Alor Island - Indonesia

Trip Start Jul 22, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Wednesday, August 2, 2006

We arrived in Alor August 2nd following a good sail through some oil fields however we arrived on dark and we had some tense moments motoring the Alor Channel to the harbour as it was badly lit, had smoke haze around, and there was quite a few fishing platforms made out of bamboo that dotted the channel - these structures would not come up on radar and additionally were never lit and you never saw them until you were virtually on top of them.

We were very fortunate however to have radio contact with Bob and Bec off Stardust with Bob agreeing to motor out to meet us and show us the way in to the anchorage which was fanatastic as it was obviously dark and no navigation lights at all in the Kalabahi Harbour.

The next day there was an arranged visit to one of the tribal villages which was to be exciting but for me an absolute memorable occasion as this was where I nearly fainted and it represented the start of a shocking case of stomach bug / food poisoning which laid me flat for 5 days. I actually thought that it was near the end for me. I had lost so much weight, strength resulting from continual vomiting and diahoreah - as my crew will atest to, I was not a pleasant person to be with during this time and it was sad as Amorica left the boat at Alor and Gary Sanderson was joining the boat here.

The visit to the village started with us being dropped at the base of a reasonably hefty climb we had to make and by the end I was sick and in fact couldn't stay throughout the welcoming ceremony the villargers had put on for us - I actually paid a local to run me back on his motor scooter. I did manage to get off some happy snaps whilst Gary took some of the actual main welcome ceremonies at the oval. I missed some great parades by local villagers in traditional costumes and traditional dances.

Many of the boats, after the ceremony, started leaving the anchorage for Riung, the next main venue on the rally but due to my health we ended up being the last boat in the anchorage. As such we were presented with a flag of rememberance by the village head for us to pass on to the rally organisers.

August 7th, under a very heavy early morning smoke haze, we motored slowly away from Alor, with Gary, Big Tone and myself on board. I was slowly getting my strength back and was in good spirits as we left but still very much saddened by Amorica leaving the boat.

We travelled to an anchorage where there was the village of Balurin. This was a deep anchorage and from memory this is the anchorage where one of the rally yachts had lost their anchor and Bob and Gordon along with Liam had spent the first day there trying to locate the anchor in thick mud with hardly any visibility at all. They were an older couple with a boat plainly poorly maintained. They had located the anchor when we arrived and were making ready in the morning for its retrieval. It took5 of us to finally retrieve it for them. We learnt later that the couple had pulled out of the rally and were returning to Darwin...for health reasons!! A wise move!

It did though illustrate how fellow yachties were always ready to lend a helping hand and it provided us with a great excuse for further sundowners and discussions on how lucky the old couple were to have been around us.
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