Bali, an oasis of culture and fun

Bali, an oasis of culture and fun

We left our beloved Gilis Air and headed for the famed and exotic island of Bali. Bali is a Hindu oasis in a Muslim country. Once you hit Bali the mood changes, the massive diversity is all encompassing. Shrines to Hindu Gods are everywhere and daily offerings are laid at each doorstep.

We anchored off of Lovina on the north end of the island. This end is less touristy than the bustling south end of the island. The hotels are small villas not huge resorts here. This was a major gathering for the Sail Indonesia Rally and we met up with friends not seen for months. The Rally staff was there to arrange all our needs including visa extensions and departure procedures.

The venders lined the streets and I soon found my favorite shirt lady and bought a good supply of my signature colorful shirts. As with everyone we dealt with this lady bent over backwards to make sure I had what I wanted. She tailored a few shirts—a $10 dollar shirt mind you—to fit perfectly. One of my Australian mates and I discussed the high level of energy we saw in the venders, he sent a letter back to his fitness equipment sales company telling his sales staff they should work like Indonesians, hahahaha.

I befriended a group of kids who peddle cheap jewelry. This is dirt poor kids, not in school and with not visible family, yet again happy and smiling and full of joy. They loved the balloon hats I made them and met me every day to get a new one. One day I was a bit down and having a small “pity party” –ya like I have anything to pity—and they all came running up to me, a few balloon tricks and big brown eyed smiles and I was skipping down the road with a big grin—gotta figure out how to bottle this stuff and put Prozac out of business.

The fueling continued, we bought 400 liters a day until full. Each day our man, Tony, would take 15 jerry cans to the gas station, fill them, load them into the outrigger and then siphon them into Furthur. This process was long and difficult but never a groan from the boys.

We went to a traditional Bali Bull race. Bulls were used to plow the rice fields before automation and the practice is still done for celebrations. I was very impressed with the quality and condition of the livestock; all were in top knoch shape. The exotically decorated teams pranced about the field, more a show than a race. We were then invited to go for a ride. I have driven horse and pony carts many times but this was a real first.

Again we all seemed to connect with local folks, the crew stayed ashore several nights and enjoyed the night life. Simone decided to stay and enjoy the party a bit longer. As is the usual case, just as I was sad to lose them another great crew member showed up.

We are now in route to Karmumjava, a group of 27 islands and more famed diving, three wrecks beckon out exploration.