Saumlaki is on Yamdena, one of the Tanimbar group of islands in the extreme east of Indonesia. The town comprises a main street with banks, few hotels and shops, and then leading to and from the port a one way street with dozens of shacks selling everything from hardware to food, and a fish and fruit & veg market to complete the scene!
98% of the people in Saumlaki are Christians(according to locals)and there are few big churches in the middle of town. How many people live in Saumlaki, is still a secret for us. Locals didn't know it..even teachers couldn't say.
Well, we spend a beautiful 4 days in Saumlaki. There aren't really big turist attractions and maybe that's why turism doesn't play big role there. They are trying to get more turists there in future and they will start with Darwin,Australia. Didn't really understand what kind of project they'll start but hope they will do well.
Also only 10-20 sailingboats come there per year and mostly Australians (according to Navy guys).
After good 12hrs sleep we woke up with the sun. While having the morning coffee we heard fishing boats coming back from night trips and saw them waving us and shouting:"hello mister!" We went to town early in the morning and there were loads of people on the streets selling their products. We left our dighy on ferry pier (normally people use hotel pier), because it was the nearest spot for us and Navy guys told us it's safe to leave it there. Only Mikko's sandals got stolen so....
Everywhere we could see curious people watching us. We felt still bit tired after a long passage,but forgot that feeling when we saw all those friendly smiles.
We relaxed and enjoyed our time there. We're just walking around and talking with people, eventhough we hardly had the same language😊 It was so great to challenge ourselves with our poor indonesian language and then notice that locals started to give an effort and tried to speak english with us. Had loads of fun and plenty of pictures with them.
Our last day (monday) we were having our breakfast on the street bar and one man spotted us and invited to his high school. He is one of the english teachers and wanted us to come and encourage students to use their english skills. We had things to do but we promised to go there at 12. Didn't want to miss that opportunity!
So we went there at 12 and teachers convened some 15-17 years old students in one classroom and started to introduce us.
We didn't exactly know what was our role there but we just started to talk with them and tried to ask things from them. Most of the students couldn't say many words but they tried. After I told them to keep on trying, no matter if someone laughs at them, they encouraged themselves to try more. And I told them also that if some foreigner make fun of their english, just tell them to come to Indonesia and speak indonesian language. They found it hilarious.
We stayed there about an hour talking with them and went to teachers room to meet some of the teachers. After that, was time for ziljons of pictures with teachers and students. Students wanted selfies with us and some group pics. Think we all had great time.
After all that, one of the english teachers asked us to meet him and few students in the evening. So we had nice time with them on beautiful garden pier.
Got also few presents from them.
Biggest present of all was when they told that they had a nice experience with us and now they want to start learning and speaking more english. For most of them, it was a first time to talk with foreign person.
They start learning english in school when they are 9. And they start school in age of 6. In that private school anyway....
So that was for me personally one of the highlights of this trip.
Our english is far from perfect, but we keep on trying and I hope others will do the same.
In Saumlaki you can buy fresh water in 20l canisters(or just take your own canister and they will fill them, like we did).20l costs about 0.80e.
Ok quality Diesel you can also buy from streets or ask for delivery. We bought it on street and it was ok (of course we double filtered it still).
Laundry service costs about 1e/kg and they did good job (at least where we took our laundry).
Swimming isn't recommended because of crocodiles!
Ah,and for sailors who read this blog and want to sail to Indonesia: Checking in and out is easier than in many other islands and almost free (we paid total 100 000RP/ 6e for quaranteen).
ps. I'm not a big blog writer so if someone has questions about the places we visited ect. please don't hesitate to contact us😊