Where’s your favourite place? It’s a question we get asked a lot. Yet for us it is very difficult to choose. When we first set out travelling we thought it would be the most beautiful, scenic places that would stick in our minds. The reality is that the strongest, most precious memories come from the places we have felt a connection either with wildlife or people. It’s the feeling of that personal connection, in that moment. Simply returning to those places would not allow us to relive that particular experience, which is perhaps a big part of what makes them so special.
For us Wakatobi is one of those places; a place that will bring a fond smile to our weather beaten faces even when our sailing days are long behind us.
Pulling into the main harbour of Wanci we expected little more than the possibility of stocking up with fresh veg and drinking water. Rowing ashore, we were greeted by a group of students, keen to practice their English and show us around their island. Over the next few days, we swam in fresh water caves, attended Independence Day parades, and had very helpful volunteers when navigating the usually difficult task of the Indonesian market.
They were great days spent in good, easy company, learning more about the local way of life and culture. Reza, Rezha, Maharani and Alvin made their island somewhere we will remember and left us wondering what we could do to thank them. They had enjoyed their earlier trip out to see Florence at anchor, and with an easy exit out into a large calm sheltered bay, it was the perfect opportunity to take them for a morning sail. Once we had cleared things with their teacher (with the promise that we would film them speaking English), their excitement and nervous grins were infectious. We found ourselves more excited about going for a sail than we have been for a long time.
Sailing is our hobby, but after 3 years of sailing around the world and many thousand miles under the keel it can become just a means of getting from A to B. We cannot remember the last time we took Florence out for a sail just for the fun of it, just out around the bay and back to where we started from. So taking our new friends out for a sail was as refreshing for us as it was exciting for them. They listened carefully and learned quickly, it was not long before we had them taking turns at being ‘captain’, steering Florence, winching the sails in, and taking a wander up to the bow for a few selfies. Reflecting on the sail with them, we realised that we had not enjoyed a morning’s sail that much in a very long time. Their smiles were infectious and we had great fun showing them a little bit of our world.