Maumere is the largest town in the province of Flores. Flores is the greenest of all the islands we have seen so far. We headed for Wodong, a small anchorage chosen mainly because it had a restaurant attached to a small dive centre. We were not disappointed. Four boats spent a couple of days here, Indian Summer, Site, Catchcry and Gallivant. We all caught up on boat chores, swam and had a lovely meal at the dive hotel. Gin & Tonic – heaven! There were a couple of other boats here but not much else to see so we headed off early the next day for Maumere.
We decided to anchor at the SeaWorld resort rather than Maumere itself, which is a busy port. We definitely made the right decision. It is a beautiful place, with plenty of room. There were 10 boats here an anchor, so many tales to swap and new friends to be made. We spent the whole of the first afternoon lounging around the beach with Craig & Claudia from Gallivant, Stedem from Atlantis and Doris and Rudolf from Muck – ending up having a huge buffet dinner at the restaurant – a very boozy day on the beach! Stuff can be done tomorrow I reckon…….
The next day, we went into Maumere to stock up on fresh veggies and get some more data. Maumere is a busy noisy town and we saw no other westerners. We were definitely the odd ones out – we are getting used to the stares now. We called into a hospital to give them some medical supplies we had and were given a tour of the hospital. It was very interesting, as there are plenty of staff, some of the equipment is new and unused, and some old and rather dilapidated but overall it was very clean and all the basics were covered, radiology, theatre, sterilisation, pharmacy, etc. The odd thing was that we saw only a couple of patients. We asked the Dr why and he said that the cost was prohibitive for them even though it was funded by both the Catholic church and the government. We left a bit perplexed. There was even an incubator still in plastic, obviously unused but sitting pride of place in the middle of the ward.
– Later that afternoon, a couple of us went to have a massage, and discovered that the owner of the spa, a lady called Lena, did a lot of work for the local orphanage. We mentioned that we had quite a few clothes and other items, could we give them to her for the kids. She then went on to tell us that she was the first orphan at this orphanage and and that we could visit that evening. We jumped at the chance, and so about 6pm, the three of us piled into a car, along with bags of clothes, toys, and other gifts and set off. We got caught up in the frenzy for the Independence Day preparations and ended up walking along beside the car to join in. It was mayhem but so much fun. There were horns blaring, people singing, everyone was so excited.
It took a while to get through but eventually we were on our way and didn’t arrive until after 7pm. The kids were all ready for bed but waiting up for us and broke into song as soon as we walked in. They were adorable of course, and we noticed that some of them were disabled. Lena told us that there were now 5 orphanages in Flores, and they also take disabled and blind children. It was such a happy place, and their laughter was completely infectious. 55 children live in this particular orphanage called Lekebai and over the years they have helped over 1000 children. It was very moving to see all the work that has been put in over the years and how many people support them. SeaWorld, where Lena has her spa, donate some of their profits to them – as do many people around the world.
We eventually got back to the beach about 8.30, met up with some more friends, had a couple of beers and headed back to India for bed. Such a wonderful day, and one that will stay with us for a very long time.