As we were making our way across the remote parts of Indonesia on the Eastern Route, from time to time we'd listen in on the Western Route's net. It would make us giggle when we heard people talk about anchorage numbers rather than the actual name of the anchorage. A book titled "101 Indonesian Anchorages" by Geoff Wilson is about the only modern cruising guide available and it's widely used by participants in Sail Indonesia. A conversation on the radio might sound like: "We're leaving Anchorage 27 and heading for 30." "Oh, don't miss 29 - we had an absolutely fabulous time in 29." "Really? Sun Dog said it was buggy at 29." "Well, it was but there's this family that lives on the beach . . . "
You get the idea.
Its not that we reject using anchorage numbers but doesn't Uwada Dasami sound much more exotic than Anchorage 45? We had heard great things about the anchorage and when we arrived at midday, there was only one boat already there, a large wooden Indonesia dive boat, easily 100-feet long, it's high prow sticking up 12 or 15 feet above the water. Ruthie and I had an impromptu 'discussion' about where to anchor and we dropped the hook just upwind of 'Seven Seas', just where the water started to turn to a pale aquamarine color. Off to our port side was a long deserted beach and ahead of us were two small islands that protected us from the Indian Ocean's swell. Unlike most beaches in Indonesia, there wasn't any trash to be seen but there were dragons. Lots of them. No sooner did we have the boat secured then we had the dinghy launched. Very cautiously and slowly, we steered towards shore where four of the giant lizards were strolling on the beach, their ridiculously long forked tongues flickering out. Their walk was lumbering with each leg kind of rotating forward - it didn't look like they could move quickly even if they had to, despite what we've been told. Apparently they can swim if they have to but the conventional wisdom is that they don't like the water. Still, we kept our distance to them just in case one of them wanted to prove our theory wrong.
Later in the day, our friends David and Jackie showed up and since the location has an outstanding reputation as a dive site, Corie decided to join them for a dive while I was acting as Surface Support. That means I drove our dinghy around in circles for an hour, looking for their bubbles but the task got increasingly more difficult as other tour operators brought more divers to the same area. There must have been 30 divers in the water although two had to leave quickly when a woman put her hand on a lion fish accidentally.
David and Jackie invited us for cocktails on their boat which was a fitting end to a near perfect day. Uwada Dasami is a unique anchorage worthy of a terrific name. We didn't get much sleep that night as the wind came up and, like most anchorages in Indonesia, the holding is very poor despite the appearances of a wide sandy beach. Rutea's anchor held but lacking confidence in the bottom, it was tough to sleep deeply. I will look forward though to my dreams of returning to Uwada Dasami.
At 9/11/2013 12:39 PM (utc) Rutea's position was 08°35.88'S 119°31.11'E
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