Our next stop is Pasarwajo, on the island Buton just across from Wangi Wangi.
Also here we are immediately welcomed by Rusdi, who probably has had to charter a boat just to come out to see us.
Cassava harvest and preparation of Kasuami
The next morning we meet Rusdi at the shore and he invites us to prepare and have lunch with his family.
Reto has to harvest a cassava root, which I peel and from the ground and pressed material the flakes are loosened and steamed in a banana leave basket. The result is almost like fresh bread, fluffy and a healthy source of carbohydrates.
We find it very tasty together with steamed papaya and the fish soup „Parende“ with lemon grass, fresh turmeric root, onion, garlic, chili and belimbing (a sour tasting little cucumber shaped fruit).
Festival Budaya Tua Buton
In the afternoon we meet Rusdi’s boss, the tourism director of Pasarwajo and we hear a lot about the enormous festival Budaya Tua Buton which will take place here in to weeks time.
2019 dancers will perform, 219 babies rolled in healing herbs, 219 girls introduced to the duties of wife, 219 boys circumcision done and 219 huge plates of food brought from the participants.
„Why this funny number“ I ask Rusdi. The answer is easy: „ to remember how many it have been in 2019… ;-)”
We just have to stay here, then we’d be of course invited to VIP box and also our visa extension would be organised without any problem, just a trip to Bau Bau. But two weeks is too long for us, we feel, on the way back to the boat we receive the information about our first family members visiting us in Thailand, we have to get going…
Diving with the Mandarin Fish
Here we go on our first Muck Dive, off the pier where the Mandarin Fish is known to be. In the afternoon at 4 pm we get into the dinghy with our dive gear, drive over to pier and dive into the rather murky water.
We dive down to only around 6 meters in between a lot of rubbish and we do kind of ask ourselves why we are doing this.
But it doesn‘t take long until Reto spots the first of these little yellow orange blue striped shy fish.
From the first one we learn that he doesn‘t like the flashlight, but there are others and we watch them carefully. Also there are a few big and very small lion fish and a huge moray eel!!!
Learning English for a better Understanding between different Cultures
On Friday afternoon we are invited to Rusdi’s English School. Since 20 years he is running this school with the target to teach English to the next generations, so they can create their own opinion about other cultures and become open for the contact with people from other countries.
One per week they have a culture class where all classes come together to make traditional music and perform dances. This time we are also invited and contribute with some examples from traditions in Switzerland. But first we enjoy the customs and dances from Buton and are invited to join in the „Sailor‘s dance“.
For the event I dress properly with long sleeved pants and a well closed T-Shirt, but as everyone is dressed in traditional clothes Rusdi’s wife Nasria dresses me with an additional long sleeved shirt and a huge thick sarong, so in the end I wear 3 layers of thick clothes…
Visiting the distillery in the mountains
Thanks to another day with no wind we accept Rusdi‘s invitation to visit a distillery up in the mountains. On the back of Ruslin’s and Rusdi’s scooter we enjoy the landscape.
Once in the garden we inspect the distillery and taste the juice of the already slightly fermented juice of the palm tree. The taste reminds us of the tuba from Elato and Lamotrek in Micronesia, only cleaner than most of the Tubas we tasted there…
Gafar also shows us his plantation full with cloves and nutmeg trees and we understand that he has to check all 100 trees for harvesting the ripe nutmegs every single day!
Back in the village we taste the end product, which is kept in a bottle with 9 spices and herbs and is said to have a healing effect. Unfortunately I can only buy a little bottle, so we only become a bit more healthy 😉
Farewell on SHE SAN
To thank Rusdi and his family we invite them for a typical European Spaghetti dinner on She San where just fit all 9 of us around the cockpit table. After dinner we enjoy a warm „Zaraba“ which is a beverage from palm sugar, cloves, cinnamon and condensed milk and it makes us feel very warm. As a farewell song they sing for us „I am sailing”, it doesn‘t make saying goodbye easier!!
270 Miles from Pasarwajo to Labuanbajo
But we don’t have much time to be sad, the next morning we start for the 2 nights 270 miles turn to Labuanbajo in the West of Flores.
We are a bit nervous because of the numerous FADs, but they are already a lot less here then in the Moluccas.
But our timing turns out alright, just before sunset we pass to more than 1600 meter depth, where we still do see the last FAD. Then of course during the night we wouldn’t see them any more anyway…
In the morning again we are back in around 1500 meter deep water, we see another FAD approaching Sansangiang. the second evening we are well of Bonerate back in 4000 meter depth, we feel safe.
Around noon we put down our anchor in the small Waecicu bay just north of Labuanbajo, here the water is clean, some nice reefs are nearby, the beach and mountains invite for running and hiking and the access to shore is easy via the pontoons of the different hotels.
In Labuanbajo on the other hand there is action everywhere. The harbour is full with tourist boats, on the harbour front two huge new buildings and a new marina are in construction, the roads are full with „tourist informations“ offering packages on land and on sea and one dive shop is next to the other.
The rather open canalisation is rather smelly, no wonder it never rains at this time of the year, so it all just stands there…
But we are not here just for fun anyway…
Complicated visa extension in Labuanbajo
…but because we want (need) to extend our visa. Another cruiser in Davao has recommended Labuanbajo to us as an easy place to do so.
But when we go for the first time to see Alfons at the „Kantor Imigrasi“ we quickly realize that the boss must have changed. They require the original of the so called sponsor letter. This is a letter where an Indonesian citizen has to guarantee that we don‘t make any trouble and while in some places already substituted by an information on your bank account in other places still requested.
So the next two days we are busy with the organization of the originals. Plural because since we want to change our sponsor we have to get the original of the „change of sponsor letter“ to here as well.
After one week we have all the documents as requested, then we spend another day at the immigration office, the computer doesn‘t work well and cannot import Reto‘s data properly.
Just before closing at 5 pm I already have my passport but Reto is told to come back again the next day. Just before we are at the door Alfons cries out „Stop, it worked!!“ and just in the last moment he gives us Reto‘s passport.
The next day we do our provisioning in the market and think to get our diesel…
Filling up with Diesel
In most of the countries we just go to the next gas station in order to fill up our jerry cans with Diesel fuel. Also in Sorong two months ago this has worked more or less, at least…
Here we walk the 3.4 km to the gas station and are shocked by the picture we see. More than 30 people are queuing around the Bio Solar post with surely more than 100 jerry cans waiting to be filled. We would like to speak to someone of the personell, but there is no chance, there are in the middle of the bulk somewhere and will not have time for us.
After this it is clear for us, we will not manage to do this by ourselves. Then we meet Yusuf on the pier who makes us an excellent offer to take us to immigration and also offers us to get the diesel for us.
We agree with the deal, bring him the jerry cans and give him the money. Unfortunately the next day he is not there by himself and there are 20 liters out of 120 liters missing in the jerry cans. We make a picture which we send him and go home disappointed.
In the evening though he calls us back feeling really bad that this happened. he asks us to come back and get our missing fuel…
So the next day we get our missing liters and we are happy that we didn’t judge him wrong.
Just as we want to head back to the dinghy I realize that I don’t find the key for the dinghy and our door on the boat, I must have either lost it or left it at home but in either way our dinghy remains locked at the pier in town.
Yusuf’s employee Alex calls him and tells him about our problem, so Yusuf sends Alex to drive us to Weacicu, where Reto borrows a kayak to go out to the boat. After 15 minutes he comes back -- I had left the key on the table…
Our plan was to leave the next day for Komodo National park and further on, but in the meantime have been invited to a wedding from Bennie who we met in the Komodo National Park Office. We decide to stay an additional two days, we don‘t want to miss that.
In the afternoon at 4 pm the ceremony begins in the catholic church Paroki Roh Kudus in Labuanbajo. We are there early and chat with the people, then the traditional dancers followed by the bridal couple and their family enter the church.
The whole ceremony takes almost two hours, but there is always some action and the singing of the choir is beautiful.
Siprianus, Bennie‘s brother-in-law looks well after us, after the ceremony we are invited to come to the bride‘s father‘s house for „afternoon coffee“ -- it is already dark by then. There are plenty of chairs, the music is super loud and it is hard to communicate.
I am happy that Bennie has some time to talk, I understand from him that the wedding party will continue the following week in his home village together with the whole family of the bridal couple.
In the meantime Reto is invited to dance and drink spirit with the men, they all have a lot of fun ;-).
Afterwards we are brought to another church with a huge hall with seats for more than 1000 people. We get to congratulate the bridal families as the first persons to come in, get a seat in the front rows and then wait until the hall is filled with people. Incredible, how many are coming, in the end it is rather full!!
In the front there is a band and once the greeting part is finished Bennie sings a song for his wife.
Next they both have to eat a piece of cake which is seemingly cut out of the model of a dummy wedding cake, without hands and without letting it fall down I assume…
After a lot of music and speeches we are asked to get up to go to the buffet, we are relieved as we already have finished our „emergency crackers“ a while ago.
Afterwards there is some dancing, but it is already 11 pm and we almost fall asleep… A friend from Siprianus drives us back to our dinghy and in the pitch-dark night we carefully go back trying not to hit the reefs on the way.