It was a pretty morning in Singapore, the city I hate, and I was happy to be leaving in 24 hours after working my hindquarters off for 6 months. I had the crew on board. The provisions were stored, the boat was in tip top shape and we were about to have a meeting regarding our departure the following day. Then Megan got the call. Her mother had been killed in a car accident. 24 hours later we were on a plane to Oklahoma. A week later I was back in Singapore with the same crew (Sam and Kelli) minus Megan.
|Kelli and the masked Indo|
|Sam the Texan|
The humans survived but some systems on the boat drowned. The temp gauges, the generator, the shore power connection, an assortment of fuses, and my crew’s wanderlust for continuing on to Sulawesi all became causalities of what I will forever remember as “the submarine ride to Bali”. I was on my beloved Balinese island for only 10 days. I had to get the boat fixed, find new crew, and provision for months in the wilderness. Seacomber’s owners; my new bosses, were flying halfway around the world to meet me on a given date in a place I’d never been. The starter pistol had sounded and I was late off the blocks with a sore ankle.
|Scott and I|
|Scott, Aso, Asis, Babs|
1. Bules (Pronounced “boolays”; their word for whites. It translates as, “albinos”) like very cold beer.
2. Bules don’t like it when you throw plastic in the ocean.
3. Bules don’t like it when you touch your ass. Use toilet paper!
4. Bules can die without air conditioning.
5. Bob doesn’t like it when you waste his rags.
I made them memorize the rules and would have them repeat them at random times just by calling out the number. This is how you win the hearts and minds of the native people. That, and paying them huge amounts in cash.
Aso stayed with us only until our first landfall on the island of Sulawesi. Asis remained with us for another 30 days, until after Gordon & Celia departed. Scott and Babs kept Asis company while Seacomber was anchored up a river and Megan and I got off the boat to meet Gordon & Celia in Tana Toraja for 5 days.
The call to prayer beats the roosters in this inland part of central Sulawesi. Although the Muslims are only 5% of the populace in this area, they never miss a chance to disrupt one’s sleep. It’s overwhelmingly Christian, which is an anomaly for Indonesia, because it holds the distinction of having the world’s largest Islamic population. Though these people are Christian in majority and in base principles, there are still the lingering animist rites that the blood lust culture of Tana Toraja has wholeheartedly embraced . Here’s how it works: Your loved one dies, you embalm them, and wait up to 10 years for everyone to save the money they will need to buy cows and pigs to torture and kill for the funeral.
|Megan is so hot she needs a sea fan|
|I have no idea what this interesting thing is|
|Mostly the critters are very small|
As I write this it is Dec 1 2010. I sailed away from San Diego aboard Barraveigh on Dec 1 2005. 5 years on the water, let’s add it up: 2 boats, 2 girlfriends, countless crew, 19 countries, 18,000 miles, lots of injuries, 1 reconstructive surgery, zero tattoos, improved language and accent skills, and only 3 Reuben sandwiches. At the end of every year I ask myself, “Are you getting closer to being the guy you always wanted to be?”
Your man on point,