Friday, September 28, 2007

Paradise Found

Blog Location: Tanjung - Lombok, Indonesia
Blog position: 8 22.02S 116 07.06 E

Current Location: Lovina - Bali, Indonesia
Current Location: 8 09.69 S 115 01.18 E
Next Destination: Kumai - Borneo, Indonesia

Eastern Indonesia is known for it's crappy anchorages. They are either too deep, too shallow, too rolly or are on a shelf that goes from forty feet to a thousand so if you drag you are royally screwed. Some of the better anchorages are full of locals used to boats who circle the boats in canoes and ask for money, clothes or cigarettes but don't offer anything to trade. On the northern shores of the islands the winds are dominated by land and sea breezes; Sea breezes kick in once the land has heated up enough and draws the wind toward the center of the island, NE breezes on the Eastern shore, Northerly in the middle of the island, and the North-west or westerly on the western side. We had left a nice anchorage in the reef at Gili Luang and tried to sail all the way around to the Gili's on the North western side. During each leg the wind was ALWAYS 10 degrees too high to sail. I kept thinking it would be perfect once we bore off twenty degrees for the next leg. We finally ended the last leg with 20+ knots on the nose..uggh you can't win.. if you get wind you usually can't use it!!

We pulled into a bay just east of the more exposed Gili's. I noticed immediately that we were in 50 feet of water and we still had a mile to go.. it was looking promising. We settled into the sheltered bay in 40 feet, with good holding (sand) and protection from almost all directions except due north. No shelf, just a couple of boats and there is a HUGE resort off the north-east side of the bay. Five star resort golf etc ... we were definitely getting to the more touristy sections of Indonesia. The locals weren't used to boats but were very helpful and willing to go out of their way to help. Fuel deliver to the beach was only 2 cents more per liter than the pump price and there was a nice little resort that was happy to have cruisers.

The Medana Resort was true paradise. After a walk around a local village, through the coconut trees (turn left at the cow), along a bamboo berm and over some large stones we arrived at the side gate. The resort had a beautiful landscaped pool, lush tropical gardens, cold beer, cheap fantastic meals and ice cream. We met the owners Steve and his Indonesian wife Resti, who were fantastically helpful and even arranged to have the immigration people come to the resort to pick up our passports to extend our Visas. Visa extensions by the pool.. yes!! We spent the first day just hanging out under the gazebo which hung over the pool. Cool drinks, lunches served, ice cream for desert; all a quick flop away from the pool water. The girls were there from 8am to 7pm and the boys spent the whole afternoon. Dinner was also fantastic. The resort only has six vilas and only had one couple staying there at the time of the cruiser invasion. Jim on Blue Sky.. Now know as "Big Mouth Jim" had enthusiastically described the anchorage to one boat on the radio. From what I hear it was a 10 minute marketing spiel and the radio is never just one on one so we returned to the anchorage with 25 boats.. but it wasn't over crowded.

We hired a driver to take us into the city to do some shopping at a real grocery store. Along the way we stopped along the Monkey Road. Here the wild monkeys come out of the hills and gather on the side of the road. You can feed them and they literally eat right out of you hand. I was feeding a big alpha male a hand full of peanuts, and he took the whole thing. I thought that this was going to go a little fast so I handed him three. He looked at my offering and bared his fangs.. holy crap they have big teeth. "Fine be that way".. so I handed him two.. now he bared his fangs and moved at me quickly. I jumped up but stood my ground. "Now you only get one".. He took it and decided that he needed to show me he was the boss.. after eating his measly peanut he chased me down the road. I didn't have on any shoes and he was coming on rather fast so I chucked some peanuts over my shoulder as I ran.. I could see him thinking.."White guy or peanuts".. luckily I escaped to the car with everyone laughing hysterically at my predicament. We stopped further up with a more tame group of monkeys and no overly aggressive alpha males.. I guess this group was smart enough to figure out who butters their bread. We had a great time interacting with the monkeys.. they were so human like. Anyone who thinks we aren't descendants of monkeys only needs to spend a little time with them before changing their minds.

The city tour was ok, with a big local market even though we had some annoying locals who followed us around harassing us and then wanted to get paid at the end. We actually ate KFC for lunch at the mall and then went shopping in the grocery store which actually had sections.. you know vegetable, meat, dairy.. unlike most of the grocery stores we had seen to date. We even got to buy a couple of Toblerone bars for our sin bin!!

When we returned to the anchorage there were now 35 boats, and I was a little nervous about staying for dinner at the resort because it was such a small place. Resti and the staff handled it amazingly well. They took dinner orders early and asked what time you wanted it served. At the specified time you sat down and got your fantastic meal. I'm not sure how many dinners they served that night but I know they filled the restaurant three times and it went like clockwork. The next day, as the new arrivals dealt with filling tanks with fuel and water and arranging rides to town, we enjoyed the pool and cold beers and ice cream ... not necessarily in that order. One day I even went ashore while KT worked on the computer -- because I could!! I wasn't sure how I was ever going to get KT back on the boat.

The last day I was walking around the grounds and I came across a small local boat buried in the ground as a flower pot.. it was named Paradise.. and I had found it.

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