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Mico Verde

Labuan Bajo, Flores Island
August 26 - September 1, 2007

(Steph) The next day we decided to try to make a long day hop all the way to Labuan Bajo. We were still ahead of the rally, but had enough boats in company with us every day that we were eager to make a few more miles and maybe get ahead of them, too. An uneventful day of motorsailing saw us into the harbor at Labuan Bajo where we dropped the hook in the late afternoon. It's a very protected anchorage from almost all directions, and was very calm. The two downsides are that Bajo has a bit of a reputation for thievery, and that we had to share the anchorage with many moorings that are used by the SCUBA diving charter fleet. Most of the fleet are really gorgeous, traditional-looking Dutch ships. But they are big and being on moorings, they don't swing like those of us on a hook. When the current shifted, we sometimes found ourselves swinging uncomfortably close to a few of these guys.

Warren really wanted to do an oil change but hadn't provisioned enough of the Chevron/Caltex 15W-40 he likes before we left Darwin. So we spent a morning trudging through town looking for a suitable 15W-40 motor oil. He finally found a brand (in fact, the only 15W-40 at all) he thought he could trust -- the packaging had "Made in the USA" embossed, printed and watermarked in so many places that we decided a knock-off brand would never have gone through that much trouble.

Warren came down with a cold, so our plan to fuel up, change the oil and depart quickly for the Komodos came to a grinding halt. We decided, however, to move a few miles down the coast to anchor in front of the Eco Lodge, a hotel that welcomes cruisers to use its pool and restaurant, and helps arrange transportation into town. We ended up hanging for a few days while Warren recuperated. I visited the pool a number of times, and we got to know the crews of sy Sunburn and sy Blue Sky better.

Jim from Blue Sky turned out to be a chemicals salesman in his former life and reassured Warren that the oil he had used on the engine was indeed a legitimate brand. Apparently, the oil for sale here in Indonesia is the previous generation of motor oil/additives blend that was fashionable until the oil companies dreamed up the current generation. They sell off the old stock to countries like Indonesia because U.S. motor oil users only want the latest and greatest. Considering that our Perkins 4-108 is 30 years old, this motor oil is probably still much better than whatever it was used to in its youth. (Note from Wojo: the oil mentioned here is called "Top Oil" and you can find it anywhere in Indo. I used it to motor about 1500 miles this season with fine results).

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