Saturday, November 3, 2007

Bali and beyond

October 16, 2007
Bali, Indonesia
coordinates 08.44.726S,115.12.611E

We are departing Bali after a fun and fruitful stay in the marina at Benoa Harbor. To begin with, the entrance heading down the channel to reach the marina was almost more fun than we could handle. After nearly 6 weeks out in the more remote islands without so much more than the sight of a small fishing boat we were thrown into sensory overload. Surrounded by a dozen para-sailers floating above our heads, throw in 6 of the strangest looking air mattresses on steroids that hold 2 passengers wearing
helmets and at high speeds behind a boat and actually float 20 feet or more in the air. Add a few jet skiis, a touch or two of banana float riders and an occasional elderly man fishing in a traditional outrigger all together in a rather narrow channel and you have the perfect recipe for marine madness. It got our attention as we tried to anchor somewhere between the tugboats and the container ships that also share the water way.

The following day we found a spot in the marina which we have to say is run the by the most friendly and professional staff we have EVER had the pleasure of meeting! We got in contact with our friends Frank, Jeni and Abby from s/v Sea Kardinal who now live in Bali while they, as architects, are busy building a traditional wooden 140 foot sail boat for a customer up in Kalimantan. Stunning! They are enjoying life on land for the first time in 20 years in a lovely Balinese home just up the road
in Sanur. We got the hang of life back on the dock ourselves and immediately out came the boys scooters and they were off. Within walking distance were some family run warung (Indonesian eatery) and for about 7-8 USD you can stuff a family of four with all the food and drinks you can handle.

The two weeks were filled with practicing our language skills shopping, cleaning and repairing all of our boating needs. Kuta, the nearest town and site of the Bali bombings was a wonderful place to shop for trinkets and goodies as long as you are prepared to fend off the strongest of hawkers and willing to play the bargaining game. Simply making eye contact or touching an item is nearly an acceptance to purchase around here. Where we might consider it rude to ignore someone at home it is merely
an essential survival tactic out here. We toured Bali with Nyomen, friend and cook of the Sea Kardinal household. He patiently showed us the sight, sounds, smells and tastes of Bali of which there are many. From dormant volcanos, elaborate temples, acres of green rice fields and hot springs, to fascinating traditional legong dances, forests of monkeys and coffee tasting, I believe we covered it all. We can never get enough of local open air markets and are still finding new foods. The boys had
a day of riding elephants with Abby and we enjoyed a delicious traditional meal cooked by Nyomen at the Sea Kardinal home. A very special treat.

Last but not least we extended our visa's for another 30 days. Murphy's law, as always, works it's magic when it sees the opportunity. You may only extend the visa one week before it expires. That week happened to coincide with the final week of Ramadan or Idul Fitri for us. Of course that meant that all the offices and powers that be would be closed and unavailable that one week. They wouldn't complete it earlier but if we waited we would be penalized for doing it too late. Rock and a Hard
Place = $. Luckily for us, Jeni and Frank already have some great contacts who "knew someone" that for the right price got the paperwork done in a day. In the country full of smiles money will still get you farther and faster than a hand shake.

As much as one can find a way to grease the wheel around here you can also find the equally honest and hard working people. Asis was one such man. He leaves his family behind on the island of Flores to come to the marina to find work and make money to send home to them for 5 months out of the year. For 100,000 rupiah, approximately $10, he will work diligently on your boat for 8 hours straight in the blazing heat, barely stopping for lunch. He was a dear sweet man who was anxious to get home
to see his new 2 month old son for the first time. If we ever make it back to Flores, we have a friend waiting.
Though there was so much more to see and do in Bali we only have 30 more days to make our way though the end of this alluring country. So off to Java and Sumatra.
until next time,
your Ohana Kai crew

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