in IndonesiaComments Off on Flores


From the idyllic anchorage at Adonara Island we sailed westward along the north coast of Flores. We had wind and current often against us for much of the way, it was slow going.
After an overnight stop in a nameless little bay, surrounded by beautiful coral reef we continued further along the island…

to the anchorage known as ‘Seaworld’

It is off a resort of the same name, owned by the Roman Catholic Church and known mainly for its diving trips.

This was one of the few places in Indonesia where traders came to the yachts, this man was there quickly wanting to sell shells; we declined those but at our request, he later came back with fruit.
It is a pretty, understated little resort, where we were made welcome and everyone seemed friendly;

although among the profuse bougainvillea the broken glass bottles topping the walls suggest not everyone can be so easygoing all the time.

As usual the kids wanted photos taken, but nothing else of us.

The nearby town of Maumere is the main centre on the island of Flores.
It’s a messy place, streets and buildings in disrepair, or at a half built stage and abandoned

but then it was largely destroyed (along with major loss of life) by an earthquake and tsumani back in 1992, so is still recovering.
The town is bustling with a busy market

there’s even an internet cafe when the power is on which is much of the time;
and many smiling faces

(just love those banana slices, wrapped in a light pastry and deep-fried…)

There’s never a problem getting a ride from town back to the anchorage on an ojek,

for a small fee there are many willing offers, but they underestimate our size on their low-powered machines!

Through the resort we arranged a car and driver for the day to take us to the famed crater lakes in the Kelimutu National Park.
It was a long drive across the island then up onto the volcano, passing through beautiful mountain villages;
the houses with thatched but strikingly peaked gabled roofs and beautiful terraces of rice paddies around.

At the entrance to the National Park we had to register at the guard-house, it has a chilly, up-in-the-mountains air, but the datura flourishes.

At the end of the road is a carpark with stalls selling food and drinks for the walk to the volcano summits, women are also wearing and selling thickly woven ikats an indication of the cooler climate at altitude.

(This mountainous part of Flores is known for it’s special ikats, of darker colours and thicker weave).

It’s only a short walk to the summit and at 1600m is pleasantly cool and with damp subalpine vegetation

There are 3 coloured crater lakes, torquoise, green and black

the remarkable thing being that they are so different but so close together

and also change colours independently, periodically.

By the time we were on the summit the clouds had rolled in over our previously sunny day, they always do at that time, it’s obvious from the graffitti that others are more frustrated with the loss of view than we were!

There were few white faces about,just one American couple, but it is a popular place for visiting Indonesian tourists, there were many

After seeing the lakes through the clouds rolling by and watching squabbling rock monkeys it was time for lunch, we went back down the hill to the pretty, hill town of Moni and the Cafe Chenty where the food was excellent and of course very cheap.
It has an outlook over the village, we spent quite some time there watching and talking over food.

We had hired the car for the day sharing the cost with an older English couple, Dennis and Jo, both very experienced in the boat charter business and cruising in their own yacht. We had a lot to talk about, the conversation didn’t stop, it was altogether a great day out.

From ‘Seaworld’ in the other direction the road along the coast passes beneath a smoking volcano, Gunung Egon, it erupted not long ago as it’s bare summit shows.

The village of Waiterung is just beneath it

These school children were taking a rest walking home from school, they couldn’t understand why I should have willingly walked 16km from the anchorage and was about to walk back again…

….and this woman was weaving her ikat under a shelter in the front yard; she was joined by the family for a ‘photo.

After a few days at ‘Seaworld’ we moved on to Riung, there wasn’t a lot of wind, we motored and sailed as we could over 2 days.It’s a friendly, but dirty little town at the port.

There’s little to attract overseas tourists here, there used to be giant iguanas to go and see, (hence the welcoming lizard gateway) but they are now rarely found. It is also near the place where the prehistoric Flores man (?) was recently found, but there is little chance of seeing them either.
There is some limited diving at the small offshore islands, which are part of a marine reserve, but as the town isn’t really on the way anywhere else, it is really only the most hardy of hairy-arm-pitted Scando-European Backpackers that make it here!

The houses on the waterfront are all built on stilts over tidal mud and mangroves in the typical Muslim Bugis way.

It’s a fishing village and in the early evening the boats all leave to work for the night, ranging from small sailing canoes

to these large trimarans, which have the size and manouverability of a 747 as they come through the anchorage…

There was diesel available right there at the waterfront, an opportunity not to miss, a man on an ojek took me and my 2 jerrycans to the ‘filling station’.

The measure there was more accurate, the 1 litre jug had the size stamped on it!

The main part of the town is a little inland from the port, along pleasantly shady mango lined roads.

there’s a small market on some days only and few shops, supplies are limited.

Beyond the town the flat land soon ends, the road goes up hill through the last of the houses…

I followed a goat-track through the trees up onto the ridge-top for a good view back down onto the town and the anchorage.

People have to work hard to live here, most of them don’t seem to have much, but the woman with the firewood above lives in this house with the large satellite dish,

so there is the occasional surprise…
She also was the weaver of the large ikat hanging in the yard, it wasn’t for sale, but this man (with betel-stained teeth) was offering his for just a few dollars,

I regretted not having the money with me, it was well made and the striking gold on black ‘medallion’ pattern is the style of the town.

I had compulsory ‘photo’opportunities with children, some were accustomed posers,

but right here right on the edge of town I suspect these last little ones hadn’t seen anyone of my size and colour before

We stayed there 2 nights before moving on westward to the end of Flores island. We had excellent wind for sailing for 2 days, but as the result, the night in between was one of the most uncomfortable and patience-testing ever, we had an unbelievably rolly anchorage as the wind held us beam onto the sea, it was near impossible to cook (it was definitely not a good decision to have laksa for dinner that night) and almost as difficult to stay in bed!


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