March 2, 2013
Lady Luck was on our side, Cyclone Rusty moved into the interior of Australia and Captain Mercer stayed closer to the coast to avoid another low pressure, we had some lumpy seas but not too bad. Earlier on we had been informed that our port in Bali had changed due to some storm damage so instead of tendering, which I do not like like, we were now docking in Benoa in the southeast section of Bali. One of our fellow passengers has ben coordinating diving in a few of our ports, I was helping to coordinate the snorkelers so we have 2 divers and 6 snorkelers interested. Now that our port changed we are now further away from the dive site, which will now be a 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive each way and I here the traffic here can be bad, good thing we are in port till 11p.m. We were scheduled to arrive at 8:00 a.m. but we encountered a bit of a snafu, a ferry was in our berth and wasn’t scheduled to leave till 8:30, somebody goofed here big time. Our ship had been in contact with the port authorities all night and thought all would be okay for our 8:00 arrival, we were approaching the entrance to the harbor when suddenly I noticed our ship turning around and heading back out, I think I heard the captain yelling all the way down in my cabin.. The channel into the harbor is very narrow with shallows all around, we had to wait outside the entrance until the ferry cleared the channel so this means we did not get docked till just past 9:30.
The crew is so excited they are going to get to see their friends and families, most everyone put a note on their doors to the cabin stewards not to clean their rooms today so they could have more time with their families. Our one steward, Anom, he cries every time he talks about his five year old so he misses him so much. It is so hard on them to be away so long and not being able to watch their kids grow up, thanks goodness for Face time & Skype. They have to two gangways today, one for the passengers and one for the crew and families as there are so many coming to visit.
We were warned there was going to hawkers all over the outside of the terminal trying to sell us all their wares and boy were they right. As soon as we were out of the terminal we were surrounded, some women put a necklace on me telling me it was free , it would bring me good luck then proceeded to try and sell me postcards. We met up with our driver and off we went, well slowly we went, they were right the traffic is terrible. A lot of the people here have scooters and they dart in and out of the traffic, looks pretty dangerous but they seem to know just how close and when to time passing, what is really crazy though is they have their babies and kids between the two parents, sometimes 4 to a scooter. The drive was long but very interesting the architecture is marvelous, Bali is 97% Hindu, and the homes have some beautiful gates in front honoring their gods as you can see in the pictures above. There a re also offering to the gods that are located everywhere as you can see in the third picture. We asked our driver to please stop somewhere we could use the restroom, he stopped at a convenience store and we thought this will be good, well in the restroom there looked like what was a sink in the floor, you had to straddle this and the there was a bucket of water you had to scoop some out throw it in the sink and this is how you flushed it! I will never complain about gas station restrooms back home again!
After 3 hours we finally arrived at our destination to clouds and rain. The resort itself was lovely however the snorkeling looked a little dicey, one the beach was solid black rocks and not protected from the large ocean swell stirred up from the cyclone. However we all decided to get it a whirl, they provided a snorkel guide for us, not only to help us find the wreck but to help us in the water, which was not easy. The visibility is terrible we were right over the wreck and couldn’t see a thing, only a couple fish and they had to be right on you before you saw them, then I heard the boom of thunder and I was done. We drove 3 hours to snorkel for about 10 minutes, Hmmm. We had a nice lunch there though, they had a nice infinity pool there but with the thunder and lightning we were not able to enjoy it. so after lunch off sightseeing we went. We went to the water gardens and the mountain vistas with the rice fields were beautiful. The pictures do not begin to show all the different colors of green. I think you can tell fromm all the pictures and how much I wrote, I liked Bali, now back to the ship for the big shindig tonight, I out that on a separate posting