14th May 2022
An overdue update for a new age. Its another age that I am not admitting to but is does add justification for my ability to forget where I put something 5 seconds ago. To be fair that has been a problem for quite a few years and is compounded on the boat due to the quantity of jobs underway at any time.
We re-acquainted Ocean Rival with the sea a week ago and she seemed pleased to be supported more evenly over her bottom. Initially I forgot to open the engine inlet seacock and then found even with seacocks open no water emerged with the exhaust. Tracing the water back from pump to inlet proved that the pipe was blocked so was able to clear and get the cooling system working.
We made a test run for the engine over to Gili Air for lunch, a run of only 5nm each way and so far all good. The 3 Gilis off the north-west corner of Lombok are all tourist islands and are now recovering from the twin devastations of earthquake and covid. Many business’ still buried in vegetation but the tourists are returning and the hotels, dive schools and shops are getting back to work. The transport is either push bike or horse and cart and all the ponies were looking well fed and healthy so somehow the pandemic was survived. I haven’t quite worked out how people managed for 2 years with no income but seems they did.
On Thursday I made a dash over to Bali to pick up a solar panel from a company selling panels for off grid tourist developments. They have a number of slightly used panels off a roof that was never connected up. We discovered the company via Adam & Emily -the American vloggers who fund their trip with the internet following they have generated. They were relatively brief visitors to Medana Bay having upsized from living (with 2 kids) in a VW van in south America to a 35ft yacht in Indonesia.
While the panel was relatively cheap the sophisticated controller was not and the fast boat tickets, hotel stay, taxi and various porters put the cost up to near U.K levels. I have measured and re-measured and the panel barely fits my frame so fitting may not be straightforward. It is a step up in output so I am hoping to keep the batteries well charged with it.
I had arranged a hire car to meet me at the fast boat harbour and the arrangements all worked remarkably smoothly. Everyone is keen to provide a service and the fee is invariably negotiable. I am getting better at offering less that the asking price but still get caught out.
Gede drove us when we were sightseeing in Bali and has been pestering with whatsapps for the last few weeks to know when we would return. He drove me round Bali all day for the solar panel and said I should pay what I wanted. That was tough to pitch and he looked decidedly disappointed with the offer but didn’t ask for more and left me feeling guilty.
We took the hire car today for a tour of north Lombok. Most of Lombok’s tourism is centred around Mount Rinjani, the volcano in the centre of the island. The northern countryside is more attractive and cleaner than the area between Mataram and Medana bay. The drive winds around the foothills with no restructuring of gradients (unlike Madeira), so the task of weaving around bends, blind summits, scooters and slow lorries becomes even more challenging.
After a waterfall walk we have stopped this evening in Sembalun -one of the starting points for the hike. Being cooler than the coast it is a popular spot for middle class Indonesians to either holiday or attend conferences so we had some trouble finding a hotel. We have a cabin overlooking Rinjani but as it is buried in cloud our view is actually of the roadworks between hotel and mountain.
Getting late so pics to follow.