Bali – java

Diary date : 22nd June -2010

Waves from our dreams

Travel and blogging do not go always well together. So much to see and do and of course take photos! Photography is all about the light, so you get up before sunrise often and stay up for sunset! Long days and after many weeks, months you find there is not much rest time! And even less time with fickle power and even more fickle Internet connections to actually blog about your adventures, and of course pure laziness plays a part in my late blogging. Anyway my last blog was before Bali!

where to start? Mary has covered Bali and Indonesia pretty well although a few more images of giant waves and me risking my neck and getting thrashed by waves would be nice so here they are. Bali has waves that break from deep ocean onto razor sharp coral with a force and speed that pushed me to the edge of my abilities and often put me in that zone where life is on the line. Such a great place to have been when your are safely back on the beach with an ice cream in your hand! So awesome to have surfed such famous breaks like, Dream Land, Impossible’s and Ulu Watu; all legendary names in the surf world for good reason! Mind you Balanagan our home beach for 6 weeks picks up a bigger swell than some of the other places and is a faster and more dangerous break than the others. After surfing there the famed Ulu Watu seemed not nearly as scary as I thought it might be.

Balanagan Beach

Bamboo Beach huts.


Did I mention the paddle out spot is by the headland..

Seashore temple, making an offering to the gods is wise!

Traditionally the Balinese fear the waves.

Today they are at one with the waves.

Another survivor returns.

Sunset at Ulu Watu temple.

Bali is a major tourist destination but for all the consumerism the people of Bali have found a way to just welcome us to their island and maintain their own spiritual integrity. Witnessing their festivals and ceremonies makes one wonder how we have survived in the west without such intricate and beautiful ways to show our love to our own families and also to say goodbye with such grace and devotion.  Sometimes we just do not know what we are missing until we travel and see the world through another culture.

Balinese coffins.

Fire to purify.

Over 50 family’s  light the fires at the same time.

Jumping over to Java we again found ourselves on the edge of travel adventure and being eaten by the volcano gods (last time was Ecuador). Who can resists the 500m climb to the bottom of a smoking volcano in intense humid temperatures with an awesome acid filled lake belching pure sulphur! Apparently a lot of people can resist the urge to die and simply look from the top; odd that lot, but who cares we know how to have fun!

Looking into Mordor.

Belching volcano and acid filled lake!

Our small dance with the fire gods made us feel somewhat at risk and a week later we wondered if we had permanently damaged our lungs trying to breath pure sulphur. Local miners of course do this every day, risking their lives hauling the sulphur back out of the land of Mordor and into our homes for use in cosmetic products amongst other thing We then traveled through a tranquil tropical mountain forest over a lumpy back road to Mount Bromo, home to several active volcano’s. Waking at 5am we board a 4×4 in the dark and climb up on narrow winding roads, dawn sheds light on our road which is now fully engulfed in thick fog and has no guard rails and frequent cliff like edges. Our driver is following the rear light  of the jeep in front with the focus of a sharp shooter and as the rain starts I sense that losing those small red lights in the mist and the dust could end badly. The wipers stop working and the guiding lights ahead are gone, the jeep lurches in random directions my keen imagination is let lose and with no sense of where we are or how high the cliffs maybe be I insist that we stop and clean the dust and water off the window, it helps a bit and we can see tracks that hopefully do not go over a cliff. The dirt road becomes tarmac and as the mist lifts we are on a narrow jeep wide road with a precipice on both sides with no discernable bottom! Minutes later we arrive at jeep central, it appears we are late to the event and not alone. The viewing platform is chokers full of other would be adventurers. Tripods are not an option. we perch on top of a railing finally able to see a massive tree ringed volcanic crater with several perfectly formed peaks above the mist. As the sun rises the mist parts and we can see a smaller crater billowing volcanic fumes skyward. Stars are fading as the warm rays illuminates a scene from a lost world.

Mt Bromo, Java.

Later we backtrack and clamber inches from the heart of the billowing core. At home we worry about pesticides in our food and fret over air pollution, yet here we sit with our feet hanging over the rim as if its a quite pond instead of an active volcano which has a bad habit of erupting without much warning. We throw flowers into the monster as per local custom and hope it likes the offering.

One offering to the gods.

Roast toes.

8hrs later after a hair raising drive in a 6 seater Bemo (van) we understand why the locals no longer fear volcano’s. The Bemo races and swerves like a bullfighter challenging oncoming trucks to a game that all to often ends in death and destruction.  Daily dances with death on the roads here are far more real than the occasional volcanic hiccup. Mount Merapi (Volcano) rises over xxxxx the capital of Java, as darkness falls the sky lights up with electronic billboards and the streets are alive with a surge of humanity. The next day we board a local bus across town to visit Buddiahxx. Rising above the park is a huge square stone temple with xx66? huge carved stone bells each one contain a statue of Buddha, an awesome sight and a peaceful end to our journey through Java.


2 thoughts on “Bali – java

  1. Great commentary as always but as always few if any photos show…there is spaces where the pictures should show be but no pictures?

    It is good to hear you are doing well and we all hope you have a good Christmas where ever in the world you happen to be.


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