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Month May 2015

Bali

(abbreviated post)

Bali chart
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The ride up to the 5 hour ferry on the right, and the ride down to Denpasar on the left
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The Bali ferry, and fishermen
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On we go
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Bali from the boat
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Denpasar was crazy. It’s a big holiday destination for Australians.

But a good spot to get photos of parents taking their kids to school in the morning on scooters
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Another. Terrific
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We would have skipped this town all together but we’ve got an appointment at the BMW dealer. There’s enough money here to sell $70,000 bikes.

The epoxy has held! Hooray, disaster avoided. The dealer is professional, the mechanics skilled and fast replacing the fuel pump assembly. The staff behave, as to be expected, like new friends. A highly recommended stop
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Second day’s track. We been warned that the quickest route, the coast road is busy and difficult so we ride through the center of the Island on a smaller road
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Leaving Denpasar. The riding is pretty difficult at times, but we’ll get to that in the first Java post
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Then into the hills
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Past a Mosque. Indonesia is the largest Muslim democracy in the world. The major religions are Muslim 86%, Christian 9%, Hindu 2%. The Hindu population is largely concentrated on Bali, where, according to Wiki, 90% of the Balinese identify themselves as Hindu
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Through another town
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Into the country
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Water stop and liter-bottle gas station
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Roughly in the center of the island, on this road, villages are more concentrated
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There are many old structures that look like meeting places, that we’re guessing are Hindu
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A back street in a small village
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Not sure what this is, but it’s ornate and looks very old
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A beautiful home
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Back into the countryside
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Rice fields everywhere
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Many looked like they were between crops
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Back on the coast, there were monkeys everywhere. These were larger than the ones we saw earlier. Not very shy. They have a disconcerting habit of having frequent sex with themselves
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I came back from a short walk and this one was trying to get into my tank bag
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Finally to the town of Goris where I found a great place in a banyan forest
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I wanted to see Menjangan island, for the best snorkelling in Bali, if not the world, they say with frequency here. Off we went
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Here. It’s in a national park
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There’s a magnificent statue of Ganesha looking out to sea
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Countless fish live on the narrow rim of coral next to an abyssal drop off. Poor photo, but there are thousands of fish in this shot
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Incredible, never seen anything like it. It’s claimed this is one of the top 5 spots in the world
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I spent two days here and could easily stayed a month
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Looking over the edge into the abyss
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Then over to Java
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The distance across the straight is short, you can see buildings on Java, but the ferries crawl over at maybe 3 or 4 knots, maybe 10 on the water at any time.
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Sumbawa and Lombok

(abbreviated post)

Sumbawa chart
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The first day’s track
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We’d met some Indonesian riders on the ferry, down from Jakarta on a riding holiday. They’re on Kawasaki Versys. Taxes on imported motorcycles are as extreme as in parts of South America here. A new BMW 1200GSA costs $70,000US I’m told a couple of weeks later. Amazingly there are quite a few in Jakarta, we hear. The Versys is the affordable ADV choice and they have big clubs for the bike up on Java.

We ride off the ferry together in Sape, which is a bit of a dive
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The bikes
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The lunch
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These guys are behind schedule and going to do a night ride the whole way through. Apparently they did a 20 hour ride previously. Way behind what I ever want to do. But we set of together to Bima. I’m riding at the rear and after about 20 minutes the route they’re riding doesn’t agree with my GPS track. So I wave one rider down and say I’m going the other way. I was wrong, and ending up chasing them and not catching them later.

The next day’s track
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A typical small Indonesian town
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Ox
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And at one point when I stop for water, monkeys come out of the forest to check us out. They don’t get too close, just close enough for a good look. They’re about the size of a cat, unafraid and quiet
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Then down to the coast
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To a fishing village. It seems all the coastal villages are fishing villages
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It’s extremely beautiful.

The green/yellow together are a recurring them, not sure why yet
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The street
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The yellow/green that jars somehow
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Little fish about 3″ long, flat. They smell great drying here
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I get back to Lucinda and of course, new friends
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Great ride along the coast
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To the ferry
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A monster line-up. I walk to the front and by some amazing coincidence there are the Brothers Reid. We’re like lost friends and have a big hug
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Leaving Sumbawa. Sorry about the shortage of photos
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The track over to Lombok
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Lombok chart
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Lombok’s small. We hung out with the Brothers Reid, drank beer and went snorkelling. Sounds pretty cushy, I know. But ahead a week or so is a part of the world every rider is afraid of, so the quiet before the storm
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Flores

(abbreviated post)

We found some nice island images here: nice charts

Here’s Flores, the second island up the chain. The black and white insert map is useful. It’s an interesting location in the world, kindof not where we’d normally expect to find ourselves, I’ve been thinking
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Here’s our track across the island, 3 days riding but about 10 days total, longer because of 2 things/small problems
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After the ferry-trip-from-hell we headed west through the forest on a good, small road
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And stopped at a huge pile of husks
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Walked over to investigate
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It’s the first time on this ride we’ve been comfortable taking people pictures. Somehow it’s a positive here
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Chocolate, as it turns out!
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They chop them, strip out the nuts inside
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One of the group gets up and shows me a tree across the road. I thank him profusely for going to the trouble. We later learn there’s no end to the generosity in Indonesia
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Into the mountains
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Lots of water everywhere
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After a few hours, down to the ocean
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Hot, humid and still
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The beach is entirely coral
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We end up at a place on the ocean, picture postcard beautiful
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The beach and a tree
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Up in the mountains we started smelling gas. The back of the air box is wet. Uh oh
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We know exactly what the problem is. The gas must be coming from the fuel pump. And the broken part must be the re-call part dealt with by an unnamed BMW dealer (not BM Motorcycles) we recently visited. they’ve screwed up the recall fix. I saw this coming.

So, first to test it. Photo dry
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Start the engine and it leaks. Damn
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So after a few quick calls we find out there’s no good fix without a new flange and the best possible thing to do is epoxy it. This is unlikely to work as the flange is under 3bar/50 psi of pressure. But we go into the small town, buy some supplies, clean and sand the parts, cross our fingers and cover the area in epoxy. Much to our surprise we find there’s a BMW shop in Bali, just a couple of weeks away and organize new parts.
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In the interim we take the opportunity to extend our visa to 60 days, which is a huge nightmare. Five days, five visits, a new sponsor, fingerprints, photographs, unbelievable. But anyway.

Then we’re off again. Twisties through the mountains
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Nice crags
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Stop for lunch here because
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Across the street there’s a guy doing haircuts. You sit on the chair, or in this case on a rock, pull on a pair of silver pants, yup, and he gives you a quick trim. They both smoke ciggies while this is happening
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Back into the mountains
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It looks like the Indonesia in travel books, lovely
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The villages are tightly clustered, tin-roofed homes
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Here’s a guy filling up with a liter bottle street side. Rack of gas behind. Haven’t done this yet, but looking forward to it
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Later, construction and chaos, also fun
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Back at the ocean after staying in Ende
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The mountains today are covered in bamboo forests
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A local bus
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Fields and one of Indonesia’s billion volcanoes, most of which are always going off
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Here’s another thing. In the country when you stop, kids on motos also stop to chat in whatever english they know, to ask for photos and to look at Lucinda
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Later we pass through a small village
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Where men are dressed in what we guess are traditional warrior outfits, and they whip each other, hard, like here
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Two guys about to start, with their whips
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Back into the mountains
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Another kid stops when we stop. He’s a bit crazy, but cool
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Hey, wild Datura!
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Into the town of Rutang
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Gassing up the regular way. This is a mid-sized line up. There are 65 million motorcycles and scooters, now growing by 7 million bikes a year on these Indonesian islands. The population is 250 million
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This is maybe the typical Flores scene. You ride through hours of this, very nice
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Road to the left and right
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While we’re here, passing kids
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And a passing family. The little kids rarely wear helmets and often they’re 4 on a scooter. More on this later
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Another hillside
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Through small villages
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And over the last mountain to famous little Labuan Bajo
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The town, well-known for one thing in particular
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Off we go to see the famous resident
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Pass local ships
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This gorgeous old thing, wow, nice veranda
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We ride out for about 40 minutes
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Past fishing villages
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To here, Rinca
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Across dry flats. It’s stupendously hot
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There’s something asleep in the shadow there. About 8 feet long
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We go off exploring
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The guide is unhinged, but great
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We look in dry stream beds
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Past monkeys
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And here we go: a baby Komodo Dragon. About 2 feet long
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And a giant. About 6 feet long
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Later, at the flats, one searches for crabs
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Then we’re off to an amazing  place, Kanawa Island
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It’s about 10 acres, with a dock and a beautiful beach
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Paradise
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There’s a special hotel here, cabins, a kitchen/restaurant and isolation
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Guests read under trees, miles away from everything, on their own island/beach. So if you really want to get away from it all, this might be it. The downside is that it’s standard primitive by western standards, so the loos are trough-and-bucket for instance
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Snorkelling time. Our boat
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Maybe 80 feet of visibility
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Fast predator fish pass us
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Then back sadly. So we do it all two days in a row
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The GPS track (took the crap Garmin along for curiosity) of the trip to Rinca and Kanawa
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Then to the next Island
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After we’ve boarded, fishing boats pull up alongside
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Then they unloaded them and boxed them on ice, fast
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Then, goodbye to Flores. Sumbawa’s 5 hours away
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