Then on to Flores from where Sara flew home for brief visit to see the family and attend Tom (nephew) and Rosie’s wedding. There was no where suitable to leave Tulu unattended so Chris stayed behind at anchor off the Sea World Resort, Maumere on the north coast of Flores.
We were towards the front of the fleet as we approached Maumere to give us time to settle into the anchorage, get Chris known in the resort so that he would be well fed in Sara’s absence and it gave us both a chance to take a day trip to see the coloured volcanic lakes of Kelimutu. The drive across the island in itself was very interesting, through villages and paddy fields, but the lakes were spectacular - three lakes of different colours, each in separate craters. The colour of each lake at any given time depends upon the volcanic activity at the time - an ever changing kaleidoscope.
Sara flew to Bali on 28th August, had a night there, and then on to London via Doha. Straight to Stamford for the bank holiday with Jonno and Bex including shopping for a wedding outfit, then back to London to apply for a new Indonesian visa (single entry only) on the Tuesday morning and then a train to Somerset after a quick coffee with New Zealand friends, David and Brenda who happen to be in town. Phew! It was lovely to see Granny and to stay at the farm. Communications from Indonesia have not been easy so I have not spoken to her as much as I would have liked, so it was particularly good to see her. The next day I drove to Penarth to see Molly (Chris’ mother) and then back via Ashcott to catch up with the Haynes and Griffs. A couple of days helping with wedding flowers and then Tom and Rosies beautiful and very emotional wedding on the Saturday followed the next day by a superb lunch party thrown by Rog (Sara’s brother) and Lou. This gave her a chance to see so many more friends than would have otherwise been possible, but best of all it was wonderful to have Jonno and Bex and Will and Charlotte all together. After the lunch party it was farewell to Mum again and back to London with Will and Charlotte, stay in their new house, seen for the first time, and then fly back to Indonesia, again to Bali and on to Flores the next day. A truly flying visit with only a week in the UK but definitely worth the hassle.
As for Chris, we thought he would be a bit lonely with Sara away, but not a bit of it. As Maumere was the stop for visa renewals he had plenty of company, particularly as in true Indonesian style this process was a bureaucratic nightmare with some people being delayed for almost a week. Chris led the charge trying to smooth the way and persuade the local authorities that this process could be a smooth one - not quite sure whether that was achieved exactly, but the rest of the fleet were grateful for his help. As a result he was bought countless happy hour beers and only ate one meal from the freezer.
As we again headed west along Flores towards Riung we made a number of night stops. You could tell we were heading into an area of Indonesia where the locals are far more used to seeing foreign boats than in the eastern islands as the villagers would paddle out from the beach in their little dug-out canoes and instead of staring and calling ‘hello mister’, the call was for ‘pen, paper, mask, ball...’. - not quite so endearing! Although we did not experience it first hand, friends told us that they were presented with magazine pictures of what they wanted!
We spent a couple of really enjoyable nights off a beautiful small island in the Riung national park - getting together for a beach BBQ with a couple of other boats - dancing in the sand was great for exfoliating the feet and a good workout. Lots of snorkelling, paddle boarding and climbing to the top of the island for the view. From there it was into Riung village and a night of the obligatory speeches from local dignitaries and then on to Labuan Bajo and the Komodo National park......