Sailing the Lesser Sunda Islands

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_single_image source=”featured_image” img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Article & Photos by Anne Fairlie

Would you like to sail the blue seas of Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands? Yes please! Why not take a sailing trip to see the local weavers of the island of Flores, Sumba, Timor, Savu and Lembata? I have just completed this spectacular trip and had an amazing time. The trip operates in May, just after the rainy season. There are two textile experts on board – David and Sue Richardson. They hail from the U.K. and have been travelling and collecting textiles for over 25 years.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_column_text]You can tell a person’s ethnography from their sarong, or so they say. The weaving villages we visited are using the traditional methods of growing the cotton; harvesting and cotton; making the cloth; designing the patterns; growing the fruit and vegetables for the dyes; actually dyeing the cloth; and weaving the fabrics. And then they sell them. The process can take months as you can imagine – just the dyeing of the cloth using the indigo plants takes a couple of weeks as you have to repeat the process over and over again to get the right deep blue colour. And they have to dry in the sun for up to 3 months if it is the rainy season. The process is so labour-intensive I was continually amazed at their commitment. Through the enthusiasm of people like David and Sue coming back year after year, buying the traditional cloth, bringing clients along to buy, and educating like-minded keeners to do the same … all these strategies will help to ensure the local people learn to value these methods. And to keep these old processes alive.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_column_text]Aside from the weavers, the 22 other guests and I saw villagers who live very traditionally: their homes are made using thatch; they continue to make live animal sacrifices; the elders do the decision-making in their dedicated huts; they wear both tribal as well as western clothing; and they made us welcome all the way along by singing and dancing both when we arrived and when we went to say goodbye. They also shared with us their betel nut, lime and lobo leaf combo recipe that they are always chewing in the side of their mouth that tends to turn their teeth red. And the sea … the beautiful blue sea. Often we just rolled off the side of the boat into smooth silky blue waters for a swim after our hot days of touring. Other days we were taken into the beach and we could beachcomb and swim from shore. One week cruises from Denpasar take you as far east as the island of the Komodo dragon lizards. Additionally, there are also many speciality cruises like the textile one I took. Give Jill a call for more info.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”10181″ img_size=”350×350″ title=”Sunrise yoga on deck”][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”10178″ img_size=”350×350″ title=”Rice terraces East Bali “][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”10174″ img_size=”350×350″ title=”Offering (with chocolate bar!)”][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”10173″ img_size=”350×350″ title=”Lady with offering Besakih”][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”10180″ img_size=”350×350″ title=”Glorious Scenery”][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”10172″ img_size=”350×350″ title=”Bali beach at Sanur”][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row]