From the Banda Sea to Bali
Scorpio in Indonesia 2

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Area covered in this report
(Click on any photo or map for a blow up - and remember to close it)

From Maumere it took us 16 days to get to Lovina beach in Bali, day-hopping along the chain of islands as indicated on the chart above. I wont mention all our stops in this report, but all anchorages are detailed in the Past Anchorages-section, for anybody following the same route in the future.

The area of islands east of (but not including) Hindu Bali is called Nusa Tenggara, and few regions of the world can compete for sheer diversity (Lonely Planet). The islands of Timor, Alor and Solor have Protestant majorities, followed by predominantly Catholic Flores with its Portuguese heritage, while the islands of Sumbawa and Lombok are largely Islamic. On all islands, particularly in rural villages, animist rituals and tribal traditions continue alongside the minarets, temples and chapels.

A favorite area, where cruisers usually spend some extra days is the archipelago around the Komodo and Rinca islands, home of the Komodo National Park, which is an UNESCO World Heritage location.

The Komodo dragon.
Scorpio anchored in the background
Malla with our guide Irwan

The legendary Komodo dragon is the world's largest lizard and it exist only on these islands. It can reach 4m in length, weigh 100kg and feed on animals as large as deer and water buffalo. Visitors must be accompanied by park rangers or guides at all times. We went for a hike early one morning and were lucky to spot this (see above) large male predator patrolling the hills above our anchorage.

Video of the Komodo Dragon:

A solitary anchorage at Banta island. No village or fishing camp and only Scorpio at anchor.

There is little crusing information available and sometimes you have to find the anchorages all by yourself. At Banta island we found a well sheltered anchorage by eyeballing in between the ubigitous reefs. The charts show very little detail and/or are off by up to a mile. As an example, our anchoring spot (photo above) is shown on the electronic chart as being high on dry land (photo below, left). A good aid is the radar where you can compare obvious land marks and determine how much off the charted latitude/longitude is. On the photo (below right) I have rotated the image on the radar screen roughly with north up, which makes it easy to compare the reality with the chart. The yellow line indicates the line of sight from Scorpio through the small gap between the islands. Entrance is through the larger gap (dotted red line). The fringing reefs indicated on the chart reach out up to 20m from shore and are not allways visible at high tide, so staying in the middle is essential.

The chart shows our GPS position high and dry
Radar can be helpful
Radar screen rotated north up,
for demonstration.

In the village of Sangeang on Sumbabwa island they are building 30 metre long wooden schooners on the beach.
Click on the panorama for higher resolution.

Anchored in front of an Islamic village, you will usually get a wake up call by the muezzin around 4 o'clock in the morning! Everywhere, regardles of faith, you find yourself constantly surrounded by children in canoes hanging to your toe rail and adults trying to sell you something. Sometimes the attention can be overwhelming.
Boats are built on the beach
Typical Indonesian street view
The harbour at Labuan Bajo
The coral reefs of Nusa Tenggara are said to be some of the richest in the world and the snorkelling was excellent in several anchorages, particularly around Gili Lawa Laut in north Komodo.
A peaceful evening after sunset
The children are a delight everywhere
There is allways at least one vulcano in sight
A snake on the beach

Some of the scenery along the driest part of the coast reminded us about south Turkey, with spectacular arid mountains rising to several thousand metres. Adding to the recemblance are the local wooden boats that makes one think about the Turkish gulets.

A live-aboard dive boat at Gili Lawa Laut
This schooner may have been built at Sangeang
We were suddenly in a hurry again as we had to get to Bali for an extension of our visas which were expiring in 60 days. Therefore we seldom stayed more than one day in the same place.

One of the kids is constantly bailing

I'm finishing this report at anchor on the north coast of Bali, in front of a village called Kalibukbuk.

To view these pictures as a (manual) SLIDE SHOW click HERE.