Friday, October 31, 2014

CENTRAL COAST - COCKRONE (COPACABANA) LAGOON - KAYAK - 30 OCTOBER 2014 - 'SMILE ON THE DIAL'

A sunny morning with a west wind.



I drove to Copacabana to kayak Cockrone Lagoon.

 
 This lagoon is so clean, as well as, being pristine in most sections. I saw two pieces of rubbish during the whole kayak.

 
There were a number of birds but the highlight was the water level, which was high. A lot of land area was inundated with water so there was a lot of kayaking between trees and over reed areas. Heaps of fun.


distance - 4.83 km
av. speed - 3 km/h
time - 1h 40m

Thursday, October 23, 2014

AUSTRALIA - GCAE REUNION – 18 OCTOBER 2014 - 'BLASTS FROM THE PAST'

Mark (friend from college days) came up from Canberra to stay at my place.


 The following afternoon, Mark, Jeanette and I drove down to the Orient Hotel, The Rocks in Sydney.

 
We got a park close to the hotel and before long we had a beer and walked out to the pub beer garden. There they were… friends from long ago (30+ years) in the fun days of teachers college.
 
We spent the afternoon and evening drinking, eating and talking. It was definitely a ‘glory days’ scenario with the addition of ‘so what have you been doing the last thirty years’ conversation.
 
Loved it!

CENTRAL COAST - BRISBANE WATER NP - THOMMOS LOOP – MTB - 14 OCTOBER 2014 - 'ROCK, WATER AND VIEWS'

I drove to Brisbane Waters National Park and parked near the speed camera just down from Staples Lookout.
I’ve done this ride a number of times. The solitariness, quietness and bush scenery is quite an attraction for me.


I rode down the service road to the quarry. At the quarry, I rode around over the rocky paths, pools of water and soft sand. The various surface terrains were a challenge to cycle over.
I then rode along the service road and took the turnoff onto Tommos Loop. This was another service road. At times the road surface was hard sandstone with rivulets of water intersecting the rock. The views over the bushland were amazing. It just seemed so untouched and endless.  At one stage, an area of the road had been blocked as a large Australian Aboriginal rock carving had been unearthed by the recent rains.
The track ended at a gate and the main road. I rode downhill back to the van.

distance - 7.52 km
elevation range - 71m
average speed - 10.8 km/h
max. speed - 45.9 km/h
A great ride with awesome scenery.

CENTRAL COAST - AVOCA LAGOON – KAYAK - 12 OCTOBER 2014 - 'TRANQUILITY'

It was a clear, blue sky morning with no wind.


I drove to North Avoca and parked at Avoca Lagoon, officially named Bulbararing Lagoon. I launched into the lagoon and paddle west between the mainland and the island (Bareena Island)  in the lagoon.


The water was glassy reflecting the sky and foreshore. A light mist hung above the surface of the water. The kayak cut across the water causing a small wake which rippled solitary across the surface of the lagoon.


There were a number of birds on the lagoon. Some birds were foraging for food in the water or on the lagoon edge and others were roosting on the overhanging tree branches.


It was a relaxing tranquil kayak.

CENTRAL COAST - AVOCA POINT – HIKE – 12 OCTOBER 2014 - 'ZIP BIT TI DO DAR...'

The skies were clear and blue and the temperature warm.


 Jacinta and I drove over to Avoca and parked in Avoca Beach carpark near the surf lifesaving club.


We walked along the path then down the rocky path to the shore platform around Avoca Point. It was a bit slippery in parts with a few rock pools. The rock formations were interesting. The cliffs were staggering high when up close and personal. The thought of rocks falling were very realistic.

Just where the platform ended there were a few steps at the base of the cliff around a narrow bend. A small cave was gouged into the base of the cliff by wave action and rock falls.
 
A great walk with awesome scenery!

CENTRAL COAST - TERRIGAL HAVEN – HIKE - 9 OCTOBER 2014 - 'HAVEN CRAVEN'

I went for an early morning walk at Terrigal Haven.


I parked in the Haven carpark and walked down the boat ramp and onto the rocks. I followed the rocks around to the small cove next to the Skillion. The colours were amazing with the early morning light giving a fiery life to the sandstone cliffs. The waves were also doing there part by smashing into the rock platform, exploding into the air and cascading gently to the ground.

Next, I walked up the Skillion. The view is awesome looking back towards Terrigal or towards Avoca on downwards onto the rocks. No whale sightings.
 It was a nice way to start the day.

CENTRAL COAST - KINCUMBA MOUNTAIN – MTB - 5 OCTOBER 2014 - 'GONNA CYCLE A MOUNTAIN'

I parked at the top of Kincumba Mountain and cycled around the top tracks.

It was a quiet morning with no one around. I was in the mood for speed. I cycled the tracks the fastest yet, especially, up the steepest sections and the narrow tracks.
A good workout to start the day!

CENTRAL COAST - TERRIGAL LAGOON – KAYAK – 29 SEPTEMBER 2014 - 'OH! WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING..'


It was another beautiful morning.


I launched the kayak at the car park at Terrigal Lagoon with the sun radiating over the lagoon at a horizontal angle.
I paddled under the bridge towards the west. There were a number of birds wading in the water searching for food or pruning themselves.  I couldn’t venture too far as the lagoon had been emptied (the council does this when the lagoon threatens to flood houses on the shoreline) making the water shallow.
Backtracking, I paddled under the bridge which was reflecting the water patterns its concrete base. Looked good
I also paddled around the northern end which was a mixture of bushland and residential properties.
It was a pleasant and fun paddle with reflections and birds.

 

CENTRAL COAST - PATONGA - 27 september 2014 - 'ENJOY THE VIEW'



It was a beautiful and sunny day on the Central Coast.


Jacinta and I drove over to Patonga for a walk and lunch.
We walked along the beach to Patonga Creek.  Small waves broke gently along the shore. The white sand rose at a sharp incline to the vegetated foreshore.
 The foreshore was covered in wildflowers. We sat amongst them where someone had placed seating and a table
 Further along the beach, the sand veered out towards the ocean at a crescent where Patonga Creek exited. It was very pretty looking at the vegetated sandstone cliffs or back along the beach or out into Broken Bay.
 The pier jutted out to deeper water. It looked inviting for a swim or snorkel
 We had lunch on the beach.
A pretty way to pass the time away!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

INDONESIA - BALI - LEGIAN - 19 to 21 September 2014 - TANAH THE LOT'

My journey






I left Balian for Legian after a fun but red stinging jellyfish surf.
I settled into the Grand Kumala Hotel and slept most of the afternoon as the stings had made me sleepy.

The next day, I had breakfast with Scotty at Legian. It was his last day!

After that it was shopping day – Tommy’s for leather bag, t shirts, hats, singlets, music. It didn’t take long and I returned back to the hotel and back my bags then went for a few drinks at the Spider Bar.
 
I had a massage and wandered around the beach and went down Kuta for a few beers and the Espresso Bar. The Espresso Bar was packed so I opted for Paddy’s and sat near the front and people watched for ages – 3 fights, two guys fell off a motorbike, tourist got into hassle with group of Indo guys, a couple argued for ages then kissed and made up at the end.
 
The last day!!! Usually, I sit somewhere quiet and think about the trip. This time I booked a car for Tanah Lot and had a great time wandering around. After that, it was a rest, dinner and then I had to go. Before you can say ‘Saya harus pergi’ I was at the airport. I had a lot of gear so I used a porter. I think I will use one from now on as it does make it heaps easier. I checked in at Jetstar business class as I had upgraded my ticket earlier for $80.

The flight was more comfortable and I slept a little bit. In the morning I was back in Australia and waiting for a shuttle bus to the Central Coast. The weather was warm and sunny.
By lunch time I was home and dazed! It was good to be home and at the same time I was missing Indonesia.
 
I think I’m always like that after a trip. I like what I’m doing wherever I am but I also miss what I am not doing elsewhere.
Anyway, here I am and there I was! The words of a song drift through my mind ‘they say in the end it was the blink of an eye…’

INDONESIA - BALI - BALIAN - 13 to 19 September, 2014 - '2ND HOME'

My journey

Back to Balian and Ayu's. I spent my time there surfing, wandering, talking and eating. A good combo!
The surf was great most of the time, though a bit big and rough at the beginning.
I caught up with Scotty and met Eddie and Matt, who have guesthouse in Balian, expats Matt and John, and Peter and Fiona from Wollongong.  They were all nice and friendly people.
Balian is like an oasis for me - I feel relaxed and comfortable and familiar. It is my place to 'dance the way I feel'.
The time flew quickly and pleasantly until it was time to leave Balian for Legian and the final leg of the odyssey.

INDONESIA - BALI - LEGIAN - 11 to 13 september, 2014 - 'YET AGAIN'




My Journey

I was up very early for the morning flight from Maumere, Flores to Bali. The airport opens at 6am.

I arrived in Bali then settled into Grand Kumala Hotel. I had a massage and walked along beach in afternoon. I ran into Chooka from Balian while I was walking along the beach. After that, I dropped by to see old mate Peter.

I didn’t feel like eating out so I got a takeaway pizza and ate in my room. First time in the whole trip I ate in my room.

For some unknown reason I couldn’t get to sleep and kept waking up periodically.

The next day, I was pretty tired so I read a book and relaxed.

I change my flight date for return to oz and upgraded to business class.

Later, I walked down towards Jalan Padma and had a haircut and good massage. Then I bought a bag for Jacinta from Tommy’s and ordered another bag to be made.

On the way back to my hotel, I had a few drinks at the Spider Bar.

The next day, I was tired again as I slept poorly. I packed my gear, booked a car and was off to Balian.

INDONESIA - FLORES - MAUMERE - 10 to 11 September, 2014 - 'TAKE A BREAK'

Info

Lion Air direct flight Maumere to Denpasar – 1 399 000R - there is also an afternoon flight via Waingapu, Sumba
Car/driver airport to ankermi   150 000R
The journey

The bike ride from Moni to Ankermi’s in Flores was long but I stopped frequently so I was able to do it in one hit.
Just before the airport turnoff at Maumere, I saw a travel agent and was able to book a ticket back to Bali the following day.
I continued on in the hot blazing sun towards Ankermi’s.
I settle into the room, had a swim and rested. Checking my gear, I realised that I had left my kindle at the Bintang Hotel in Moni. I rang and Billy organised a guy to deliver it to me at Ankermi’s for 250 000R. Later, I had a late afternoon snorkel with lots of fish and shadowy water.


At dinner I met two dive instructors, who just came back from Rote which they said was flat and crowded. At about 8pm, a guy arrived from Moni with my kindle. It took him 6 hours – bus then ojek (motorbike taxi).
I woke early, had breakfast and then a car to the airport, which doesn’t open until 6am.

INDONESIA - FLORES - MONI - 8 to 10 September, 2014 - 'UP IN THE MOUNTAINS'

Info

Bintang Hotel - 350 000R
I had my own bike but transport locally in Moni to Kelimutu was expensive

The journey
After the early morning swim at Paga Beach, I rode off on my motorbike in the direction of Moni. The day was clear and the road easy. The road shortly began to rise steeply giving a great view back along the coastline.


Continuing onwards, I came to the turnoff for Koka Beach. The road quickly deteriorated to a narrow walking track with piles of gravel stacked every few metres providing an obstacle course as well. I eventually reached a sandy parking area and settled my gear in the middle of the beach. The scenery and water colour was amazing. The water was various clear shades of blue and the two beaches joined together to form a short sand spit to a rock island. I went for a swim and then was approached by an old, finger-thin local fisherman for the 2 000R parking fee. It was a bit annoying as he kept hanging around after I paid. Gradually, more appeared and joined in the look at me and I look at them scenario. I left Koka beach, returning along the ‘road’ until I reached the Trans Flores Highway again.

The road soon started to rise and it kept rising into the mountains. Along the way, there were great aerial views across the mountains and down to the sea, a number of small villages, some road works and the odd avalanche. The people were friendly along the way with ’hello mister’ the catch cry.
It seemed a very long time that I was riding along the steep and curvy roads until I reached Moni. At first impression, I was disappointed as there was a traffic jam of bemos and bikes with abundant exhaust fumes. Navigating through these obstacles, and up the hill, I reached the Bintang Hotel. I met Billy the owner and was soon settled into my room.

I now had a chance to soak in the awesome mountainous views. Billy provided me with info and after food and rest I hiked up the hill to the waterfall.
At the Rainbow Café, there was a track leading down and into the jungle. I soon reached the waterfall and a rickety bamboo bridge. I crossed the bridge thinking I was going to fall off and climbed down the rocks and waded into the waterfall pool. The water was cool and the waterfall about 30 metres high cascaded in a single drop into the pool. I swam and then rested in the mountain sunshine.

I eventually, continued along the track to a small village and stopped at the Agnes Restaurant for a bite to eat. Later, I continued along the path which soon became a concrete road and passed through another village then turnoff onto another road and back on the main highway. From there it was a short and uphill walk back to Moni.
The next day, I was up early. I organised myself then started the ride uphill towards the turn off for Kelimutu. The ride was great but very cold! I stopped for a while watching the sunrise over the mountains, passed though the outskirts of a few villages and wounded my way up the mountain. I reached the ticket office and paid the fees and continued along the 180 degree curved road which was lined by steep jungle.


The end of the road was a large car park that was virtually empty. I parked the bike and walked up the steps and along the path to the craters of Kelimutu.

The crater lakes were amazing. The sides of the cones were 90 degrees steep and very deep. The water in the lakes were of three different colours – black, turquoise and dark blue. The path meandered along alpine vegetation leading to a number of vantage points over three craters.  The end of the path was the highest point with an obloquie on the top. I climbed that and had a great view of the three craters and the surrounding mountains that were shrouded in clouds with the peaks exposed – magical! I sat there for a long time!

I followed the path back and rode the bike back down the volcano to Moni.


I rested through the middle of the day then set off again on the bike to find the convent in the direction of Ende. I didn’t find it but I had a great time just riding along pass rice fields and stopping in small villages for short chats. I did reach the turn off for the longer way return to Maumere. I t looked good but isolated. On the return, I took a turn off to a traditional village and was given a tour for 20 000R. It was very good and I learned that the centred of the village was a graveyard which I wasn’t allowed to enter and the coned thatched roof wooden houses encircled the graveyard.

I met some nice people at Moni. Everyone seemed to be in pairs – French Canadian couple who needed to find an ATM, Dutch couple from Utrecht, two very young German girls to name a few and of course, Billy who was very friendly and helpful.
The following morning I was up early, paid the bill and was on the road again back to Maumere (if possible) in one hit. I followed the same road back as accommodation the other way seemed limited or non-existent.

INDONESIA - FLORES - PAGA - 7 to 8 September, 2014 - 'A TOUCH OF PARADISE'

Info

Homestay at Paga Beach – 100 000R
 
My Journey


I left Ankermi’s at Maumere by motor bike after an early morning snorkel. I had the smaller day pack around the steering column and the larger backpack on my back but with the weight totally on the bike seat. I arranged the angle of the pack so it was like a back rest so the ride was quite comfortable.
The road stated off long and relatively straight to the junction just before Maumere city. The road then started to rise passing a number of seminaries and churches. I stopped at one but it was closed to the public. I continued onwards towards Moni and stopped where there was a nice view or where I felt like a rest.
The traffic was good with cars and bemos and other bikes passing safely. A few people drove a little close with the ‘hello mister’. The ‘hello mister’ was all along the road with bright, white teeth smiles adding to the magic of the journey. It was easy to keep a smile on my face and return the greeting with a ‘Selamat pagi or selamat siang’ as the day progressed. The road continued up and down large hills until I reached Paga Beach.
I pulled into a guesthouse on the beach side of the road. I looked at the beach, I thought that this place was definitely a place to spend the afternoon and night. I checked out the rooms which were basic, right on the beach but a little mouldy. Across the road, there was another homestay with basic but clean rooms upstairs for 100 000R. I loaded my gear in the room, had a nasi goreng lunch and went down the beach.

The beach was excellent with white sand, safe swimming and shady tree spots along the length of the beach. I chose a nice quiet place to sit, read and have a swim. Anyway, that was the plan but it was Sunday and groups of school aged kids and adults began wandering the beach and I was an obvious target as the sole ‘bule’.
 
It was fun though as most people wanted to practise their limited English and it was good practise for my limited Indonesian. The swimming was good but I wasn’t alone there either. Back on the beach, I did manage to read a few pages.
I walked along the beach to a break wall at the east end. Strange, I couldn’t work out why such a solid structure was built. There were a number of these groynes further east.

Towards the west end and the headland, the walk became very interesting with overhanging rock formations and evidence of recent rock falls. Further around the headland, was a small bay with the potential of good surf if any swell managed to hit. The rock area around the small cove was dotted with people searching for edible shellfish under the rocks. I sat there for a long time quietly, contemplating their simple but hard life while enjoying the shade provided by the headland cliffs.
That night at dinner, I was approached but a couple of the high school girls – Erica, Nasa, etc - who were part of the homestay family to practise English. It was a lot of fun with all of them dancing to the ‘hokey pokey’ while I sang and showed them the moves at the end of the night. A good laugh! 

I was up early the next morning to a beautiful clear sky. I walked down the beach along a dry sandy track for a sunrise swim which was cool and refreshing. Watching the sunrise from the water was relaxing and dreamy, especially with me singing in my head ‘Morning of the Earth’.


Back to homestay for a saltwater mandi. Soap would only lather due to my persistence. I had breakfast and continued my bike sojourn to Moni and Kelimutu.

INDONESIA - FLORES - MAUMERE - 4 to 7 September, 2014 - 'THE ISLANDS AND INTO THE ISOLATED'

Info

Ankermi Homestay - 350 000R with great breakfast
Snorkel trip – for whole boat - 450 000R per boat including lunch – shared amongst 4.
Motorcycle - 75 000R per day
Flight Denpasar to Maumere - 2 000 000R
Car Maumere airport to Ankermi - 150 000R

The Journey


The flight from Bali to Maumere was slow as it was a propeller plane. The airport at Maumere is small and easy. The car from the airport to Ankermi was there and after 45minutes I was at Ankermi’s which is approximately 45 kilometres east of Maumere.
The room was good and simple with a small balcony overlooking the ocean. The grounds of the guesthouse was really nice with lots of ponds and places to sit and relax. The restaurant had good food which takes a while to prepare as it was freshly cooked. There is a beach to the west of the hotel which was good for swimming. There was also good swimming off the pier at high tide and fun snorkelling at any tide.

There were three other guests from Barcelona, Spain. They were very friendly and nice. I joined them after dinner.

The following day, we had a snorkelling trip on the boat to the reefs at Palau Besar and Palau Babi. It was a great trip with 3 snorkels and a walk along two white sand deserted beaches. Under the sea, there were corals and lots of small fish. My highlight was two lion fish.




The next day, I hired a motorbike and rode to Blidit hot springs, which I didn’t find. I continued along the ‘road’ driving through wilderness and the occasional village. The kids in these villages ran away like their life depended upon when they saw me and then they would hide in the jungle until I passed.


Eventually, I came to a cross road, where I chatted with some few locals on cocoa, sound speakers and directions. The house I stopped at had 12 enormous speakers thusly the sound speaker topic. I continued towards Doreng and Bola beaches.
Doreng Beach was very ordinary with nothing to offer. The tide was low and the water was about 500 metres away with reef in-between the beach and the ocean. I continued to Bola which was much nicer with some good swimming spots and shops.
The road was much better from Bola to the Trans Flores Highway. It didn’t take long to reach the other side and make my way back to Ankermi’s

The next morning, I had an early morning snorkel out the front of the homestay where there were lots of fish and the early morning light illuminated the rocks so it was like a maze. I had breakfast, packed my gear and off I went in the direction of Moni.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

INDONESIA - BALI - LEGIAN - 2 to 4 September, 2014 - 'COME TOGETHER'




Info

Car/driver – Balian to Legian – 3 way share – 150 000R

Taxi to domestic airport – metered – 60 000R

Grand Kumala Hotel – standard room 375 000R

My Journey

I had a fun surf at Balian in the morning then I made a last minute decision to go to Legian as there were two guys to share a car.

I slept most of the way, settled into the Grand Kumala Hotel and walked up to Cevin tours to price domestic flight tickets.

I decided on Maumere Flores, so I bought the tickets.

The next day, I visited my friend, Peter, who was staying at Kuta. It was good to catched with him as we have been friends since high school. After that, I bought a back pack, cashed money and had a massage. In the afternoon, I packed my new backpack for a Maumere/Moni motorbike trip. It was heaps lighter compared to what I usually tow around.

The next morning, I caught taxi to the domestic airport then I was off to Flores.

INDONESIA - BALI - BALIAN - 28 August to 2 September, 2014 - 'THE GEORGE, THE CHOOK AND THE SCOTT'




Info

Ayu’s fan room – 150 000R

My Journey

I was happy with my passport back. I decided to head back to my favourite bali spot – Balian – for surfing, chatting and relaxing.
-


I settled into Ayu’s guesthouse in a fan room – 150 000R. I caught up during the day with Scotty, Chooka, Daniel and Marty, who were here on my last stay. I met Russ from England and walking down the road, I past George, who I knew since high school. We sat down and chatted for a while. It was good to see him as George is a nice guy!

I had heaps of good, over-head waves everyday for the whole of my stay on the lefts, outside and inside rights with the last day being the best but plagued with red stinging jellyfish.

On one day, I had a long walk down to the far right point. The waves looked so good but difficult to in and out of he water. Definitely, need a surfing buddy and booties.

BALI, BALIAN - SURF, WALK AND REST - 26 JUNE 2017

Kara changed rooms today.  An early glassy size in head high waves. Only a few out but it got a little crowded after awhile. Jacinta ...