Medang, Gili Air arrival in Bali

16 – 19 August 2012, Eastern Hemisphere

Dear F&F,

Well we arrived in Medang Marina (which wasn\’t really a marina!). The \”dock\” was completely exposed to the wind and sea and looked like a bucking pony ride at the fair. We opted for a mooring which unfortunately wasn\’t much better. The facilities were lacking to say the least and we stayed for just the one night.

We then made the very short trip to Gili Air which is a noted tourist destination here in Indonesia; only 25 miles from Bali. It too was a great disappointment. All the worst sorts of tourist stuff and of course the ever present rubbish everywhere on land and in the water. The local boats thought nothing of coming within 15 feet of us at 20 miles/hour setting up very uncomfortable wakes much of the day.

On shore, they had a pony pulled cart around the island as a tour, so everything smelled like horse leavings. As well, the restaurants appeared to be nice on the beach, but the food was way below what we\’d hoped, the \”free wifi\” didn\’t work and the crowds, backpackers and the thirty dive operators who all catered to brand new divers was just too overwhelming. We stayed a day, but moved on to Bali as we hoped this would be the place to be……

We arrived in Bali and immediately were overwhelmed by the tourist infrastructure. It reminded me of Cabo San Lucas at the tip of Baja, but five times worse! Para-sailors, jet skiers, banana boat rides, the whole nine yards. The boat drivers NEVER looked where they were going, only where they\’d been – watching the guests. They also only had the driver and rarely a spotter which is standard safety protocol, but hey….Welcome to Indonesia.

We pulled up to the marina and were offered a slip inside (thankfully) versus the outside docks which were non stop tourist boats, barges, etc. It was actually pretty bumpy on the outside of the docks. The entrance was very small and the current was ripping, so it was an exciting entry. All went fine. We\’d been told the marina wasn\’t the best, but it was better than we thought it would be. We had electrical power, but only 10 amp service. The water was non potable, but the water maker would handle our needs; their water was good for washing the boat. The marina has a restaurant which was okay. The guys at the marina were very helpful. We got the boat washed and waxed, the metal polished and had our first real time to catch up on maintenance, load fuel and propane.

Several friends were here ahead of the rally including \”Serenity\”, \”Georgia J\” and \”Ainia\”. Bruce and June on \”Ainia\” would be doing a similar trip to ours at about the same time.

We arrived 4 days before Nikki\’s daughter Hollie\’s wedding and took advantage of the few days to fly to Yogyakarta on the island of Java about 250 miles west of Bali. The worlds largest Buddhist Temple at Borobudur is there built in the 9th Century. As well, there were some very large Hindu Temples of a similar age. Soon after both Temples were built, a large volcano erupted causing the entire population to essentially re-locate. Primarily, the Buddhists went west to Sumatra and the Hindus went east to Bali. The interesting find for me was that I thought that Bali was a large Buddhist center. It\’s not, it\’s actually one of the higher concentrations of Hindu\’s in Indonesia. Buddhists are only 0.5% of the population. About 9% is Hindu and Christian. About 90% is Muslim.

The tour was whirlwind, but interesting and we got back to Bali with plenty of time to prepare for the wedding!

More soon, Scott and Nikki