We left Riung, Flores on August 16th for our third attempt to find the right conditions to sail to Labuan Bajo. The seas were quite flat so that even with light winds, we could make decent progress under sail alone. We averaged less than 4 knots of boat speed but we sailed 90 percent of the way, and it was a beautiful night with an almost full moon. Diesel is hard to come by and we hate to motor anyway. Labuan Bajo has trash everywhere and is charmless. We were able to get 6 of our jerry cans filled with diesel (there are no fuel docks for yachts in Indonesia), get some fruits and veggies at the market, and have a couple of restaurant meals. The internet service was so slow as to be essentially unusable.
On August 20th (Saturday) we sailed to Rinca Island and anchored in Loh Buaya Rincah, a narrow fjord-like bay. We were one of four Sail Indonesia Rally boats anchored there, three of which are Amel’s like ours. Rinca and Komodo island (and some smaller adjacent islands) make up Komodo National Park, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is only the place in the world with the magnificent Komodo Dragons. We did two treks over two days on Rinca Island, accompanied by a National Park ranger, who carried a long forked stick in case he needed to keep aggressive dragons at bay. It is a Park requirement that tourists walk accompanied by a ranger as the dragons are not that picky about what they eat. We saw at least ten dragons including some large males. Yesterday to sailed to Teluk Ginggo some miles to the west of Loh Buaya Rincah but still on Rinca Island. We encountered something we had not experiences for some weeks — strong winds. We zoomed along at over 9 knots, some of which was current. The anchorage was fine and there were monkeys and dragons on the beach, although not mixing socially.
Today we were were almost two-thirds of the way to an anchorage on the south end of Rinca Island when the wind began to gust 30 knots on the nose, The current also seemed to turn against us as well. It seemed like it would be a hard slog to weather, so we bailed out and turned around and headed for Komodo Island. The currents are very strong, and with the strong wind and coral and rock bottom, it was difficult to anchor the boat at the first place we tried (between Komodo and Punja Island). The boat would not turn head into the wind as the current was so strong. We sat with our beam into the strong wind for a while deciding what to do when a small local boat came up and said that it was dangerous to anchor where we were due to the current. We had two local young men come on board and they led us around a headlands to the northwest were we are now anchored in sand off the beach with 5 wild pigs. It is comfortable and I will certainly sleep better at night here than in the previous place that had the churning current and winds. Our new friends who come from tiny Komodo village and they will take us to the park tomorrow in their longboat.