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Serene Bali

19 October 2007 | Indonesia
7th October 2007
Written while anchored in the Kumai River on Kalimantan Is (Borneo)
02deg 44S 111deg44E

Another blog not posted, once again sorry about out of order.
Selemat Siang
Large spots of rain have just begun to fall on our decks the lightening of last night has returned, wet season is coming. The grey clouds and oppressive humidity that hung over Kumai for the last day have just turned into heavy cleansing rain, our decks will be clean before Singapore.
Alan has gone ashore for lunch with Tom and Raina from Matariki leaving me to get on with this so where was I?

"Ahh .... Isn't this beautiful," Elizabeth and I stood on the steps looking over the grounds and Hindu Temple, out to a peaceful lake in the hills of Bali. We stood there for several minutes soaking up the green lawns, pretty gardens the curves of the temple roof. The serenity of the setting was refreshing. I was beginning to weary of insistent hawkers and grimy streets, and Pura Ulan Danau Bratan made me think that maybe Bali will be different, keep me going until Singapore.

Alan and I had sailed into Lovina early the previous morning and anchored near La Barque. Elizabeth and Patrick rowed over to welcome us, they had been in Lovina for 2 or 3 days already. Having organized a driver and car for a tour the next day they asked us to share the tour. We jumped at the chance, good company and they had done all the research! We don't always get organized that quickly.

We left Lovina early, drove through Singarajah past huge statues commemorating .....well we are not sure because our driver was on a mission no diversions just the selected stops. He loosened up as the day went on. At Gitgit falls we walked down steps past drying cloves and clove trees. Clove pickers were balancing at the top of narrow bamboo ladders in tall flimsy branched clove trees planted on the hill side of steep valleys. We pondered on the life span of a clove picker as we wandered on past rice paddies, down the hill trying to avoid the stall keepers and eventually got to the Gitgit falls. On the way back to the car we scurried past the stall holders all young mothers with toddlers, trying not to feel guilty for not buying anything. So the day continued , monkeys to feed, lakes to view, lunch in the serene grounds of the temple. Hot pools were on the schedule, we had forgotten our togs, Patrick and Elizabeth decided against it after seeing the pool and the crowds. We once again scurried past the aggressive stall holders. Alan got caught, just as I was returning to rescue him he broke free having only bought a pair of shorts (which he needed), a good deal 15000RP($2.50 nz) The stall holders at the springs were the most aggressive we have ever seen. 2 little girls of about 8 or 10 were the worst trying to sell bangles, continually getting in our way. We persuaded the driver to stop at the market in the hills. The fruit and vegetables were displayed in colourful designs and patterns. The surrounding area is very fertile the volcanic land fed with fresh water from a crater lake, some vegetables, lettuces, I think were growing directly in the lake. Alan , Elizabeth and I wandered around the market tasting and buying. Patrick opted to stay in the car and ended up having a conversation about Arsenal soccer team with a passer by, an ardent fan. This is Indonesia, no surprises it even seemed right that there were pyramids of fresh local strawberries to buy.
We arrived back at Lovina tired but delighted with the Bali we had seen so far and whats more we had fresh sweet strawberries to finish dinner with on La Barque.
Lovina is a pretty town, nice restaurants, stall holders near the beach were a bit aggressive to start with then as the days progressed they calmed down. The welcome and Gala dinner was held on the public area by the beach. The dancing was watched by a hundred or so invited yachties and hundreds of uninvited locals. We don't mind sharing however if the security had been more forceful, mayhem could have followed, they knew when they were beaten. Security would shoo people back then others would just come and fill up the gap. So they stood back until the fire dancing, then they were a bit more insistent. The dinner was delicious, tables filled with, roast pork, deep fried prawns, satay, vegetable dishes... just about everything Bali could offer.
A group of us eventually wandered off for a drink to fill in time till the All Black v Scotland rugby match which a group of Aussies, Kiwis and Scots watched at the Rambutan Hotel owned by an Australian. At the end of the match we walked through the quiet dark streets of Lovina, one of the last to get our dinghy, the dinghy minder told Alan "you walk like a snake" of course he was right, legless ... too many Bintangs!!!
With about seventy boats in the bay there was always some one around to look after boats while the owners went on over night trips around the rest of Bali. We took the opportunity too and went with Roger and Julie from Tradition down to Kuta and Denpasar. 2 days down in the tourist mecca was enough. One of those things that is ticked off, been there done that lets move on. The trip back was ...well I suppose it was interesting, or maybe even surprising. Surprising that we got back in one piece, over those mountain roads. Our driver, Putu, told us when we got to Kuta he needed to be back at Lovina early the next afternoon, we negotiated a better time for us but still time for him to get back to his Full moon ceremony. Putu was in charge of some costumes, he needed to be back in time in Lovina. We were not happy but we agreed to go back after Tradition had been to the supermarket and picked up their ordered meat. As happens time goes on and we left Denpasar about an hour late. Putu sped out of the busy city, dodging and weaving amongst the traffic, tearing along the rural roads. We came to a detour, road works, he was not happy but found another route which took us through tidy rural Hindu villages, we sped past many decorated temples. The Full moon was being celebrated throughout Hindu Bali. Graceful Balinese women walked to temples with colourful baskets of offerings balanced delicately on their heads. Teenaged girls dressed in white and gold balanced carefully side saddle on motor bikes behind fathers, brothers and sisters. Up to 5 people per bike. Little boys, dressed in white with gold sashes just like dad, waved and grinned as we sped past. Fresh offerings were being placed in shrines amongst the padi fields and along the road sides. With any luck they saw our speeding vehicle and said a little prayer for us. We wanted to stop but each decorated temple, each snatch of chanting we heard reminded us Putu was needed back at his own ceremony. Just at dusk we turned onto a narrow road no other traffic thank goodness and we hurtled down the hills back to Lovina. We probably didn't go over about 80ks the whole way but on narrow busy crowded roads where overtaking is done any where even blind corners, 80ks was too fast!!!
Typical Indonesia, often you are not told things until it is too late if we had known we could have asked for a different driver, Putu needed the money so of course he wasn't going to tell his employer he couldn't take the job. Ah well we did get a glimpse and when we got back we were able to listen all night to the Full Moon ceremony in Lovina, presumably Putu got there in time, the chanting started as we stepped back on board. The next day peaceful Lovina returned but it was nearly time for us to head for Kumai and the Orangutan. An afternoon spent watching water buffalo racing , early dinner ashore as the sunset then we lifted the dinghy, took down the awning ready for an early start and reluctant farewell to Lovina beach.

Alan and Tom have just returned, soaked to the skin but thrilled with their visit to a half built 150 foot traditional ship which dominates the river bank on the outskirts of Kumai town.

Vessel Name: Tuatara
Vessel Make/Model: Alan Wright 51
Hailing Port: Opua NZ
Crew: Alan and Jean Ward

Sailing in the Pacific

Who: Alan and Jean Ward
Port: Opua NZ