Posted: 09th August 2012.
We’ve just had three days anchored in a beautiful bay on Wotap Island part of the Tanimbar group. Great to be able to snorkel again and see colourful things stuck to coral that we haven’t seen anywhere else. Even managed a dive but only to clean the bottom on the boat. Met the locals, more intimately than we’re used too. Not content on sitting patiently in their canoes, these guys board your boat and before you realise their intentions they’re in your cockpit.
After using all three of our Indonesian words and their “hi mister” the conversation slows down as we deliberate on how to ask them to leave. We still find these situations difficult as the guys obviously don’t have much and the temptation is to shower them with gifts but we’ve seen firsthand that this only encourages begging. So we get the phrase book out and tell them to come back tomorrow with some bananas and we’ll trade with one of my designer shirts. Having survived a few of these experiences now we’ve concluded that they’re just very friendly, inquisitive people.
The passage to the volcanic Banda Island group is about 185nm so we should arrive before lunchtime tomorrow. These are known as the Spice Islands and have historical significance as the Dutch and British fought over the island group in the 1600’s. At that time in was the only place in the world to grow nutmeg and as this spice was claimed to help fight the plague it became more valuable than gold. There is a great book written on the Spice Wars called ‘Nathanial’s Nutmeg’ in which the atrocities of the war are described in graphic detail. The Dutch ended up controlling the islands but the English came out of it ok as they swapped Run Island, a small Banda Island, for Manhattan.
The wind angle for the passage isn’t ideal, too far aft, so after playing around with a number of sail combinations we got tired and have ended up with just the screecher flying and making just over 7 knots in about two metre seas.
Back to Ukulele lessons now!
Paul & Glor
06 46’55.50 S, 130 57’51.90 E
12-08-09 12:49:21 +0900 +0000