Bali and yet more fishermen! 06October2010

Here we are, still in Bali enjoying the scenic attractions of the Bali ‘International’ marina. The next move will be either tomorrow or the day after when we will sally forth for an overnight run to the top of the island and a day in the ‘Lovina Beach’ anchorage.  The passage down from the ‘Gilis’ went swimmingly, we got away at about midnight and with very light conditions cleared away from the channel between the islands and headed mostly south; this was something of a change after months of north and west.  The Selat Lombok is the strait of water separating Bali from Lombok and the cruising guide on board the boat has horror stories concerning the currents we were about to encounter.  Apparently it runs on a seasonal basis, north to south during the SE monsoon (now) and then south to north when the monsoon shifts NE-NW (according to the pundits) around the end of the year.  The ‘book’ also regaled us upon reading with tails of potential horror at the standing, pressure waves one will encounter at the bottom of ‘Selat Badung’.  Selat Badung is the bit of water separating Bali (island) from Badung (island).  Anyway with much trepidation we slipped quietly in the dark down towards what the book suggests might be impending doom for a very quiet sail and then motor sail down to Benoa. We got about three hours of reaching on port between 0200 and 0500 and then the breeze dropped away to just enough to get some assist while motor sailing.  Then there was the entry to Benoa harbour,  honestly, somebody should chat to the authors and publishers of that book and ask it to be reclassified as fiction. Apparently we would get into all sorts of trouble if we went into Benoa on anything other than slack water, which we did (go in on slack water that is), but you can enter into here on any tide you feel like!


Bali International Marina; Gadfly in middle, Scarlet 1 on right.



Bali 'International' Marina.


In the Selat Badung there was a lot of south moving water and current assist, but the only real issue was yet more fishermen.  You could see the buggers out there in the dark with their little flashing, bicycle type lights but seeing them only lulled one into a false sense of security.  There may have been a score of lights scattered across some miles of water, but there were literally several hundred little fishing boats in the strait.  The first hint of the scale of the fishing effort was at first light when the skipper realised we had almost run down a little outrigger fishing boat to starboard and then another one to port.  It’s quite staggering to think that any fish at all get through the area given the scale of effort to catch them! You just cannot see the boats at night, they do not paint on radar and in low light as at dawn you can only see them when almost on top of them.  As the light improves the skipper was horrified to realise how close we must have come to cleaning up any number of them.  They must have been keeping out of our way as we didn’t hear any complaints. After the emergence of the sun however the fishermen become quite vocal and started waving their little bats and oars about, again, in all directions.  These guys have their nets out from their boats around 50 to 100 metres and there are so many fishermen that the nets overlap and any indication of direction in which to steer the boat is, as stated earlier, incomprehensible.  They overlap their nets a couple of hundred metres apart and trying to steer through them is like wandering through a maze.







Anyway after dragging Tim out of bed to stand lookout we got through said maze without much more than a lot of heartache and abuse (probably just as well we didn’t understand) and then we waited with bated breathe as a sodding great bulk carrier came trundling up from the south.  The general consensus was ‘bet they get out of the way of that’, but ah no, it was quite entertaining watching the bulk carrier play maze games as well whilst complaining at length with the ships horn.  About an hour after dawn the fishermen all headed across to Bali and as they went past were the same happy smiling lot as we have seen elsewhere, you get the feeling the whole exercise is a pretty routine occurrence.  After our dawn excitement we held our breathe in expectation of pending mortality as we entered Benoa but were sadly let down by the total lack of excitement at the whole process.


Fishermen and ships!!!


On fellow boaty type travellers, Neil on ‘Scarlet 1’is here out of Fremantle and has been scratching around the marina for nearly two months rebuilding his engine whilst Phil (Aussie from god knows where) is refitting his big and beautiful Catamaran that when compared to the humble Gadfly could be best described as ‘Palatial’!!  The Germans left about 6 days ago for Kalimantan but we may see them closer in to Singapore. The plan now is to leave here and spend a night at the top of Bali (Lovina Beach).  After that it will be a day run to the eastern end of Madura, two nights to Karimun Jawa, a couple of nights there then a longer hop to Belitung.  This will put us only 350 odd miles from Singapore which will try and do in three shorter passages; just have to spot some reasonable anchorages.

So here we are tied up the ‘International’ marina enjoying the attractions of Bali and given considered thought to how much money one can spend in bars here. Not to mention wondering how long it might take for the marina pontoons to completely sink.  The skipper did slip home for a week or so to see the sick dad but also managed to take in Collingwood drawing one grand final and stitching up St Kilda in the second. It was as they say, very exciting and that flag is still flying!  On the way back from Melbourne the skipper was sitting behind Collingwood ruckman ‘Josh Fraser’ (and family) and as one might imagine much discussion was entered into over the Collingwood win.  Last night Josh once more reappeared headed for one of the bars whilst in company with the Collingwood Captain ‘Nick Maxwell’ and they stopped for  a chat with the skipper and all. Apparently most of the team is in Bali for a team mates wedding and the post grand-final festivities will be no doubt quite mind boggling.   The kiwi lads have also been enjoying the nightlife of various venues around Kuta (it does ‘go off’ here) and we have all been doing the standard yachty thing and meeting other like minded and mariner oriented people.  Neil and the skipper did a trip up the volcano at the bottom of Bali and had lunch looking out across the crater (or rather ‘caldera’, while pondering the number of people that actually live in it.  This tripinvolved having a local drive them about for the day and spending half the day stopping for cold ‘Bintang’ (beer).


Neil of Scarlet 1.


It is time to leave though, the boat is replete in fuel, water, gas and food (all thanks to the lads) the wind should stay SE and if not tomorrow, the next day.  The trick now is to get outside turn left and hug the coast.  We have been informed by any number of reliable sources that the procedure to get back up out of the Selat Badung, is to hug the coast as close as you dare to pick up a north bound counter current close in.  Sounds good but it will be strictly a daylight operation!  At least we will see any fishermen!  More later.


Bali International Marina.



5 Responses to “Bali and yet more fishermen! 06October2010”

  1. Vicky Says:

    Thanks for the pic of my wee bruffer Neil looking fine with a bintang nearby.

    • Trevor Says:

      No drama, we may try and stay in company if he can get that engine of his up to speed and maybe extricate himself fom the clutches of Bali. Cheers, Trevor.

  2. travelling librarian Says:

    Your blog header pic looks great 😉

    Safe travels,

  3. baypolar Says:

    There are lots of sailing blogs out there but few hold my attention given that they don’t impart much ‘local’ knowledge.
    Your blog does.
    Thanks for sharing the many facets that make up cruising, especially the practical aspects.
    If I can get out of my current funk, I would like to get my boat to SEA.

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