Arrived on Feb 16th, and took a bus from the Kuta area to Candidace. I was not interested in staying in the heavily touristed Kuta area and wanted to get to Amed for some diving, unfortunetley the bus didnít go any further than Candidace. Had a stop in Ubud where a couple of girls headed for Lombok and the gili islands got on. It would have made for a good side trip if I wasnít stuck flying out in only 4 days. By the time I got to the end of the line it was almost dark and raining off and on, so I decided not to push on for Amed and got a room at the Kaíapa Lodge. Expensive, but nice. Went for a walk around town and booked a dive trip to Amed for the morning. Left early the next morning for the drive to Amed where we went out on brightly painted narrow boats with bamboo outriggers for stability. Because of the outriggers you couldnít do a back roll entry, so you had to jump in and gear up in the water. Best part of the diving was the nice warm temp. The coral wasnít that spectacular and the fish only so-so. Part of my rating may be affected by the fact I have dove at Sipadan by this time which could be flavoring my memory of Bali diving. The next day took a bus back to Ubud and walked to see the Monkey temple. Ubud is higher up in the mountains and a bit cooler. Nice pool at my hotel where you could swim to cool off. Had dinner with a couple from the UK, which decided to cut their travels short and spend the rest of their travel budget buying baby clothes and other items to ship back to London where they hope to open a store and sell them. If it works out they hope to have a business allowing them to make shopping trips to Bali every couple of years.

 

That morning I got up at 3am to take a van further inland to start climbing the volcano Baktur. I figured it would be a good warm up for Kinabalu later. It was a steep climb, but only lasted a couple of hours. We reached the top for sunrise, but the top was completely clouded in so you couldnít see the sun until later on the way down when the clouds cleared enough to give us some shots of the volcano top and the lake down inside the outer crater rim. Found several holes in the rock where hot steam was coming out. Apparently the volcano is still active and killed a couple of german tourists back in 2000. The guide wouldnít take us near the actual lava areas because of that, but showed us where he would cook eggs in the ground as well as a hot spring that locals climb to for religious services once a year to the volcano. Definitely a nice easy little climb with some really good views when the clouds cooperate. Spent the afternoon walking around Ubud and swimming. Following day took the bus back to Kuta where I did a little shopping and bought a drum. Flight out on the afternoon of the 20th, went without a hitch and Mike met me at the airport back in Singapore.

 

To some extent Bali is too much a tourist stop now, and isnít the hideout it might have been 20 years ago, but I certainly could have spent some more time there and donít feel there is any reason to worry about terrorists. I also need to stay on top of these updates, because now a month later almost I just donít have the interest in giving the detail I have on earlier trips. If you have questions just send me an email and I will try to remember what happened. Anyway, about to leave for my last dinner here in Singapore so the Borneo update will have to wait until I have some down time in New Zealand.

 

Cheers, John

3/18/03