Leaving Indonesia

Sitting at anchor at 02 degrees 08 minutes South, we will cross the equator again in the next couple of days and leave my beloved Indonesia.

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.

Last year I promised myself to spend a month in the park, as our stay last year was too short. We did just that, a month of diving and dragons followed. We made new friends, visited remote villages and did some of the best diving on the planet. The weather is perfect, the scenery spectacular and the people all wonderful, again I promised to return.

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.

We ventured to the south end of Bali this year, for the first time. This is the party,surf,beach town. Also it is the only marina in Indonesia. After a few thousand miles and not seeing a dock for months, Furthur needed a makeover. A couple of weeks tied to the dock and some good cheap labor later and she is standing tall. Being secure at a dock afforded me the luxury of being able to explore the inner island for a couple of days on motor scooter. Bali is famed for its exotic temples and spectacular water falls, we saw many of both.

Just could not get enough we popped back to Gili Air again so July, new Argentinian crew, could take her Open Water Dive course and I could play more music with my compandres, Agu and Jey. There is not greater joy than sitting with your toes in the sand, the ocean gently crashing behind you and jamming on the shore with these two guys at the Freedom Bar.

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.

We then visited Lavina, the destination from last year’s rally and another favorite place. A few days of play and preparations there and we headed out on the long trip to Thailand. We will only make a few stops until we hit Malaysia. The season is about to change and the sun and dry season move to the other side of the equator.

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.