9 August 2008 Saturday
This morning we up-anchored and motored closer to the village. Lex and Jim stayed on board the two yachts while the rest of us ventured ashore in the dinghy. We found a great little village with very friendly, bemused villagers happy to show us around and help us buy some provisions. It was worlds away from Ambon. Quiet, no cars, no roads, and best of all no rubbish to be seen anywhere. The tiny little ‘shop’ sold plenty of plastic wrapped goods, but none of these were to be seen on the ground or in the water. Okay, there was a little bit in the water but not very much at all. The streets were lined with crushed coral, and wherever water drained across, channels were dug and planks laid across. Houses were various traditional design, gables and peaks but fairly small, built of either concrete, or solid planking, many with thatched roofs. We guessed there was only abour 150-200 people here.
No one spoke English except for one bright young man who had a smattering of words, about as much as my Indonesian, but he worked out what we were trying to say very quickly. As soon as we arrived we were taken under the wing of a lovely old lady who walked beside Patsy and chatted away to her completely dismissive of any language barriers. Smiles do wonders! We were shown around the village by a large group of people, mostly children and young men, with a handful of older people. The women mostly stayed indoors and waved from the doorways, or over their garden fences.
Managed to buy eggs, which was what we wanted most, but no fresh vegetables available. Brian was looking for Marlborough cigarettes, which we were certain he’d never find here, but he came out with three cartons and a happy smile on his face.
We were keen to inspect a 60 foot prahu under construction on the beach, which we’d seen from the boat through the binoculars. It was a pretty amazing piece of work – the bottom of the hull is constructed from one single trunk, and the rest of the planking hand sawn and mortised. Richard took a zillion photos, some of which we’ll get up on the blog first opportunity, and was a big hit with the kids, especially when he sat down and showed them all the photos he’d taken with his digital camera.