20 September 2007

Bali - Week 1

Moored at Bali Marina
Anchorage #64 in "101 Anchorages Within The Indonesian Archipelago" by Geoff Wilson

Bali Island
Lesser Sunda Islands

Greetings from fabulous Bali! We've been having the time of our lives since being here in southern Bali. Upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised that Bali is a lot nicer and cleaner than I had imagined. Apparently, after the Bali bombings, security has really been pumped up and the island physically cleaned up. In our first week here we have accomplished little more than walking and eating our way through a few of the surrounding towns.

Our original plan was to spend our time at the small Bali Marina in Benoa Harbor. But due to it's maximum occupancy we grabbed a mooring in front of the Royal Bali Yacht Club on Pulau Serangan (Turtle Island). While circling the anchorage looking for an empty mooring, a few locals directed us their friend's mooring. For $40,000R a day, it was ours.

Being the only boat in the anchorage, the locals were very attentive to all our wants and needs. I found the best laundry service I've had in the past two years Not only was it washed with fabric softener, but it was dried and ironed as well. I was continually dropping off bags of laundry and no matter the size of the load, it always came to $32,000R (a little over USD$3). What a deal.

As soon as we came to shore we had the locals helping with our trash, filling our water jugs, taking our laundry, selling us rides to nearby towns, and tours of the island. And of course , they pushed their tourist trinkets. It was obnoxious to put it nicely.

We did, however, befriend our neighbors and took advantage of their fantastic woodworking craftsmanship. We have had a dry rot problem with our port cockpit bench for as long as I've been around. But we didn't want to spend the thousands of dollars it would have taken to get fixed in The States. So we got an estimate from our neighbors here. In one week we had a perfect, shiny, new bench. You never really know what you might end up, with especially when there is a language barrier. But we are really pleased with the results. So pleased that we hired them to wax the haul of the boat for $2 an hour.

Since we had these guys on board for a week we figured it would be a great opportunity to get off the boat and enjoy a hotel. With the help of my dad and a few of his friends, we spent four nights at the Hard Rock Hotel, Kuta, Bali. Originally we were only staying for two nights. But the big bed, air conditioning, TV, room service, bath tub, pool, and spa were really hard to give up. So we extend. We weren't in the room 5 minutes before I was in the shower. It was such a great treat. It even felt like a real vacation.

We have basically been getting rides into the nearby towns of Kuta and Sanur, walking the alleys, and checking out shops and restaurants. Bali has some really great eats and cheap shopping. They have everything from cheap souvenirs, pirated DVD's for $1, fancy Balinese lace, wood carvings, and small boutique stores.

Earlier in the week we went to the Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple with our friends from S/V Uterus. This temple is perched on the top of a sheer cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean and pays homage to the sea. Before entering the temple you are given a yellow sash which you must wear around your waist to show respect. The temple landscape is not only lovely with its fantastic views, but filled with monkeys too. If your not careful with your belongings, then the monkey's will take them.

Every evening at 6 o'clock the locals perform a fire dance called the Kecak, one of the most popular dances in Bali. We plan to visit a few other temples on the island, the rice paddies, and the small mountain town of Ubud.

Just this morning were we able to get into the marina. While here we will charge the batteries, fill up on water, wash the boat and dingy, and finish posting photos. I would like to spend at least one more week here in southern Bali and do a few more tourist attractions.

Stay tuned for another update on Bali with week two.......

Amy and Tom

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