Read on for our trip down the Lombok coast, delivering the What Sup? Lombok boat to its new home.
What Sup? Lombok bought a boat! It needs a bit of TLC and a few modifications, but we are excited for what possibilities it can bring! Our first job, however, was to relocate it from its old home, Gili Air, to its new, Kuta Lombok. So 4 of us set off for a weekend boating adventure along the Lombok coastline and across the Lombok Strait!
First up though, was a trip to Mataram to buy supplies. Fuel jerry cans, rope, buckets, life jackets, drinking supplies, a quick trip to the awesome Kebon
Roek Market for bananas and biscuits and finally we were off. Time for one last rice feed of nasi campur, where 5 plates loaded with rice, jackfruit
curry, friend chicken, fried tempe, Lombok bean soup, and of course, sambal plus drinks came to a whopping $8. Total!
Full tummies, Wawan dropped us off at the Bangsal port, where the usual scam artists were at work trying to con us into paying double what we should have
for a private speedboat. Indignation levels high, we headed instead back to a private speedboat contact who zipped us across to Gili Air in a jiffy
right to our new old boat. While the paperwork and refueling were done by Mikey and Agok, Chai and I loaded the boat and squeezed in a quick snorkel.
A 10 minute fix of parrotfish, angelfish and stonefish satisfied the 7 year old before being 'stuck' on the boat for the next 2 days. Finally, a few
hours late, we set off. And our nameless girl drove like a dream. The wooden 32 ft boat with
a 40 hp outboard putted along perfectly, gliding over the waters smoothly, so smoothly that Chai spent most of the time sitting on the roof, singing
away, watching for dolphins (negatory). Out of the un-ordinarily quiet but usually touristy northwest Gili Islands and along the coastline, past Sengigi,
stunning green jungles and hills rolling down to the beaches and sea. The sun started to set, sending clouds of peach and apricot in all directions.
Still we putted on, arriving at the smaller Gili Islands just as darkness was setting in. Its a bit confusing with all these Gili Islands, but basically
in Sasak, Gili just means Island, and there are a number of islands which are referred to by this. The most famous are the 3 in the northwest, off
the coast of Sengigi; Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Meno. These 3 pedestrian only islands are high on the tourist trail, with Gili Trawangan first
gaining fame in the '90s as a backpacking mecca, and now all three popular with tourists for fantastic snorkling and diving, and clear blue waters.
Quintessential island hols. The others, however, are no less stunning but a whole lot more unexplored. Gili Asahan, Gili Gede, Gili Nanggu, amongst
others, lie further to the southwest, off the coast of Lembar, and this is where we stopped in for the night. We set anchor by Gili Asahan, a gorgeous
island with 4 resorts on it, but mosquitos made us pull anchor and drop it further out. A bit of dinner (crackers, bread rolls, mango, apple and bananas)
and we settled down for the night. Only to find it pretty rocky, not great when you're sleeping on the roof with no sides, so decision was made to
move, as it was clear we had parked in a channel. So we putted round a few corners, round a few little islands to drop anchor at a protected, quiet,
isolated little inlet. Perfect. Tucked ourselves up in bed, when up pulled the water police in two boats, shining serious torches in our faces (gulp)
and politely advising us to move on. What we thought was peaceful and secluded turns out was dodgy and frequented by 'incidents'. Best move on then!
So under escort, a boat each side, we were guided across the bay, past some little islands and into the inlet of Gili Gede, by a little fishing village,
a beautiful resort, and parked up right by a floating fishing platform. Complete with generator buzzing and floodlight, all night. Ahhhh, the serenity.
Take 2: Agok wrapped up in sarongs nestled in the bean bag on deck, and the 3 of us in our Aussie swag on the boat roof. If you're not familiar with them,
these are all in one mattress/mossie net/canvas cover style tents that can be rolled up and traditionally carried on the back of your horse for travelling
cattle herders in the outback. voila! instant comfy bed! Cue a night of sleeping under the stars, fishermen put-putting back and forth across the bay,
mossies biting, misguided rooster crowing at the rising moon, the mosque's first call to prayer of the day and finally, the rising sun ending the generator
and white light, and the wakening village sounds floating across the bay. Love.
so day 2 began. Oblutions sea styles done (don't ask), we head over to Gili Asahan and stop in to the amazing Eco Lodge for a very dignified espresso.
Coffee is a must, and we feel spoilt to have it here. The Eco Lodge appears rustic yet is a case study in beauty, so well designed with everything
thought out perfectly. An alang alang covered restaurant by the beach, batik cushions on driftwood furniture, with the most stunning shells hanging
as ornaments on the Christmas driftwood tree. A quick fossick for shells and wishing we could stay longer to explore the coral beds in front, and we
it is a beauty of a day. Blue blue skies, absolutely no wind, and lake-like water. Optimal conditions to cross the Lombok Strait, which we come to
as we head out of the protection of the islands. It was visible on the water in front of us, lake-like water then churning waters with swell rolling
in. Lombok Strait is a relatively narrow body of water between Bali and Lombok, and is a passageway from the Pacific Ocean into the Indian Ocean, meaning
that there is a shallow shelf connecting the two oceans, creating one of the strongest tidal flows on the planet. Interestingly, a 30 cm height difference
occurs here between the two oceans, and the tidal flow acts as a barrier between the marine creatures on each side, crediting this body of water with
keeping Australasian fish separate from their Asian counterparts. Obviously I never told any of this to my mother, but this was why the timing of our
delivery was crucial, as the tides were right, with no swell and no wind. Into the current we went, with a noticeable whoosh. Even with these conditions,
it was a bit choppy, but the current with us, we suddenly went from a leisurely 5 knots to 13! and the lil one relocated inside. So along
we went, past the most stunning scenery of the east coast of Lombok to our left, past Nusa Penida on our right, and Bali majestically rising up.
After about 15 minutes, outside a gorgeous coconut tree lined bay, Agok pointed out a body of water to our left; Lombok's most famous wave, Desert Point,
or locally known as Bangko-Bangko. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, this left-hander is credited as being one of the best waves in the world,
providing double overhead, mesmerising long barrels. Set after after set. A fickle monster too, for she appears only in huge groundswell and
low tide. But today, for us, there was only flat water in the distance. After a good hour and a half in the visibly churning waters, with swell,
we could see a line with the flat water up ahead, and as we motored towards it, we caught sight of 2 circling fins criss-crossing the waters behind
us! Sharks! Mike yells! But too long, too thin, so chuffed to think it was swordfish or marlin! A highlight. Then with one
final churn, pushing the boat 90 degrees, we exited the current and out we went, all relieved smiles and high fives. Full respect to the ocean,
for even under the best of conditions, that strait was not to be taken lightly.
we motored on, 3 more hours. We unrolled ed the swag on the roof, and there we sat, watching the stunning cliffs, the green forests, the waves
crashing on rocks of south Lombok. Beaches we knew looked completely different from this perspective. Past Belongas Bay, home of The Magnet and
The Cathedral dive spots, where pelagic life is abundant, with hammerheads and rays being a main calling card. WSL is proud to partner with DiveZone to access these incredible spots on our doorstep.
Rain hit, as whisperings of a surf session at Serangan began making the rounds. Messy, choppy waves meant this was knocked on the head, and instead
we watched the rain come over the hills above Selong Belanak, the beautiful horseshoe bay where we hold our beginner lessons covered in gray, and the
abandoned fishing/cray platforms bobbing up and down. By this stage, the kid had had enough of boat life, the same songs had been sung on repeat all
day, and beating that massive storm cloud home was high on the priority list.
Homeward bound we went, so close now. One final corner, and there she was, Kuta Bay. Home, to be met on the beach by the smiling assassin Bruno,
WSL owner, and family, with cold Bintangs! Thanks to incredible conditions, we got the girl back to Kuta for her new chapter in life, and got to see
some amazing sights along the way.