Our departure from Wakatobi was not without some emotion. Albeit our stay was only about 5 days, a group of girls had become very attached to Corie and Kyle so saying good-bye was difficult for them. Tears streamed down their faces and they mopped them up with the ends of their veils. Of course, saying good-bye has become routine to Corie so she was pretty blasé about the whole thing. Ruthie and I missed saying good-bye to the woman who served as our translator but she sent us a text message on our cell phone that she, too, cried when we left. Maybe they were just so happy we were leaving . . .
The short passage to Hoga Island was uneventful and even though we had 15 knots of wind, it was right on the nose so we had to motor the whole way. I have been feeling very stingy with our fuel, despite the fact that the Indonesian government gave each boat who took this route 200 liters of diesel. It was meant to be a motivating factor to get more boats to take this route but I think everyone who came this way would have done it regardless. We join the rest of the fleet when we get to Lubuan Bajo, near Komodo Island. That's where the Komodo Dragons live. At that time, we'll no longer be in a fleet of 14 boats but rather in a fleet of 87 boats. Frankly, that's one aspect I'm not particularly looking forward to.
Hoga Island is small and low, covered with thick tropical vegetation. A wide reef extends about a half-mile from shore and then promptly drops off to over 500 feet deep. Finding a place to anchor was a little bit of a challenge. The water is very clear and warm with millions of brightly-colored tropical fish. Yesterday while snorkeling, we spotted a black and white banded sea snake, one of the most venomous of anything on the planet. They rarely attack unless provoked but they are very curious and if you try to swim away, they'll follow you.
We are in the company of five other boats, the others in our little fleet choosing to stay in Wakatobi a bit longer. Last night we had cocktails aboard Rutea and it was very much fun. The anchorage is a little exposed for my liking but the wind had died to a light breeze which kept the water flat and the air cooler. I think we might move on to Buton Island tomorrow and maybe even get some internet. These blog posts must be pretty boring without any pictures!
At 8/18/2013 11:48 PM (utc) Rutea's position was 05°28.82'S 123°46.03'E
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