Lombok - Bali to Belitung
08 November 2011 | Port Klang, Malaysia
Daryl and Carol
Next instalment, the Lombok and Bali experience but before we head off on that tale, some observations. The telecom system in Indonesia is so good Telstra should be ashamed to be in business. The outlying places we visited were a bit stretched but it worked with some coverage but as we came to Flores and headed north west toward Bali and beyond, we were shocked with excitement. A new dongle for the internet (the Telstra one was locked but we will fix that in Malaysia) cost us $6 with a months unlimited download. Depending where you are and how many people are on, it can be slow but what the heck and sometimes it is faster t hat what you get in Australia. When we went to renew for another month it cost another $5 (robbery) someone is getting robbed and it is not us at the moment. My theory is that with such a large, diverse and populated country ( 220 million) separated by so much distance, the best way to keep people in the picture is the communication thing. Make sure it doesn't cost too much so everyone can afford one and hey presto. The same goes for satellite tv, dishes in the most remote places. There is a red and white phone tower every few miles along the coast of all the islands. Now one other piece of amazing information is the school system. Each year of primary and junior/senior high school wear the same uniforms for their respective years all over the country and learn from the same curriculum. You cant do that just ask our government. More observations later.
Lombok 08 21 582S - 116,07.785E
To say that the anchorage at Lombok was a little rolly would be an understatement like saying a moonless night is a bit dark. It was so incredibly rolly that we had to get up in the mornings and get off the boat as quick as we could because we got too cranky. When we arrived at Lombok our chronic shortage of cash meant that we had to source an ATM straight away. We headed off from the "Marina" more about that later, to find the bank. We trekked out with John, Pauleen from Our Odyssey and James and reaching the fork in the road our choice was left past the building in progress or right up a rather dubious looking goat track. We chose the goat track with some advise from one of the adventuring party who shall remain nameless, however we have had a lot of mileage out of it since then. The walk took us on a trek of about 5klms which at one stage was only supposed to be about 400mts according to a local taxi driver. As we strolled along to the "hello misters" and the strange looks we passed what seemed to be another anchorage with yachts. We wondered if that one would be less rolly than the one we were in. After a while we realised that we had just walked 4klms and were back where we started because that was our anchorage. Anyway smiles and laughter all round and off we went the 1klm to the ATM in a taxi. We did some food shopping and most important the driver took us up a back lane to a Chinese merchant and purchased some Bintang.
The rest of our stay was uneventful with a great welcome dinner and our Capt receiving the welcome sash on behalf of the Australian contingent. We went off to Gili Air for the day on the local ferry and enjoyed the outing until it was time to come home. We decided to hire one of the ferries to take us back to the anchorage. All was good with the ladies negotiating the cost so we piled in and headed back to the anchorage about 3 miles away. All most there when we realised that we weren't going to where we thought. We could see it of in the distance so we asked the boss where we were going and told him that our fare was to the Yacht anchorage to which he replied, that will cost more. Our Capt, leave you to guess who that was, said no we paid to go there and there is no more money, the ferry Capt said we will take you over here then. Our Capt said no and a young boy got on the phone back to base to clear up the mess to no avail. So our Capt said quote "then take us back to Gili Air and no money. Bugger he did. So then we had to go up the other end of the beach and get a fast boat home and we paid twice the money. Thanks Capt. Its the principle he said.
Lovina Beach 08 09.569S - 115 01.246E
Departed Lombok on the 15th of September and had a brilliant sail through to Amat Roads on the North coast of Bali for an overnight stop. We covered 63 miles and looked forward to a relaxing night before pressing onto Lovina Beach the next day. We departed Amat Road at 0630hrs and arrived in Bali at 14.30hrs that afternoon. The start of the trip looked promising and then the wind died after an hour and we motored the rest of the way.
Lovina beach was an interesting spot and we enjoyed our stay. We went to Kuta and Ubud on the other side of the island and as mentioned earlier found Kuta to be a totally different place to when we were there 15 years earlier. No bemos, no people trying to sell you stuff, all very up market. What we then discovered in Lovina, all the bemos and the hawkers had moved over there. We stayed in Bali until the 24th of September before it was time to move on to Karimunjawa and Belitung where we would then be saying good bye to Indonesia.
The following is a quick overview of our trip from Bali to Kurimunjawa;
Menjangan was an island of Hindu temples. You could wander around the island on a paved footpath from one temple to the next, each one grander than the one before. The first evening there I saw a manta ray do a somersault out of the water about four times. It was like it was saying 'did you see that, did you see it that time?' We were also required to pay a rancher with a big gun 20 RPH, which of course we gladly did. The only annoying thing about the anchorage was that the flies were unbelievably bad.
On the sail to Raas, which is a small fishing village, we thought we lost the auto pilot, which gave me a dreadful sinking feeling. But Daryl scratched his head a few times and mumble a lot them wiggled some wires and it was mostly OK again (there is probably a more technically correct version of events but that is how I saw things unfold). We had to go out a long way then come back to get past a huge sand spit to get into the anchorage. As we were anchoring we had a local boat standing off ready to pounce when we got settled. He turned out to be a very jolly guy who knew how to promote his business. We said we would like some fish, but not small ones. He pulled out the smallest imaginable fish and asked if we were thinking bigger than this. We indicated with our hands that yes we did indeed mean much bigger. He was back within the hour. Unfortunately all the big fish at the local market were gone and would we take the only ones he could get? Well they were already dead and we left he had gone to some trouble to get them for us. He cleaned and well he didn't need to fillet them but they were tasty. He asked if we had a t shirt for his friend who only had the one shirt to his name. I pulled out a BHP work shirt and gave it to him. He was very pleased and told his friend it was a label name like Billabong.
We departed Raas 0800 hours on the 27th of September and sailed overnight to Bawean, arriving at 1200 hours on the 28th of September, a total of 150 NM. We had a bit of a rest then decided we should check out the village. With Our Odessy we stepped ashore to stretch our legs and have a look. The village was very tidy and friendly. We walked the length of the village. When we pasted an elementary school, to our initial delight, then dismay the whole school crossed the road to talk or yell "hello mister!" at us. We pasted a small building on the road to the village with a sign that read 'Beatiful Pub'. Well, you couldn't not stop there. As it turned out you could, the beer was hot. But they were willing to serve it with ice, actually in the beer we think.
Kurimunjawa 05 43.631S - 110 14 713E
Kurimunjawa was physically very beautiful with its brilliant aqua water and interesting boats coming and going. The evening saw a procession of brightly painted fishing boats heading out to work for the night. The beautiful sunsets and the rowdy, happy crews made it a sight to see. We swam everyday in the clean, clear water of the bay. We lunched every day at a very interesting cafe right on the waterfront. As we ate we watched the fishermen do maintenance and refuel their boats.
We sailed a day and half a night before anchoring at about 2:30 a.m. deciding we were better off to get a bit of sleep before pushing on to Belitung. As we lifted anchor it started to rain. That gentle sprinkling of rain developed into our first real full on Indonesian thunder storm. We made an excellent decision to drop the sails quite early, even through the rain was pelting down the wind had not yet found its full force. It did however find its full force and strike me down if I didn't see the wind gauge hit 45 knots. We were wet, and surprising cold, but two good things came of it. One, we got to use our wet weather gear. And two, we realised we could manage pretty well whatever came along. We did also find quite a few leaks on the inside, as this was the first real rain we had seen in months. But not to be the last.
Belitung will get an update of its own next instalment.