New Year's Eve Visit

Sun 1 Jan 2017 08:43
08:20.686S 116:02.66E

Looking across Gili Meno towards Lombok

Family came to visit! Hannah and Diarmaid flew in to join us for a couple of weeks on the 30th, just in time for New Year. We were so pleased, especially as, although we’d had a lovely Solstice and Christmas celebration, this time of year didn’t feel quite right without seeing some family. 

Now, compared to the previous five months, Medana Bay was a social whirl. There was usually one other boat there with someone living on board and occasionally even two at one time. In the evenings we’d often go ashore and sip a beer or shandy (Blntang or Raddler) and enjoy their company. But it’s not what you’d call an exciting venue for New Year’s Eve so we decided to sail over and take a mooring by Gili Trawangan, where all the tourists go, for a bit of night life and to see the fireworks. 

We had a little work to do in order to get away from Medana first. We had tried the anchor winch a few days before and discovered that, having been ignored for over a month, it had gone into a decline and refused to work. We had a good messy time getting the motor and gearbox out and, with Peter from Medana’s help, found someone to check the motor over, put in new brushes and such. We stripped and cleaned the gearbox whilst that was happening but the whole thing needed to be reconstructed and put back in so, with Diarmaid’s willing muscles saving Phil’s surgery wound, we got it all sorted and running. That just left the second (manual) anchor which took rather a lot of windlassing and winching to get in, after which we decided we all needed an ‘un-anchor’ beer instead of our more usual anchor beer!

Gili Trawangan, hanging with the in-crowd here at the Ibiza of Lombok.

It felt good to be off: it seemed like an age since we’d blown into Medana Bay with a squall. We were soon picking up a mooring and enjoying the sights of Trawangan with paddle boarders, snorkelers and sunbathers all around. In the early evening we went ashore to have a walk about before finding somewhere to eat. We had just finished ordering our meal when Phil looked up at Lochmarin and saw a launch had come alongside her and someone was on our foredeck! With hasty explanations we ran for the dinghy, leaving Hannah to hold the fort at the restaurant so they’d know we weren’t running out on them. We had no idea who was on our boat. Perhaps they were robbers or were going to take over the mooring, setting Lochmarin free to run aground?

It turned out the invaders were Maritime Police. They were simply going to wait, tied alongside Lochmarin, until we turned up. They didn’t seem to be in uniform so Phil demanded to see some identification - we had heard stories of people pretending to be customs demanding entry to people’s boats then tying up the owners and stealing everything. But these guys were the real deal and two of them did have very small police symbols embroidered on their tops. They had brought along an interpreter, a friendly smiling cheerful chap who explained that he was actually a bartender. He was the only one smiling. We showed them all our documents and passed them ‘copies! copies!’. Our cruising permit was set to run until the 1st of January, when our new one started. We had only been emailed the new one the day before so had not yet printed it. The Police man wanted ‘copies’ of that one too - even though it was not yet in force. Phil stood his ground and eventually the Police backed down but told us they’d be back the next day to get copies of it. We thought that was it, they were happy with all our papers but no. The policeman complained that we had not gone to the Lombok Harbour Master to ask permission to come to the Gili Islands. We had come 2 miles from Medana, we had the Gili Islands listed separately from Lombok on our Cruising permit, (signed and stamped by two ministries), the Harbour on Lombok was down in the South. He wanted us to have sailed 25 miles to ask permission to come 2 miles to Islands we already had a permit to visit. Mad.

So things took a little longer but eventually we cast them off and they left, promising to return the next day. We closed up the boat again and headed back to shore where poor Hannah had been getting more and more worried. She’d seen us go on board but then it had become too dark to see what was happening. As it was tied alongside the far side of Lochmarin one couldn’t read the Police sign on the launch. Perhaps robbers had attacked and overpowered us, perhaps we were fighting for possession of the mooring! There was no way of knowing. She had found one of the island’s security men, who was waiting with her, but there’s no police based on the island so he could have done little. It was with much relief that she spotted the dinghy coming in to land.

The fireworks were fun and the meal was good but once again the bureaucracy of Indonesia left us with a bad taste in our mouths.