Luc’s first activity for Day 3 was a visit to the market. Big, crowded, over-stimulating, fun and great for photos.
Then a boat tour to three different islands. Except…no boat. The tide was extremely low, and apparently they couldn’t get the boat to our location. So…once again…our tour included a long wait.
The boat came eventually. Because of the delay, Luc had them go to island #2 first, where we were to get lunch at the house of the island leader. Ironically, the timing was such that when we arrived, the gentleman had left to pray at the mosque. So we waited again. But Ruy and Jesse and John began engaging with the local kids, and they provided delightful entertainment for all. Lunch was delicious.
Then to another island for a swim. Actually it was more like a maze of passages among tiny islands. Not much to see underwater, but a nice place to swim. Our guides/crew all went in, too. But they go fully clothed, jeans and headscarves included. They also all hang on to life jackets. One of the young ladies said she didn’t know how to swim, and Jesse did the parent/child thing of holding his hands just out of reach and telling her to paddle to him. She did, and with tons of encouragement from Jesse she was clearly swimming. She was SOOO excited and happy, her face radiating a giant smile. Jesse was The Man!
And then there was Tuti, another young and beautiful guide that connected with Jesse. When three of the guys said they were going to climb up the cliff (about 25 feet above the water) and jump off, Tuti went, too. Initially the leader of this pack was a local kid full of bravado about it. But when he got to the edge, he wasn’t so sure about jumping. So Jesse went first. Then the others went, including Tuti in her jeans and hijab. I found this incongruous, which just shows that I have some preconceptions about Muslim women. My lesson for the day: being a Muslim woman and covering your body does not mean you don’t seek adventure/thrills!
We did a little snorkeling at a patch of coral, but everyone was tired/cold, so we cut the activities short and headed home at 30 knots. I was done for the day, but Jesse and Tim went back ashore for dinner with the group.
Tomorrow there is another morning tour. I’ve had enough, but I know that Jesse wants to see our guides again, and say a proper goodbye. Meanwhile Tim wants to buy a gift and take it to the seaweed fisherman and his family. And I need to get more cash. Then we plan to weigh anchor in the afternoon. Another 650 miles to Bau Bau…
In the morning (Day 4) I went ashore, primarily to find an ATM. I took some photos at the place where we land our dinghies.
And I walked back through the market. I found that when I went with the crowd yesterday it was easier. Being alone today, I was assailed with constant “Hey Mister” calls. Most people wanted their picture taken. Such a reversal from the cultures where they fear pictures. ALL the following market photos were taken in response to “Hey Misters.”
The Hey Mister for the last one came from her father.
One more mission before we depart — to take some gifts to the family of the seaweed fisherman (that’s the term they use, or how it gets translated to English). Tim and I tried in the morning, but the tide was too low for us to get the dinghy close to his house. So we will give it another shot later. The man is building a fishing boat, and Tim took this picture when he went there originally.
And although it is hard to see the details, here we are at anchor, with the corner of the seaweed farm in the foreground.