Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Kalabahi Arrival

Hi everyone,
We arrived in Kalabahi at 0650 this morning after a passage of 24 hours with 102nm logged and the engine on for 20 of those hours.  Not our best statistics by a long shot but the last part of the passage was very interesting and the welcome we've received has been amazing.

Zen Again Track
We sailed for 3 hours as we approached Selat (Strait) Pandar.  That allowed us to check the engine's oil level and well as enjoying the silence.  As we entered the strait the wind decreased and eventually the engine went on again.  The currents at the mouth of the strait were quite fierce - about 4 knots across the entrance.  After fighting through that current the tide was behind us for most of our passage up the strait to the entrance to Teluk (Bay) Kebola.  We had about three knots assistance until about 1nm short of the bay, where we motored through a very rough patch of water and out into a current of 1knot against us.  Once in the bay, which is more like a fjord, the current decreased to nil.

Sunset enroute
Approaching Kalabahi
Mega fish trap!
Zen Again at Kalabahi
The town of Kalabahi is at the head of the bay and we arrived just after dawn.  Within an hour the local committee had come out to greet us and tell us the schedule for the day.  As it happens we arrived (more by luck than judgement) on the first day of their Sail Indonesia events.  We were instructed to be ashore at 0915.

At 0915 the dinghies from the 20 or so yachts converged on the landing pontoon.  We were all instructed to follow a boat manned by folks in traditional garb and weapons.  This we did and the boat led us through the anchorage to one yacht where the crew were collected.  They were carried ashore by the boat, with much chanting, dancing and weapon waving.  Very colourful!

The dinghies followed the boat back to the pontoon where we were all welcomed ashore.  A groups of dancers then welcomed us all and many of the yachties were dragged into the dance.  From there we were invited into a building where we were seated and listened to several speeches before two new groups of dancers entertained us.  Spectacular.

Follow Me!
Welcome ceremony
Impressive welcome dances
With the welcome over we returned to Zen Again and collected our empty water and diesel jerry cans and took them, and our laundry, ashore.  Then we walked into town to find lunch.  We met Walter who accompanied us to his favourite restaurant and showed us the banks with ATMs.  Walter is setting up a dive resort on Alor.

Revived by a good lunch we returned to the harbour and found our diesel and water ready for us.  We took them out to the boat and topped up our main tanks.

We're now preparing for the Gala Dinner this evening.  Given we haven't slept for more than an hour at a time for 36 hours we're starting to fade.  I'm sure it will be a great evening nonetheless.

Trust all's well where you are.

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