Day 132, Year 3: Back Home in Lovina Beach with Justin and Jo
Date: Hari Kamis (Thursday), Bulan September 18, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Beautiful Day
Location: Lovina Beach, BALI, Indonesia
Justin and Jo arrived safely and on time last night at 11:10 pm. It is just so wonderful to have them here with us. I know they are exhausted after a 36-hour flight that included a 3-hour layover in LA and an 11-hour layover in Seoul, Korea, but they are hanging in there. Our wonderful driver for our trip south, Komang, picked us up at 10:30 pm in Kuta and had us at the airport well before 11:00. The flight came in early and the time it took Justin and Jo to go through Customs and get their Indonesian Visa was amazingly fast. So we were back in Kuta, had a walk on the beach, and were in bed just after midnight.
But unfortunately, we had to get a semi-early start this morning in order to see some of the sights as we headed back north and get back to Lovina in time for the Sail Indonesia Rally Welcoming Ceremony. We left “krazy” Kuta around 10:30 am, stopped in Denpasar to pick up batteries, had a nice lunch at a very nice roadside hotel nestled among the terraced rice paddies, and made our first tourist stop at the holy springs at Tirta Empul. This temple was built in 962 but restored in the 1960’s.
Istana Negara, Soekarno’s (past president of Indonesia) palace overlooks the temple and it is quite an impressive site. Time was running out as it is quite a long drive from the south of Bali to the north, so from Tirta Empul we headed directed to the overlook for Lake Batur and the volcanic mountains of Gunung Agung, Gunung Abang, and Gungung Batur. Gunung Batur is closest and it is obvious that this volcano has been active not so long ago.
It was great to get back to Lovina Beach and “home.” We had only a short time before we had to turn around and go back to shore to get on a bus and head north again to Singaraja for the welcome ceremony. It was a nice dinner in a great little restaurant on the beach, but unfortunately there was no Bali cultural performance. There is more to come tomorrow, so maybe we will start to get a taste of Bali’s wonderful dances and music right here on Lovina Beach.
Day 131, Year 3: Trip to South Bali
Date: Hari Rabu (Wednesday), Bulan September 17, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Another Beautiful Day
Location: Kuta Beach, BALI, Indonesia
The trip from north to south Bali is a little like being on a Disney World ride. The scenery is “out of this world” and you truly feel like you are in fairyland. The terraced rice paddies are so green and there are intricately carved temples everywhere. We are certain there are more temples than homes on this island. And in the towns and villages the streets are lined with towering bamboo poles that hang over the streets like weeping willow branches. The poles are decorated with pandanus origami
figures. We visited a beautiful waterfall at Gitgit, stopped at a temple on Danu Bratan, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, and watched a most impressive parade of Hindus dressed in elaborately decorated sarongs, each carrying what appeared to be a little temple of gold on her head. The gamelan (gong) players are all men and they had on beautiful pink shirts. They were going to the side of the lake for a special mountain and water ceremony and we couldn’t believe we were lucky enough to arrive just as they
started their parade to the water’s edge. Probably anything after that would have been a come down, but our stop in Ubud was a real disappointment. It is the art and cultural heart of Bali, but to us it just looked like a crazy, crowded city. I’m sure there is more there than we saw today, so we will have to give that one a second chance. We had a lovely lunch in an open air restaurant beside a rice field, and then we plunged into the traffic of south Bali. Kuta Beach is the nearest place to
stay to the airport, so we are here. This is surf city and there’s not much here that we find charming either. But by midnight, Justin and Jo should be here and that will certainly brighten our lives. Assuming they arrive on time, tomorrow morning we will head back north to have lunch at another lake in the crater of a volcano before heading back to Windbird and the welcoming rally dinner.
Day 130, Year 3: Beautiful Bali
Date: Hari Selasa (Tuesday), Bulan September 16, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Beautiful Day with No Wind
Location: Lovina Beach, BALI, Indonesia
My morning was spent doing what all mothers do when children are coming to visit. I dusted and vacuumed the inside of the boat and made the v-berth bed for Justin and Jo. We went to shore around noon to have lunch and to find our way to the big town east of here, Singaraja. We were a bit lazy and took a bemo for $3 instead of a bus for 70 cents. But the bus would have required a change and another fee, so taking the bemo straight there seemed the most sensible. We went to Hardy’s, the big supermarket in Singaraja, and discovered that they might have things we need but that we can’t read any of the labels. For the most part, you can tell the general kind of thing because the products are located in aisles similar to the way they would be back home. We went to Hardy’s so we could evaluate whether we will need to shop down south or get the things we need here. I think I’ll need to see what is offered down south before I make a decision.
So tomorrow morning we head south to do some sightseeing and to pick up Justin and Jo. There will probably be no way that I can send a log tomorrow, so I will just have to combine the stories and send them along once we return. So I’ll sign off now and hope to be able to send the next log on Thursday evening once Justin and Jo have arrived and we are back on Windbird.
Day 129, Year 3: LaLa Land
Date: Hari Senin (Monday), Bulan September 15, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Overcast Morning with North Winds-Not Normal for Mid-September
Latitude: 08 degrees 09.645 S
Longitude: 115 degrees 01.284 E
Location: Lovina Beach, BALI, Indonesia
Life here is just not reality. It is possible here to have a driver that speaks English and drives you in his car all over this island for two days for a cost of only $75US. And that includes the driver’s meals and overnight stay. Unbelievable. But what is more unbelievable is that we think that is really, really expensive. We’re talking about driving more than 200 miles in the two days and seeing much of the beauty of Bali. This poor driver has to take us to the airport at midnight to pick up Justin and Jo and then be ready to head off with us the next morning for a tour from the south of Bali to the north. So it really is LaLa Land, but I love it.
We finally made it ashore today. We went in early just to get some fresh water for washing the boat and doing laundry. Mark is still not recovering from this Indonesian cold that he has, so he then took a nap while I cleaned the boat. Our friend Bennie on the local outrigger called Gelderland showed up around noon, instead of at 7 am as promised, to clean the bottom of the boat. We figured it is better late than never, and had a son and a grandson with him to dive in and start the bottom cleaning.
We gave Bennie our jerry jugs and asked him to go ashore the fill them for us. When he returned he had another grandson with him. This one somehow won Mark’s heart and we invited him aboard to tour Windbird. Do, pronounced more like Dua, explained to us that his family is Muslim and live on the beach just to the east of the anchorage. There were two young men cleaning the bottom and one them was named Dion. Do explained that his cousin, Dion, does not practice fasting during Ramadon and that this is a problem for the community. I dubbed Dion “bad boy” and he agreed. He plays the guitar and djembe drum on the beach at night. Do gave us his phone number and promised a fish barbecue on the beach for us once Justin and Jo arrive with “bad boy” playing music. As long as it is after 7:30 pm prayers, Do said it would be fine. So it sounds great.
Once the bottom of the boat was cleaned and Do and Dion left, Mark and I got ready and went to shore. We continued to have a swell coming into the anchorage from the north today, but those who have been here for a week already said this is very unusual. I sure hope so and hope that the winds change soon. The rocking and rolling in the anchorage is not severe, but it is an irritation. Once we made it to shore we were inundated with women trying to sell us everything from mangoes to clothing.
I actually bought some jewelry from a little girl telling me she was selling the jewelry to make money for her school that has nothing. But I soon learned that this was a scam. And then I ended up buying a sarong and a blouse for way too much money. Finally, I got my land legs and learned to say no. We made it as far as the internet cafï¿½, and I left Mark there and went back to the beach to brave the hawkers to see Idunne of Blue Marlin. Runa was in the internet cafï¿½ and explained that they are
leaving tomorrow morning for Kumai. I wanted to say hello/goodbye to Idunne. I also made arrangements with Runa for him to email us info about booking our orangutan trip. We have made some contacts in the Kumai region, but so far we have found prices to be way too expensive. Runa will look for the best deal he can find for his family and then make a reservation for us. That will be a great help for us and assure that we can do the river trip in time to get Justin and Jo back to Bali for their flight home. This is one of those times when you are really glad that you are traveling with a group of other cruisers.
Kalibukbuk, the area of Lovina Beach where we are located, is certainly a tourist area, but it definitely has a Bali charm. After Mark satisfied his internet connections, we started our walk down the main street from the beach. On a recommendation from Idunne and Runa, we made reservations with the LA Tour group to south Bali to pick-up Justin and Jo. We will tour our way south on Wednesday, find a place to stay near the beach close to the airport, go to dinner, and then go to pick-up J & J near
mid-night. Our driver will then take us back to our overnight accommodation and come back to pick us up before noon the next day. Again, we will make our way north stopping at a few of the major attractions, and arrive back in Lovina Beach just in time for the rally opening ceremony.
It is late and I’m fading, so I think I must continue tomorrow. So far, Lovina Beach is ending up to be a great place to visit and hopefully this trend will just increase.
Day 128, Year 3: Happy Birthday, Justin!
Date: Hari Minguu (Sunday), Bulan Sï¿½ptï¿½mber 14 Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Another Sunny, Perfect Day
Location: Lovina Beach, BALI, Indonesia
Today we arrived in Bali and in only three days Justin and Jo will arrive. Today is Justin’s birthday, but we will certainly have to have a celebration once he arrives here. So Justin, Happy Birthday today, with promises of a “Bali Birthday” when you arrive. Actually Sail Indonesia changed the Bali Opening Ceremonies to September 18 from September 15, so now Justin and Jo will be able to attend. Justin’s 29th birthday was celebrated at Aggie Grey’s in Samoa, and I’m hoping his 31st here will be a gala event. Gala or not, it will be so great to have Justin and Jo here with us.
We left Lombok at 2:30 am this morning. That was a bit earlier than planned, but we were awake so we just went for it. For the first few hours we had fantastic winds of 25 knots and current with us. The moon is almost full and it lit the way, but as we were looking at the moon we noticed the strangest constellation just to its right. The stars were red and looked like the tail of a dragon. We thought it might be a comet. But just before dawn, Mark pegged it. It was either a lava flow or fires
burning on the side of Gunung Agung, Bali’s “highest and most revered mountain” as written in my bible, the Lonely Planet. This perfectly volcanic cone is almost 10,000 feet high and quite imposing. We could not see it in the dark, but we could see those “red stars” becoming fiery. Then the almost full moon started to disappear behind what I thought was a cloud. But as soon as it was no longer visible, it provided backlighting for this magnificent mountain. As the sun rose in the east I could see Lombok’s mountains lighted in red and Bali’s Gunung Agung backlighted by the moon. What a special moment. And then we had another surprise. Just after dawn, literally hundreds of local outriggers came racing home from sea after a night of fishing. What a colorful sight. The lanteen sails on these little guys look like brightly colored spinnakers. It was another very special moment. So we were off and running, but then as we sailed past Gunung Agung, the winds started to die down. Unfortunately,
we spent the rest of the day with very little wind and a counter current, but we had a great beginning and made it here to Lovina Beach by 4 pm. It was a great day and a great feeling to finally reach Bali.
Now here’s the bad news. Our batteries are really ‘dead.’ No matter how long we run the motor, the charge lasts only a short time. We can’t buy new batteries until we reach Langkawi, Malaysia, so we are just going to have to run the engine more often. And more bad news. Mark has the dreaded Indonesian cold. Many cruisers have had this and it evidently lasts longer than it should, but hopefully he will be on the mend before Justin and Jo arrive. And the last piece of bad news is that tonight
this anchorage at Lovina Beach is rocky and rolly. We are hoping that is because we had northwest winds today and we are on the north side of Bali. It is not untenable, just irritating. But then there is a little good news. There appears to be wireless internet with a good signal here in the anchorage. We will go into town tomorrow morning and pay for a user name and password, and then we will see just how good this advertised “broadband wireless internet” might be.