I showed up to the airport with no idea where I was going to stay, how I was going to get around, and no real good idea what I was doing. I'd been to Bali before, but we had a surf guide that drove us around and had our accommodation ready for us. I landed in Bali, and after some credit card issues, got my visa and through customs. I knew I wanted to stay in a town called Sanur because 1 – its not nearly as crazy as the main tourist areas of Kuta and Legian and 2 – it is central to where the surf should be best in January and February. I hitched a ride to Sanur from a tourist I saw in a car and was dropped off in the southern most section of the town and I started walking north to find my new place. After walking 4 hours in hot humid weather with my large bags and stopping at 9 other places, I stuck my head in place number 10. It ended up I mistook a home for a hotel and was in their front door asking for reception...BUT they had a small guest house they rented once and a while. From the house I can walk to the beach, night-market, grocery store, restaurants and bars. Its also right in the middle of good access to get to the number of surf breaks I wanted to find. So I found my new pad for the next 2 months.
The owners, Wayan (husband) and Nyoman (wife) have been extremely kind and helpful. Some examples: Wayan drove me around for an hour to find a scooter with a surfboard rack. The next day he took me to crazy Kuta to find my new surfboard (got it at Naruki surf shop... best in Bali!). The following day he took me to the police station to get a Bali drivers license. He called a friend and got me to slip ahead of some of the lines and I even got a divers test with all the answers filled out already! Even with his hookups, just like the DMV back home, he waited a solid 2-3 hours for me to go through the process to get the license. So like I said, super nice family.
I'm here during the 'wet season.' When I was in Thailand, it supposedly rained here for 2 weeks straight. So far, the weather is just hot (mid/high 80's) and humid. The mornings have mostly all been nice, and it usually only rains for an hour or so a day... mostly it just rains at night. When it rains though, it just dumps
. Heavier rain than anywhere I've ever seen, accompanied with some seriously close lighting and super loud thunder (really fun for someone who never gets to see this stuff). The ocean temp is low 80's, which is sooooo good for a Cali boy that's here to surf.
So really my life this last month has been searching and surfing. With my own scooter, some awful road maps, and the internet, I would read about a surf break that I wanted to see and then try to find it and surf it. It would be considered crazy if people drove the way they do here back home. There is a method to the madness though and its great to have the freedom to go anywhere I want on this island. Just never lose concentration if you're diving on Bali. From fast moving “By-pass” roads, to tightly packed city streets, to dirt roads with deep mud and puddles, I've been down them all searching for the surf breaks. I'm not going to go into details about all the breaks, but I've seen all the well known wet-season spots now, and some lesser known spots that people have been kind enough to share with me. (Surfers usually don't tell strangers where good surf is; we're very greedy. Being on my own, sometimes covered in mud, usually helps me out).
It took me a while to get back into surfing and 'brush off the cobwebs'... its been a while and I'm kind of jumping into the deep end here. Its rare to have a day where the surf is less than shoulder high. You can usually find a beach where its at least that. So far, I think the biggest I've been in was at Nusa Dua at Geger Beach: I'd guess solid double overhead (10'-14' faces). Funny story: I was duck-diving a wave that large day at Geger. The wave had a ton of power and I just made it under it, but I have older shorts and I've lost some weight this trip.... Anyways, I came up the other side of the wave and my shorts were around my ankles stuck on my board leash! So there I was trying to get my shorts back on with some double-overhead waves headed right at me. Luckily, I don’t think anyone had to see that. I bought new shorts the next day.
I love Bali. The people here are world renown for their kindness and happiness. Although overrun with Aussies and other tourists, I'm still a huge fan of the place. I'll be seeing more of the island and doing a lot more surfing this next month. My friends, old-man Marty and youngster Myles, are coming for most of February and they expect me to show them the ropes out here. I'll start my wave dance.
Don't get me wrong, Thailand was absolutely fantastic, but I have to admit it left me feeling like I needed something more. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I was on the plane to Bali. Our trip through Thailand was mostly booked in advanced and we went from town to town with transportation and accommodation ready before we got there. It was more a vacation than it was 'traveling'. I guess that's why I tackled Bali completely different. Waldo and I were disagreeing on where to go and what to see, so we decided to take a break traveling together for Bali. I don't want to teach him how to surf anyways. I'm not sure where he went, but I'm sure he's having fun.