Ship's Log               s/v Uliad 


 

 September 2 :

 

     

          It is absolutely amazing to me the contrast between the waters around the Indonesian cities and the waters in Komodo National Park.  Only 10 miles back or so, we were climbing out of the dinghy onto Uliad with our groceries and I literally looked down to see a large turd floating by.  There are plastic bags and plastic bottles floating around everywhere.  We pulled up our anchor with a large chunk of an old plastic tarp wrapped around it.  Disgusting.

         We moved to the north end of Komodo island where the water is as pristine and clean and clear as we've seen anywhere.  You can stand on deck and follow the anchor chain down to where it rests on the sand 60 feet below.  And suddenly, without the fishing pressure and the pollution, there are schools of big fish and pristine coral reefs everywhere we look.  We entertain ourselves watching the tuna herding bait fish up to Relapse's hull then thrashing about the surface to feed.  I swam around the bay with a huge manta ray with a 7' wingspan yesterday.  Amazing.

        Just offshore of here, there are two pinnacles that rise up close to the surface and there's a steady stream of Indonesian live-aboard dive boats that come here to dive those two sites.  It takes a bit of timing to get there right at slack tide so the strong currents don't sweep you off the rock.  We've been making daily dives for the past few days on these terrific spots, seeing technicolor displays of hard and soft corals, schools of big pelagic fish, and the odd shark or turtle out there.  Our friends on Utopia II have a compressor on board and their oldest son Josh has been running a little business, filling and delivering our air tanks for $5 a pop. 

        Komodo is a truly incredible place.  Hard to get to, but worth the effort.  A cradle of natural history and an environmental treasure.  I feel like our life has been a Discovery Channel documentary for the past few weeks.  I'm going to miss that feeling that my life is worthy of a nature show.

        In fact, I find myself having that thought a lot lately.  I'll be watching the sunset, or snorkeling through a school of electric blue fish or enjoying my morning coffee in the cockpit while watching the wild pigs root around for crabs on the beach and think to myself that in a few months, my alarm clock will go off and I'll drag myself to the shower in the dark and then I'll think back to moments like this.  It's not a question of will I miss all this.  I'm sure I will.  The question is, how much?  Will I love my job and house and car enough to offset those ever changing sunsets?  Will I take comfort in the security of modern life enough to live without the adventure of exotic third world travel?  There's lots of mixed feelings going about the boat lately.  I think we're all truly excited about heading back to the real world again, but there's also a growing melancholy as we notice those various things that we'll be saying goodbye to soon...

 

 

September 4:

 

      For variety's sake, we motored down the coast of Komodo the next bay, which proved to be quiet, well protected, and once again full of lovely, pristine coral beds.  The last bay was getting too crowded.  In fact, a big dive boat came right up next to us and sent a diver down to bring up a big mooring rope that was apparently lying on the bottom.  The skipper then came over mumbling about some vague engine problems, so sorry to be so close and all but they'd only be there for 3 hours and leave when they had replaced a hydraulic hose.  And he'd post someone on deck to watch and make sure our boats didn't swing too close.  Then he went off diving the pinnacles with his guests.

      Well, apparently he didn't leave very explicit instructions as to what they should do if the boats DID swing too close.  Because about 30 minutes later, their stern swung right into Uliad's bow and our forestay struck their upper deck that overhangs the stern.  I ran up to holler at their poor watchkeeping and found several chunks of wood on our deck, but thankfully no damage to our rig or headsail.  We pushed each other away, and when the same thing threatened to happen a few minutes later,  we raised anchor and moved away.  Eventually the captain returned from his diving party and came over to collect his chunks of wood and offer what was, if I may say so, a very half-assed apology.

     Another odd thing happened in the bay the other day.  right around sunset, the water got very choppy, not like a swell rolling in from sea, but more like wind chop.  Except there was no wind.  It might be hard to explain to those who don't live on water...but we've seen all kinds of waves in our day, and these just didn't seem right.  Eventually they spread out overnight into a slower, broader, more typical ocean swell that made it hard for everyone in the bay to get a good night's sleep.  The thought of an underwater earthquake crossed my mind as a potential cause for these weird waves and I even went through a mental checklist in my head of what we'd do if a tsunami hit.  (We would find out a few days later that in fact there WAS an earthquake in the Phillipines with a tsunami warning issued.)  

      Our new bay showed no hint of swell, so everyone got rest, the ladies took walks on the beach, the kids played their usual stick/swordfighting games, and the dads built a fire to burn our garbage on the beach.  Later Kathleen and I went for one last dive here, and right at the end, we saw a manta ray.   This was a big deal for Kathleen because, in spite of all our snorkeling and diving and living on water, that is the one sea creature that she'd never seen in 5 years of sailing.  Em and I saw some in the Marquesas, but Kath stayed on the boat that day.  We heard them splashing in the dark once in Nuku Hiva, but couldn't see 'em.  And I had just been swimming with one a few days earlier which only served to remind Kath of this glaring omission in her underwater experiences.  So it seemed a fitting end to our time at Komodo National Park for one to swim on by at the end of our dive.

     Garbage has been a problem in Indonesia.  I've mentioned this before.  The general consensus among the people here seems to be that the ocean is a convenient and reasonable place to put anything you don't want anymore.  I have no problem with this philosophy for biodegradable things, or even metal and glass as long as its dropped in deep water far offshore.  But we've decided to take matters in our own hands where plastics and things are concerned by burning it ourselves rather than giving it to someone who might end up just tossing it on the beach.

     So every so often I've been digging a pit at the high waterline of the beach, lighting a fire, and inviting the other boats to bring in their trash to get rid of.  The menfolk stand around and poke the fire occasionally, avoiding other work back on the boat until the ashes can be drenched in seawater and buried.  Anyway, Emmett was excited to participate in the process this time.  He just finished his final exam for 7th grade math and took great pleasure in burning his 7th grade math book in the rubbish fire.  (Which begs the question of what his math teacher is going to do with him in 7th grade, but that's his/her problem)  I'm usually no fan of book burning, but we really have to work to minimize clutter on a 53 foot sailboat. 

Emmett burns his math book on Komodo Island.

 

 

September 10:

 

     We finally tore ourselves away from Komodo Island with a day-and-a-half long sail over to Lombok.  The winds remained as fickle as ever, which helped keep me from getting bored on passage, at least.  It seemed like every time I looked up we needed to trim a sail, start the motor, or change the autopilot setting to adjust for the tidal current.

     Previous cruisers who have come through Indonesia all seem to talk about how they never caught any fish here.  It's easy to see why when in many areas the sea is literally carpeted with fishing boats.  We refused to throw in the towel, however and I was thrilled twice on this passage with strikes on our lures.  I had visions in my head of fresh tuna on a platter and other sailors admiring our amazing fishing skills.  Unfortunately both times the fish on the other end of our line gave a few good tugs and, when reeled within 20 yards of our stern, just spit out the lure and went on his merry way.   Even the dolphins seem oddly un-friendly here.  We see them all over and occasionally one or two will swim over to investigate us, but almost never will they ride our bow wake and play with Uliad the way we've come to expect.  I wonder if the dolphins are hunted here too by the hungry fishermen and have learned to keep their distance.

      The other eventful thing on this passage was that Uliad reached her antipode.  At 119 degrees East latitude, we were exactly half-way around the world from Rodney Bay, St. Lucia, which is the easternmost point we've travelled to.  I called the family up on deck and made the announcement that we've now sailed half way around the world.  It's taken us 4 years and 4 months to get this far, which just goes to show you that A: the world is really big and B: it's really interesting.  Because we certainly could have gotten a lot farther by now, but the pleasure of travel comes from the time you're sitting still--getting to know a place.

      The halfway point brings up the question in our heads again: why not go all the way around?  There's a certain swagger that comes with saying you've sailed around the world.  I know that Emmett is a bit disappointed that he won't have that notch in his belt, although he's also thrilled to be going back.  The thing is though, with the Somalia piracy situation, the only option for circumnavigators right now is a long sail across the southern Indian Ocean, followed by a long sail across the Southern Atlantic.  We've met sailors who are on their way to do just that, but nobody seems very happy about it.  It's just a job that has to be done to get their boat home or to achieve that goal  I'm sure that there will be fun and interesting times to be had in places like Diego Garcia, Madagascar, or South Africa.  But the fact is that the second half of the world is mostly just many weeks at sea.  When I remind myself of that, I don't regret missing out on the honors of being a circumnavigator.

 

 September 12

 

      We ended up arriving at our destination on Lombok a few hours later than we anticipated.  By the time I realized our arrival would be close to sunset and fired up the engine to full speed, an adverse current had set in, assuring that we'd arrive after dark.  This is never a good idea to come into a strange harbor at night, particularly in Indonesia where the waters usually seem to go from 80 feet to 3 feet deep in about a boat length.  So after looking at the narrow entrance and surrounding reefs at Medana Bay where we were initially planning to go, we diverted to a little island offshore of Lombok called Gili Air.

      With our new radar guiding us through the pass between Gili Air and neighboring Gili Meno, we stayed in deep water until we could turn up onto a broad shelf of 18 feet of water and dropped anchor for the night.  It seemed a long way from the lights on shore and very exposed, but our goal was just to find a safe place to get the hook down until morning when we could adjust our position better.

      By the dawn's early light, we could see that there was a reason we were so far back from the island.  There was a big reef now exposed at low tide just a few hundred feet away.  So our plan to keep far off in the dark was a good one.  With adequate light, we saw our friends on Miss Behaving and Myriam in the little harbor behind the reef, so we motored around to take a mooring ball between them. 

      Gili Air is a cool little dot of land with a center of coconut groves, and an outer rim of beachfront restaurants, guest houses, and dive shops.  Theres a little sandy path around it that is trammeled by tourists and little horse carts.  They've somehow forbidden any motorized vehicles above the high tide line, so it keeps the place feeling quiet and relaxed here.  Most of the beachfront restaurants have a choice of regular table seating, or little raised huts or booths where you can recline on big pillows and eat Roman style while staring out at the sea.  When in Rome... 

Relaxing at Gili Air  Main Street, Gili Air

 

September 15:

 

    Gili Air proves to be a great place to re-emerge into civilization again.  $3 dinners in those comfy beachfront loungers is quickly becoming a habit.  We ordered up a delivery of 600 liters of diesel that arrived over several days in 30 liter plastic jugs for only 70 cents per liter.  The price kept me smiling, even through lugging them all out to Uliad and pouring them one by one into our tank even as the winds were building and bouncing us around in the harbor.  One of the jugs ended up having several inches of watery sludge at the bottom, but fortunately our baja filter worked just as it was supposed to and kept (I think!) the contamination from reaching our tank.

     Kathleen took off for morning yoga classes while Emmett and I battled with the diesel jugs.  All of us got our exercise. 

    Did I mention the winds picking up?  Every day around 10am, the winds suddenly build to 25 knots, which seems to be enough to demonstrate that the mooring balls here are totally inadequate.  The first call went out a couple of days ago when one boat started dragging its mooring.  Mark from Relapse and I each went over to help.  Note to Sailors:  When someone in the harbor is dragging, first check to see whether you also might be dragging in the building winds.  Because while Mark was away helping another boat, Relapse was also dragging back dangerously close to the reef.  So we got both boats re-situated on new moorings and I went for a snorkel to check our mooring, then everyone else's in the area.  Our 1 inch polypropylene rope was tied to a cement block about 2 feet wide.  It seemed half buried in the sand and not showing any signs of loosening.  Other moorings had a random assortment of weights from multiple concrete filled barrels to small blocks like ours.  Some showed signs that they'd been dragging, others not.  The whole thing seemed random.  In any event, I decided that as long as these afternoon winds were blowing, I'd need to remain onboard from 10 am until about 5pm when everything calmed down again.  At which time we all felt we had earned a Bintang or two at whichever beachfront restaurant had been chosen for the day.

    Then today it was our turn.  Since I was stuck onboard for another afternoon, I decided to get a few chores done and I was down in the engine room changing the filter on the watermaker.  Suddenly there was an enormous crash.  I ran on deck to see the bow of our boat sitting on the deck of Utopia.  They were supposed to be on the mooring ball behind us!  I yelled for Kathleen to turn on the engine and ran forward to disentangle our anchor from Utopia's rigging.  We pushed away and got clear quickly and then moved over to a nearby mooring that I had dove on the previous day and knew to be really solid.

     In the aftermath we discovered that the mooring line we were attached to had parted.  The polypropylene line appeared to have snapped.  We quickly drifted backwards before anyone noticed it and our pulpit struck the side of Utopia, knocking out two of their lifeline stanchions and putting a couple of gouges in her deck.  We suffered nothing more than a few paint scratches and some embarassment. 

Utopia's damage after we hit her   Mark fills the deck gouges on Utopia

     Now here's where karma paid off.  No sooner had the dust settled, when Mark (who is a professional yacht rigger by trade) came over to Utopia with his tools and special high tech resins.  We removed the lifelines and took the stanchions to shore where, with a butane torch and a sledgehammer, we managed to straighen them out pretty well.  Mark packed the base fittings with resin and then filled the deck gouges with more resin.  Tomorrow Andrew will drill new holes through the resin and re-attach the lifelines and hopefully make things functional again, if not quite good as new.   I suppose some of the blame must go to the weather and the guy who rents these moorings, but we felt pretty responsible to Utopia also.  And since I don't know much about fiberglass boat repair, I was sure glad to have Mark step in to help Andrew make it right.  There is a sort of code of honor among sailors that you always help each other out.  Almost everyone follows it, although some more than others.  Today was a reminder why we do that...you never know when you will be the one needing help.

 

September 18:

 

     Gili Air kind of lost its luster after that.  Utopia and Relapse  moved over to Lombok the next day to take on diesel.  We got ready to go as well, but not before rescuing one more boat from dragging up on the reef.   A Danish boat tied onto one of the moorings that had dragged previously and the owners took off for shore before anyone could warn them.  When I saw them getting close to the reef, I swam over and dropped their anchor from the deck, but pretty soon I could see that wasn't going to do the job, so I swam back, got in our dinghy, and went to get Emmett who was playing with the kids on Miss Behaving.  Then I looked around and saw one other yacht in the harbor with a dinghy behind it and went over to explain the situation and ask for help.  Tom and Thomas answered the call and we all motored over to the yacht whose rudder was now starting to tap the reef behind.  Fortunately they didn't lock any doors or hatches on the boat, so after some scrambling around, we found the engine start and the anchor windlass switch and managed to drive off the reef and put her on a more secure mooring.

     Emmett was recovering from the flu this past week, and now I've got the same symptoms, so all of the previous activities have been absolutely exhausting for me.  So despite the marginal conditions, we stayed one more day so I could rest up a bit before heading on toward Bali. 

     The owner came by later with a bottle of wine to thank us.  I told Emmett I'd trade him a couple of sodas for his share.

     We then took off this morning to cross the Lombok strait at first light.  There are some very powerful currents flowing out this strait that separates the Java Sea from the Indian Ocean.  I didn't want to get caught with those strong winds running against the current as that would certainly result in very rough seas.  So we were up at 5am to get the boat ready and ended up having a calm motor sail the whole way.

     We ended up stopping at the island of Lembongan, which is about 10 miles from Bali.  Our friends on LoveSong were anchored here so we were glad to catch up to them again.  After our last harbor, the first thing I did was jump in to dive on our anchor to see how well we were holding.  What a shock that was!   We have been travelling through the Java Sea, which has some of the warmest ocean water temperatures on earth.  But here there are cold currents that well up from the deep ocean and the surface temperature was in the mid 70s.  As I swam around, I could actually feel and see the mixing going on as I'd alternately swim through warm and cold patches and watch the shimmering ripples  in the water where the two water temperatures interface.  Then on my dive down to the anchor, I finally gave up.  It was so cold it make my head hurt!  Fortunately, the water is absolutely clear here, so even from 15 feet above, I could see that the anchor was holding well.

     There is a benefit to the colder water, though.  Our desalinator has been really struggling as of late to make fresh water from the extra warm and salty sea.  I've had to adjust the pressure settings to keep the fresh water coming.  Today it seemed to heave a huge sigh of relief and the water is coming out with a much lower salinity level. 

 

September 16:

 

     Lembongan is definitely more crowded and touristy than the laid back Gili islands.  It is as if we are slowly emerging from the remote, primitive and uninhabited world of Komodo toward the hyper, crowded, modern land of Bali.  One more stop to go.  Big high speed catamarans come by every morning disgorging passengers to play on the beaches here.  They get pulled around on parasailors and big yellow banana tubes causing quite a ruckus compared to what we're used to.  Everything is getting more expensive and more than once I've caught myself:  30,000 rupiah for a plate of fried rice, thats outrageous!  It only costs 15,000 back on the other islands!  Wait.  We're still talking about a lunch at a beachfront restaurant that costs only $3.  Then I stop complaining and remind myself that I'm still chillin' on a beach in Indonesia, which is still pretty damn nice.

Mushroom Bay beach, Lembongan

    Another nice thing is that Utopia II  pulled in the following morning, along with Miss Behaving and Relapse.  Andrew's boat is looking good again, and most importantly, he's pleased that all has been made right.  So that's a load off of our minds.  The kid boat fleet is all together again and they're tearing up the beach every afternoon here. 

 

 September 17: 

 

     At first light we set off across the strait from Lembongan to Bali.  The whole channel between Lombok and Bali is a main deep water pass between the Java Sea and the Indian ocean.  Apparently the Java Sea sits a little higher than the Indian ocean, because there's a fierce current that runs anywhere from 2 to 7 knots depending on the tide and the time of year.  As we left Lombagan, we could see big standing waves and eventually plowed our bow through a couple until we had a relatively smooth crossing the rest of the way, helped along by a 3 knot current.  I'm not looking forward to having to go back up that pass in a few weeks, but I've read that there are countercurrents along the east coast of Bali that we hopefully can take advantage of.

    Bali is one of those exotic sounding island names(like Fiji, Tahiti...why do they always end in I?)  that always makes me think of some mysterious paradise.  Our first reality here was a bit different.  The harbor is filled with the most rubbish filled waters we've seen yet.  We took a mooring among some of those big wooden cruise boats that Indonesia is filled with--apparently they come here for repairs.  Soon I was walking up a dilapitated pier over a beach strewn with garbage, slime, mangy dogs, and abandoned, broken boats to pay $10 per night for the pleasure of staying here.  I'm sure not all of Bali is like this, but our first view has left Kathleen wondering why she'd been looking forward to this stop for thousands of miles now.

    Our most important task here is to renew our visas that are due to expire in a few weeks.  Mark, Andrew, and I hired a taxi to take us to the Immigration office at the harbor, only to be told that visa renewals are only done at the main immigration office in the city of Denpasar.  We got there to find out that we need copies of a sposor's letter from the Sail Indonesia rally.  So we came home with tails between our legs and made plans to meet up with Sam, the rally coordinator tomorrow and see if he can get the gears of bureaucracy turning for us.  Meanwhile, the wives have been planning up a whole host of touring activities that all sound like more fun than visiting immigration offices.  I hope we have better luck tomorrow. 

 

September 19:

 

     After turning in our visa paperwork, we all jumped in taxis to visit a famous Balinese temple on the coast.  It sits on a little island that isolates it at high tide--very scenic.

     Indonesia is a predominantly muslim country, although there are groups of Christians on Timor and Flores.  Bali, however is strongly Hindu in its beliefs.  There are Hindu temples and shrines everywhere here.  Every home, store, and restaurant seems to have a little shrine where a small tray of offerings (bits of rice, food, flower petals, and a burning incense stick seems to be a common mix) are left for the spirits every morning.  In the middle of lunch, this waitress stopped to make another offering and prayer to keep the restaurant save from evil spirits at least until the dinner rush:

A waitress prays at the resaurant's shrine in Bali

     After a month of hearing the muslim calls to prayer 5 times a day on the mosques' loudspeakers, and the nonstop daily offerings to the gods in Bali, I'll have to admit it makes my own faith seem rather simple in comparison.  We Christians have a lot fewer and simpler daily rituals than the Indonesians do...grace before dinner, maybe a bedtime prayer, an hour of church on Sunday, much more convenient I think than preparing all these offerings!

Balinese temple  Balinese temple  Emmett & Ash in temple

     Anyway, we got to this famous temple on the rock where we were first sent down a long winding road of tourist shops hawking t-shirts, sodas, and all sorts of tacky junk having nothing to do with the place (I can't believe the inventory of penis shaped bottle openers.  Who buys this stuff?)  Eventually we emerged to some stone steps guarded by some fierce statues and then to a garden park along the seashore with an assortment of temples scattered about.  There didn't seem to be any sort of spiritual activities going on--just wandering tourists like us.  I later learned that Hindu temples are typically abandoned most of the year except for a few holy days when it is expected that this is where a certain god will be found to celebrate/worship, etc.  Perhaps the vendors put the penis carvings away on those days.

 

September 21:

 

     Bali is known for its great surfing, so yesterday Emmett and his pal Ash took off for Kuta beach to surf.  Kuta is a long lovely beach, but it's as crowded and overdeveloped as south Florida.  This seems to be a favorite spot for Australians to come for drunken revelry.  The place didn't hold much appeal for us.

     Kathleen and I have both been fighting the flu this past week.  Emmett got it first, then passed it to me, and now as I'm finally getting over it, Kathleen has been laid out with fevers & cough.  I decided to rent a motor scooter and take her to a neighborhood north of Kuta that our guidebook promised quieter streets and nice shops to browse. 

     I should mention that Indonesia runs on little Honda Vajero scooters they call ojeks.  They must sell millions of them here. I can see the convenience of them--they glide right past the congestions of cars on the streets and since it never rains here it seems like a perfect way to get around.  Best of all, the going rental rate for one is about $5 per day including a helmet. 

     Now the other parents seemed less than pleased.  Nobody can quote a source, but they all seem to have heard that some unbelievable number of Aussies are killed every month driving scooters in Bali.  I countered that unlike most of those Aussies, I'm sober and number 2, Aussies aren't as good of drivers as Americans anyway.  And off we went.

     The entire island of Bali seems to be one big congested chaotic city.  After some initial apprehension with the traffic roaring by in all directions, we had a ball.  There don't really seem to be any traffic laws in this country--it's every car, truck, and scooter for himself out there.  So I puttered along like a granny for most of our trip, hoping not to get run over.  The shopping turned out to be mediocre, mall merchandise brought in to satisfy the tourists.  It all seems so overwhelming when coming back from remote places.  Who buys all this stuff?  What do they do with it all? 

 

September 24:

 

     We hopped a taxi to the town of Ubud, in the northern part of Bali, the next day.  Ubud was made famous in the bestselling book Eat, Pray, Love  as the happy middle path that the author found after months of gluttony in Italy and austerity in India.  One can still find women of a certain age wandering the streets here trying to follow the same path.  It is a town where you can't swing a cat without hitting a spa.  An hourlong massage can be had for $5 and creative new-age treatments spring up faster than the rice in the paddies that dot the landscape.  If there were a Las Vegas dedicated to good health and spirituality rather than money and sex, it would be Ubud.

     On our way to Ubud, we asked our taxi drivers to stop at a coffee plantation known for producing the most expensive coffee in the world: lumak coffee.  Perhaps you've heard of it--I think Jack Nicholson's character talked about it in the movie The Bucket List.  Any way, what happens here is there is a small furry animal called a lumak  (I believe its a civet cat) that lives in the area and eats coffee cherries.  The external fruit of the coffee is digested and the seed--which is the coffee bean-- is pooped out.  Long ago somebody had the crazy idea to take that coffee-studded poop, wash up the beans, roast 'em, grind 'em, and serve up this recycled coffee.  Wouldn't you know, the poop coffee ended up tasting better than the stuff harvested the usual way.  Some sort of chemical process takes place in the digestive tract of the civet cat that actually improves the coffee.

The lumak: eater, improver, and  pooper of coffee   The lumak turd, source of world's finest coffee?   About to indulge in my first sip of Lumak Poop Coffee

     So after a tour of the gardens and a display of how the whole process takes place, we were led to the tasting hut.  We were given a large complimentary platter of all the coffees and teas they produce here, with the exception of the lumak poop coffee--which we were asked to pay $5 for a cup.  Which might make it the most expensive coffee in Indonesia, but if they think it the most expensive in the world at that price, they obviously haven't been to Starbucks lately. 

     I can report that the poo-derived coffee was pretty darned good.  So we bought a few small packets which should make for a good story when we serve it at Christmas dinner or give it as a gift to my Dad-- a lifelong coffee lover and hard guy to buy presents for.  (Sorry to spoil the surprise, Dad!) 

     We finally continued on to Ubud and checked in to the Cendana Resort and Spa, and were led to a building that looked like a renovated Balinese temple.  We walked through an amazingly ornate carved wooden door to find our beds draped in dreamy mosquito netting.  No sooner could we drop our bags on the floor then a waitress stood at the doorway with glasses of cold watermelon juice to welcome us.  And best of all, after months of hot and sultry tropical boat life, our room was air conditioned!  Nice. 

Our hotel grounds in Ubud-with adjacent rice field

     Our first event of the day was a trip to the Monkey Forest.  At the south end of Town, the locals have, for some reason, decided that the macaque monkeys in the trees there are sacred.  Which gives them license to harass children, steal food, and generally make a nuisance of themselves.  The tourists seem to love it based upon the numbers of tour busses that roll up every day.

     I decided to rent another scooter to get us around while in Ubud.  It took about 30 seconds of watching me have fun puttering around and being cool Dad until Mark and Andrew, the other two fathers in our group, went off to rent their own scooters.  Mark came back with a pink one which led to a fair amount of ribbing. 

 

September 26:

 


 

 

     Ubud was a great little respite from the boat.  We breakfasted next to the pool, which was next to a green rice paddy.  The kids spent their days playing in said pool, attending kite making classes, bargaining for junk in the markets, and getting dragged to Balinese dance shows and temples which they ended up enjoying.  Mark and I drove our scooters all the way back to Ubud (1 hour drive) on the third day to check on the boats and charge batteries. I'm pleased to say that we once again defied death on our long scooter ride.  Andrew, being an Australian and an accountant, looked at the statistics about all those dead ozzies and decided to stay behind.

      Kathleen soothed her nerves at the spa after being subjected to a few anxiety provoking scooter rides the day before.  At 5 to 10 dollars for an hour long massage, who could say no?  We all got haircuts.  In fact, after getting a bad haircut the first time, Emmett got a second.  His poor white neck is now seeing some sunlight for the first time in a long while!

Hanging with the cast after Balinese dance show   Emmett and his kite making instructor

     We finally came back to the skanky harbor water in Serangan and are anxiously awaiting the return of our passports so we can head out of Bali.  Our visitors visas need to be renewed here before we can go on to Borneo.  Both Kath and I are finally recovering from our flus so maybe all that new age yoga healing in Ubud did us some good.  On the other hand, I still start to cough any time I'm around incense smoke so maybe I'd be even better by now if not for that.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                   

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