Hansisi village kids hanging out

Kupang, West Timor, Indonesia

Asia at last. And such a huge cultural change that it’s difficult to believe we were in Australia just 500 miles ago. Here in Kupang we’ve found all the obvious signs we’ve arrived back in the developing world: wooden outrigger fishing boats, busy roadside street markets, strange smells, cows and monkeys seamlessly integrated into city life, and scooters buzzing around the like swarms of bees. As westerners are a rarity in these non-touristic Indonesian cities, we get lots of attention and “hello Mister”s from curious locals asking us where we’re from and sometimes even wanting pictures – truly some of the most friendly people we’ve found anywhere. All of the chaos and activity can be intimidating for tourists new to developing countries, but the adjustment is easy to make if you keep an open mind, and often times people become addicted to this kind of more adventurous travel and no longer see the point in traveling around the boring old West.

But like most developing countries, Indonesia is affected by severe poverty, meaning problems exist here that are difficult to imagine from the vantage point of a North American or European metropolis. Malaria, poor sanitation, and a lack of any public education system are some examples. Some problems, though, are particularly easy to fix and there’s no excuse why we (humans) haven’t yet produced a universal solution. An obvious example is dirty drinking water – how can it be that we have billion dollar mega-yachts and rovers exploring on Mars, yet people in Indonesia still sick from drinking contaminated drinking water. So with the generosity of our friends, family, and blog readers, we’re here with 50 clean water drinking filters and have been visiting remote villages where clean water is a problem. The filters are invaluable for the villagers, and it’s a great experience for us too that brings a whole new dimension to our voyage. We provide a more detailed writeup below for anyone interested in our filters mission so far, including information for anyone who might be coming through here later with more water filters – the need is still huge.

We’ve been particularly lucky during our first few days in Indonesia because we’ve met an amazing crew of locals, expats, and other yachties. Frenky (our agent for guiding us through the bureaucratic mess here in Indonesia), and Richard (an Aussie expat now living here in Kupang) both volunteered, on the spur of the moment, two days of their time for helping us reach villages with the clean water problem – ‘onya mates! We’re also leaving Kupang with a solid plan for the next few weeks of sailing through the islands towards Bali, and we’ll be exploring along with Trevor and Kristy (aboard Rogue Brit), our first “buddy boat” experience since Tohora in the Galapagos and Frency Polynesia.

So with some of the greatest diving and snorkeling spots on the planet awaiting us, and 27 more water filters in need of some dirty village wells, it’s time for us to say goodbye to our new friends here in Kupang and keep moving west.

Clean Water Filters Mission

Following is information regarding the dirty water problem in and around Kupang, what we’ve done, and where we think further help is needed. We sincerely thank the donors to our mission for making this possible.

Our Village Visits:

  • Hansisi Village, Semau Island, GPS: 10°09.45′S, 123°.28.66′E

Population: 1000
Village Leader: Erens Tullo
Filters Delivered: 5 | Remaining Need: 5
Notes: A neighboring village a 20 km walk away, Onansila, also has a clean water problem. Erens has offered to help deliver filters to that village. Population is 750, requiring approx 7 filters.

  • Tana Merah Village, West Timor, Location: Approx 20km east of Kupang

Population: 400
Filters Delivered: 3 | Remaining Need: 0
Notes: Filters will last 3-4 years, so village checkup would be beneficial around 2017.

  • Oebelo Village, West Timor, Location: Approx 25km east of Kupang

Population: 1000
Filters Delivered: 5 | Remaining Need: 5
Notes: Wells and homes are dispersed over a wide area.

  • Tuapukan Village, West Timor, Location: Approx 25km east of Kupang

Population: 1500
Filters Delivered: 10 | Remaining Need: 5
Notes: Wells and homes are dispersed over a wide area.

Info for Yachties Visiting Kupang:

Our agent for helping us clear into Kupang was Frenky Charles Manafe. His clearance service costs $125 (USD or AUD) and was greatly helpful, especially because the offices in Kupang request “unofficial fees” which can make the process lengthy and burdensome in the absence of an agent. Frenky’s English is good and he knows the system well. Frenky accompanied us on all of our village visits on a volunteer basis and has offered to do the same for other visiting yachts. He’s now familiar with the Waves for Water filtration system and is alert to the needs in the area. His contact info is:
Frenky Charles Manafe
Tel:+628 533 738 5009

Our filter mission is being conducted through Waves for Water. Please visit their website for more info in case you’re interested in becoming a Waves for Water Courier.


  1. rupe

    Hi there guys, glad to see you arrived safely over into asia, as you say quite a change from auzzie! Great that you are delivering the filters, and I hope you are making a full photographic record of that for us guys following your movements. I am in London tonight on my way to Athens, and I had a good conversation via skype with Bruce back there in old california. anyhow keep up the good work, and a watch out for those mosquitos, saludos, rupe

  2. Mom

    We take so much for granted, especially clean drinking water on demand which we lavishly use for all the other house and garden needs…. so it’s heartwarming to see how you’re enabling the lives of poor villagers to be drastically changed with mere filters and buckets. Good on yer Salties – an inspiring combination of being circumnavigators and humanitarians.
    Mom xx

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