Lembata and Adonara Islands

We are currently anchored at the the tiny and uninhabited Kroko Islands just off of the northeast tip of Adonara Island. We were looking for clean water where we could swim and safely use our water maker to refill our tanks, and this place fits the bill. Three massive volcanoes overlook the anchorage. There is a small village of fisherman about 2 miles away on Adonara Island. Every morning, one of them paddles out and sells us bananas, papaya, and drinking coconuts. The snorkeling here is surprisingly good. There is almost always a strong current so we take the kayak or dinghy up-current, get in the water while holding onto a long rope attached to the kayak or dinghy, and drift back. Not a lot of fish or coral, but what there is is colorful.

In coming here, we departed from the route of the rally which was going to Alor Island, with another branch going to Rote Island. We have no need for scheduled events and crowded anchorages. Many other boats left the wrally as well and some of them found their way here. Our overnight sail from Kupang to Lembata Island had some pretty good wind for most of the way — a pleasant surprise. After arriving, we spent only two hours anchored in the southwest corner of Lembata Island as we saw that there was some wind and current going north up the strait, so we decided to take advantage of it. We went into Lebaleba Bay and anchored near the ferry dock of the town of Lewoleba — the commercial center of this small and seldom visited island. We thought we would go ashore and have an adventure the next day but, unbeknownst to us at the time we anchored, we were 200 meters away from a karaoke bar that blasted bad music until past 2 am. Laura could not sleep even with ear plugs. So first thing in the morning, we left and went to our current position at Krako Islets where there is no town and the water is clear. The water is filled with trash in both Kupang and Lewoleba — plastic bags, juice boxes, empty plastic bottles, and assorted detritus. I would not run the water maker in either of those places.

Last night, as Laura and I sat at the bow of Sabbatical III to watch the fiery red sun set into the sea, we suddenly spelled something bad in the air — almost like skunk. We could not quite place it, but it was unpleasant. About 2 hours later some friends on another boat that had just arrived earlier that day called us on the radio to ask if it was usual for the volcano to our south to be spewing lava. We had been here for 3 nights and had seen no such thing so we went of deck and sure enough, lava was streaming down one slope of the volcano. The volcano is a few miles away, so we did not feel at risk, but I did mark in my mind the way through the reef in the dark to get to open sea. The smell, of course, was sulphur and other volcanic gasses. The volcano is just smoking a bit today, but then so are the other two volcanoes that are in view.

Tomorrow we plan to sail on to the “Scorpion’s Tail” peninsula of the much larger Island of Flores. We will start at Tanjung Gedong, about 35 miles away, and then hop along the north coast of Flores until we get to the far western end at Labuan Bajo. Hannah (our daughter) will fly into Labuan Bajo at the end of the month and join us for the remainder of our Indonesian adventure


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