Monday, September 08, 2008

'x' marks the spot in Rincha

A friend, who had cruised extensively in Indonesia, enthused about the wildlife in southern Rincha and I vowed to visit the 'x' Mike had marked on our chart all those months ago in New Zealand. We dropped anchor at the mark and found ourselves off a coral fringed beach within a steep sided channel between a small island and the southern coast of Rincha. The wildlife lived up to our heightened expectations. First thing in the mornings monkeys arrive on the beach, foraging for unseen delicacies. Followed by some feral pigs who meander carefree along the sand. The monkeys vanish just before the Komodo dragons arrive. As the Komodos make their slow progress across the sand, smelling the air with their flicking tongues, the other wildlife disappears for the day, leaving the beach to the sunbathing dragons.
Finally in the evening, after the dragons disappear for the night, deer arrive in the woodland just beyond the beach and the monkeys reappear.

Rincha not only offers fantastic terrestrial wildlife, the coral was some of the most varied and vibrant we've seen. Part of the reason is a mixing of nutrient rich cold water with the warm tropical sea, resulting in refreshing, but rewarding snorkelling.
The only downside to the anchorage is at dusk the wind picks up, funnelling between Rincha and the small island "protecting" the anchorage. And it blows: 25-30 knots+ throughout the night. Around 2a.m. I went outside for a pee and in my befuddled sleepy state I noticed something strange about the dinghy but couldn't immediately work out what. Finally it hit me, it was the wrong way up. Fortunately we'd removed the snorkelling gear and the fuel tank the night before, but suddenly I realised the oars, seat and most importantly the outboard was still there. Disaster. I roused Ina and together we flipped the dinghy back the right way up and took off the outboard. I'd learnt the resuscitation routine when our old 2hp went for a swim. Take out the spark plugs, drain the water from the cylinders and fill with oil, turn the engine over a few times, then return to bed, trying to sleep while imagining all the places the salt water could have penetrated. In the morning, Ina headed off in the canoe, and amazingly found the two oars, wedged between rocks on the beach. Meanwhile I cleaned and dried the motor.Our old 2hp motor was never the same after it's drowning - sounding more like a bag of rusty nails than a refined Japanese 2-stroke. I feared the worst but when I reassembled it, it started and seemed as good as ever. The dinghy seat remains somewhere in 20m under the anchorage. If only I had air in my dive tank....

Rincha (7 September 12:30): S8°47.18' E119°40.21'

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