I’ve sailed across an ocean now. Ok, it wasn’t the Pacific or the Atlantic, but I‘ve sailed across a sea. Ok, we mostly motored, but still.
I’ve floated above a mile of ocean below me. On the boat we’ve raced dolphins and listened to whale song. I’ve been amazed at the ever changing beauty around me, fascinated by the constant movement of the sea. My mind has been blown by the depth of space above me in the night sky. I’ve seen pristine reef with every color, texture, and shape of coral, where alien looking sea creatures make their homes. But really, what’s all this adventure without being shot at? So that’s what we did.
After the frenetic city atmosphere of Kupang, we were glad to be heading up the coast of Rote, looking for surfing waves a couple of Ausie expats had told us about. Greg wanted to teach me to surf (unlikely considering my lack of upper body strength and general clumsiness), but I thought I’d give it a go. The first night we anchored in a lovely and peaceful estuary with a very small village close by. The only sounds were gently lapping waves on the hull and bird song from the mangroves.
In the morning we continued North West, passing white beaches and an occasional very low profile resort here and there. After an all day sail we approached the lee side of a close by island to anchor. We hadn’t found the surfing waves, but thought in the morning we’d look around in the dingy.
It was a lovely anchorage with a fringe of white sandy beach, and a view of other pretty islands. Other than one large building, there was no sign of human life. I was just saying that this was my favorite anchorage so far, when two guys showed up on the beach and started waving their arms at us. Really, we didn’t pay too much attention to them, we didn't understand the language. Until a shot was fired.
I asked for the binoculars and saw two men in shorts with camo tops, rifle type weapons in their arms. Military? Drug runners? Security to guard some private enterprise on the island?? They obviously had no boat to come out to us. They didn’t respond to radio call.
And they weren’t giving up.
After more shouting and a couple more flying bullets we needed to make a decision about what to do. Greg was loath to leave; there was no where else to anchor and we were tired from the all day sail. Two more men arrived at the beach and I heard the high pitched hyena laugh that comes with young men in group mania (think that crazy cobra kai dude in The Karate Kid).
There was no point in staying. We upped anchor and started turning the boat around. Three more shots were fired and this time it seemed they were shooting AT us. The three of us ducked instinctively. Really, if they wanted to hit us they would have shot while we were hauling up anchor, but why keep shooting? We were leaving!!
Everybody is ok, and as far as we can tell the boat wasn't hit. We took off into the beautiful sunset, with good wind behind us, and made the two day sail to Rinca. We missed the surfing waves, but found a beautiful deserted anchorage with the best, most pristine reef I've ever seen.
Soon to come: Komodo, land of the dragon.