Broke Down in Lombok – And a Side Trip to Bali

We have been cruising for 5 1/2 years, and luckily in that time we have never been delayed by a break down….until now. It happens to everyone eventually. We noticed a crack in our engine mount as we were leaving Komodo and hit some rough head winds that we had to motor through on the way to where we are now…Medana Bay. Turns out, the cracked engine mount and rough weather caused all kinds of ugliness which made our engine make a horrible noise as we got ready to leave on the next leg of this journey. Luckily we were in a good secure place and went about ordering new mounts. However, things take time in SE Asia and we have been waiting for a month for the parts to arrive. Today at least one package arrived and hopefully the next will be here soon. So the repairs have begun.

In the meantime, however, we made the most of our time off and took several trips around the area. Renting scooters has become our favorite thing to do to explore these beautiful islands. A few weeks ago we went to check out the island of Bali, land of the terraced rice fields.
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Bali is a very unique Indonesian island. Where most of the islands are either Muslim or Catholic…or mixed, Bali is Hindi. They have their own language, Balinese, and follow many customs of India…including the very unique Caste system.

The higher the caste of ones family, the larger your family compound and standing in the community. The large family compounds are surrounded by beautiful ornate walls with inner walls to trick the evil spirits from entering. Usually there is a rice loft built on stilts above the entrance. Rice is worshiped and is everything to the way of life here. Every family compound also has a temple built inside so the can make the daily offerings to Shiva.

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Typical villages have family compounds lining the streets and the streets are decorated with religious offerings.

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The whole island is absolutely beautiful and the getting up into the less tourist filled mountain region is beyond rewarding.  The Balinese are extremely hospitable people and do everything the can to make your trip pleasurable.

While on Bali we scootered to Mount Batur, a town built inside a volcano. Mount Batur erupted some 20,000 years ago and left a massive caldera. Over the centuries people moved into the caldera as the land was fertile for farming. There is also a fresh water lake where they farm fish. A new lava cone has formed inside the caldera creating a new Mount Batur. It erupts frequently; the most recent eruption was in 2000.

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On the back side of the newly formed volcano is where the lava fields are. The fields are mined for volcanic rock to build temples and sell overseas.

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New Temple being built atop the new Mt. Batur…these blocks are cut with so much precision that the gap is not even visible…crazy architecture.

 

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Diving with Manta Rays in Komodo National Park

Here is the LINK to my video of us diving with huge Mantas in Komodo.

This photo is taken by AllWinner's v3-sdv

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LOMBOK ELEPHANT PARK & SANCTUARY

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This was a hard one for me….I have read that there are a lot of unscrupulous “zoos” in Bali & Lombok and was worried by going to this place, that I would be supporting animals being mistreated, drugged and taken from the wild for the pursuit of money and entertaining tourists. But I really wanted the experience of interacting with an Orangatuan!

As an informed tourist, I did a little research and found that although the animals do live in small environments at the Elephant park…they do spend most of their time in a “natural” outside space. The park is also a liscelic rescue facility and animal sanctuary. They are one of the only places that responded to an investigation into animal abuse at local zoos.

The Elephant Park is ran by a wealthy veteranarian who is heavily involved in animal conservation.  They report that their animals have all been rescued from poor environments and overcrowded zoos. The animals had already been through “training” at their previous homes; a sad and often tortuous time for the animals. The animals are still paraded out for people to see, but the staff showed general love and care for them.

Although the sanctuary still offers elephant rides, a long time practice in Indonesia, they do seem to limit the amount of time the elephants have to endure this…I did not participate in this offering. Overall, the elephants seemed happy; flopping their ears and waggling their tail. A fairly large area had been built where the elephants could fully submerge themselves in water, graze from naturally growing flora and still interact with the guests.

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Several of the Orangatuans at the park were actually raised in captivity after being taken from their parents in the wild. Wild adult Orangatuans are often killed so their babies can be taken and sold at a premium to unscrupulous zoos and circuses. This practice is now highly illegal in Indonesia…but unfortunately still happens and is only continuing the depletion of such magnificent animals in the wild.

I asked the staff if they have plans to reintroduce the animals into wildlife sanctuaries such as Camp Leaky in Borneo. They stated that it is in the plans..but they have only been open for a year and a half. They are trying to pair each animal with a mate in hopes of breeding and increasing the population of these endangered species. I am sceptical of this…but eh, what can you do. The animals are basically incapable of living a life in the wild as they have been either “broken” of their wild instincts or raised from birth in captivity. One of the domestic Orangatuans was supposedly reintroduced to a wildlife sanctuary and ended up being removed as she was reportedly beaten up on by the other animals. She was never taught to forage for food and began to suffer from malnutrition as well. Once again, I take these explanations with a grain of salt and hope they are true.

Any way, the animals were amazing to see up close and my interation with Palen, the 8 year old Orangatuan was beyond cool. Palen was brought up by people and loves the interaction with guests. He was given a little treat and walked in holding his trainers hand. They were very natural with him, but stood by to make sure he wasn’t overzealous in his affection. Orangatuans are 7x stronger than humans.

Here are some pics:

Google photo album of Lombok Elephant Park

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Scooter Jolan Jolan

Stuffed breaks on boats…alot. So when we noticed we broke the gooseneck of our staysail boom, we had to source out a welder. Turns out the only guy who could do it was on the other side of the island…and he doesn’t pick up. So we intrepid and cheapo cruisers went to find the cheapest way to get it to him. Hiring a car and driver was expensive, renting a car was boring…mopeds I said!!!!

So two mopeds and 20$ later we had bikes for 2 days and time to explore.

After a few minutes of scooter operator error mixed with driving on the wrong side of the road and we were off. We went on small local roads through rice paddie villages and on to the coast where we found a sweet bungalow on the beach.

The island of Lombok is famously touristy, but as soon as you turn out of town and hit the local villages, Indonesian culture starts flowing through ya.

Here are some photos.

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