April 27, 2010

An Indonesian Adventure

This January Sam and I headed south of the equator to check out Bali and Lombok – islands in the archipelago of Indonesia. We were fortunate enough to have a base for our travels. Having moved there last July for a teaching job, it seemed rude not to take the opportunity to visit my Mum whilst she’s living in tropical paradise! (Ed: this was first posted over on our LiLi news blog)

Our time was split between surfing, relaxing and snorkelling, with a bit meditating and moped exploring thrown in for good measure (although not at the same time).

Sanur Beach – the is my Mum’s local beach where we spent many hours walking up and down the beach front, sampling the iced coffees and yummy fruit juices. More importantly it’s where we did quite a bit of surfing. Me in my kayak and Sam on his body board. Bali is world famous for it’s breaks and there were surfers everywhere. We were trying out the Sanur reef when it was in it’s prime season for wind (prevailing offshore), but less prime for swell size, this was great for me as a relative beginner in the surf: small to medium sized waves with perfect shape! When there were other surfers out in the water, they were mostly just curious as to what I was up to in my small plastic kayak, very few kayakers visit the region so I was a bit of a novelty.

Religion played a huge role in the everyday lives of the Balinese. Before heading out for some sunrise fishing, the woman in the above photography made an offering to the sea. Outside every home and business, offering are made 3 times a day. There are made up of flowers, incense and food as shown by the photo below:

We also explored many other beaches in Bali, including a long weekend spent with my Mum at Amed on the north east side of the island.

These children were playing on the beach at sunrise, waiting for the fishermen to return from the night spent out at sea.

We also traveled to the Gili Islands, just off the coast of Lombok. First stop was the party island of Gili Trawangen where I had my first scuba dive! That was definitely an experience I'll never forget, we saw, amongst many many colourful things, a moral eel, a school of impressive bumphead parrotfish and even a black tip reef shark! After that we headed to the beautiful Sunset Gecko resort to spend a few nights on the peaceful Gili Meno. None of the three Gili islands allow motorised transport so if you want to get around the island (although walking them is very easy) the only mode of transport is this:

On Meno we were able to snorkel right from the resort's beach front, there were some stunning coral formations and even turtles.

Our next stop was Lombok where we had a moped powered surfing adventure. Although a reef break wasn't exactly what I wanted for my first time surf boarding, I could not have asked for a more beautiful location.

While I flailed around trying to stand up on the smaller waves, Sam headed further out to the point to body board the bigger ones.

We travelled along Lombok's south coast and inland to the mountains on our trusty moped.

Although nothing like the antics in Iceland, we saw our own little volcanic eruption whilst staying in the foothills of Mt. Rinjani.

Maybe the youngest petrol station attendants ever?

Back in Bali, I managed to find a river to paddle. The Talaga Waga River is regularly rafted but from what I could find out had only been paddled by kayakers once before. Upon arriving at the rafting get in for Sobek I was greeted by the site of this lovely looking drop. After been told by many of the local guides that I was crazy, no one had paddled if before and I would break limbs, we decided it was all good, and I paddled the drop anyway.


Just below the main drop there was a fun little second drop. Fun times. After that I headed off behind the rafts to check out the rest of the river. It was definitely a bit of a random adventure which took far longer than expected and resulted in me putting some kind of bamboo stump through my foot but the river was gorgeous with lush green rice paddies all around and some fun grade 3/4- boulder gardens.

On the south side of Bali, down on the infamous 'Bukit', we found some sweet waves for some laid back surfing.

We also headed inland and spent some time exploring the cultural hub of Ubud, with it's yummy vegetarian cafes and bustling market.

Back in Sanur, Mum and I tried a bit of stand up surfing; like canoeing and surfing but harder...

We also checked out the typical tourists spots of vivid green rice paddies and spectacular ancient temples.

All in all, Indonesia provided a holiday with a bit of a difference for us. It was hot, beautiful and welcoming with amazing surf that could of entertained us far beyond our six weeks. Now we're back on the Nottingham, I'm kayaking lots, and Sam is busy running freestyle coaching clinics. Bali and Lombok are now distant memory but looking ahead there are exciting plans in the works. World Cup 2010 takes place in Germany next month and then it's back to Uganda after that!


Flex said...

Whether it is for the best activities, the best destination, or the best tours, I can see that Indonesia is a good choice.

by:White water rafting trip



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