Monday, 23 May 2016

Day 5 - Larantuka

I woke up this morning to see land through my porthole and raced upstairs to see the mist still coming off the mountains in the early morning sun as we cruised pass Larantuka, at the foot of the Ile Mandiri volcano.

Sue and I sat sipping our coffee in the peaceful early morning light appreciating the cool breeze and quiet. We all had breakfast on deck before heading ashore to visit the Lamaholot villagers. This was one of the high points of the trip because the women decorate their earthy ikats with tiny white shells, painstakingly cut then pierced so they could be embroidered on to their sarongs. We were treated to a wonderful dance and singing by young children, which I think was called puteh ture, with young girls dancing a story of how the fibre is spun, warped and woven. 

Older women then performed the soka alo or bamboo dance.
We then had a chance to look at their beautiful textiles which were quite different from others we have seen so far, and of course another opportunity to buy. Again, the main dyes were indigo and Mengkudu, but their ikats were simpler, the added highlights being the small clusters of shells.

We were invited to walk around the village which was so tidy and well-cared for, you could tell people were happy live there, and we were told that this was at the instigation of the chief. The whole village gave off a great vibe, people genuinely smiling, laughing and happy to live in such a healthy community. Even the anjing seemed content!
After lunch we went to a small beach to swim and snorkel, but the tide was low so it was quite hard work to get out from the beach far enough to swim. We all managed to collect some beautiful shells and red coral as we scavenged the tideline, and after returning to the Ombak Putih we sat up on the top deck with a cold drink, watching the sun set to our right whilst at the same time to our left the moon rose directly over Ile Api. Perfect!

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