Sunday 9 October 2016

Stop 12: Lovina Beach, North end of Bali Island, September 11 - October 12 2016

Our journey over from Medana Bay, Lombok to Lovina Bay, Bali took us just over 11 hours. We anchored at 08 09.64S & 115 01.26E in around 9 meters of water. Very good holding here. Crossing the Selat Lombok (Lombok Strait) gave us a great sail for several hours and good practice for crossing between ships. This was especially interesting as one ship had its AIS outputting incorrectly. A few rally boat stopped about half way at the oad-stead anchorage of Amed. Reports of this anchorage were all favorable and worth a visit if you don't wish to do a long day run to Lovina Bay.

Bali is both a joy to arrive at and a stark reminder of where we have been. Bali is very busy even on the north end at Lovina as it has become very westernized. If you travel down to Kuta, Seminyak area for a visit its even busier. This is not a remote village as we have been used to, its full on busy and we love it. Bali is not that big, you can easily drive from the one end to the other in about 3 hours, making day trips very enjoyable.

Arriving here means we are close to the end of the S2I rally and close to Malaysia. At this point we have decided to join the Sail Malaysia Rally. The rally commences on November 7 from the Puteri Harbour Marina and finishes December 7 2016 at Langkawi - Rebak Marina. Quite a few rally boats are also doing this rally.

We spent a total of 29 days from September 11 to October 9 2016 at anchor here. It was hard to leave Bali. At this point we confirmed we had decided to not sail onto Kalimantan and do the trip up the Kumai River to see the Orangutans. A personal decision and not an easy one, but once the decision was made, we felt relieved and happy with our choice. Many other rally boats also made the same decision and like us will sail to Baewean, Karimunjawa and via the Belitung Islands onto Bangka, which is reported to be like paradise .

At the time of writing this blog, most of the fleet have left the anchorage. Actually only us and one other vessel remains. A part of staying behind was to see more of Bali for us, never having been here before and also to boat sit our friends yacht while they went home to Australia for a bit. We are keen to hear from those who went up the Kumai (not in their vessels) how their trip was, as we are keen to fly back sometime and to experience the Orangutans.

While in Lovina we did a few day trips around Bali and spent a fair bit of time down south at Seminyak - just up from Kuta. We explored temples, hot springs, had massages, pedicures, manicures, hair cuts, saw the world famous rice paddy fields, much of the local area, ate and enjoyed the local food and explored Seminyak over two visits.

We found Lovina to be very hot but the great thing about being there is the location. Everyday we took the tender ashore to the Seabreeze Inn which has a pool. If you buy a drink there you can use the pool, which a lot of the fleet did on a daily basis. There was also another good pool around the corner at Astina. Same deal here, buy a drink and swim till your hearts content.

Lovina itself has everything you need, and you can walk to most of it. Loads of cafes, restaurants, markets, pharmacy's, doctors, little supermarkets, shops that sell wine (but its very expensive), shops selling clothing, sarongs and even hardware shops. Data is easily purchased here and there is a very good supermarket next to Hardys, called Carrefour in the main town of Singaraja (you may need a car to get here, its a bit of walk). The markets and local fruit & vegetable shops all sold very good quality produce and had a great variety available.

Our first trip down to Seminyak saw us gone for 4 days. We enjoyed the air conditioned room, large pool and king sized bed at the Horison Hotel. A great location down a small alleyway beside the street 'Double Six'. We enjoyed walking around the local streets, window shopping in shops which all mostly sell exactly the same thing and drinking 'dingin sekali'  (ice cold) Bintang's while watching the sun set over the beach - a famous moment for anyone visiting Bali. The sun setting over Kuta is legendary as the view is totally uninterrupted and spectacular.

We had to laugh at the items for sale at the supermarket here named: Bintang Supermarket. Due to it selling all the 'treasures' we had been previously offered as very special items from the men in boats who zoom out to you in anchorages to sell you diesel (solar), water (air) and take your laundry (cucian). Every single item we thought were being made by local villages was available in copious amounts at the Bintang Supermarket - we must of had 'come in spinner' written all over our foreheads!

On the way home we stopped at the Bali Zoo. Actually we had breakfast with the Orangutans here. The zoo itself is small and very well done. Neither of us are zoo fans but this zoo is a bit different. All the funds raised support the preservation of the Green Turtle program. The zoo's moto is: Love, Conserve & Share. The zoo only houses animals who can not be released into the wild while also rehabilitating those who can be released. They are doing a very good job.

Another day we had a long but lovely day trip around a few of the sights of northern and central Bali. Our driver took us to temples, hot springs and rice paddy fields. The drive alone was fantastic, some of the scenry is breathtaking. We got to see a lot of Bali on this day.

Another trip down to Seminyak, saw us again enjoy the air conditioning, sights and sounds of local busy streets. This time we stayed at the Puspa Bungalows at a third of the cost of our previous stay and the room for what it was worth, was a great spot. This time we went to see more temples and the Bali Bird Park. It was amazing.

Leaving Bali was bitter sweet. We loved it here, but we must push on. Heading out to the Java Sea had us both reading weather forecasts for the immediate area and both chatting about plans for the predicted 'unpredictable' weather out in the Java Sea. Some of the fleet ahead of us and in the other rally had all experienced: strong squalls, 30+ knot winds out of nowhere, loads of rain and sometimes quite a decent swell. Not to mention more FADS, fishermen in unlit vessels and more worrying was all the reports of floating drift nets. So it will be interesting to see how go, we plan on making most of the journey via day trips with the odd night trip due to distance.

Loved Bali!

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