Darwin to Kupang

Post date: Aug 9, 2011 3:55:38 AM

23.07.11 The weather was perfect for a colourful start to the 2011 Sail Indonesia Rallies, Darwin to Kupang and Darwin to Ambon, and also the Darwin to Ambon yacht race. The sun was shining and it was warm with a slight breeze.

Breakfast at 7:30 at the Darwin Sailing Club and back to the boats to finalise the preparations for the rally start at 1100 hours.

From about 10:30 yachts started to lift anchors, hoist sails and move around the anchorage awaiting the start gun. Lupari 2 was out there in all her splendour – flags fluttering gaily and so were our hearts. (see AIS tracks photo)

11:00 the starters gun went and Lupi 2 was 5th across the line. WOW!! There were a hundred yachts of all shapes and sizes behind us. We were off !!

The 4 days and nights at sea were comfortable. It was no worse than crossing the Gulf. We were now on the longest leg of our voyage so far, 395 miles. The total to Kupang was 450. We had following winds all the way, light at times, but with our new BIG pole we were able to use the sails to best advantage, We motor sailed for the last day as we did not want to arrive in the dark. There are too many obstacles in the way along the channels into Kupang– nets, fishing boats, fish traps many without lights especially in close to shore.

As soon as we anchored in Kupang the Quarantine men were there. It helps to have a yellow boat. The 3 men were pleasant and efficient. Half an hour and they were gone. Then visitors from another participant arrived and had a cuppa. After they left we went ashore with our paperwork and sat in the queue to be processed. 2 hours later we had officially arrived in Indonesia. A (Bintang) was needed to celebrate the achievement and to realise we'd made it out of Australia finally and to share stories of the crossing with others in the fleet.

Kupang is dusty, dirty, noisy and exciting. There is a constant buzz of motor bikes and blast of bemo horns. The calls to prayer from the mosques add to the cacophony that is Kupang. We visited a local village and were fascinated by the houses. There were some made of concrete bricks with glassy smooth tiled floors and beautifully carved window frames. Others were just thatched roofed huts or corrugated iron and bamboo structures.

We visited an Ikat weaving factory. Ikat is the traditional fabric of the region and is produced in small workshops by hand. Bundles of threads are wrapped in string and dyed. It works like tie dying the threads. Then they are woven to produce the fabric. Some of them very intricate.

On the way back to Teddy's Bar at the waterfront we stopped where there are wild monkeys living in the caves. They are used to people and come and beg for food. It was the first time we had seen wild monkeys. It was an interesting day.

We were treated to 2 gala dinners while there – one hosted by the Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, the region of Indonesia we are in and the other hosted by the local mayor. We were given gifts of Ikat as souvenirs of Kupang.

After 5 days the festivities were over and we were on our way to our next destination and Kupang could return to normal. The 80 strong fleet in Kupang separated and sailed to several different locations. Our next destination will be Kalabahi on the Island of Alor 150 miles away.