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Published: October 1st 2014
We left early out of the narrow entrance the next morning and it had been 2 days since my repair to the engine to stop air getting in the fuel so I was getting confident the problem had been solved. As you might have guessed this was not the case. We had no wind all day, motoring over glassy water when the engine started making its familiar rev fluctuations until it conked out! I could bleed it and restart it but each time it would not last as long.
We were aiming for a small flat coral island just off the NE coast Lombok and we were ahead of the other boats going the same way - but as our engine stopped repeatedly they overtook us.
They were all anchored as we closed in on the island, and the current became stronger against us, so every time the engine stopped we would be pushed backwards until I could fire her up again. Even if we could make it around to the anchorage the other concern was that the entrance was a narrow gap in the coral. We considered asking for a tow but decided to strap the dinghy to
the side of the boat. With Luna Ray’s engine off we were only making 0.5 - 1 knot through the turbulent water but at least it was forward - Naomi hanging on hard to keep the dinghy steady. We got the diesel engine going as often as possible and still arrived 2 hours later than planned but at least it ran the last part into the anchorage ( with the dinghy outboard still running aside). Three other yachties came out to guide us in - they happen to all have thick bushy beards which reminded me of the 3 wise men of the nativity. Once anchored they came aboard and replaced a suspect bit of very stiff piping between the primary fuel filter and an inline add on filter.
We dished out some well deserved beers and its been working well since.
The next day started with no wind, and when the wind did come we kept the engine running to keep up with the other boats and their big spinnaker type sails (in case we needed at tow). As the wind increased, we could turn off the engine and had a nice run down to Gili
Aer and later with some current too, and picked up an outer mooring close to the reef. About 10 other rally boats were in the bay. We went ashore and strolled along the beach side road lined with restaurants - many with seating on the beach or cabanas…. nice, Naomi was happy. Found a good spot where we could have a drink while Alex played on the beach. We met some of the other yachties we had followed getting here and planned meeting for dinner.
Naomi had been looking forward to this sort of tourist place where it was easy to go ashore for a cheap meal yet decided she was too tired to return. When we got back to Luna Ray she noticed we were very close to the reef with only 1.5 m of water at the back of the boat. We felt the bottom grind and quickly pulled in the mooring line of which there was a lot of slack - about 5-10 m - and we were in deep water again but we also had a pile of the smelliest slimiest coral encrusted rope on deck with small crabs and fish falling off it. Hung
it off the side of the boat and then threw sea water everywhere to clean the deck - I needed a second shower after this. This also had us hanging very near another boat which made for a slightly nervous sleep.
After to changed moorings the next morning, we collected water off generous other boats and tried to fix the water maker . Two of the wise men came over to help as we took it apart. What would you know, the very O rings that we felt needed changing were the ones not included in the spare seal kit we had bought! We did what we could and it didn’t work. We spent the afternoon ashore again, more lazing by the beach and got some provisions at a shop half a km inland. Took the local taxi - horse and cart - back to shore, dropped off our food and returned for dinner by the beach- with 2 happy hour cocktails each.
A few of us headed south west the next day down the east side of Bali. We had some strong wind for a while close hauled with up to 25 knots,
which eased to 15-20 the rest of the day but the southerly current was so strong to make headway southwest we were almost sailing sideways to our course- 80 degrees of leeway for most of the day! Stopped at Lembongan Island which is very popular with day-trippers from Bali, bringing huge boats and huge wake, along with the swell coming into the bay it was not very comfortable. I had taken the water maker apart and bolstered the seals further with promising initial results but with further tests it stopped working again. One of the wise men had leant us his spare membrane and so finally the next morning we changed the membranes and slowly but very consistently it started working - solution found at last!
This anchorage had been rated highly in the guide but won no prizes with us, we didn’t even go ashore and the others that did said it wasn’t great. We left just before midday to time the last 12 miles to Bali Marina so that we arrived at slack tide. We had a speedy sail with the current pushing us along so arrived a little early and entered
the channel which was mayhem with tugs, fishing boats, tourist speed boats pulling parachutes or these huge flat inflatable boards with people strapped to them. Came around the corner, through the tight entrance to the marina and had an easy docking next to our friends with about 5 staff catching ropes. We had landed- our first marina since Cairns - a warm sense of security came over us.
Checked in- signed the contract, and then joined the others for our second lunch at the marina restaurant (Naomi hadn’t eaten yet because of nerves). Unfortunately they stopped serving after 4 pm so we got take away so we could all eat together that night, especially as we were meeting Sam - the Indonesia liaison of our rally - who took our passports for our visa extensions.
The next day, the 21st, was Naomi choice so we spent it with the thousands of other tourists at Kuta, browsing shops/markets, getting hassled by hawkers, eating McDonalds, watching the sunset with a drink on the beach and then finally a meal at a restaurant which was hard to enjoy as Alex was running all over the place. We
only just had enough time to get some provisions at the supermarket before it shut at 10pm, and load it into a taxi. We had a bit of altercation with the taxi driver as he took us to the wrong place until I pointed it out to him, and then he kept claiming I had told him to take us to a district I didn’t even know! He sped off swearing at us when I didn’t pay him extra for his mistake. So much for Bali spirituality!
The next day we took Naomi to the airport and had our sad farewells - Alex got very upset when Naomi didn’t return a wave as she hadn’t seen it but other than that took it in his stride. We went for an ice-cream treat of his choice from the menu - 2 scoops on top of a thick piece of bread with peanut butter on it! He fell asleep on the taxi ride home and in my efforts to carry him out without waking him he lost one of his things (flip-flops). He later fell down the companionway stairs as he rushed to see one of the countless planes
that fly over the marina that maybe mummy was in, and the next day he got sunburnt - my sole parenting wasn’t off to a great start.
Its been a few days since Naomi left and its going well overall. Our days have been meals, interspersed by Alex watching movies, and me working on the boat, mostly the dinghy (with Alex helping where he can), and strolls along the wobbly concrete marina pontoons. Looking after Alex alone has been not without frustration but overall…. enlightening. Luke
I was meant to send that entry out days ago but didn't have internet connection.
Since then we have been having quite a sociable time at the marina with the other 4 yachts here, and Alex has been getting some babysitting, with even one sleepover. We hired a moped for a couple of days but a trip to Kuta scared me off enough to return it early - well it wasn't really scary but not fun and hard to find your way around (we took an unintentional 15 km detour!). We did have a lovely afternoon relaxing
in a hotel pool there.
Last night Naomi returned to us. We waited for an hour and half to great her, but Alex needed a pee so we missed her coming through the gate.
So today we have done the last of the boat cleanup and a big shopping trip to Carrefour Shopping Center, and plan to leave first thing in the morning. The unpleasant facts are we have about a 50% further to go than what we have done so far in Indonesia and only half the time to do it in ... so longer passages and nights sails are on the cards. Next stop Rass Island (north of Bali).
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