Monday, October 06, 2008

Tourism Balinese style

Despite spending a couple of weeks in Bali, I'm still struggling to adjust to the rampant tourism here. There's almost a voyeuristic feeling of being slightly apart, observing but only participating at the fringes of the game played by locals and visitors.

That said yachts are not immune and on my return to Lovina the "Sail Indonesia" rally had arrived - package tourism for yachts. Prices had been hiked accordingly - I even had to pay for landing the dinghy on the beach.

After touring the local workshops in Lovina, searching for someone to machine a new part for the self-steering, the consensus was that I should head down to Denpasar (the capital) where I'd find the required skills. Fortunately Brendan and Lisa were keen for a sail so the following weekend we headed back round the island into Serangan. It was great comparing notes with Brendan about his trip and even be challenged to justify some of the sailing routines I've developed - it's too easy to become complacent, there's always more to learn... Still not sure about his genoa polling system though...

Arriving in Serangan I was greeting by Sten and Danika on Mata'irea.It also turned out that Astrid, Jasper & Marijn on Antares, Bo from Njord and the boys on Khulula were in Benoa, 15mins away by bike. Some of us decided to hit the night-life capital of Bali - Kuta. No more observing from sidelines as we threw ourselves into the energetic night-life with the enthusiasm of sailors who have been at sea for too long. We also combined the evening with a marketing campaign to search for my new crew. The Khulula boys took the task to heart, using my fliers as an excuse to start conversations with whoever they thought would be suitable crew for me - I wasn't complaining. The evening took a day to recover from, and nul point on the crewing front. Danika has a more sordid write-up on their website.

Typically I'd timed my arrival just before the start of the Ramadan holiday, however it didn't make much difference, the local workshops couldn't fabricate the required worm-gear; I'd have to wait till Singapore apparently. Still as ever once you start explaining the problem a solution presents itself. I managed to pack-out the motor to use the unworn region of the drive - almost as good as new.Serangan was great for finding those hard to locate essential items and with Brendan and Lisa's help I found gelatine (for cheese cake), tahini paste (for hummus) as well as more mundane items such as switches, screw-drivers, butane gas refill and a dentist.

Once replenished I escaped from the expense of the capital to clearer water in Lembongan. What a bizarre place. Lembongan is a day-tripper destination for those staying around Kuta. As I arrived I had dolphins swimming with me while I was circled by Japanese tourists sitting astride towed inflatable bananas.Come 4pm the day-trippers vanish leaving a peaceful island with villagers in conical hats, painstakingly gathering seaweed growing in "pens" close to shore.In Lembongan the two extremes coexisted, but there seems to be little or no cross-over. Perhaps what I saw in Lembongan is a microcosm for life on the main island. For tourists in Bali there's a Disney-land of temples and beaches, and a student paradise of cheap booze and partying, while the traditional Balinese continue making offerings around their statues, playing the gamelan at their festivals and planting rice on the terraces, seemingly oblivious to the tourist antics around them.Finally one of my crew wanted posters resulted in Margreet from Holland deciding to join me to Singapore, where I'll be looking for more crew. You wouldn't have thought it would be so difficult to find crew - perhaps I'm just too choosy.

We sailed from Lembongan back to Lovina where Margreet left for Seminyak to pick up her passport.

I'm looking forward to heading off again. This time to some small islands on-route to the orangutans in Kalimantan then onwards to Singapore....


Serangan, 21th - 30th Sept: S8°43.1 E115°14.3'
Lembongan, 30th Sept-2nd Oct: S8°40.7' E115°26.3'
Lovina beach anchorage, 3rd-6th Oct: S8°09.61' E115°01.30'

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