Sunday, December 24, 2006

Bali 2006 - Part 6 - Amed, Lepah Beach, Snorkel and Sail

Lepah Beach, Bali – May 19, 2006

John got up for the 6:30-ish sunrise and walked down to the beach. The whole fleet had been out but boats were coming back in one by one. It takes about 6 men to heft a boat above the tide line. Our local guide Mr. Pauli said they came back early because they weren’t catching any fish.

I had met Mr. Pauli the day before. The locals who do not work for the hotel, hang out on the beach and try to get you to spend some money with them instead of with the hotel which is most likely owned by a foreigner. This makes sense. In some cases, by dealing directly with the locals you are cutting out the middle man. In others cases, you give them something instead of nothing. So guys like Pauli, a local fisherman in his 40’s with good English, approach tourists about renting snorkel gear, going for a sail, etc. Women ask if you want a massage. Even the hotel staff try to make their own deal with you for a taxi or other transport. Our “maid,” a guy in his late 20’s, had photos of various taxis loaded into his cell phone so he could show the merchandise.

I watched the fleet action, took some photos, and then went back up to the 2nd floor balcony until Sun-Ling got up. Only one boat come back with fish. About twenty small fish that were taken by a women who tossed them in her basket and walked away down the beach. No money appeared to change hands.

The fleet returns at sunrise.
The fleet returns at sunrise 03 - Lepah Bay, Bali

Breakfast was included in the room rate so we walked over to the beachside restaurant and had coffee, mixed fruit, and tomato omelets

After some negotiations with Mr. Pauli, we rented 2 days of snorkel gear for 60K RP. We changed in to our swim gear and walked up to the SE point for a decent hour of snorkeling even though the waves were building in the breeze. We saw some cool coral and colorful fish and took photos with our Lomo Frogeye underwater camera (see photos below). After a dip in the pool, we ate lunch at a nearby on-the-beach restaurant: Bintang, papaya juice, and 2 tempeh satays for 44K.

Sun-Ling posing for our Frogeye Lomo underwater camera.
Snorkel Bali

Spent the afternoon being lazy. Negotiated a sunrise sail and snorkel with Mr. Pauli for 180K RP. Took a nap. As there are no ATMs within 50 miles, we changed money at the Wartel. The proprietor did not want my 1996-issue $100 bill, and knowingly pointed to a small sign on his counter that so. Luckily I had an acceptable vintage bill back at the hotel and we received 870,000 RP for it. Capitalism.

A warung is a small restaurant. A wartel is a telephone office.

Dinner was excellent: 1 L Bintang, 1 Sprite, 2 set Vegetarian Dinners with very tasty spicy tempeh, all for 96K.

To see all the photos from May 19, click here.

Lepah Bay, Bali - May 20, 2006

Today’s program: Sunrise sail and snorkel.

Up a 5:30 AM – before sunrise. Met Pauli on the beach at 5:45 and we put in immediately. The mate for the day was his cousin. After motoring for 5 minutes, it was up with the sail and headed towards the fleet which had put in around 4AM. The fleet fishes at night but not all night unless the fishing is great. They go out about 4 PM and come back at sunset. Then they go out a 4AM and come back at sunrise. Of course, that’s what they did when we were there. The rhythm may be different in other seasons.

With its twin outriggers the sailing canoe was very stable but not graceful; lumbering over the waves getting us a bit wet when the bamboo outriggers smacked down and into the waves. The boats are most graceful with the wind behind them in calm water.

We sailed on a reach towards Lombok, the island to the east of Bali, with Mt Anung Volcano behind us in the dark. The sun rose about 6:15, turning the sky purple in front of us and lighting the tip of Mt. Anung behind us.

Sailing at sunrise in the Lombok Strait.
Bali - Sunrise over the Lombok Strait

After 30 minutes or so, just as we were approaching the fleet, we did a jibe - according to Pauli the boats cannot tack - and headed back to the so-called Japanese Shipwreck for snorkeling. However, the wreck was not very visible that day so we snorkeled some a bit north and saw some awesome coral formations at a spot called Good Karma Hole.

The fleet was returning in 2 streams. On to the north and one to the south with the sunrise as a backdrop. Spectacular. A regatta.

Back on land at 8:00 am. Just in time for breakfast!

Some various notes about the fishing fleet not included in the above narrative:
o The main catch is mackerel
o Each village has a boat builder
o The sails look like fish
o The outrigger is 3 pieces lashed together with rope.
o The boom and mast are made of bamboo.
o The outriggers are bamboo and are replaced each year.
o One man, one boat.
o The method of fishing is to put hooks some meters apart on a long line with small pieces of cotton (about 1 inch long) as the lure.
o In the recent past it was popular to have the bow of the boat resemble a fish with its mouth open. This has been abandoned in favor of a more streamlines look as the “fish mouth” was hard to maintain – they broke off a lot. See photos.

After breakfast a long nap was in order; then beachcombing, lunch, pool, etc.

To see all the photos from May 20, click here.

Ubud, Bali – May 21, 2006

The trip back to Shanghai was mostly uneventful. We negotiated a price of 250K for the ride back to the airport. After 2 “cousins” piled in the SUV with us, I figured that we were providing a bonus for an already planned trip to Denpasar. Hmm. Although 250K was a fair price.

About halfway to the airport, the driver, let’s call him Schumacher, decided to pass the car in front of him on a downhill no passing zone and was pulled over by the police who were sitting at the bottom of the hill just waiting to pull people over and collect money. I think that 50K rupiah changed hands. Instant Karma. Anyway we made it to the airport in plenty of time to spend the rest of our Indonesian money, win an argument with the Singapore Air counter staff about the number of carry on bags allowed, and catch our flight.

That’s all for our Anniversary trip to Bali. Thanks for reading.

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