Georgia J

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Sharon’s blog 09/24/12  Tough Three Weeks
Since leaving Bali on the 9th we have had one goal, we needed to get to Nongsa Marina and check out of Indonesia by the 28th.  Our visas are expiring and we have chosen not to renew them.   We had one last play day in Bali when we hired a car and driver and went inland visiting woodworkers, artists and kite makers.    We ate lunch at a volcano vista, toured a coffee farm, visited Ubud and went to an ancient Monkey Temple.  The monkeys were numerous and more than a little intimidating.   Before leaving, I did manage to squeeze in a 60 minute “hot stone massage” for which I paid 97,800 rupiah or about US $9.80! 

Upon departure, we switched to a delivery mode.  We expected it to be tough, and we were not surprised.  We did a series of 1 or 2 night passages giving ourselves an extra night of sleep between segments.    We quickly realized we needed to head further out to sea in an attempt to avoid the many small fishing vessels and all their trappings.  We were amazed by how far out these small boats go.  Often no one slept on Georgia as it took both of us to maneuver through the ship traffic and fishing boats, one person on the helm and the other glued to the radar.  We have been warned that many of the fishing boats run without lights, but we actually encountered a 600 foot cargo ship with no navigational lights.
We re-entered civilization when we pulled into Nongsa Marina.  The staff came out in a small boat and escorted us through the channel while a host of deck hands were waiting to catch our lines.  The resort has a beautiful pool and a 24 hour restaurant.  Of course, we already feel the twinge of real world prices as their proximity to Singapore sets the tone.  Our plan is to leave here on the 26th and make the 45 mile trip to Singapore.  Singapore is one of the busiest harbors in the world so winding our way through the ships should be interesting.  Where is Allyn Schafer when we need him!

Several of you have expressed concerns about the political and religious unrest here in Indonesia.  We have felt none of that and have only great things to say about the people we have encountered.  We have thoroughly enjoyed our two months here but it is time to move on.

S/V Georgia J Moored at Nongsa Point Resort & Marina, Batam Island, Indonesia

Bali Dance
Slow Dancer
One of the Sacred Monkeys at the Temple

Kim’s Blog 9/4/12- Sad day on Georgia J
Today we said our sad farewells to Glenda.  She has flown to Singapore to join Helena, a boat headed for South Africa.  Glenda crewed on Georgia J for 4 months.  We will miss her cheery attitude, sailing expertise and friendship.  Most of all we dread doing all the work she has been doing for us.  We are sorry to see her go, but wish her fair winds as she continues her circumnavigation goal. 

Glenda in Championship Top Spinning Contest-Lombok

Kim’s blog 9/3/12-  In Bali
Entering Bali was cultural overload.  The harbor channel was packed with speed boats, para-sails, ferries, canoes and fishermen.  The worst was an air mattress with two tourists strapped in, flying high above a speed boat.   Driving through the chaos was nerve racking.  Indonesia clearly needs more tort attorneys.

We are staying at Bali Marina.  We have water to wash the boat for the first time in three months.  We have electricity and a restaurant at the end of the dock.  The marina is old and rickety, but has a certain charm.  Best of all, someone else is cleaning up the boat.  Two guys have polished away six months of rust on every piece of stainless steel and Georgia is shiny again.  The total cost of 4 man days of excellent work was $126.  Unfortunately, we arrived a week late since they had just increased their prices by 50%.  They will be back to do the interior.

Bali is Hindu, not Muslim.  The calls to prayer have been replaced with loud party boats and jets.  There is bacon on the menu and Kuta, the big town, is party central. 

Kuta, Bali

Kim’s blog 8/29/12:  
Since our last posting, we have made six stops on four different islands- Komodo, Sumbawa, Medang and Lombok.  The anchorage at Teluk (Bay) Batumonco on Komodo Island was our favorite Indonesian anchorage so far.  The water was clear, the bay was calm and the corals were incredibly diverse and beautiful.  Glenda saw a shark, a turtle and manta ray while snorkeling.  Best of all, we had it all to ourselves.

The villages we visit are very similar.   The people are poor, the mosque speakers are loud and the plastic trash is everywhere.  However, the people (particularly the kids) are incredibly friendly.  Despite the shortcomings, we have enjoyed every village we visited. 

Welcoming Committe on Sumbawa - very polite!

One horsepower taxi on Lombok Island

Our Anchorage on Komodo Island

Sharon’s Blog 08/25/12  Two Perfect Days

It is not every day that you can take in one of the seven natural wonders of the world, but that is what Kim and I did.  We decided to take a vacation from our vacation.  Glenda opted to spend the day Skyping with family and friends.  In lieu of taking Georgia through some difficult passes and the hassle of special permits, we took a private tour on a local boat to Rinca (Wren cha) Island to see the Komodo dragons.  Rinca is home to the largest population of the dragons, approximately 1300.  The males weigh around 180 lbs. and can live up to 50 years.  Connor was disappointed to learn that they do not breathe real fire, but they are deadly nonetheless.  They carry 70 types of bacteria to kill their prey and can eat a King Cobra with no ill effects.  They are certainly not a very pretty creature.  Our ranger carried a big stick, which fortunately he did not have to use.

After returning from our hike through the park, the crew greeted us with banana smoothies and a lavish Indonesian lunch.  After lunch, the captain brought out a mat and pillows so we could nap on our return.  We realize that true hospitality is not dependent upon a common language.  We stopped for a leisurely snorkel which topped off a perfect day.

The ride to Rinca was so gorgeous we changed our plans and decided to sail to Komodo Island.  We found a beautiful, secluded cove which turned out to be one of the best anchorages we have ever had.   The water was a crystal clear aqua blue and the coral was stunning.  We all decided we had snorkeled enough when Glenda saw a 5.5 foot shark.

S/V Georgia J Anchored in Saygar Bay, Sumbawa Island

God's Ugliest Creature
Our boat was the big one- The Rainbow Star
Guide, Captain & 2 crew - just for us

Sharon’s Blog 08/20/12- Island Hopping through Indonesia

We apologize to those of you who have been clamoring for blog postings. The internet here is not as reliable as we are used to.  Georgia J has been moving at her typical quick pace.  We have left the mass of Rally boats, but are finding like-minded participants wherever we go.  Since leaving Kupang, we have visited two moderately sized towns,  two Moslem fishing villages, a Sea World “resort”  (but no Shamu), an island inhabited only by monkeys, and  what I would describe as an Indonesian beach town.  We have encountered some of the toughest anchoring challenges we have ever encountered.  The anchorages go from extremely deep to coral reef with little warning.  In one spot, we anchored so close to shore, we could almost touch it and almost did before the night was over!  This has created some poor sleeping conditions for the crew, especially Captain Kim.  Thank goodness for our ability to set anchor alarms.

We have thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Indonesian culture and the people.  Glenda, armed with a 90 cent pocket dictionary, has become our official translator.   We all really like the food, but are now quite wary of the sauces so hot they will take your breath away.  Indonesians are very big on snack food, but it is almost impossible to find anything not covered in sugar.  Glenda and I spent a wonderful afternoon in an outdoor food market bringing home several new varieties of fruits and some yummy street food.  We figured we were pretty safe as the street food was being cooked in boiling hot oil.  Riding in a “Bemo” is a cultural experience not to be missed.  Bemos are a cross between buses and taxis.  It is amazing to see how many people can be jammed into these vans.  They are painted bright colors, play jarringly loud music and weave in and out of traffic at high speeds.  Of course, they are very cheap.  In fact, everything is credibly cheap.  Some recent examples are- a long Bemo ride US 50₵ per person, haircut and shampoo $2.00, and dinner for three $4.42.

Without question, our greatest pleasure has been the overwhelmingly warm welcome we have received everywhere we go.  The children call out, “hey, mister”, a term used for all three of us.   We are now convinced that children all over the world like to give “high fives”, as they clamor around us in groups to touch our hands.   A thirty minute walk to through town can easily result in 100 greetings and shouts of “halo.”  Whenever we ask for help, people do their very best to help out the “bules”, as they call us tourists.  One woman put her three kids off the motor bike she was riding, leaving them with Glenda and me, and took Kim on a fast ride to show him where the restaurant we were looking for was.   One of the highlights was attending a school costume parade and festival.  One of the speakers even mentioned the special guests from other countries.  We think he was talking about us as everyone turned around to smile at us. 

Each stop has been unique offering us very different experiences.  We are looking forward to our remaining stops.
s/v Georgia J, anchored  at Labuan Bajo, Flores Island  

Udin & Wandi visited us alone in their canoe
Jake is studying to be an English teacher
Glenda conducts English classes on Georgia J
Riung School Parade
Some Language is Universal

Kim’s blog 8/5/12:  Our last few days in Kupang were great.   We hired a guide and with a very nice car to tour Kupang.  We fed the cave monkeys, saw wooden fishing boats built, visited a water fall and toured the outdoor market.  The highlight of the day was visiting workshop of Mr. Pah where sansados were being built by hand.  The sansado is a beautiful musical instrument.  Mr. Pah and his son performed for our little group of six for over an hour.  The sad part of the day was the market- incredibly poor and dirty.  Where ever we went, little kids called out “Hey Mister” or “Bule" (tourist) and gave us the high five.  We could not have been more exotic if we had come from Mars.  Our share of the total cost for the day was under $100 including car, driver, guide, entrance fees, lunch, one hand made sansado, hand woven textiles, spices from the market, snacks and tip.

We are on our way across the Sewa Sea.  Next stop is the Island of Lembata.   

Baby Cave Monkey

Mr Pah plays Sasando

Hamming with Mr Pah

Best Street in the Market

The market did have very fresh meats for sale

Sharon’s Blog 08/02/12  First Impressions of Kapang:

We sailed into Kapang (pronounced Koo pong) with renewed excitement about this little adventure we are on.  This is the first visit into Asia for all three of us and we weren’t quite sure what to expect.  Traveling with the rally of over one hundred boats gave us security, but also made our “watch” jobs more challenging.

After being here for a couple of days, we are all in a state of sensory overload.  On the negative side, the customs check in process was the most laborious and bureaucratic we have encountered to date.   Three very nice officials visited us on Georgia J and we completed a stack of paperwork.  They did not search the boat or ask for “gifts” as happened on some boats.  Thinking this was a smooth process, we were unprepared for the additional 23 agents waiting for us on shore.  This included a doctor who certified we were healthy, despite asking no medical questions.  We were required to provide multiple copies of the same forms to each section.   On a positive note, each person we met during this process as well as throughout the town has greeted us with brilliant smiles.  The town has truly given us the red carpet treatment with a welcoming dinner and party on our arrival night and the mayor is hosting another dinner and party this evening.  We could not have asked for a warmer welcome.

Back to the negative side, the harbor is filled with debris.  We have been told that only recently have they passed laws against dumping garbage in the water.  Negotiating and manipulating prices is certainly the norm here as we discovered that our fuel delivery man was charging us a higher price than we agreed to and in turn remitted less to his boss than we paid.  What we lost on fuel, we gained on dinner as the three of us ate a very tasty and plentiful dinner for the equivalent of a total of $3.90.  We are a bit slow in counting out our money as the exchange rate is approximately 9,850 rupiah to one US Dollar. That means a lot of zeroes!

Kapang seems a city of cultural extremes.   From the anchorage, we hear loud rock music and the soulful chant from the mosque simultaneously.  As we arrived during Ramadan, we expected things to be quiet from sunrises to sunset, but the restaurants, street vendors and bars are in full swing all day long.  We were surprised to learn that Kapang actually has a small percentage of Moslems.  Personally, I am thrilled to be here.  Indonesia seems exotic and foreign to me and I was ready to leave the more familiar venues of New Zealand and Australia. It has also hit me this week that we have sailed almost halfway around the world.  Not sure how this happened to a little girl from the mountains of North Carolina but here I am.

s/v Georgia J, anchored in Kupang Harbor, Indonesia

Kim’s PS-  A big negative was the little sea snake that jumped in the dingy with me.  Although small, they are poisonous.  After an epic battle, he was ejected with my paddle. 

Sailing to Indonesia

Kupang Sailors

Welcoming Ceremony #1
Sharon Joins a Traditional Dance

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