Bye Bye to Bali

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October 4th 2014
Published: October 4th 2014
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Bali surfBali surfBali surf

as we kept close to the coast
We motored out of Bali International Marina early, before the staff and other yachties had stirred. Followed the markers through the channel that was so much quieter than our entry 11 days earlier but still got a few parps from the horn of a tanker as it chased us out to sea. The strait down the east side of Bali is notorious in its strength but also that it always runs south- not much help to us now- but apparently weakened by a rising tide. To overcome this we followed the advise to hug the coast to stay out of the current as much as possible but still crawled along at 2 knots for some hours, watching the surfers, but later in the day we had current pushing us north at about 8 knots - perhaps some sort of countercurrent stream.

We set out with the plan to sail through the night to the island of Rass about 80 miles north of Bali. We motored all day and as we rounded the eastern tip of the island the wind whipped up to about 20-25 knots. In our sailing ride we were traversed by many fishing canoes with colourful sails whizzing back to shore for the end of the day. Naomi was nervous about a collision but I knew they would be very skilled to avoid us. As their numbers petered out, we came across many fishing platforms to avoid. Not seeing an end to them on the horizon and the light depleting we decided to pull in to an anchorage we were aware of at “Amat Roads”.

We dropped anchor in front of the black sand beach with a mix of tourists and locals on it, with a beautiful conical volcano as a backdrop, backlit by the setting sun. The anchorage is known for being rolly, which came true as the night progressed.

As a result we left earlier than planned the next morning for our overnighter to Rass Island 100 miles away - at the east tip of Java. We had a good run with a steady easterly wind all day as we watched Bali fade into the horizon and dodged endless fishing platforms - not sure how they are held steady as we were in over a km of water. The wind died out at 5pm, so we motored over gradually flatter seas until midnight which made sleeping easy for Naomi, and thankfully the platforms had stopped. A small ship carrying a crane veered close behind our path but once it reached us came up alongside for a while - only about 50-100 m away - I assume they were just curious - before speeding away to our west.

Just after midnight a light wind of about 12 knots came in from the SW and I went for a sleep. When I stirred a couple of hours later Naomi had just been soaked by a splash from a wave whipped up by the wind that was now around 20 knots - she said it was like having a cold bucket of water tipped down her back! I got up to help reduce sail as we were now going too fast and would arrive at the anchorage before dawn - this was especially important to avoid as there is coral to sight and I assumed the platforms would start to reappear as we got closer to land again.

As I took over watch again just before 5am it was still windy, the boat was rolling about in steep seas and the moon had gone so looking out for platforms seemed impossible. I took some solace in the fact the chart said this was a submarine training area so perhaps the platforms were not allowed there.

Fortunately it wasn’t long before first light and we came around the west of the island we saw 3 boats that we know leaving for the next island - had a little chat to each on the VHF. It would have been sensible to join them but we had been looking forward to our rest and came around the reef to drop the anchor in lovely flat water. The shore is a long way away separated by more reef so we didn’t go- Alex wasn’t upset for long.

Spent the day freshening up and resting. Some fishermen approached us to sell us some catch. Later, out of the blue there was a load bang like someone had dropped a barrel of water on the cabin floor. We couldn’t see what caused it. Later when we in the cockpit having lunch there was another clearer bang and water shot 5-10 m into the air amongst some fishermen about 100m away! They were blasting the reef !- we watched them quickly flip the floating fish into their canoes before the seagulls beat them to it. It was a little hard to relax as a few further explosions went off nearby over the next couple of hours- from inside it felt like someone had whacked the hull with a metal pole.

Tomorrow we leave early like the others had for another dreaded overnighter - Naomi really is not a fan, especially as she got seasick again - 140 miles NW to Bawean Island which is supposed to be quite nice so might treat ourselves to 2 nights there.

Additional photos below
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Alex rests as we pass the Bali coastAlex rests as we pass the Bali coast
Alex rests as we pass the Bali coast

just before heading out to sea

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