Bali Marina- Benoa

David & Valerie Allen
Mon 22 Nov 2010 08:50
08:44.43 S   112:12.82 E

Thursday, October 28, 2010

We finally reached Bali without being arrested!  What a relief!

Our careful calculations about tides and currents paid off with a bonus this morning.  When we looked out to the channel as we weighed anchor, we saw a huge standing wave right in our chosen path.  Dave and I opted to follow a local boat which headed north to go southwest and avoided most of the turbulence.  MOONSHINER attempted the direct route and found themselves travelling backwards at one knot!  The bonus for us was when we turned south to get back on track we found ourselves being propelled along at 11 knots!  What a great experience while it lasted!

We VERY cautiously approached the shallow channel upriver to Bali Marina.  We had heard that the other two Hallberg-Rassys in the fleet had managed to run aground by cutting corners here and had waited for hours for the tide to turn and lift them off.  We felt rather smug that we had broken the jinx (more about this later).

Having arrived safely we were rather shocked at what we found at the marina.  It certainly contrasted with the beautiful scenery around it.  This is a view of the anchorage with Gunung Agung ("large volcano") in the distance.

Magical Bali with Gunung Agung behind the anchored boats

The marina pontoons were totally inadequate for the number of rally boats.  As a result, we were rafted to each other.  ANGEL was the third boat in a raft.  This caused a lot of difficulties in transporting articles to or from the boat- especially the jerry cans of fuel.  The other two boats certainly did not want us to tote jerry cans over their lovely teak decks!  Dave got around it by lowering our dinghy and pulling it around the stern of the other two boats to load up the cans we managed to lug with a trolley over very uneven pontoon sections.

Overall view from our deck.  You can barely see the dock on the right.

Our immediate neighbours

Our back-door neighbours- the Lembongan party boat whose mooring we borrowed the night before

Fortunately for us we DID purchase and jug our fuel from the marina.  Several others decided to save a few cents a litre by purchasing diesel from a local service station.  This was all right for most of us.  However, PETER PAN had to stay after everyone else left to await his new crew.  The marina had no diesel available and told the crew to go to the service station.  After a while, the skipper, Jakob, received a visit from the police saying his crew had been arrested for buying government subsidized fuel.  This is illegal for foreigners, apparently.  Since he was the skipper, he would be the one to be jailed for two years!  When Jakob protested he had an agent who sent him there, our very expensive agent denied he had anything to do with the boat!  (HE would have been jailed in that case! ) The alternative to jail was a fine of US$1300.00.  I'm sure that is the highest priced fuel in history!

Checking into and out of Bali was an interesting process also.  Instead of quarantine and immigration coming to the marina, as in Kupang, each boat crew had to go into town to check in with quarantine, immigration and port authority (in THAT order).  Next was a trip to another island to check in with the navy.  Finally, we paid US$500.00 to the marina agent (withholding $100.00 until we reached Nongsa Point) to clear customs.  The customs agents spent about five minutes aboard each boat and that was it.  Of course, the whole process was repeated in order to clear out of Bali later.  It really cuts into your visiting time jumping through hoops for two days!

The docks were certainly inferior at the marina (apparently the marina can only lease them for six months at a time and therefore, they don't make any improvements there); however, the restaurant makes the best mie goreng ayam we have tasted and the office was efficient and the staff lovely.  Laundry was done quickly and everything was ironed!  Also, it was a treat to watch local life going on around us.  We have found that fishing techniques vary widely throughout Indonesia.  here are two of the ones employed in Benoa.

local fishing boat

standing in the water as the tide rises then walking the catch ashore

There was quite a bit of excitement one day as a small whale had managed to come all this way up the channel and gotten stranded when the tide went out.  Local boats worked for hours urging the youngster back to deeper water.

Speaking of "stranded", we met one couple we had seen in Kupang, travelling on their own.  They were staying over near the naval base in Benoa and had become stranded with their dinghy and were awaiting high tide to get back to their boat.  They were shocked to find the rally boats gone when we made our mass exodus.  They spoke to someone ashore who told them to wait until the next day to check in with Customs.  He said his brother was a customs agent and would meet them at a small restaurant to process their paperwork.  The cost for this service- US$25.00!!!!

Another frequent complaint was from those cruisers renting cars.  Five minutes after leaving the rental agencies they were being stopped by police who attempted to extort money on nebulous grounds.  My favourite was Jaume's experience (BIONIC).  He and Carmen were stopped and told they were being fined for not wearing helmets- inside a car!  Corruption, anyone?

Dave did not want to tour Bali and Dick on MOONSHINER was still having work done on his engine, so sara and I decided to hire a car and driver and booked a night at a hotel in Ubud.  She COULD NOT leave Bali without learning that Bali Marina was not typical of the rest of this amazing country.