Bali - Part I 08:39:00S 115:23:00E

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Thu 6 Nov 2008 20:44

We dropped our mooring buoy at 0520 on the morning of 22nd October, bound for Bali Marina, some 60nm to the south west. We were in company with several BWR yachts who all had the same intentions. We were expecting to motor all the way, based on the latest grib files down loaded the night before. The other “factor” which we were all very concerned about was the VERY strong currents that we could expect to encounter in the strait between Bali and Lombok. The advice in the pilot book was not to even think about entering the harbour unless it was slack water.


As soon as we cleared the Lombok coast, a very favourable breeze picked up and so we hoisted the sails and then set off on what turned out to be one almightily rollercoaster ride to Benoa harbour on the south east tip of Bali! At one stage, as the wind was dying away, we were doing 2.4 knots BTW and over 12 knots SOG!!! All well and good but what about the return journey north, to Borneo……..the currents here are seasonal. Based totally on the current Monsoon season. Nothing to do with the Moon and tides. However, as we discovered later, there are a few tricks to be learned about using back eddies and counter currents.


We covered the 58.5nm in a little over five and a half hours. Just extra-ordinary.  The harbour entrance was straight forward enough, except for the two Indonesian Navy ships who did not believe in applying the rules of the road and passed starboard to starboard in the entrance channel! Next it was the turn of the speed boats towing Para gliders and flying air beds. I swear one almost had my mast off! Absolute chaos off the main tourist beach of Kuta.  On arrival at the marina, Heidenskip and ourselves were told that the berthing manager was not in the marina, so we could not be allocated a berth. This despite the fact that I had e-mailed first thing that morning to advise our ETA, and they already knew we were coming…They also are very hard to raise on the VHF radio.


So we were advised to anchor in the fairway and await the arrival of the berthing manager, who was scheduled to turn up after lunch. There were five of us all looking for  a berth. But, the marina was full! After some negotiation and re-arranging of boats already in the marina, we were all accommodated. But our berth was far from ideal. In fact we were moored bows too, on two suspect looking stern lines, and one line ashore and one to a pontoon, 15 meters from our port bow. We had to dingy ashore in what can only be described as the most disgusting water (well part water) I have ever seen in a marina. It was full off trash, diesel and raw sewage. If you fell in here you would need a body transplant….and it would probably reject you!! After some serious electrical work and creative cabling I managed to at least rig up some shore power. Mercifully we had full water tanks, so no need to worry about the pottability of the marina water.  This marina is physically falling apart, and seriously inconvenient for the main attractions on the island.   BUT……the staff are a delight and simply cannot do enough for you. The berthing manager “Mandy” (yes he is a bloke), falls over himself to accommodate you and give advice.  The restaurant cum bar is OK and does have a convivial atmosphere. Though the drink prices are outrageously expensive. In the end we started bringing our own wine ashore to have with our evening meals, and the staff turned a blind eye to this.  There is a nearby ATM with limited cash payout ability, but we did find we could get multiple payouts.


The first day was spent sorting the boat out and getting “chaps” organised to fix a couple of critical issues. The genset needed the correct copper washers for the fuel pump and we simply had to do something about the melting caulking on the teak decks. It was making a terrible mess. Mandy introduced us to Henry, who was the engineer recommended to fix the fuel line problems caused during the mini- refit in Mackay.  He immediately identified the problem as dodgy copper washers and removed the fuel pump and set off to get the right parts and a couple of spare sets for me.  Two hours later the genset was sorted and no more fuel leaks or starting problems. Hip Hip Hoo….bloody….. ray!! All for the princely cost of £25!! All I then had to do was service the Genset and Engine and remove all the diesel from the bilges that had leaked in to there from the Genset. Not a fun job in temperatures of 38°C and humidity well into the 80’s.


Next up was Senyo, a carpenter. He looked at the decks and immediately identified that the boat was fitted with Northern European spec Silkaflex for the caulking for the teak decks. He did a survey and found that we had the problem all over the boat. We agreed that he would do a fix….rather than a full replacement job.  After two days work by 8 guys it became clear that the correct “tropical” Silkaflex and the original were not compatible and would not bond to each other. So we had a haggle and then agreed a price for them to remove all the existing caulking, prime, and applying new caulking and then sand down the decks. He was keen for us to stay at least 7 days for the Silkaflex to fully set before it was sanded. But we were determined to get to Kumai before going to Singapore so this was not an option. In the end, he had 15 chaps working on the boat for five days, in all hours of daylight and all over the weekend to get the job done. On our day of departure there were still a few “snagging bits” but we decided to go and sort that out ourselves with the spare material Senyo gave us. They even did the cockpit table!! The whole job cost us £2,250 including a new TEAK…..floor for our dingy and the polishing of all the Stainless steel on the boat……………………


   Zipadedoda sporting her new pristine decks


In labour alone we think it would have cost us 5 times that in the UK. So if you find yourself in Indonesia with dodgy teak decking….Senyo is your man!!


Whilst all of this was going on, life aboard was simply intolerable. So we had to get off the boat and DO THINGS……………..Be like tourists!!


Pam from the yacht Kaimin put us onto a tour guide/operator who she and her husband John had used with great success. His name is Mr Widi. His phone number is +62 (812) 392 6384. He is charming, helpful, very well connected  and gives very good value for money. His mini bus is spotlessly clean and has working Air Conditioning!!


He arranged two action packed days for us. Day one started with an Elephant Safari……………………………….


  Our Elephant driver



This involved a one hour trek, on the Elephants back,  through some jungle or rather a plantation………………………..


   “Off Roading” Bali style


In addition to “off roading”  our Elephant and driver took us through a local village, much to the amusement of some of the local women………..


    Local village Ladies at work


We enjoyed the sights, close up at an elevated and very leisurely and pace.  The people of Bali are mostly Hindu. This means that virtually every home has its own temple, then there is the village temple, and few others as well for reasons I find most confusing. Some of these “family” temples were major undertakings.


  Family Hindu temple


After completing the circular tour, we bathed our elephant in a large pond whilst still seated on him. He had become very hot and bothered during our trek, so this involved a lot of water being sprayed around from his trunk!!


   Feeding time at the park. Not sure who enjoyed this the most!


We were then given the job of feeding him………..


Then there were the baby Elephants to feed……………and ourselves!! So we joined Robert & Wendy and Pat Gordon (from Canopus) for a splendid lunch at the Elephant Safari Park.


A note on the Elephants here. These are not indigenous to Bali. They are from Java. They were originally brought here as working animals for the plantations and also as the ideal “work horse” for de-forestation. They have a built in 4 X 4 capability that no vehicle can match.  The drivers or keepers are also from Java, as there is no tradition of training Elephant keepers on Bali. The Elephants get to do three tours each per day. It is very hot here and lugging large Western tourists around is probably more difficult than dragging lumber through forests!! There are 17 Elephants in full time work here with several babies and one recalcitrant adult, who was to be sent back to Java because she is too aggressive.  The babies were also brought  in from Java, usually as orphans. There is no breeding program here.

The scenery here is beautiful and it is fun riding through the plantation which is rather hilly terrain, identifying all the various crops, such as Cocoa, Mangos and Rice. Did you know that in addition to White rice, you also get black rice and red rice………well you are now!


   Rice fields


The folks here also “do” White Water Rafting”, something Jennie said she would never do, at this centre. But it was the end of the dry season in Bali, so the river here was deemed not to be the best option for this activity, that  we were never going to do…………………….


Next up it was off to Ubud, to do the really touristy things……………….but I have run out of photo capacity on this blog,  so I will have to detail that and much, much more in a Bali sequel!