|Blue sky ... nice sand ...|
you get the idea.
Western Lombok was marvellous. The island of Gili Air is blessed with a deep channel (over 2,000 metres deep at some points) and strong current close by, which keeps the water clear and largely rubbish-free. We picked up a mooring on the east (windy side) and went ashore to find that this motorized-vehicle-less island was navigable by foot, horse-cart or bicycle. We opted for the latter and made our way to the western, wind-free side of the island to enjoy a rest day ashore. Sandy beaches, fair snorkeling and a quiet packed lunch rounded out our day ashore.
We had our evening scrabble game interrupted by a honking dive boat that returned to claim its unmarked mooring ball ... well after dark. This could have ended in confrontation as they insisted we move (even though it was dark and we told them we wouldn't be able to safely put down an anchor), but we negotiated beautifully. We had them find us a new, available mooring that was close by, pick it up with their RIB, pass a line through it and hand it over to us when we moved Popeye. The relocation went smoothly, with them checking in on us 30 minutes afterwards and also the next day.
|Great anchorage, but ...|
Moving on after two days rest, we pushed all the way across Lombok, anchoring at the base of a volcano. We had a few days to cross the next island - Sumbawa - and were going to explore the island at our own pace. Our first stop was Potopaddu, a sheltered cove on the furthest west side of Sumbawa. We made our way into the idyllic bay and were almost immediately descended upon by the local fisherman. All through our Indonesian trek, we had been expecting the locals to come to Popeye to meet us and we would ‘respond’ with a gift to the village’s representatives. We also knew that Sumbawa is one of the poorer islands and were not surprised when we had fisherman hanging on our gunwales before we had even secured our anchor. What did surprise us was how quickly the fishermen were present when we arrived, and the six or seven boats that rapidly appeared after we arrived, began demanding SOMETHING before they would let go of Popeye.
They obviously had become habituated by other cruisers. They knew to ask for (in order of preference) beer, cigarettes, t-shirts, hats, books, sun glasses, CocaCola, pencils and if you can’t or won’t hand over any of the former, then a bottle of water will do. I found myself uncharitably thinking of Canada Parks rangers talking of not feeding the bears that became so used to getting handouts that they would approach Parks visitors’ cars and beg for food. After the sixth boat to visit was recognized to contain two locals that had already been given ‘gifts’, the novelty of handing out stuff quickly wore off and I began to feel used. I began to get to work on a freshly torn sail that needed mending, having to constantly tell the approaching visitors “Tidak lagi rocco, kosong,” (no more cigarettes, all gone) as I worked to finish sewing before darkness set in. They kept at me as I worked. It quickly soured my Sumbawa experience.
|We were eventually offered some fish|
from one of our visitors
We woke to calls from the stern of the boat, as fishermen had arrived to get their morning packs of cigarettes. We quickly pulled up anchor and I vowed we would make our way across Sumbawa without interacting with any more locals on this island.
Sad to hear your experience there wasn't great.ReplyDelete