Monday, September 01, 2008

Pulau Besar

After another early, but thankfully uneventful start, we made our way along the north coast of Flores to Pulau Besar. The landscape is becoming more dramatic; a more mountainous interior giving way to steep cliffs plunging into the sea.

Pulau Besar is a small fishing village, with stilt houses arranged around a mosque and fish drying on nets between the huts. Heading ashore we were greeted by Amin who after initial greetings took off at a cracking pace, beckoning us to follow him. After 10mins out of the village and through a banana plantation, we started to wonder where we were heading. Questioning Amin he wrote on our notepad "Urung Detung" sounding suspiciously like "Orang-utan". To confirm our suspicions, Ina drew a picture of a monkey which just seemed to add to the confusion. After another 5 minutes, we came to "Urung Detung", a small village and the tour commenced. Today's tour consisted of a trip to the well and a stop at a seemingly random spot in the town where the villagers poised for photos. Charming, but again frustrating with our limited ability to communicate.

A highlight of the trip was the discovery of a new fruit - gambou (sp?). It looks a little like a small thin red pepper/large chilli, but has the texture of an apple, with the juice and taste somewhat similar to a peach. A welcome change from papaya and bananas.

We arrived back at the fishing village with our guide asking if we could print a photo of him. Unfortunately the printer onboard isn't functioning, but instead Ina drew Amin, gathering an intrigued crowd to watch the portrait emerge.
6am we were woken up by the mosque's loudspeakers. Not by the usual call for prayer but instead by early morning techno blasting across the village. Could the change in melody signify the start of Ramadan or the perhaps the local teenagers had taken-over the amplification system.

It's hard to pull ourselves away from these wonderful anchorages each day, but we need to push-on as Ina has a plane to catch back to France from Bali in mid-September and there's still over 400 miles to go...

Pulau Besar (31st August 16:35): S8° 26.7' E122° 24.5'

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