Batu Boga

It is Friday evening and we are about to start our third night anchored on the west side of the rocky peninsula known as Batu Boga. This is a very small bay with steep hills on three sides and a coral reef to the west. There is room for at most 3 sail boats. There is no village here, just a simple compound with an extended family that fish and plant yams. There are few trees and those trees are occupied by monkeys that we have heard but have not seen. It is a beautiful and peaceful place. We have developed a very nice relationship with the family. We have an excess of goods to give away, particularly children’s clothing, and this family with 7 children has been the recipient of bag loads of clothing, toys, freshly baked banana bread, batteries, sunglasses, and assorted other stuff. They are sweet people with a cute gaggle of children.

This bay has decent snorkeling and excellent water quality, except at low tide. We were able to get in the water and give the waterline of Sabbatical III a good cleaning, as well as remove marine growth from the rudder, keel, and knotmeter. Every afternoon about 6 to 8 small (20 foot) Indonesia fishing boats arrive here from Maumere and anchor quite close to us in very shallow water (3 feet). They bath, collect some kind of sea critter from the bottom that they just pop into their mouths, and cook supper. They laugh and joke with each other and make good natured comments about us. An hour after sunset they all leave to spend the night fishing and then return to Maumere, about 25 miles away.

We arrived here from Pulau Besar in the company of the Australian boat “Freeform” with Dale and Sophie onboard “Freeform” is a Freedom 32 sloop built in Warren, Rhode Island and is just a smaller version of our previous boat “Sabbatical II”, a Freedom 38. We connected up with “Freeform” in Wailamung two days prior to arriving here. Wailamung was nothing special except that we were there for the once a week market day (Tuesday). This is a poor island and it is the dry season, so there was not very much of interest to us even in the weekly market. No eating bananas, just plantains. We did buy a couple of pineapples, some tomatoes and bok choy, and some yams, and these were welcome additions to our diet. From Wailamung we sailed in company with “Freeform” to Pulau Besar, a small, very steep island a few miles offshore the big island of Flores. We anchored in a small, protected bay opposite a Muslim fishing village containing about 10 houses in a single cluster, and a mosque. It seemed a peaceful place until it was just about time for evening prayers. We heard a small generator start-up, and then shortly thereafter the muzzein’s call to prayer was blasted from a loudspeaker even though all of the houses were in easy earshot of the mosque and each other. At 5 am the generator was started up again for the morning call to prayer. There was no way one could sleep through it. We needed to be on our way to Batu Boga anyway, so it was no matter.

Tomorrow morning we will leave for the 145 nautical mile passage to Labuan Bajo at the far western end of Flores Island. We will try to sail (as opposed to motor) this distance even though the winds are almost always very light. We sailed to Batu Boga in light winds, averaging a slow but comfortable 5 knots, and that is all we can hope for tomorrow. It should take us 24 – 28 hours to get to Labuan Bajo. “Freeform” is making the same passage as well.


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