Continued from Pak’s New Boat:
With Pak’s new boat turning out to be something of a fantasy, and my men folk looking decidedly crest fallen, things weren’t looking too promising for our planned day of snorkelling and fishing. We trudged despondently back up the hill to the car, dumped the bags into the boot and headed south down the coastal road to Amed. By the time we got there it was lunchtime so it was decided that the search for a boat would be put on hold for an hour while we all unwound. It’s amazing how a few beers, barbequed prawns and nasi goreng can lift ones spirits – in no time at all everyone including Pak, had started to not give a stuff about the boat. In fact by the time we’d got to our 4th beer, life was looking so good that we’d failed to notice that almost 3 hours had flown past which meant that it was getting rather late in the day for a search for a boat anyway.
We mucked around on the beach with it’s black sand and swam and snorkelled for an hour before deciding to call it a day and head back on the long three-hour journey home. The day wasn’t a total right off because we’d seen a part of the island that we’d never been to before and we also had a very good, long leisurely lunch which is arguably the best cure for any disappointment especially in such a lovely setting as Amed.
The following morning Pak arrived to pick us up as planned. Apparently his brother’s friend, had a friend, who had another friend, who had an uncle who had a boat that we could use. Being the eternal optimists that we are, we once again packed the back of the car with snorkelling kit and bags and headed off. This time we were going to Nusa Benoa which is towards the bottom end of Bali.
All was going fantastically well until we arrived there and discovered that Pak’s brother’s friend of a friends Uncle’s boat was another figment of the imagination. As Irishman’s head once more started to roll from side to side, I suspected that’s something, somewhere was getting horribly lost in translation – the best Pak could offer us was to introduce us to a man who was selling tickets at vast expense to go to the turtle sanctuary. Lovely though it may be, the turtle sanctuary was not what we were planning on spending our day doing so while Irishman sat in the front of the car with his head between his hands and Theo starting to complain that he was hungry, there was nothing left to do than to drive back to Sanur and call it a day. We got Pak to drop us off at the beach and we made for our favourite beach café for yet another consolatory Bintang, Prawn and rice meal.
While the prawns were barbequing I decided to go for a wander down the beach. Imagine my delight when just 2 minutes from where we were sat I spotted a sign that said ‘Trolling fishing’ and ‘Snokling’
’ Eu – bloomin – reeka…….I shouted loudly and punched the air with my happy fist. Whatever trolling fishing was, (I assumed it meant trawling) we were going to be doing it for a whole 2 glorious hours plus a further 2 hours of rod fishing just off the reef.
We’d missed the boat for that day but the following morning we duly arrived at 9am ready for some hard-core fishing with Nyoman who was going to be taking us out onto the high seas in his tiny fishing vessel. This small boat wasn’t much bigger than a large canoe so we had to sit one in front of the other whilst Nyoman steered the rudder at the back. Rods where set up and off we set. Within 5 minutes we were all soaked by the waves and within 10 minutes the shallow boat was rapidly filling up with water so that Nyoman had to keep bailing it out with a small bucket. There were no life jackets and as the little boat hit the waves I was beginning to wonder if this was yet another of my not so bright ideas. For two hours we bobbed up and down and got wetter and wetter as the little boat and it’s occupants courageously battled the waves under a very ominous black looking sky. The travel sickness pills had started to make me feel very drowsy and it was all I could do to stop myself from falling to sleep. I found myself staring ahead at the vast and hypnotic expanse of sea and making up stories in my head about Messages in Bottles, Moby Dick and shark attacks to keep myself awake. The highlight of the boat trip out to sea was undoubtedly watching the flying fish. I’d never seen them before so I was mesmerised by their speed and how far they could actually fly.
Eventually Nyoman turned the boat around and we sailed towards the reef. Not allowing ourselves to be discouraged by the fact that in two hours we had caught nothing at all, not even any seaweed, we got busy with bait and new rods for a spot of line fishing. Within seconds Theo had a fish. The only trouble was it was so large that the line snapped when he tried to reel it in. Then Irishman felt something nibbling on the end of his line and hey presto the line snapped for him too. This was the story for the next 2 hours but we didn’t allow the handicap of having a line that wasn’t strong enough for the weight of the fish to stop us having a great time. With a stronger line, we would have caught around 20 fish between us – just enough to set up our own stall at Jimbaran Fish Market. You should have seen the ones that got away!