepest seas suddenly rise to 200 ft then
15ft with reef.
Luckily it was crystal clear so with some clever maneuvering
we found our sandy patches to drop the pick and enough
light left enabled us to wallow in the waters and onshore
we found makeshift huts used by Trepang fisherman, a sea-slug
considered a delicacy by some.
Babar Island was again suggested to us by a local we met
at Saumlaki but it was to be a different experience than
Here we discovered karaoke, unusual drinks made of a combination
of coconut milk, red cordial and crushed sweet biscuits
and high pressure from our guide.
We went on a bus trip to a village and were lunched by
a King, we saw caves containing ancestors, watched volleyball
played on a rocky field, saw how sopi was made from coconut
palms and signed lots of paperwork for the local officialdom.
We thought we were going to see ‘schools” in
caves but we discovered that our guide meant “skulls”.
I wondered why the children were so quiet once we got near,
but ancestors don’t make much noise!
Once we realized, we were humbled as this place is sacred
to these people and warrants respect.
All yachts were requested to take some of these officials
and families to an island across the bay but we could not
get through the reef and as the weather cut up, most including
our guide, were seasick and could not wait to get off!
We did manage a getaway stroll through the village and
met some lovely locals before we were sighted by our guide’s
spies and herded back for another function.
Here we parted ways as the other yachts were heading north
to the Banda Islands and we steered for Damar Island as
the Babar village chief gave us a personal invitation
and recommendation to go there.
Map Of Babar Island And Saumlaki