Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sumbawa Island

Sumbawa Island, Periscopes & Lakey Beach
coordinates 08.47.491S,118.22.619E

Technically we were anchored up inside Teluk Cempi or Cempi Bay. Not many tourists make it out this way except for the "surf" crowd heading for Periscopes and Lakey Beach. We found ourselves in recreation heaven. Just beside where we anchored the boats was a break built to satisfy all. The week that we happened upon this location that the waters were nearing high tide right after sun up. Perfect for surfing. The inside wave was just right for the kids, the middle for the mom's and the outside break for the big boys. We could wake up, put in 3-4 hours of surfing before the wind would pick up. Back to the boats for a quick lunch, kids would start school and the big boys would grab their wind surf boards and kites and take off again for another few hours of play. We are certainly not complaining but all this play is exhausting. hee hee On shore we found a really nice hotel/restaurant the Aman Gati. Only $17/night to stay and about the same price to stuff a family of four with a fantastic meal and drinks. A large screen hangs above showing surf movies and the sun sets in front of you. Paradise found. Though we didn't try it out there was a nice pool there as well. And always, a beach full of seashell treasures that continues to give our boats extra ballast.

We did have a small run in with local Indonesian officialdom. Our second day there a long fishing boat appeared near s/v Luna first and boarded before the crew knew what happened. One official man in a uniform complete with motorcycle helmet on (a little strange to see out at sea) and 6 of his closest young male friends. After 45 mins. on their boat they boarded and spent another 45 on ours. Luckily Luna and Pelikaan speak Dutch and got the word out to each other and then to us of the nature of this meeting before we were boarded but that didn't change much. Of course the interpreter's first words are "We want to make this very quick". HA! Clearly they were there for money, which we are more than happy to give. Let's just be honest about it's purpose though. If it is a bribe, make it a bribe, if it is an anchoring fee, make it be so. The official, who would never make eye contact with us, spent nearly the entire time arguing with his interpreter, who was always ever so kind to us. The 5 other cronies, kind and friendly as they were, perused the entire boat picking up and trying anything that fancied them, sunglasses, binoculars and so on. It was almost like a good cop, bad cop routine right before our eyes with added distractions. Their first request was 1 million rupiah. We flat out refused. OK, how about 500,000 rupiah. We said no again and then the arguing began. We were given reasons ranging from anchoring fees, parking tickets, paperwork out of order, surfing the break fee, etc. etc. etc. We had planned ahead and emptied our wallets of everything but what we had pre-determined we would be willing to pay. Two could play this game we figured. We were wrong. We tried to play the hard sell and that only angered him more. Each time we met his match he found another angle until the poor little interpreter was so visibly disturbed by the officials tactics that he left the boat himself. At one point the official threatened to keep our paper work and that was all we could take. We said no way. We tried to call his bluff and ask for his superior's name. He didn't even flinch and provided us with the perfect spelling. We said we had no more money. If he took all of ours what would we eat with. They offered us a ride into town on their scooters. We finally offered a few US dollars in addition to the amount we had to give and all 7 members of the team chimed in with agreement. Take the amount of money given by 4 boats and all 7 members of this official crew were getting a nice payment for a days work. As they left, we quickly called over to the Kelly's to let them know of the proceedings. The Kelly's tried the hard sell as well and this time the official was done discussing. He quickly placed their paper work in his bag and left their boat stating that one of his workers would take them into town to get more money. He refused to travel back to the office with them and it would cost them 250,000 more rupiah to rent the car to get there and get the money. Go figure. Kelly boy pretended to row back out to our boats and borrow the money from us so they could pay him off and get their paperwork back. It worked.

Lesson to be learned. Don't mess around with 7 hot, hungry men (we discovered they are currently fasting for Ramadan) who have nothing to lose and everything to gain whilst they sit on your boat and hold your paperwork in their hands. Good thing we didn't offer snacks and really offend them. Next time we have a new game plan. Two can play the strength in numbers game. When the official boards one boat we will all descend upon the boat as well with the pretense of getting them all done at once. At least he can't change the story from boat to boat and we might have a better chance of getting the price fixed. We shall see. Having said this we are sure there will be a whole new bag of tricks the next time.
until then,
your crew on Ohana Kai

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