We left the Komodo Islands and headed to the Island of Sumbawa. This is one of Indonesia’s poorest islands with few visitors. There is nothing here of note to bring tourists in and therefore it really has a feel of a time lost and the villages still rely on their traditional laws and regulations It is drier than Flores and Komodo and mainly Islamic. It took five days to sail across Sumbawa and we stopped at four small villages on the way.
Were (pronounced Weera) was the first. We had not heard good things about this stop – some cruisers had had some bad experiences with the locals but as it was a local traditional boatbuilding place, Ian wanted to take a look. Jenni D, Tereva and Indian Summer all arrived about midday and went into the beach to take a look. There were a few boats under construction and the boys loved it. They peered into every nook and cranny and were fascinated at the level of skill these locals had with so little in the way of tools. Of course we were accompanied by scores of small boys all wanting to get in on the action.
We then all decided to explore the village. We were very pleasantly surprised at what we found. A beautifully laid-out village, exceptionally clean and very friendly. We gave out little gifts and bought some fruit and veg from the local shops – which are not really shops but rather a dilapidated table outside a house selling garden produce. We were followed, called out to, and stared at but as always it was the children that we loved. Always smiling and giggling – they loved having us visit.
We noticed that the boatbuilding industry is a generational thing. Small boys making toy boats on their verandas and the men fixing up the little sails.
The next day we visited the small village of Kilo. Here we did not manage to even get ashore. We arrived at about 2pm and had so many children visit the boat that it was dark before they left. They were fine at first, but in the end we had to hide inside and ignore their ‘hello misters’ They sure are persistent!! We gave them magazines, lollipops, clothes etc. We did notice that there is a definite gender division here. Note the different modes of transport between the visiting girls and boys!
We stayed overnight and then headed off for Moyo Island. This place is gorgeous. There is a very exclusive resort on the island but other than that just a few villagers and a great place to dive and snorkel. We arrived late, about 4pm, anchored and headed straight to the beach for some drinks.
The next morning we went snorkeling and saw an incredible amount of fish. More fish here than anywhere else in Indonesia so far. Moyo Island is a ‘no-catch’ place and therefore has a much greater fish population. Later in the afternoon we visited a family unit. 6 houses, the biggest for Mama and Papa and the other five for their children and families. The smallest house was at the end and she invited us in for a cup of tea. Her house consisted on two rooms. Up on stilts, just a bedroom area and a kitchen. We sat on the floor and she lit the fire, boiled up the water and we all had tea. It was very special and all the other relatives came over for a visit. Standing room only.
We then offered to take them back to the boat and they loved it. I showed her my kitchen, which is smaller than hers she was pleased to note – and I gave her some spices and sugar as there is no shop on the island to replenish her own supply.
It was another special day – next stop Lombok…..