Team Sandpiper Update 7 Aug 2007
Solor Alor Archipelago
East Nusa Tenggara
We left Alor this morning at 6:30am hoping to get a jump on the rally fleet out of the bay. Instead, we woke to see all the other rally boats pulling up their anchors at the same time. There was a mass of sailboats coming out the channel, much to the surprise of the local fisherman in their dug out canoes. I am sure they hardly ever see a sailing yacht in these parts, not to mention 50 yachts coming at them.
We also had to leave early because we were trying to catch the current. But we ended up going against it along with the rest of the fleet, Sometimes the tides here decide to flow in whatever direction they want. So no matter how much you plan, you will not know the direction until you get out there.
We motored and sailed 30 miles to where we are anchored now, off Lapang Island. It is a small, flat island with reefs all the way up to the beach and a great view of a huge volcano on the mainland.
Our Norwegian friends on S/V Uterus arrived here before we did and Benjamin was out swimming on their anchor to make sure it was set. He did a quick check on the Sandpiper 's anchor too because there is a steep wall that drops off really deep quite close to shore. The first time we dropped the anchor it landed over the wall. Benjamin swam over and told us it was hanging over the wall. So we had to pick the anchor back up and reset it. This time Benjamin swam to the edge of the wall and told us when to drop it. Our sterns are facing the reef along the shoreline, and it is quite close to us.
The water is super clear here. We can see the bottom at 130ft! Its quite difficult finding an anchorage because in most of the places we have seen, the water is extremely deep, right up to the shoreline. Then the bottom comes straight up to the surface. If you check this out on Google Earth, you should be able to see exactly where we are anchored. And you should be able to see the reef as well.
Our friends on S/V Shiraz are anchored on the other side of us. We are all planning on leaving in the morning for another 30 mile run to a protected bay. The other rally boats scattered in all different directions since we have 3 days of free time before the next scheduled rendezvous.
We have been having difficulties getting connections with Sailmail. But we are hoping that this will get better soon. So please hold on as we have limited outgoing emails until this improves.
In our last update we mentioned the scholarship fund for the local kids in Kupang. The S/V Brianna reported the rally participants alone raised USD$3000, way over what was anticipated.
Also, we received a few emails from our followers wondering if we've lost our priorities since we were pitching a charity event and not our 'Buy us a beer'. Don't worry. You can always support Team Sandpiper with a beer.
Tom and Amy
Note From Ron:
A bit of a geography problem with this post. They didn't give me their coordinates. And for the life of me I can't find Palau Lapang on any map. The only reference is here where is states this about Lapang "Fishermen and people gathering seaweed mainly frequent this flat island. Shade is scarce and there is no water. There is some good swimming and snorkeling." Based in the clues, I think they are at a small atoll just to the north of Pantar Island. I think the volcano they can see is Mount Sirung. I hope Tom will fill me in on the next post so I can update the maps.