Monday, January 1, 2018

Ringing in the New Year with a Bang

Fireworks rarely turn out in exception here: This really fails to capture
 the ridiculous amount of fireworks that were being set off.
Indonesians love their fireworks. Large stalls that popped up all over Sorong in the last month were selling nothing but loads and loads of fireworks.  Have you ever been to one of those fireworks stores you see from the interstate just over the border from the state where they are banned (and are invariably named "Crazy Mike's" or "Wild Max's" or somesuch)? Well imagine a town of only 200,000 people having about 100 of these stores.  We were treated to fireworks leading up to Christmas, at Christmas, and the week after.
I noticed that as New Year's Eve approached in Sorong, all the local live-aboard dive boats seemed to be anchored farther from shore than usual, which gave me pause about being so close. We didn't have much choice because we have to anchor close to shore due to depth. As darkness fell on New Year's Eve, the fireworks started and there was one fairly large display near the Navy ships. But other than that, it wasn't too different from the previous nights. We wondered what midnight would hold.

We stayed up a bit watching fireworks but were too tired to stay up past about 9:30. The kids begged to be woken up if the fireworks started getting really good. At about 11:30, Matt and I woke to a barrage of booms and the smell of sulfur and gunpowder. Every part of the shoreline, for miles in each direction, had fireworks overhead. The air was cloudy with the smoke and you could feel the vibrations. Mixed in with the fireworks were emergency flares. It would be a bad time to be a boat in distress because your signal would just get lost in the confusion of light. At one point, Matt ran to the back of the boat with a bucket of water in case he had to douse one flare that was tracking straight for the boat but luckily ended up landing about 50 feet short. Not that water would have done much...the flares continue to burn even as they sink into the sea!
The flare that landed so close to our boat you could smell it.
Matt tried to rouse the boys but they were dead to the world and missed the whole thing. The pyrotechnics continued for hours and Matt and I were too tired to stay up. We just crossed our fingers and hoped that nothing would land on our boat and went back to bed.

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year ! Still loving all your updates ! After your latest experience with these fireworks, the ones back home will all seem so lame ! (Although much safer too!). Mark and I have had similar experiences with fireworks in Indo ! Most notably the weeks leading up to 2000 ! I am glad you were hit by the flares !


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