Saturday, 10 October 2015

Episode 42 Bali and Lombok Part 2

Lorelei’s Sailing Adventures

Welcome to Episode 42

INDONESIA
BALI & LOMBOK PART 2


Towards the end of Episode 41, we were in Bali and doing a series of
land-based tours with a local Balinese driver/tour guide Wayan.
We had enjoyed the Ubud and Uluwatu areas but were now looking at heading north into the high lands with him.
Lorelei was safely anchored at Serangan Harbour on Bali’s SE coast.

Our location for this Episode of the Blog.

Our route for this Episode of the Blog.



NORTHERN BALI HIGHLANDS TRIP

For our third day trip with Wayan, we headed up to the northern parts of Bali and into the mountain areas.

The first stop was the Taman Ayun Temple.
This is an old temple built during the Dutch colonial days.
Recently it has been declared a UNESCO site.


In the lower section of the temple grounds is a large cock-fighting arena.
Cock fights are a tradition of the area and up until recently were a regular attraction at the temple.
However many tourists complained about the fights, particularly when it’s inside temple grounds and at a UNESCO site, so the locals reluctantly stopped them and put figurines in the arena instead.



The top section of the temple grounds has a series of small temples surrounded by a moat.
It looked amazing.




We had made an early start which had certainly paid off.
We had the place to ourselves and it was only as we were leaving that the hoards of other visitors started to arrive.

We then headed up into the mountains.
The scenery on the way up was fantastic with big views over the valleys and loads of local market gardens.

Great view from 800m up and loads of yummy Strawberries….

Next stop was the Temple on the Lake or Pura Bratan Temple.
The grounds of the area are well manicured and huge.
Being a Sunday, there were loads of local families enjoying a great day out.



Unfortunately due to the lack of rain, the water level in the lake had dropped considerably giving the lake temple a dry dirt perimeter rather than being surrounded by water.





After a fantastic lunch we drove up to 1200m to view a stunning twin lake system that is nestled amongst some high mountains.




We found some beautiful Orchids around the edges of the lake.


Other parts of the lake are busy with farming and aquaculture.


From the other side of the range we could see the coastline of northern Bali. We had no idea we were so far north.

Up in the mountains are also loads Rice Paddies.
We stopped to watch the manual harvesting taking place.




The markets in the hills had fantastic locally grown fresh produce along with a wide variety of ground herbs and spices.




We did a walk through a series of valleys that were filled with rice terraces.
The farmers were having problems with irrigation so many of the terraces were left fallow for the dry season.







At 4:30pm we took off for a 45minute drive to the west coast to visit Paul’s highlight of the day – the Tanah Lot Temple sunset.

This location is hugely popular for people wishing to view a west coast sunset.

Inside the temple grounds is packed with restaurants, cafés, shops and souvenir stores.

For Paul it was hard to decide which location to view the sunset from as there was a small temple with a natural arch as well as the main temple on the high rocky shoreline.


We looked down over the rock platform to find 100’s of people gathered waiting for the sunset.



Paul found a great location on a rock ledge that required a little climbing to get too but was a perfect place to set the tripod up.
Lisa and Wayan decided to stay a little further down.


The sunset was great.




5 minutes after the sun had set everybody left – except us…
The sun was gone but a warm glow of colours formed over the horizon behind the temple.
Paul changed camera settings to long 15-30 second exposures and was rewarded with some silhouette temple photos with the soft blurred water.



It took 1 hour to get home which made for a 13 hour day on the road – and another 1100 photos to sort through the next day….

It was only day 2 of this blog episode and Paul had already made the title banner for this month – but had to wait over 3 weeks to post it.



SURFING BALI’S EAST COAST

2 days later the swell started to increase again.
However this time the swell direction was more from the south rather than SW.
With little wind forecast we decided to stay in Serangan Harbour and have a crack at the surf breaks within a few miles travel of the harbour.

We ventured north to Hyatt’s surf break which can be a cranking right hander but it was messy with a huge current pushing through the line-up so we went further north and found a place called Tanjung Sari that was much better.

When the first big set came through, it was huge and Paul and the other 5 surfers all got cleaned up.

There was however one old guy on a big mal that patiently sat way out the back and rode the big sets that came through every 20 minutes.


One guy paddled back out with his back completely covered in deep scratches and grazes from where he got hammered on the shallow reef.
It didn’t stop him getting some great waves though.


Once the tide came up the waves filled up making it much harder to take off and some very late drops.


Our friend Hayley from the yacht “Jack the Toad” on a big bomb

The inside section had a nice wall followed by a sucky barrel as it pitched over the shallow coral reef.





As with all bigger waves, heavy wipe-outs are always a risk and we all had our fair share.
Hayley had a beauty that Lisa caught on camera.


That night (and most nights in Serangan Harbour) we had a great sunset that set behind the boats in the harbour.


LORELEI’S WOES

Behind the scenes it had been a difficult 6 weeks onboard Lorelei with lots of small issues.
Our desalinator pump had blown a seal and was leaking salt water all over the engine and engine room, our desalinator membrane salinity levels were too high, the fresh water pump wouldn’t prime up, our washing machine died along with our engine starting batteries and Paul’s laptop.

Additionally the lack of rain had the boat covered in salt and volcanic ash and stains were leaching everywhere around the deck and hull.

To top it all off, water was super expensive in Serangan Harbour, the mafia controlled the fuel making it impossible to get decent fuel without paying exorbitant prices and most of the emails we were sending to Balinese businesses to get new products or spare parts were going unanswered.

All in all it was really getting us down and we felt like we were going 2 steps forward and one back in an ongoing battle to keep Lorelei running smoothly.

We couldn’t even order the parts internationally and have them shipped to Indo for fear of paying up to 100% import duty, numerous “assistance fees” to get it through the officialdom and that’s even assuming the parcel doesn’t go “missing” in the meantime.

So we hired Wayan again for a day of running around in the car and using his knowledge to try and source what we could.
We were about 70% successful and just figured the rest would have to wait until we got to another country.


VISITING FRIENDS

September 19th marked the start of school holidays in most of Australia and we were lucky to have friends Chris & Cynthia and daughter Grace staying at Sanur in Bali which was only a short distance from where Lorelei was anchored in Serangan Harbour.

So on day 2 of their holiday we invited them out to Lorelei.
We then realised they had friends Casey and Jackson with them as well.
They are fantastic people and the 7 of us had a great day swimming, eating, drinking and playing on Nessie and the SUP.



Mid arvo we packed up moved the party to their resort in Sanur and played in the pool, talked and had drinks until dinner time.

Lisa and Grace playing in the pool

The view from Chris and Cynthia’s Balcony


For Dinner we walked down to the Sanur night markets which are hugely popular and have loads of Balinese stalls selling a large variety of local food.

Grace at one of the many Warung style food carts




Paul's favourite – Sate Ayam (Satay Chicken Sticks)

Lisa with a jumbo chicken, vege and mushroom pancake
with 2 avocado smoothies.  Total cost – A$5.50


The highlight was the banana, chocolate and peanut pancakes that Grace showed us for dessert.
For $1.30 they were awesome!


Trouble in Paradise

We woke the next morning to terrible news that was spreading like wildfire through the small cruising yacht community.
A group of armed terrorists raided the Ocean View Marina in Davao,
The Philippines at around midnight the night before.
They overpowered the security guards and targeted 4 yachts.
Two friends tried to fight back and managed to escape but were badly beaten and hospitalised.
Sadly though the gunmen took 4 people and escaped in the 2 local bangka boats they arrived in.

It really rocked us and everyone in the small yachting community that is currently in the Indo/Philippines area.
Paul was emailing back and forwards with one of the people taken only 3 hours prior to the attack.
Additionally we had been in the exact marina berth were the incident took place 1 year prior to the day.

Mountain biking on Samal Island one year prior with
one of our friends who was abducted.

What was also disturbing was the media’s coverage of the incident.
We had first-hand info of what had happened but just shook our heads as the story built momentum with the media.
We read report after report on the internet and they were all different and many were incorrect on so many different things.

Then sadly CCTV footage of the incident was plastered all over the news and it was terrible to see friends being beaten and led away with barely nothing on.

Despite a major manhunt going ahead, days later there was still no trace of the assailants or victims (only their abandoned getaway boats) and no ransom had yet been posted.

We were due to leave Serangan Harbour that day but we postponed for 48 hours as we wanted to stay with internet reception for any further details and also the wind and swell was up making for a less than pleasant next anchorage.

We had to get out for a little while to clear our heads so we went for a kayak and SUP up along the inside of the reef and Paul had a SUP surf at one of the breaks.


The next day we headed back into Sanur and had a look around and lunch before heading back to the Griya Santrian Resort where our friends were staying.
We had another great arvo swimming, relaxing and hanging out before going out for dinner at the markets again.


By the time we got back to the resort it was after 11pm and the grounds were still and quiet so Paul took some time exposure shots around the resort.




  
Falun Dafa Event

We got home at 1:30am and despite being tired, we didn’t sleep very well.
At 5:30am Paul could hear a lot of talking coming from a loud speaker onshore where the kite festival was held 2 weeks prior (see the previous blog episode).
Paul grabbed the binoculars and could see hundreds of people clad in yellow and white and a large tower that wasn’t there two days ago.
So Paul put the SUP in and paddled over to the park at 6am (with his camera backpack on….) to see what it was all about.

At first he was shocked to see scores of military vehicles and hundreds of people dressed in military fatigues.
It seemed a lot of people guarding what appeared to be a very peaceful event.

Paul walked around to find it was a Falun Dafa Event.


Falun Dafa or Falun Gong is a Chinese spiritual practice that combines meditation and qigong exercises.

In the 1980’s, up to 200 million people daily would fill the parks in China at dawn to perform slow moving exercises known as qigong.
In 1992 a man called Master Li introduced Falun Gong publicly and it was an instant hit. It differed from qigong as it put an emphasis on self-cultivation toward spiritual perfection and healing.

Master Li travelled all through China and the rest of the world promoting it.
A worldwide official study found that Falun Gong saved countries millions in heath costs.

However in 1999 Falun Gong became China’s public enemy number one and the government had it banned.
The Communist Party claimed is was a menace to society and a bad influence on the common people.
While it is still outlawed in China, it is still widely practised in over 20 countries worldwide.

Paul could not quite understand whether the event in Bali was a statement, a PR rally, an annual gathering or just a group of Falun Gong supporters enjoying what they love.

They had the name FALUN DAFA written in large blue letters on the ground and had built a high scaffolding platform for the events photographers to view it.

As Paul was the only tourist/westerner there he asked if he could go up to the top of the tower to take photos.
There was certainly no OH&S building standard and the photo platforms had no rails and only a bamboo pole at the back to lean against.


We don’t normally do selfies but Paul couldn’t resist on this occasion.

The early morning sun cast long shadows over the field making for a great photo op of the people and the tower.


They had about 50 people arranged to perform Falun Gong on each letter.





Clean and Green Day

When the event was over Paul wondered where all the Military personnel had gone?
As he walked back down the beach, he spied a huge amount of flags through the trees and across a small inlet.
There were hundreds of military personal all lined up at attention.
They we also standing alongside what looked like a large number of teenage Scouts.


Paul reluctantly walked across the bridge and asked numerous times if he could go and see what was going on and if he could take photos.
He received many smiling nods and welcomes but was still a little unsure.
Walking uninvited into an Indonesian military exercise as the only plain clothed westerner holding 3 Nikon DSLR cameras is not an ideal situation…..


However it turned out to be an annual “Clean and Green Day” and within 5 minutes of Paul arriving, the formalities had finished, only to be replaced with hundreds of people with small mangrove saplings and stakes digging holes and replanting entire sections of the shoreline and along the small inlet.
They had loud patriotic music blaring through the speakers and they sang along as they worked.






The banners paraded around the replanting areas and everyone would stop and gather to get in the photos with the banners behind.


Towards the end, the most decorated Officer came and spoke to Paul and they had a great chat.

By 10am it was all over and normal programming for the day had resumed – with one exception that was the bogged military bus.
It had tried to turn around on the sandy field and had become hopelessly stuck.
They tried for ages to get it out but only succeeded to sink it deeper and right up to the undercarriage.


No amount of pushing was ever going to get it out….


The wind was already up by the time Paul had arrived home and the kiteboarding schools had started their lessons.

We watched as one beginner lost control and got the kite and strings wound up around Harry and Hayley’s yacht.
They weren’t onboard so we took photos for them.


We had decided to leave the next morning and head back out to Nusa Lembongan to get back into the hunt for Mola Mola.
However when we woke up it was already blowing quite strong.
We went into town to get our final provisions but by the time we got back it was really windy and for the first time since we had been in Bali, the Kiteboarders were out on 12m kites.
So Paul headed out to join them.
At first it was just windy enough for the twin tip and doing some smaller jumps and flips.


Within 45 minutes the wind had dropped so Paul swapped to a strapless directional board.



Paul kited until the sun was setting which cast a yellow glow over the harbour.


That night it was the night of the blood moon.
We were all excited and had the cameras out and set up ready to go.
We googled what time it would start only to find out it couldn’t be seen from Indonesia….. Bummer!
However the moon was yellow and bright and still made for a good shot.



Nusa Lembongan

The next day we finally left for Nusa Lembongan.
The crossing was so slow with the current against us.
The first 90% was fine but with 1.5 mile to go the tide turned and we were getting hammered by a super strong current.
We had all sails up and reaching in 15 knots of wind along with the motor running at higher than normal cruising revs. We should’ve been doing about 8-9 knots and instead were doing 1 knot!
It took 90 minutes to cover the last 1.5nm. Crazy!!!
So note to self – don’t try the crossing on a full moon spring tide!

We were up at 5am the next morning rigging camera and scuba gear for our renewed Mola Mola (Giant Sunfish) hunt.
We had tried in the last episode but failed.
This time the swell was small and the moon and tides were all right for an early start.
Like before we got to Crystal Bay (the world’s best spot for Mola Mola sightings) at around 6:30am to beat the huge influx of dive boats that were sure to arrive from about 8:30am onwards.

Sure enough we were the only boat in the bay and had the dive location all to ourselves.
The water was cold and clear which was perfect.
This time there was a lot more fish and the soft corals were all out.




As we swam right out along the wall the current started to increase heading out of the bay.
We were just about to turn around when Paul spied a shape in the distance and swam out to find a large 1.8m (6ft) tall Mola Mola being cleaned by Banner Fish.



On our return to the Bay, Madé who controls the moorings in the bay was happily waiting for us for a chat, to see if there were Mola’s and his A$1.50 mooring fee.
Paul took a photo of him on his kayak.


Just as we were leaving we said to Madé that we would see him tomorrow but he said that diving and all water sports around the area were banned from sunrise to sunset the next day.
With the language barrier we couldn’t quite understand but got that it was a religious occasion.
We googled it to find the occasion is called Nyepi Laut (Sea Seclusion Day) which is done to appease and pay homage to Dewa Baruna, the ruler of the seas and oceans.
Sure enough we woke the next morning to absolute peace reigning over what is normally a very busy bay.


And it stayed like that all day – no boats, no bikes, no music, no noise at all….. It was like a holocaust had occurred as the locals were all meditating and relaxing.
Politely, the 3 yachts in the bay also complied and we all left our dinghy’s up on the davits and kept quiet.
It was pretty surreal watching the Shipwrecks surf break peeling at high tide without a single person out surfing.
The ones who enjoyed the day the most were the local dolphins who played freely in the bay without fear of scores of boat flying past them.

The peace was great and it gave us a full day to finalise our travel plans and book everything for our next month’s adventure which will be
Episode 43.

With the quiet period ending at sunset, people celebrated with fireworks.
It looked great with the full moon and the fireworks but hard to capture with time exposures from a rolling boat.


NORTHERN BALI

With the big spring tides and currents in progress, we decided to give anymore diving in the area a miss, so we left Nusa Lembongan the following day and headed around to the northern areas of Bali. The first stop was Amed.
With the super strong south setting current, we had to go backwards first and crawl at snail’s pace across to the mainland before staying 100m off the shoreline and motoring up the coast.
It took us most of the day to travel just 38nm.

The beaches along the coast were a mixture of black sand and white and we saw lots of great things.

We couldn’t actually work out what these huge structures were


Further north we had to play dodge the other boats as we went past a ferry terminal and a popular dive area around some interesting rocky outcrops.



There were tourist areas and dive resorts from 2 to 5 star.



We were amazed at the amount of sailing canoes that were parked on the beaches. Virtually every beach was packed with them.
We literally saw thousands of them over the 30nm trek.


With Mount Agung (Bali’s highest Volcano) behind the beaches, it creates its own atmosphere and sucks the moisture away from the coast, making it very dry and arid.
Most of the sloping land was terraced. Sometimes right down to the water’s edge.



We even went past a pearl farm.

The pearl farm buoys with the racks under the water.
Note the sailing canoes and terraced hillside in the background

Mount Batur (Bali second highest Volcano) looked awesome as we headed towards it at Amed.


When we arrived at Amed, we motored just off a black sand beach that was excellent for macro diving.
We managed to find a shallow shelf at the northern end of the beach and anchored up.

About 1 hour later 4 boats sailed past (obviously from the sail Indonesia Rally) and decided that if we were there then it must be a great spot and they diverted towards us and proceeded to drop their anchors right next to us.


They must have been cursing us because 2 hours later and just on sunset, a pulse of swell hit the area from the north pushing waves into the bay.
It was really, really rolly but with Lorelei’s extra-large size we coped ok.
We felt really sorry for the small 34ft yacht next to us with a family of 5 onboard. They were rolling quite violently.
The swell was supposed to be SW and instead we had NE so we were unsure where it was coming from.

Mount Batur looked even better on sunset when the land had cooled and the clouds had gone.


It turned into a difficult night to sleep and we woke the following morning bleary eyed and still rocking.
The only good thing was the amazing volcano view which different once again.


It was so frustrating. We were only 100m from some world class muck dive spots and only a dingy ride from the famous USAT Liberty Shipwreck, but we couldn’t even get the RIB in the water, let alone rig scuba packs and underwater cameras.
So we very reluctantly aborted. We couldn’t head any further around the top of Bali as the anchorages would all be the same so we headed east back across the passage towards the Gili Islands which are on the NW corner of Lombok.

On the way across we were passed by a flock of birds and then the Marina Srikandi 11 fast passenger boat with an impressive array of 9 x 300HP Suzuki outboards giving a top speed of 45 knots.



Fortunately we were able to find a protected bay (although very deep) and anchored safely there.

The bay had black sand beaches which were perfect for muck diving and some nice headlands and mountain ranges behind to give good protection.
It was pretty busy during the day with many boats coming and going between the bay and The Gili Islands.



THE GILI ISLANDS - LOMBOK

After a great nights sleep we woke to sunny skies, no wind and were able to do a 3nm run out to Gili Air (one of the 3 Gili Islands) to do some diving.
When we arrived we saw the phinisi dive charter boat “Lambo” moored in the bay. We know the crew well after bumping into them so many times in the past 12 months. They gave us some great hints on where to dive in the area.

They recommended somewhere other than where we were going.
We took their advice and had a fantastic dive using macro lenses on both cameras.
The highlight was Lisa finding a family of very small Hairy Squat Lobsters on a Barrel Sponge.

Hairy Squat Lobster (20mm long)

Juvenile Hairy Squat Lobster (10mm long)





For the afternoon dive, we waited until after 4:30pm to dive the small wharf in the bay Lorelei was anchored in.


There were still a few boats coming and going from the wharf but much less than during the middle of the day.
The bottom was very silty and difficult to photograph things without throwing up a dust cloud.
Lisa found a small red Frogfish in the first 3 minutes of the dive.



We found some great Nudibranchs including a stack of white Aeolids that we have not seen before.

Aeolid Nudibranch

Aeolid Nudibranch


Unusual Arminid Nudibranch



Towards the end of the dive we found a Coconut Octopus that buried itself as we took photos.




The days seemed to get better and better but still with a north swell and we were so glad we made the break from Amed.
We had a beautiful clear sunrise and what was already promising to be a hot day.



With the nice conditions, we went out to Gili Air to dive again.
This time we dived a wall that started on a beach outside the bay and finished in the harbour.
It turned into a 2 hour marathon one-way swim.
At the end we swam into the harbour shallows and Paul walked back around the harbour foreshore and along the beach before swimming out to retrieve the RIB while Lisa looked after the scuba packs and cameras.


An unusual Crab that Lisa found under an Anemone

These are Nudibranch eggs on a crab.
WEIRD!!!!


A very small (4mm long) shrimp on a Starfish arm


In between dives we did some exploring on the Island.
Gili Air is the most popular for tourists, particularly for backpackers.
The island is small and therefore there are no paved roads, cars or motor bikes.
Instead you can hire a bicycle (A$3.50 a day), a horse & cart or simply walk on the sandy tracks that weave in and around the island.



One thing that really stuck out was the amount of scuba and freedive schools.


The island is smartly designed to have a laid back feel whilst keeping the accommodation back off the beachfront and away from the shoreline.
Instead there are scores of small restaurants, seating areas and pathways along the shoreline for everyone to access.
We liked the place a lot.





Dive 4 in the Gilis’s was another dive at the first spot but this time we started about 100m further east and closer to the point.
Lisa found a Velvet Ghost Pipefish which was a first for us.

Velvet Ghost Pipefish

Velvet Ghost Pipefish







Razorfish in the shallows

That night was the NRL Grand Final.
We are not big Rugby League fans but it was an all Queensland final for the first time ever and we would have liked to watch it but had no TV, no internet and no radio.   Oh well…..
So we went for a night dive instead.
Lisa had spied a watercourse in the bay that had muck dive potential so we started there.
The darker it got the better it was and it turned into a 1hr 45min night critter hunt.
We saw some very unusual Pipehorse’s in the sea grass, Octopus, Robust Ghost Pipefish and lots more….

Coconut Octopus with 2 different shells for protection

Robust Ghost Pipefish

Emperor Shrimp on a Synaptidae Sea Cucumber

Broad Club Cuttlefish

Burrowing Olive Shell out at night

An unusual Twin Horned Helmet Crab

Juvenile Sole

Jawfish waiting in ambush

Pygmy Pipehorse

Elegant Crinoid Squat Lobster


We decided to take a full day off from diving and have a relaxing day on Gili Air.
We hired bikes and rode all around the island.




At the top of the island we saw a massive white boat anchored.
It was the Ocean Victory which was launched in Italy last year and at 140m (465ft) long, is the 9th largest private boat in the world.
It is owned by a Russian Billionaire.
Their dive tender was the same length as Lorelei……


With the west winds, we decided to lunch on the east side and found a fantastic restaurant overlooking the waters edge.
We spent the afternoon ordering food then going for a swim until it was ready, going back to eat and repeating the process.
Lunch turned into a 4 hour session and we nearly stayed for dinner….



As we headed away from the full moon and towards neap tides, the current slowed around the islands allowing us to get out and dive the more exposed areas.
We headed to the NE tip of Gili Air and dived Frogfish Point.
This spot had great viz, a coral and sand slope packed with Garden Eels and some huge bommies covered in marine life of all shapes and colours.










Medana Bay - Lombok

After a week at the Gili’s, we left and headed 5nm around to Medana Bay.
Medana Bay has a small floating wharf system and moorings designed for yachts.
They call it Medana Bay Marina but it’s not a marina (yet) however it’s the closest you will get in this area.
It faces north and we had heard reports that it was exposed and rolly in the summer months but we wanted to have a look for ourselves.
Additionally we still needed to refuel after refusing to deal with the Mafia in Serangan Harbour with their low quality diesel and inflated prices.


Sure enough the reports of being rolly were correct and it was also 45 minutes drive into the city of Mataram to do any major reprovisioning.


However the staff are very friendly, there was water and power on the dock (for an extra charge) if you needed it, and it gave us somewhere to tie up to for the first time in over a year to do some much needed cleaning inside and out.

The only other boat on the wharf area was Yaniska, an English yacht with a family of 5 (spanning 3 generations).  They were really nice people and the first yachties we have spoke to (aside from Harry & Hailey) for months.


It also meant Paul could assemble his bike and do some riding around the area.
Lisa chose to relax & read a book instead.


It was really hot during the day so Paul started his first ride at 3pm.
It was in the direction of Tanjung, the closest town to Medana Bay.
On the way he stopped at lots of places to watch the rice harvesting taking place.
There were rice paddies everywhere.


One field had an electric thrasher running and the harvesters manually held the bunches of rice stalks in the machine and it separated the husked rice from the stalks.





On the other side of town the peanuts were also being harvested.
Most fields in the area produce 1 crop of peanuts and 2 crops of rice per year.


They had to sift the dirt off the peanut shells which made a hell of a dust cloud.


There were 3 large mosques being built in the area so Paul stopped to look at one that was nearly finished.
He was bombarded by the friendly kids who took an interest in his bike and helmet.




Whilst the boys loved being in the photos, the girls flee as soon as Paul aims the camera their way.



There was a lot of fires around the growing areas which put a thick blanket of smoke over the town.



Even at 5pm the women were still out doing the washing and working.



On the way home he stopped in at a hill on the side of Medana Bay and took some photos looking across the bay just before sunset.


When Paul returned he was a little shocked to find scores of local people sitting on the beach, walking all over the wharf and having an afternoon  get together with music and smoking on the wharf directly in between Lorelei and Yaniska.
They were holding onto Lorelei’s railing and looking all over our boat.
There was no security and no marina staff to be found.
We were not impressed!


There is also a small hotel set-up within the grounds.
It was well lit up at night so Paul took some time exposure shots.




The next morning Paul was up at 6am for another MTB ride in the opposite direction.
He visited a another Mosque that was in the early building stages.

Upon talking to the overseer, he discovered there are over 1000 Mosques in Lombok and many more are still under construction.
Every small community or village wants their own one and this one was no exception.
The design, complete contruction, and funding all comes from the people within the community.
In this case the men (around 200 of them) work from dawn till dusk every Saturday and the project is expected to take 3 years.
That’s a huge commitment both physically and financially, particularly considering the modest homes in which they live.


Paul was able to climb up to the top level to have a look around.



The line of workers passing buckets
full of mixed concrete up to the top


On this ride, the road went along the coast and there was great views of the bays and out to the Gili Islands.



On the way home he stopped for a drink at a shop and watched the men closing the road and then cutting down tall coconut palms.

Going, Going, Gone…..Smash!!!

It turned into a long 47klm ride in 30 degree heat and by the time he returned to Lorelei, he could hardly walk.

That morning there was an incident at the Marina.
There were only 3 yachts on Medana Bay moorings in the bay and one of the moorings had failed and the yacht was drifting towards the beach.
It was a small modest boat owned by a single handed gentleman with only a row boat as a tender. The mooring line was all wrapped up and he was unable to start the motor.

After talking to a few other yachties we discovered it’s the third yacht to break from its mooring in Medana Bay this month….

By the third day we realised Medana Bay was certainly not suitable for leaving Lorelei there unattended during the wet season so we could fly to Australia for Christmas.

So we cleaned up and left the next morning.


Future Plans

To say our future plans have been thrown into chaos is an understatement!

Our Indonesian visas expire next week and are non renewable again so we must leave.

We had 4 options of where to go and just as importantly where to slip Lorelei and leave her safely while we fly home to Australia for Christmas.

Sadly due to many different circumstances, all 4 options had to be cancelled.

The first option was Ocean View Marina in Davao, The Philippines, but in light of the current kidnappings we have ruled that one out.
In reality it’s probably the safest marina in Asia right now with all the armed guards but with the marina manager having been abducted, we have no guarantees of a berth or getting hauled out successfully.

The second and most probable option was the west coast of Borneo and the areas of Miri, Brunei and Sabah.
However there has been a recent spree of yachts being robbed (some with owners onboard) in southern Borneo which is within Indonesia and the place we needed to clear out.
Then there was the lack of responses from the marinas and supposed yacht assistance companies in the areas.
Additionally the only haul out facility big enough for Lorelei is in Sabah ,300nm from the Miri marina.
 It is also within the problem area for potential kidnappings.
And Lastly there is the major issues of the fires that are burning out of control across the entire continent of Borneo.



Sadly these have been deliberately lit in an effort to clear areas for more illegal palm oil plantations.
So that’s Borneo crossed off the list.



Thirdly there is the west coast of Malaysia or Thailand.
Whilst this is the most common area for yachts to cruise to from Indo, recently there are also a few cases of break ins along this coast.
Then there is the long distance of 1300+ Nm from Bali and the area offers limited anchorages and only average diving at best.
We had also heard many negative reports about the workmanship and dealings with haulout facilities in the area.
And lastly and most importantly, the rise in attacks on shipping in the Malacca Straight (near Singapore and the only way to get to the Thai/Malay west coast) has spiraled out of control in the past few months.
Whilst there has been a lot of piracy in these water over the past few years, up until now the attackers have been well trained and funded and have concentrated on large commercial ships.
Sadly now there is an increase in petty attacks on ships in which the pirates quietly slip onboard at night and take anything they can from the ship and crews quarters, all the while trying to remain undetected.
This makes smaller vessels and yachts now very vunerable from these attackers.  Just last week there were reports of an average of 5 attacks daily.
The Singapore government has also recently implement a new law that all ships transitting the area must have an AIS transponder.
Lorelei only has an AIS receiver and do you think we can buy one here in Indo….haha very funny….
The straight is also currently subjected to very bad visibility from the second lot of Indonesian fires that are in the Riau Provience on Sumatra.
Currently Singapore is under a blanket of smoke and the Singaporians are not happy at all.



The fourth option was to leave Lorelei in Indonesia at Medana Bay and fly home from here but unfortunately it also got a big cross off the list.


In stark contrast, we contacted the NZ manufacturer about or watermaker woes and 3 marinas in Darwin regarding berthing & hauling out and we had replies from all of them within 24 hours.

Then to rub salt into the wound, there’s the falling Aussie dollar against most other currencies and the current religious issues which appear to be getting worse.

SO………..

In light of all the issues listed above, we have decided not to “SAIL” to any Asian destinations.

So look out for Episode 43.
We wont be in Australia and we wont be onboard Lorelei but it will be a very big month for us and will incorporate our 20th wedding anniversary celebrations on October 21st and catching up with friends which we are very much looking forward to

It should be posted around the 15th December 2015.

Paul and Lisa

Yacht Lorelei



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