Location Report - North Coast of Bali
08 19.77 S 115 38.35 E
After a terrific 8 days in Bali, we (S/V Imagine and Sea Mist) set off this morning for Borneo…..but decided to drop anchor about 5 pm on the north coast of the island of Bali….it will let us start fresh in the morning after a good night’s sleep….we will break up the 450 nm from here to Borneo with a layover stop at an island sort of half-way….245 nm from here to the island of Bayean….leaving 200 nm for the remaining leg/passage to Kumai, Kalimanten…where we will leave Sea Mist and venture for a 3 day trip into the wilds of Borneo on a guided river charter boat to see the Orangutans Rehabilitation Center….but all of this is “futures”….what about the recent past??
Bali was an exceptional experience for us in so many ways: we got away to Ubud, a city in the interior of Bali, for a 3 day/2 night “vacation”….lots to see/visit by way of touristy things/events/happenings…and good accommodation in a cottage in the center of Ubud (only US$40 a night..including a good breakfast). We got to see a spectacular cultural dance show, visited crafts shops where skilled tradesmen were working with silver to create fine jewellery as well as large ornamental pieces (such as a Cinderella Carriage or a catfish); wood carvers working with Indonesia’s best native timber to create very fine masterpieces; a chance to see women creating fine garments and other fabrics in Indonesian Batik ( a complex process to witness and wonderful results to touch, feel….and try on …but maybe not buy (an example would be a Batik shirt for me is priced at US$50…too expensive to buy…but the price is totally understood when you see the work put into making the shirt from handmade Batik; art galleries (more paintings in one location than I have ever seen before…and great artists…although the most typical Balinese paintings are a bit too busy for my eye to take in); Hindu Temples….and, for a bit of a walk on the cultural fringe, we went to a Hindu Cremation Ceremony through which the family and community send-off “granny’s” spirit to the gods…..first time for us to have watched a human body BURN…but the ceremony is not a sad time for the family/friends….they are just sending off their loved ones spirit….and getting the body burnt so that they can distribute the ashes in water….in a river or in the ocean…..oh, and did I mention multiple spa treatments....whole body massage (Balinese Traditional Massage) massages….I had 3 sessions over 2 days…..and would have loved to have had time for more…….and at 60 minutes of great massage for $6…..how can one go wrong?
What I didn’t mention in the brief summary above was THE FOOD!!!!....absolutely everything has been unbelievably and consistently great….and so inexpensive!!...a great meal (say 3 courses) in a really nice restaurant with service to die for…..all for 12 -15 $ per person…or if you really lived it up with lots of desserts, extra wine and many beer….you might push that to $20 - $25 per person….all monies included. Indonesian food is superb…..we have always liked Thai cuisine, but now, after a couple of months in this country, we have become even bigger fans of Indonesian cuisine
Bali has given us the first glimpse of just how big a country Indonesia is…..over our 8 days, we saw traffic(and traffic jams) as bad as anything that New York, London or Toronto can create….but no “road rage” or bad behavior….everyone just gets on with what they have to do…..albeit, sometimes, showing a bit of somewhat understated “impatience”. We wandered in shops with the most attractive/quality gift/handicraft; We met a lot of European …and North American…and Australasia tourists during our time in Bali….so very obvious that this is a vacation destination that people from all over the world keep coming back to for 10 – 20 years….they just don’t get tired of it (at least not the ones we met/saw/got to know). Bali makes up 1.5% of the population of the nation with 4 million people living on this relatively small island….you REALLY feel the population density…..but at the same time, so much of this mountainous island presents you with untouched natural beauty and majesty…..from rice paddies to bold volcanic mountains to gorgeous white sand beaches (and black sand ones too…if that is your bent), to lovely little towns/villages that stand up to the best of holiday destinations around the world ( I am deliberately not highlighting the dirty little towns/grovels that you find in Bali as in any of these islands……but Bali is a place to ignore that and focus on so much wondrous beauty and deeply interesting happenings.
The other side of our reality…living a sailing life…it is often said that “cruising” is just another word for doing maintenance in exotic places….well, Bali turned out to be no exception to that rule. After a couple of days at the Marina, I suddenly discovered that I had a major charger/battery issue….could have “literally” burnt up Sea Mist….but didn’t….and could have had batteries explode….but didn’t….about 20 out of the 24 cells in the house battery bank had boiled dry such that the plates in the lead acid batteries were exposed for some inches into the heart of the battery. I fortunately got the distilled water into the batteries before any mishap….had to put in about 6.5 litres of water into the 8 batteries that make up the bank……and of course the batteries were toast…..after some calls to Mastervolt in Europe for guidance on the safety aspects….I found a way to confidently leave Sea Mist….and I got enough out of the remnant capacity to let us be away for 3 days and keep refrigeration workings so no “valuable” meat was lost from our freezer, etc.
But, on the 3 days away, the priority for me was to somehow find batteries (the batteries I needed are deep cycle golf cart batteries)on the island…how, where, who, when…..you know the drill….BUT>>>>try doing the drill in a foreign country where no one knows anything of sailboats…..AND,,,>>> no one can speak English who knows anything about batteries or sells batteries…or knows where Batteries might be found. My saviour was a driver at our hotel who overheard me trying to get the front desk clerk’s help in finding a company/a phone number for a contact on batteries…..the driver spoke enough English….that I was able to teach him a bit about sailboats/golf carts/deep cycle batteries……that he became my “agent” in a series of calls that I originated from searching the web. We started with Jakarta (some 500 nm away…..and ended up successfully locating the specific batteries that I wanted/needed in Denpasar….only 20 kms from the Marina where Sea Mist was moored. So, on the way back to the marina from Ubud on our 3rd day….with our good new found friends from the Netherlands sharing the car with us……we detoured to the battery shop ….purchased 8 batteries (about $1800)…loaded them into the back of the car/van and under our feet in the middle seat area….and arrived back at the marina, after a delightful “vacation”…..with batteries in hand!!......and now only the job of getting the new ones to the boat....>>>> old ones uninstalled/removed from the boat….and new ones installed…..and old ones disposed of…these are 6V deep cycle/225 amp hour batteries >>>that means “HEAVY”. I did the changeover at daybreak yesterday ( the following morning) and all was good….we were able to sail away today.
That is far more than enough for a blog entry…..and no photos….sorry….just need to get a better internet connection to upload photos….Cheryl has a few entries done….she is just waiting on me and Indonesia’s Teecomsel….to provide the uplink.
Cheers, J&C > the Seamisters