The Sail Indonesia Rally, which left Darwin on July 28 is one of the three annual rallies now leaving Darwin and is in its thirteenth year. The fleet, consisting of hundreds of yachts from dozens of countries, is spread out all over Indonesia with some yachts in Morotai while others are in Lombok and Bali.
soya soya dancer
Some exciting new destinations were added this year across Indonesia, including Alor, Komodo, Karimunjawa, Ternate, Salayar, Tanjung Putting, and more, but the main maritime event this year is to be held in Morotai.
This small island is in in North Maluku, lying north of the island of Halmahera, and was the chosen highlight partly because of its history. Morotai made its name in World War II when it became the base from where General McArthur made his counter attacks against the Japanese invasion on the Philippines and the Indonesian islands.
Because of these associations, it was not only cruising sailors drawn to Morotai for celebrations. Held this week on Saturday, September 15, Sail Morotai 2012 was attended in person by Indonesian President Yudhoyono. Also invited were war veterans from the USA, Japan, and Australia who had fought on Morotai. Present were ambassadors and representatives from the USA, Japan, Australia, and the Philippines, as well as government ministers and the ceremonies were watched by thousands from the local population.
Sail Morotai 2012 officially opened with the 'Soya soya dance,' a Maluccan war dance of heroism, followed by welcome dances from local districts in the Moluccas. Then came the heart stirring 'sail past' comprising the yachts participating in Sail Morotai 2012 and a number of warships.
On the occasion, President Yudhoyono also opened the Morotai World War II Museum containing artifacts and memorabilia of the war around Morotai.
The Morota seas contain at least 160 species of fish as well as a great variety of pearls and seaweeds. Morotai’s unique role in World War II, the island’s beautiful beaches, underwater life, and many wrecks to dive will certainly make Morotai an alluring destination for cruising sailors.