As I start this post we are sitting in a lovely bay just north of Senggigi on the Island of Lombok. We will leave here for Bali in a couple of days.
We left Komodo 11 days ago making our way for the first nights stop to a lovely Island only 15nm out called Gili Lawah Laut. We were able to pick up a mooring here. It is one of Indonesia’s top dive sites. Here we had quite a spectacular thunder and lightning storm but with no rain. Next morning it was on to the Island of Sumbawa passing the Volcanic Island (well they are all volcanic around here) of Gunung Api which rises straight out of the sea to 1950m on the eastern end of the Island. We motored/sailed on to an un-named bay with an unworking light house on the point, to anchor for the night. It was very hard to find a bay along this coast which is shallow enough to anchor in, so the next day we decided we would do an overnight so as to reach the Island of Gili Aer off the coast of Lombok. There are three Gili Islands just off the north-western coast of Lombok which are rather lovely. They are tiny with beautiful coral reefs and white sandy beaches, and clean clear waters. Bamboo thatched hut accommodation and eating places, along with slightly more ‘middle of the road’ sleeping and eating places, dot the foreshore so one can meander along the tracks of an evening and choose from the display of fresh fish, or an ‘off the menu’ dinner, for as little as US$5.00 for a quite substantial and delicious meal. There are no cars or motorbikes on the Islands, only a few bicycles or ‘cidomos’ miniature pony drawn carts which one can hire for a pittance. We stayed there for a couple of nights swimming and snorkelling and eating, then motored over to Lombok only 2.5nm away where we picked up another mooring in a bay called Teluk Kombal. We are 20 minutes north of one of the Islands best beach resorts – Senggigi. The coast line here is dotted with beautiful sweeping white sandy bays which are nearly empty apart from the odd tourist or fisherman.
We have hired a car and did a circuit of the Island. We drove back along the north coast which we had sailed along and then inland to Mt Rinjani – Indonesia’s second highest mountain at 3726m. No we did not climb to the top but stayed in the village of Senaru and did the trek to two spectacular waterfalls, the second where we had a swim in the very refreshing mountain waters. The only trouble is once you had climbed back up the hill again you needed another swim! We stayed in a very basic (and I really mean “basic”) home stay where the bathroom had the lovely view out over rice paddies. It was one of those bathrooms you only used if you really had to. Alec had a slight run in with Mohammad the inn keeper when he discovered he had really diddled us with regards to the amount we paid for the entrance to see the water falls. He gave Alec his money back but relations went down-hill from there. Our evening meal and breakfast the next morning were rather cool affairs. Next day we climbed over the pass which our poor rental struggled to do, but what do you really expect when you are only paying $15 per day for it, stopping every so often to put more water in the radiator, passing quaint villages and driving through dense tropical forest with monkeys in places along the road side. Then it was back along the foot of Mt Rinjani on the southern side passing what seemed one continual village with tobacco fields, coffee gardens rice paddies etc all sitting behind the houses. The roads are very congested with every possible mode of transport imaginable and in many places not even two full lanes. You also have people on motor bikes passing you on the inside curb, or even worse coming straight for you along your curb. Even though it was an interesting trip it was nice to get back to SHAMAL as the bay we are parked in is clean and I can swim from the back of the boat. We have explored the local area and met up with a couple of Australian guys, one who builds the “Pescott” Catamaran here in Lombok, and we were invited for a little tour of his work shop which was most interesting. Thanks very much Terry.