We went weeks without seeing another cruising boat and only saw one in passing the whole trip. This is a kind of cruising I had dreamed about and few experience. So did I like it?
The sheer adventure spoke to me vividly no doubt. The excitement added by the constant agony of knowing if something goes wrong there is no help. The old saying about casting off the lines and taking chances was never more we relevant.
We did some long passages; 4 days to Manado, 2 two Spice Islands, 3 to Wakatobi and 2 back to LBJ. More overnight passages than I have done since the South Pacific. With one exception we had excellent weather and calm seas, one night it rolled a bit in 20 knots of wind. The lack of wind in this area is appealing to us power boaters but contributes to the areas remoteness; few cruising sailboats have the range or will to motor as much as they would have to.
My social “fix” made and back on familiar course we headed to Labuan Bajo. This was one of my favorite places last year. I was excited as dawn broke and the mountains peaked out of the low layer of clouds in the horizon.
So cruising goes, as in much of life , the safe and familiar mixed with the adventure and unknown. I believe taking the mix just past the comfort level is essential. Living only on the “safe” side makes for a dull life, not the product of dreams. Yet a life constantly in the unknown would be counter to why we cruise, cruisers like to take it easy and are social beings! The balance is essential, granted my life tends to be balanced on the far side of safe by most standards, I do need a level of certainty. I did not realize how much until I again walked the cobbled streets of Labuan Bajo. I had a sense of home even though I had only been here once a year ago. I went to the ice-cream vender and the Mediterranean Bar. I ate the best hamburger in SE Asia at the same place as last year. I even was hailed by a local lad I had met last year. We anchored amongst the fleet of regal Indonesian boats. The experience was pure joy.
So we will fuel and provision, connect with this year’s rally boats, and set out to dive in the wonders of the Komodo National Park. Huge Manta Rays await us in the water and massive Komodo Dragons on land, things of wonder few will see yet things I can count on, so good to be here again.