After the last couple of days in Lavina, the town at the north side of Bali, we pulled anchor and set the course north. This will complete the voyage of 2012, a 5000 mile circumnavigation of Indonesia.
My second visit to Indonesia brought us all around the island country. We visited remote areas not often ventured to by cruising boats and some old familiar stomping grounds. My love of this incredible country and its people has only grown.
We entered Indonesia at the seldom visited sea port of Tarakan, just in time for Ramadan. The devotion and love of the Islamic people is always strong but profound at this time of year.
We then crossed eastward around the huge island of Saluwasi to another modern but not visited by westerners town of Manado. The tip of the island is famed for diving and we found unlimited visibility. From where we left Malaysia on Borneo we went over three weeks without seeing another cruising boat, this was a first. We continued east and explored the Spice Islands.
We continued south to Wakatobi and back to familiar places and cruising boats. Here we met with a group from this year’s Sail Indonesia Rally. With the need to keep moving enhanced by a hole in the inflatable we now turned southwest and headed for Komodo National Park.
It was good to be back! The quant town of Labuan Bajo was our first stop. Here we supplied and did a crew change. I indulged in a juicy hamburger and ice cream at familiar stops. Then off to the play grounds.
The next stop I awaited like a kid counting the days to Christmas. Gili Air is a magical mystical place that has weaved its way into my heart. Last year I found romance and fun, this year music and diving, and both so many new great friends. I simply have a goofy grin on the entire time I am on Gili Air.
With a tear in my eye we left Gili Air after a great Furtur party; nine people, seven countries we left Gili Air vowing to return. I have said before that Gili Air is like the mythical Brigadoon, it comes once a year and beckons me to stay. Stay I might next year as I have been asked to help at the dive shop as a relief dive master.
This year reunited Furthur with three former crewmatez. Simone joined us for the voyage of eastern Indonesia to Komodo where she got a job as a dive instructor on a livaboard. Marisa, who was my Dive Master classmate and crew, is now in Bali also working as a dive instructor, i got to dive with her and see the famed Mula Mula fish. We met up with Missy who heard me talk so much about the Sail Indonesia Rally that she joined one of this year’s contestants. I am very proud and happy for the girls, it is good to see former crew doing well.
Again Indonesia has captured my heart, the land, the people, the diving, all wonders. I have found the two most incredible places on earth, Indo and Thailand and the sun and I will keep visiting both. For now the thoughts of Big Buddha, rock and roll, bat filed caves to exotic lagoons, epic diving and big brown eyes fill the tomorrow, Thailand here we come.