LOMBOK BASIN, BALI, GILI AIR, GILI TRAWANGAN
THURSDAY, 26 JULY 2007
We set off early. It is a beautiful morning with low cloud lying over the surrounding mountains. We have winds up to 27 knots and reach nearly 11 knots speed over the ground with both sails up. The winds drop back and change direction so we goose-wing for the next 4½ hours. With the sails set like this and the wind continually slightly changing direction, the skipper is constantly on the alert.
It is a beautiful night to sail – calm with a clear sky filled with stars and lit by a ¾ moon but not much wind. Ross is trying to sail as much as possible to reduce our fuel consumption. We have just enough to get to Bali, our next major port. Ross and I usually do night watches of 3 hours on and 3 hours off. I don’t know how soundly he sleeps, as the slightest shift of wind or engine speed brings him up on deck.
FRIDAY, 27 JULY 2007
This morning we have breakfast in the cockpit looking over the sparkling Lombok Basin and with the spinnaker flying – our favourite way of sailing. Late afternoon we drop anchor at Lombok. This is a truly magnificent anchorage!
The south coast of Lombok is spectacular with steep high cliffs and isolated pillars of rock reminiscent of the Apostles. There appears to be no sign of habitation or activity.
The anchorage is called Teluk Sepi, an arm of Teluk Blongas. There are boats ranged along the beach and several groups of young boys paddle out to the yachts to talk to us. One has some English and is keen to know if we can give him a book. We give him Patrick O’Brien’s “Master & Commander” and he is thrilled. He works in the post office. Robbie and Phil give them some T-shirts they have on board for this purpose.
We go ashore for a walk and are immediately surrounded by a group of 30 children and a couple of young mothers. They stare at us, presumably not seeing many white skinned people. Some of the boys are wearing traditional hats. We are like the Pied Piper walking down the beach with the crowd following. A bit of gymnastics causes shrieks of mirth.
We enjoy a shower after nearly 35 hours at sea and eat well again at the Free Spirit restaurant. This was a welcome invitation because our gas is not working and it will be another little project to attend to in Bali.
The meals on Impulsive have been fantastic and the fridges have kept the fruit and vegetables in good condition 12 days out of port.
SATURDAY, 28 JULY 2007
The call to prayers wakes us a bit earlier than usual at about 4 a.m.
We have a wonderful time in Bali with plenty of R&R and 2 nights ashore at Ubud which gives us a real break from the sailing way of life and a total time of relaxation. Also, we have 3 weeks ahead of us with no more opportunities like this.
This is enhanced by the Bartrams arriving with our new invertor and Phil being able to have a new part made for his mast.
Also, we are fortunate to have an excellent driver, Made, who knows where everything is and is very safe on the roads.
Our first meal ashore is at a very classy restaurant, Warisan, overlooking a rice paddy.
SUNDAY, 29 JULY 2007
The “boys” have a boat-organizing day and we have a wonderful girls day. Jill knows Bali well and so can guide us, in Made’s care, to all the highlight shopping. What fun! We meet up with our men at the Padma Hotel in Legian for a light lunch in the beautiful gardens there. It is a treat to walk on well kept grass and enjoy beautiful trees and plants after sailing.
We farewell Hutch at a little café opposite the Padma Hotel.
MONDAY, 30 JULY 2007
Monday is a similar day to the previous one – we girls had more shopping to check out and enjoyed a light lunch at Tommy’s in Padma Street, Legian. We spend some time checking out available food for provisioning so we can plan for the next long sailing venture with virtually no provisioning available until Singapore and probably only 2 or 3 nights ashore for simple dinners e.g. at the Gillie Islands.
Lotus lily pond restuarantThe cycling trip happens to be on a ceremonial day leading up to one of their mass cremations. It is a day of taking their offerings (carrying baskets of beautifully arranged fruit on their heads) to the temple so they can be spiritually cleansed. Also, all the villages are decorated with their Christmas decorations in the form of tall bamboo poles with attractive and ceremonial ends hanging over the street.
It is all a lovely experience. We all enjoy the welcoming Balinese with their open warmth and their magnificent smiles. What a terrible shame the terrorists have affected this place in such a negative way.
For the cycling trip (with Sedek) we drive up out of Ubud stopping at a Balinese herb garden on the way. The result is it is downhill virtually all the way on the bikes. We take the back roads, over potholes, along dirt farm tracks, past paddy fields with their luminous lime-green tree plants, past dogs that lie in the middle of the road, past chooks scratching around and cocks in basket cages. They will fight and provide the blood to offer to the gods at the festival in a day or two. Everywhere children at home call out “hello” and school children in neat uniforms hold out hands to be clapped as we cycle past. The atmosphere is delightfully welcoming and good-natured.
Most of the school children walk but some ride motorbikes. Our guide, Bruce, says it is the price parents pay for the children agreeing to go to school.
We stop and look over a 17th century temple, an area in a village where beasts have been made (of paper) for the purpose of the mass cremation about to occur, and a traditional family house with its temples, living accommodation and section for the pigs.
It would be a great way to spend a few days in Bali to meander around on a bicycle. Opportunities to stop or chat or just smile hellos occur constantly.
THURSDAY, 2 AUGUST 2007
After returning from Ubud, we have our work cut out preparing the boat: provisioning with food, obtaining fuel and attending to some repairs. Some runners for inside the track of the mast have to be replaced, so at about 5.30 p.m. we hunt around for an engineering shop and wait while the Taiwanese owner gets his somewhat surly Javanese worker to fabricate them. Meanwhile, rats dart in and out of the workshop and the mosquitoes descend.
Engaging in real (as opposed to tourist) transactions of this kind is one of the pleasures of seeing a new place.
We are fascinated by a large “cat” about 70 feet long, called Sodebo. Its French skipper is leaving to sail around the world solo, aiming to break the record. He is hoping to accomplish this in 60 days. It travels at 30 knots in big winds!
FRIDAY, 3 AUGUST 2007
We are up early to fit the new mast track runners (with yet more assistance from Phil) and get underway by about 8.30 a.m. It is calm and we motor until 1.00 p.m. following close to the coastline to try to avoid the south-setting current. This means we see the beaches and surf, resorts, large houses and beached fishing fleets clearly. The wind comes up from the south and we have a rollicking sail for the next 30 miles to our intended anchorage at Gili Air Island.
Local woman - Gili AirWe stay here for 3 days. We start the day with a run and a swim and then go with Harry, one of the local boat owners, to the neighbouring Gili Marina to snorkel and see turtles. Later, we do some snorkelling of our own off the Gili Air reef and eat the local fish. Coming back to the boat at night we have to dodge market carts and bicycles.
Sunset at Gili AirWe have a couple of long sails ahead of us so this is a good time for a rest. A buoy is available for mooring so we don’t have to worry about the anchor. We do a few more jobs on the boat. We drink some more of the local Bintang beer.
Lunch at a feet in the sand restaurant on a small island nearby.On the third day we motor across to Gili Trawangan, a larger, more developed island. It is full of bars and restaurants. We are helped by Di, an Australian who has set-up a restaurant and accommodation business there with her partner and whose mooring we happened to pick-up. We end up having barbecued lobster and salad there as a final treat before an intended early departure next morning for Bawean Island, en route to Kumai.