Published: February 11th 2012February 11th 2012
Shipwrecked in Sanur
Few would argue that Bali holds available a number of experiences and opportunities to get the heart racing. The abundance of bungee jumping, parasailing or jet skiing type activities on offer are seemingly endless. I found myself recently dead in the middle of this type of experience. Only I did so without forking out hundreds of dollars for a flimsy bungee cord. I had a canoe.
Kuta I have found is like looking into the mind of a teenager. It’s loud, busy, has a major shopping focus, and is full of more alcohol, partying and recreational drugs than my parents at home need to know about. After a day or two inside such a whirlwind, you can understand why I opted for the quieter, more relaxed option of Sanur. Little did I know the adventure it had in store for me! Sanur is about half an hours’ drive east of Kuta. Also situated on the coast it provides a pleasant beach surrounded by an outer reef which held formidable surf. It was on this reef that a giant, rusted, old vessel lay, immediately drawing my attention.
During the next few days, I spent my time lying by the water posing as guest to the luxurious resorts which curtained the sand. It was an actual guest, similarly from Australia that I began chatting to one day about his travels. Before long though, the topic changed to the looming structure on the reef. The man then told that two days previous he had hired a canoe with his wife and paddled out near the ship. He explained with great excitement that he’d spied a rope ladder on its’ port side, but hadn’t dared investigate through fear of both the menacing waves and what may still reside on board. I took his information back to the hostel that evening and shared it around the dinner table. My hostel the Big Pineapple housed around 30 guests at once and gave guests the opportunity to meet wanderers from all walks of life. One of my closest friends there, Ricky, an ex airforce officer seemed immediately interested in my proposed investigation of the ship. And I was pleased to have such a man on board!
As the sun rose to a point which made sleeping no longer comfortable, I got dressed and met an eager Rick by the pool for some homemade breakfast to fuel our journey. We then proceeded to the beach where we’d planned on hunting down the best deal for a double person canoe. To our surprise however, we were met by a reluctance of locals willing to let us board the vessel. At first we thought it may have been a matter of respect but as we asked more and more people, we began to realise a constant theme in their excuses. The locals of Sanur truly believed that this ship was haunted. They were terrified of it and I still do not know what happened in regard to its’ crew to make them so. Nevertheless we eventually found a man more concerned about the exchange of 80,000 Rupia than he was our wellbeing.
So away we went. Full of excitement and a little anxiety following our fill of ghost stories. The paddle to the ship took roughly 40 minutes. The water was flat and wonderfully clear. Upon our approach to the port side where we did in fact spy the fabled rope ladder; the waves became much larger. For about 15 minutes we were battered by the swells, all the while considering whether we could in fact reach it. After our first capsize looked at Ricky and said in no uncertain term: “There is no way we are getting over there”. We flipped the boat back over however and he encouraged me to just paddle a little closer. Within no time we were parallel to its enormous rusted hull. Minus a sarong and a few bottles of water we tied the canoe to the ladder and scrambled aboard between waves. We’d done it! And the view was worth the struggle. Once we had finished high fiving and beating our chests we began exploring the old and somewhat eerie wreck. It creaked and groaned as it would if on film and the larger waves would shake the entire deck. We ventured only a little way into the darkness below before heeding the CO2 warnings and our own instincts. Neither of us gave much time to the ghost rumours but I can definitely say I would not enjoy a night out there alone. We wandered around the rest of the ship taking photos before climbing back down the ladder to where the canoe had miraculously remained. As we returned to shore, the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song in our heads, we were both elated by unforgettable adventure this sleepy town had shared with us.