Today we ate at the Liberty Dive Resort for breakfast as usual, but suddenly, the taxi was there! Michael was able to hang out until 1:00 PM for his ride back to Denpasar. Katherine, Tommy, and I quickly threw the rest of out stuff in our bags and headed to the port. Our ride today would take us off of Bali, across the Lombok Strait, through the Gili Islands, and finally, to the island of Lombok.
Once we arrived on Lombok in the port of Bangsal, we were met by our driver, Dan. The phrase "Dan the Man" could not fit more perfectly. This guy could drive! He was fast and smooth, making good time from the North East side of Lombok all the way to the south central part of the island to the small village of Kuta. We passed through some beautiful countryside and even up and over a big mountain pass. Up high in the mountains, we passed through another monkey area. This time, no passports were taken!
That's me at the port of Bangsal on Lombok.
Watermelons were in season with stands selling them everywhere! I don't think they are getting the $5 price we have to pay in Las Vegas.
Please secure your passports!
Once we arrived in Kuta, we were happy to find our homestay, The Lazy Inn. The Sasak Soul surfing lessons we booked is tied in with this accommodation, and it is nice! We found our rooms clean and well equipped. The guy at the front desk took care of us and we just chilled for a little bit. Mopeds were available, so we headed out to see what's in Kuta. People with surfboards were everywhere! There was no sign of heavily built up properties, just small surf bungalows and restaurants. I had not driven a moped up to this point in the trip, so driving on the left side of the road took some getting used to, not to mention dodging pot holes and dogs on the dirt streets.
Our place was hooked up! Nice pool and mopeds.
Lombok traditional food with the local SAMBAL sauce. ATTENTION*** "Please eat with caution!"
Chicken Sambal. This meal was about $1.50
NOM NOM NOM!!!
We just chilled out for our first night on Lombok. The next morning breakfast was at the homestay with amazing fruit and pancakes. Our "surf crew" arrived promptly at 9:00 am. We were greeted with the most enthusiastic bunch of individuals ever. Dan was our driver and Wanwan and Ade sat in the back playing the tunes. The drive out to the break was crazy, weaving through farms and dodging animals. We arrived at the beautiful white sandy beach called Selong Belanak. Our mission: whitewater pop-ups and balance practice. We got this!
Me applying the tribal zinc. Oh, what I would give for neon colors.
Perfect application Tommy, just perfect.
The crew after our first session. There were plenty of beachside restaurants to choose from, and the scenery was truly special.
Much of the coastal countryside on Lombok looked like this.
After surfing and cleaning up, it was time for a nap. Well, I didn't really nap. It was more of just a lay there and whine about how bad I hurt from doing 5,000 pop-ups on the surfboard. I was too tired to head out in Kuta, so Katherine and Tommy headed out on a moped to take in the sunset. And....
ran out of gas!
You need gas to go go go!
Thankfully, Sandy and Helen, the owners of the surf camp, are super awesome. Sandy got another guy with a moped to let him borrow his bike to "tow" the disabled moped. That meant Katherine got on the back of Sandy's moped and Tommy and the other guy got on the moped that was out of petrol. Sandy and Katherine got behind the other moped and Sandy put his bare foot on the rear peg area and pushed it all the way down a very rutted dirt road to a parking area. Then he sped off and bought a liter of gas and put it in while Katherine and Tommy went ahead up to the lookout to enjoy the sunset. What a guy!
Katherine and Tommy made it to the most perfect sunset location on Lombok.
Another day, we took out two mopeds. Tommy is a much better rider with Katherine on the back. When I took her, it was all bad. I think I almost ditched her a few times.
I think this boat has seen some better days!
The next morning, we were picked up promptly at 8:00 am to head to an intermediate break at Tanjung Ann to try our hand and some green waves. This time Helen was our driver, and Sandy was there with an Australian couple he had been instructing for the last two weeks. Katherine almost didn't go, since she had been up all night sick, but decided she would give it a go. When we arrived the guides could not contain their excitement. The waves were much bigger and more powerful than they had been for weeks. Katherine, Tommy, and I were about to go from white water stand up practice to attempting to surf overhead waves on a reef break with current. Oh, and the waves break 3 times, starting pretty far out, so we had to be taxied out by a boat. What could possibly go wrong? Katherine didn't last very long since she was still extremely nauseous. She attempted to catch a couple waves, wiped out, and exhausted herself on the arduous paddle back out. She caught a ride back in on a fishing boat and chilled on the beautiful beach. Tommy and I were gluttons for punishment, and were beaten up over and over again for a couple for hours. I got about 6 or 7 good rides, but got frustrated choosing some dud waves just to watch 3 beauties immediately after with no one riding them. Tommy described the day as a perpetual exercise in drowning.
Tommy at the surf chill spot.
Tanjung Aan Beach
Helen and Sandy inspecting the board mounting.
That night we ate, licked our wounds, and tried to get to bed early to have some energy to try it all again the next day. One interesting thing to mention is that World Cup Soccer is currently taking place. It is always fun to watch matches with people from all around the world while traveling. Most of the restaurants in Kuta have giant screens set up to project the matches, and many are offering drink specials to entice the tourists into their establishments. What surprised me is how interested the Indonesians are in the tournament. The local people gather in the streets to look in and watch the matches. Most do not come into the restaurants, since many of the places showing the matches are charging tourist prices. Sandy has been making bets on all the matches. So far he has not done very well. He has lost 2 mopeds and 5 bottles of rum! The first match of the day comes on at 8:00 or 9:00 pm. If you are a hard core fan, you will need to stay up all night since the last matches are beginning at 2:00 am.
Tommy's shirt puts it plain and simple. This must be easy.
Day three of our lessons brought us back to Tanjung Aan. The waves were not quite as big and powerful, but the current was a bit stronger. Katherine was proud to get 3 real long rides in. These were her first green waves ever. If you catch a wave at this break, you ride forever. Tommy and I do not really want to discuss our day. I started mine with a broken leash and an AWOL board on my first wave, which caused me to get thrown around and smack my foot on some coral, and then things digressed from there. I did practice turtle rolling under waves, and was pretty successful and will have to attempt in the future when using long boards. The last 3 days of surfing kicked our behinds! At least when we threw in the towel for the day, there was a beautiful beach with cheap, good food at Turtle Warung waiting for us.
"The boys" with a giant plate of nasi campur. They ate it with their hands, which is quite common in Indonesia.
High season has not started, so we had many places to ourselves. A World Cup match is starting though, so things pick up through the evening.
All good things must come to an end. After four days on this beautiful little island, we were heading back to Bali for some more scuba diving, and perhaps some more surfing. We really enjoyed our short time in Kuta. I am shocked that big resorts have not invaded this place yet. It was strange to be on the gorgeous beaches with no commercial development. Kuta is a very small fishing village, with small hotels and home stays, several warungs, a couple small surf shops and mini marts, and not much else. I wish we had longer to enjoy the area. Dan arrived at 9:00 am to drive us all the way back to Bangsal so we could catch our fast boat ferry back to Amed. We arranged a transport through Liberty Dive Resort to take us to the North West part of the island to the town of Pemuteran. It was going to be a long day.
"Dan the Man" arriving to drive us back to Bangsal.
Horse cart in Mataram
Market day in Mataram. Anyone need a goat?
Tommy and Dan in Bangsal
Back in Bali