Tanah Air

Literally translated means "earth and water". As the world most expansive archipelago it is comprised of approximately 18,000 islands. That number may rise or fall slightly with the tides. The land area covers 1,920,000 sq. miles and ranges from nearly 10 degrees south of the equator to 5 degrees north of the equator. As the crow flies it is about 1,600 nautical miles wide and 1,000 top to bottom. Whew. We can safely say that 3 months is no where near enough time to take in all that Indonesia has to offer.

Nusa Tenggara

West Timor - Kupang

Our introduction to Indonesia, first we visited Nusa Tengarra. Collectively, the group of islands that is the south eastern ridge of Indonesia from Eastern Timor to Lombok. A quick 4 day sail from Darwin we found ourselves in the arms of Indonesia. We entered the country in the West Timor town of Kupang. The senses are easily overwhelmed to a newcomer in Indo. The sweet smell of cloves greet you long before you see them coming, the sounds of horns blaring from the shore are only a hint of the deafening experience to come and the trail of garbage leading you into the bay can be saddening. But the friendly smiles and greetings of "Hello Mister", sounds of call to prayer 5 times a day, and the tasty new foods make up for it all when you set foot on land.

We were instantly greeted at our boat by a young local named On. He took care of our every need as we checked into the country. This included a 7am scooter ride through the town to see a deserted monkey zoo. We began to learn and practice the language of Bahasa Indonesian. The common language was started in 1929, now taught throughout Indo in order to unify the varying 250 different dialects spoken throughout the islands.

Our first word was panas = HOT.

View the photo gallery here

Our introduction to seaweed farming and a recreation playground. As the tide goes out, the women and children begin to collect any plump strands of seaweed that has washed upon shore. At low tide these rows of netting appear and the real work begins. For back breaking hours they collect the seaweed into nets that will later be dried and then shipped off. The primary uses of it are for cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical companies. Sadly, for all the hard work that gets put into it, they only receive very little money for each kg of dried seaweed. They thought we were hysterical as we tried to help collect the stuff. For just a few rupiah a day, you can stay in a loseman or home stay. Though rather primitive accommodations the hospitality is fantastic.

Seaweed harvesting at low tide

View the photo gallery here

The Nembrala Resort, which sported a nice little pool for the kids to goof off in, was great to visit but the real fun was out in the water itself. We dove right in a got our feet wet. The area provides a variety of breaks that were great for moms, dads and kids alike, which kept us surfing morning, noon and night. What more can we say...

surf, surf, surf

... that's our pal Bart lost in the fray behind Bruce.



We traveled to the island of Rinca specifically in search of the Komodo Dragons. We found them or they found us. A protected species, the worlds largest lizard known locally as "ora". A keen sense of smell, short powerful legs that can sprint faster than you thought, a stout tail that can knock down worthy adversaries and a deadly bite. Though they can reach over 3 meters in length and 100 kg in weight, they spend the first 5 years living up in trees not moving to the ground until they are 1 meter in length, just to not be eaten by other komodos.

We anchored in the bay of Lehok Uwada Desami and were quickly introduced to the amazing creatures along with local deer and monkeys. We stayed for 2 days and had the chance to watch a local fisherman feed some leftover catch to a few oras while we enjoyed our own close encounters. The kids stayed on shore (with supervision as the sneaky creatures can be upon you before you know it) and built their version of kon tiki. A quick bon fire and we were on our way to the north side of the island.


For Matthew's birthday we celebrated with Soleil from s/v Luna who was also turning 9 that month. No party for a sailor is complete without a treasure hunt with a compass and a bon fire. We anchored in the northern bay of Lehok Ginggo. Together with s/v Moorea and s/v Pelikaan we enjoyed a hike over the island, encountered some local deer that make a sound similar to barking, and in the morning when the waters were glassy calm, some wake boarding.



It was here that all the boats were boarded by officials, complete with motorcycle helmets. Quite a site to see out on the ocean. After much negotiation and some rupiah we were given permission to stay and enjoy their bay. The sweet and innocent Kelly's even had their paper work confiscated for a short time.

Making friends with our new pal the official and his croonies. What you can't see are his other 6 pals wandering around the boat checking out the binoculars and lines. Curious bunch.

Bruce negotiated his way on board their boat to give his hand a try at crank starting their motor.

The true fun here in Periscopes and Leaky again was the great recreation. There were 3 different sets of breaks within eye sight that had something to offer for everyone. In the afternoon the winds would pick up and off they would go, kites and windsurf boards alike. At sunset everyone would return spent and happy. The evenings you could find us enjoying surf movies, good food and great company at the Aman Gati Hotel.

Bruce flying his kite and Bart from s/v Luna not far behind on the wind surf board.

One last quick stop out at Scar Reef found no surf to ride but we managed to change out our anchor chain end for end as it is beginning to corrode to badly to get pulled up well through our windless.




View the photo gallery here...

A view of the first point in Ekas. When running, a super consistent wave that the whole family could ride with great fun! A small exclusive resort sits on the cliffs edge here with this view for you to use while you contemplate your place in this world.

Our first stop in Lombok didn't disappoint. A quick walk inland in search of eggs brought us to a little village of some of the most beautiful people we've ever seen. Sitting together, mothers and children were hand weaving place mats and baskets.


Colorful outriggers strewn across the beach each evening after a days work of fishing or tending the floating seaweed farms. Note the outboard motor mounted in the center that extends to the long arm with weed whacker style propeller on the end. An unmistakable sound that will be with us forever.

Entering this bay was not as easy as we would have expected. Their new found industry of seaweed farming created an entire land mine field of floating wooden frames for us to navigate as we drove in. Sometimes coming within mere yards of them. Not something you would want to wrap around your prop. Once inside there was a calm and friendly anchorage with the view of Don Don and Kid's breaks on one side and the fishing village on the other.

A fairly poor town, boasts a few losemen and now the very nice Lakuen Resort complete with 5 private bungalows, very popular with Asian tourists and a great pool, so say the kids.

Tristan surfing kids point in Gerupuk. The kids found their heaven spot for a few days sharing the waves with locals and tourists alike.

When not surfing there were many delicacies to be found at the open air market in Kuta.

On shore we were befriended by a kind man named Matt, always to be found with his darling daughter, and obviously pride and joy, Lira by his side. Entrepreneurial he has opened his own souvenir shop named after her. We were able to purchase some ikat from him, special weaving's and sarongs made only in these islands, as well as unique pottery from a neighbor. He arranged for us to take a bemo to the nearby town of Kuta and explore their open market. Fascinated by yet more goodies and new foods to be found.

Teluk Blongas

Just a bit down the road we stopped for a night in Teluk Blongas and decided to rename it Beggar's Bay. It was the first time we had encountered locals who were not willing to sell or trade but rather simply look for handouts. And look they did. If you weren't stealthy enough, you would find them peering down into the boat at you before the sun rose. They would surround the boat in great numbers and simply sit and wait until they though they had worn you out. We found our best defense was to practice our Bahasa language skills on them until we tired them out. Throw a bunch of words together and watch them flee.

i.e. "Saya mau kulit pantai timur maaf". Loosely translated, "I want leather beach east sorry". You would get tired listening to us too. It actually helps you learn the language rather quickly and it's tons of fun.

This group was actually a bunch of fun. Here you can see Bruce scouring the book for fun words to say. We can easily figure out now if their married, how many kids, related or not. Just end everything with terima kasih (thank you) and bagus (good) and you can't go wrong.

Nusa Lemboggan
A small island, that sits east of Bali, is an interesting mix of old and new. The island itself has few if any paved roads but the coast line is dotted with resorts of all sizes and prices. The warungs (mom and pop restaurants) will be set next to the family temple and out on the water you can find enormous day trip cruise ships that will tie up to mountain sized floating water slide parks for any tourists enjoyment.

It was a bit of culture shock here as we reentered the more "civilized" lifestyles. A quick stop before venturing on to Bali, we tasted some fantastic dishes of gado gado & mei goreng, and marveled at these women's ability to carry the terribly heavy and burdensome baskets on their heads, which easily weighed as much as one of our kids!


Ohana Kai enter the water way leading into Bali amongst jet ski's, para sailors, high flying rafts, and super tankers in numbers that we had never seen before. Surrounded by every type of water craft imaginable it is a wonder that we didn't drag in an extra crew member hanging from the spreaders. We then anchored with the big boys, monster sized container ships, for a night before entering the Bali Marina at Benoa Harbor the next day.

We touched a dock for the first time in 5 months since we had left New Zealand. And as the guide book says, though the island of Bali is small, you can drive around it in a day, it certainly doesn't mean limited. There is so much to here to see, culture, arts, temples, new tastes, dances, puppets, volcanoes, hot springs, and most of all offerings. We tried to conquer it in 2 weeks time.

Primarily Hindu, they worship the same trinity of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu as India but unlike them you will rarely see the figures in shrines. The sweet smelling and lovely offerings though are omnipresent on every door step, bemo, road, scooter - anywhere one can be set down or hung.

Also omnipresent are the temples or "pura's". Each village contains at least 3, one for puseh (origin), desa (village protection), dalem (temple of dead) each aligning toward the mountains, sea or the sunrise. Most families have their own just for their ancestors as well. Amazing stone carvings or cast concrete housings fit for their offerings of lavish designs.

We had the opportunity to reunite with our pals from s/v Sea Kardinal. Frank, Jeni & Abby are currently living in Bali. As architects originally from S.F. they came across the chance to design a traditional old wooden sailboat for a friend. No small feat as it is 140 feet long! Seen above it is being built up a river in Kalimantan. We visited them in their traditional style Balinese home, scurried around the Denpasar Market where instead of shopping carts you get a woman following you around carrying a basket on her head. We had a special night in Sanur where the beach is lined from water line to restaurant stall with tables and chairs for you to dine on the freshly caught and cooked seafood. You pick it right out of the tank and eat it up. The boys even had the chance to ride some elephants with Abby!

The Sea Kardinal crew introduced us to their friend Nyoman, a local man who became our tour guide extrodinaire on a marathon tour day of the entire island. We'll sum it up in pictures in the slide show, but let's just say, temples, wood carvers, jewelry makers, coffee tasting, temples, Sacred Monkey Forest, quiet volcano's, sarongs for everyone, temples, Balinese food, his families home, fragrant offerings, temples, Legong Dance in Ubud, lush green country side, rice fields, masks and yes - amazing temples!

Last but not least, our second spendy encounter with Indonesian officialdom. We had the unfortunate luck to have our Visa's expiration date fall within the last week of the Ramadan celebration. They need to be renewed one week before the expiration, not sooner, not later. Of course Murphy's Law decided to work over time for us. All the officials and powers that be take that week off. Luckily we knew someone, who knew someone and for a very pretty penny moved our papers to the top of the piles and had it all done in one day before the last week of Ramadan started. whew. For an inexpensive country it was starting to add up. We can't say enough great things though about Made the harbor master of Bali Marina and his marvelous team. Never in all our cruising have we met such a professional and personable crew!



The site of the 2002 Bali Bombings, Kuta, is now largely recovered and the site of a tourism mecca. Everything is at your fingertips, from surfing the waves, new colorful foods and snackies to try, scooters as the primary means of transportation - if you dare- and yes, any franchised fast food your heart desires, Krispy Kreme, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Planet Hollywood and even a Bubba Gump Shrimp Restaurant, just to name a few. We hadn't seen anything like it since the states.
Anak Krakatau

West of Java

We made a quick passage around the southern coast of Java. We had hoped to find some more places to stay and surf but the winds were too good for sailing and the anchorages not so good for sleeping. That's OK though because it put us just in the right place at the right time to see the first eruption of Anak Krakatau's new crater out it's southern slope. We anchored in the dark and ended up rafting up to s/v Moorea due to the crazy wind and water currents.

As Bruce stepped into the cockpit to view our surroundings in the morning light, smoke began to seep out the side of the mountain and then KABOOM!. (View the video here) The concussion shook our bodies and ear drums as we watched the volcano explode sending ash rock and we imagine lava, that we would later see in the dark, shooting high into the sky and all the way out to the sea. We were safe at our anchorage 2 miles away but thank goodness we hadn't already made our pilgrimage over to hike the great mountain as we had planned to do that day. We continued to watch in amazement all day and a fireworks display of lava combined with lightning storms all night. Local fishermen came in to anchor as well for the night wildly waving their arms at the excitement. We weren't the only ones enjoying the show.

As we sailed out of the anchorage we cruised within a mile and watched the eruptions continue. (View the video here)

Eruptions began at 7:45am 10/22/07 and just kept going!

Mentawai Islands

Most boats sailing through Indonesia head up the Malacca Straits toward Singapore and Malaysia. A path that holds it's own wonders and excitement. This time around though we had decided to take the road less traveled again and head out around the west coast of Sumatra, the Mentawai Islands and beyond. We were one of maybe 5 boats to take this path but we were reward with a quiet beauty and peace beyond all measure, not to mention a lot of great waves to surf.

Though only a day's sail away from the main land, the islands are a world away from everywhere due to potentially strong winds, unpredictable currents and ever changing coral. The events of earthquakes and tsunami's in recent years have taken great tolls on the people and changed the landscape considerably, under the water even more so than above.

We made our first stops west of Pulau Pagai Selatan (Island Pagai South) anchoring between P. Petojetsabu & P. Pitojetsigoisa. I think it is here that people envision when they think of deserted islands with the perfect palms, light blue waters and white sand beaches.

The Big boys played on the Rags & Thunders breaks, while the little ones splashed away at shore. Though we got rained out of having a bon fire, we still were able to celebrate Halloween with style. Scary movies, carved watermelons, and a dinghy ride boat to boat in costumes goes a long way!

Pulau Pagai Utara - The most recent earthquake in September 07, occurred just off this island and caused the reef and island to raise from 1 to 3 feet depending where you measured. We anchored in Betumango Bay and had the great fortune to meet Eric, captain of charter boat Addiction. We spent a few days here so Tristan could catch his last wave as an 11 year old and caught a batch of waves with 20 of his closest australian charter pals on his 12th birthday. The only person they will tolerate dropping in on their wave is a 12 year old birthday boy!

The southern peninsula of Pulau Sipora was the next stop where we played by the town of Kaliet, at a break named Lances. The real treat here, aside from surfing ourselves, was to watch the locals having a go at the Bintang Break. It didn't matter if they had been surfing four days, four years, a whole board, a half of a board. They just let it all hang loose and had more fun than all of us combined.

Shells by the boat load from a sweet local kid named Eddie.

A quick stop at Pulau Karangmajat provided no surf or decent places to anchor so on we went. Pulau Dodiki, or Roniki depending on the guide book you choose, had much more to offer. We spent a good week here with a reef break at Burgerworld and a beach break on the other side of the bay. It often lived up to it's name with mushy waves and crazy swell patterns, but a ton of fun none the less.

A small island called Pulau Masokut was the next stop. Just south of the large island of Siberut. Kid heaven at the Pitstops break. The best way to scare off a charter boat load full of people is to put 4 kids on the wave. Then the fun was all ours. A few days of fun at Bang Bangs and Ebay before the swell died out and we were on our way.
Telos & Banyak Islands

We may begin to sound like surf hounds at this point, but truly there is no more fun and peace out here than to share the water with your family and nature in it's simplest form. It has a power and splendor, a presence and strength that we have no control over. It will decide where and when and how shall conform to it.

We can only hope to be in the right place at the right time, with the right frame of mind and enjoy the ride.

We found great anchorages, peaceful settings and wonderful waves to ride at quite a few spots along the way in the Telos and Banyak Islands. Pulau Tanahbala was one such favorite in the Teluk Nanaeh.

Here you can see Matthew practicing the ancient art of wave calling. Flip over and slap the under side of the board. It works! (mostly because if you turn your back on the water it will always reward/or punish you with a wave)

On November 25th we had the chance to cross the equator for the 2nd and final time of this adventure around the world. After a quick surf session in Telos, just south of the border, we ushered in the northern hemisphere with this beautiful sunset.

We stopped the boat just shy of the equator and let her drift. We each took turns swimming over, and over, and over the equator again. We provided our offerings to Neptune, cheered with the Kelly's and were on our way.

Pulau Nias - Lacundri Bay

A second favorite stop was the world famous Pulau Nias, Lacundri Bay. Famous not only for their outrageous, consistent waves but for the 2 tsunami's that hit their shores. We had the opportunity when we arrived, to witness a day of epic size waves for them, that delivered barrel after barrel.

The earthquake that caused the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004 for these poor people was actually located out here in the ocean just between the northern islands and Sumatra. Everyone watched the news to view devastation that it caused throughout Indonesia and Thailand. But lesser covered in the news was a second one to hit later that year in March, which was even bigger for the island of Nias. To hear their stories first hand was heart breaking and scary but to view their new growth and fortitude was heart warming.

We made another few stops, one being Pulau Tuangku for our last bits of surf before departing from this wonderous and dynamic country. The weather window had opened up for us and officially "on paper", it was time to go. The straits between the northern tip of Sumatra, Banda Aceh and it's islands can be unruly depending on the currents and the wind. We managed to hit the winds wrong with 20 knots on the nose, but the tides and currents just right. The water runs so fast with the currents that although we were only making 1.5 knots through the water we were flying through there at 5-6 knots over ground. As Bruce stated, it was as though we were being flushed out of Indonesia. Sad to leave and hoping desperately to return some day, we had a wonderful stay.

Next destination - Thailand!

Sampi Jumpa...

Selamat Tingal ...