Sloop was fighting fit on our return to Makassar and had only half successfully befriended the security man, Sempo who slept on the boat at night. I think his downfall might have been trying to sleep on his head. Arif was the man in town who could get things done (proven by his 10! Children) so we gave him the task of renewing our Visa’s, laundry, fuel and gas while we took in some sights.
We did the usual tourist stuff, visiting the Fort, dried fish sellers and if you have an iron stomach, the traditional port where fish is brought and sold each day straight from the traditional craft that ply the coastline. It can be found from about 2k’s away by smell.
As the rally plans to go here next year Arif invited the 5 Yachts that were in the harbor for a PR dinner attended by media and local dignitaries all expenses paid. Beer included!
Arif came through with the goods and with our visa extended another 30 days we headed south the 200 miles to Gili Laut, the closest of the Komodo Islands. During our trip we encountered what turned out to be a survey ship towing a 5-mile long cable with a float attached to its end. Understandably we almost ran over the cable as even a container ship can hardly be seen from 5 miles in perfect conditions. A tug was guarding the end of the cable and intercepted us by steaming straight for us at 12kts causing Amanda to demand over the radio, “Tug boat approaching yacht Thyme, please state your intentions!”. Finally with lots of hand signals and various crew attempting English we got the message, “follow us to the end of the cable” enabling us to pass safely around the end. Finally 40 hrs later we arrived.
A couple of guys who had been staying in the bay for days approached us in an effort to sell their wares, pearls carvings etc. After some tough negotiation I managed to trade 20 litres of water and some first aid supplies for a Komodo Dragon carving. I think they really wanted US dollars.
Enter the Dragon