Thursday, 2 June 2011

Where and When

As we get closer and closer to “D” for Departure Day we are constantly being asked  where we will be sailing and how long we will be gone so here goes.

While our original plan had been to buy our own yacht in the Mediterranean and spend the next few northern summers exploring the ancient and modern wonders of this area, the depressed state of the real estate market has seen us move to Plan B until things pickup and we can sell a couple of houses. We will now be sailing as crew on other peoples boats who enjoy having another couple on board for company and to help sail the boat.

Thanks to, the first stage of our trip begins in Cairns on June 16 when we join owners Colin and Milin on board the Beneteau 57 “Nae Hassle” and head north up the east coast of Cape York, hopefully making a stop at Lizard Island on our way to the Torres Straight. We then head across the Gulf of Carpentaria towards Gove then on to Darwin.  Here we will provision the boat for the trip and join the Sail Indonesia Rally fleet of over 100 yachts and multihulls. On July 16 we all gather for a farewell Barbeque at the Darwin Sailing Club for all crew members followed by the Rally Briefing and Information Day on the 19th. July 23 is the big day as Sail Indonesia begins at 11 am in Darwin Harbor with a mass start as yachts destined for Saumlaki and Kupang all start together.

Along with most of the fleet, we will take the western route clearing customs into Indonesia in Kupang in western Timor. During the following three months we will be taking in some of the series of Events and Cultural Festivals at the different stopovers across Indonesia on the islands of Timor, Buton, Lembata, Flores, Sulawesi, Bali, Java, Borneo, Belitung and finally on to Batam just south of Singapore.

The Local Administration at each of these Indonesian islands has planned events to coincide with the visit by Sail Indonesia Rally yachts. These include ceremonial welcomes and dinners as well as cultural and arts displays and often dance performances. We will be able to see some of the more remote and less developed parts of the country as we cruise from island to island mostly away from the well worn tourist areas. We sailed part of the coast of Flores and the Komodo National Park in 2010 and loved getting away from the Kuta Beach - Bali vision of Indonesia. We are very much looking forward to immersing ourselves in the food and culture of this amazing area.

We should reach Malaysia in early to mid October but there’s no such thing as a set itinerary when your cruising. It all comes down to prevailing weather, where and when Colin and Milin want to head and, of course, we will be working on Indonesian time which is very flexible to say the least.

Hopefully Malaysia is far from the end of the story as we are looking to fly directly from there to Europe and join another couple in Gibraltar to cruise the Canary Islands and across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. But that’s another chapter.

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