In the surfing world the search for the perfect wave is like a pilgrimage that every year makes surfers from all around the world travel hundreds or thousands of kilometers away from their place. Bukit (the region where are the main Bali breaks) is probably the most famous surfing destination in Asia and of course the region’s economy revolves around it, you see surf shops, photographers, surf camps, workshops, boat trips, restaurants, music and of course surfers from all corners of the world, North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific, all searching the dream of the perfect wave.
Pit stop in Ubud
Before arriving in Bukit we spent one day in Ubud. We surfed in the morning on the east coast of Bali again with perfect waves up to 6ft, there we met Diogo and Luís who had the car running out of petrol and we had to help them, after that we went back to the crazy Ubud’s market to buy some more crafts. The other day in the morning we were heading to Sanur, but stopped in Celuk which is the city of silver in Bali to buy some jewellery.
Flat tire on the way to Bukit
Arriving near Sanur our tire got flat again in a place without much civilization, we were pushing the bike to a little wooden house that appeared to be a mechanic workshop or a mini market there were some Balinese there, they were some big guys with no shirt, with the whole body tattooed, looking not very friendly, none of them spoke English and our Bahasa Indonesia was not sufficient for explaining the situation, and with the sign language we were trying to make us understood, I pointed the tire and pressed it, they looked at me and talked to each other in Bahasa and we couldn’t understand each other, Pasqual decided to seek a mechanic while we should wait there, but soon one of them told him to stay quiet there and don’t leave, we were quite concerned and we weren’t understanding what was happening. But then one of the big guys took the phone from his pocket and made a sign for us to sit. We assumed that he was calling a mechanic or something and we chose to wait.
The ninja mechanic.
On 15 minutes came a middle-aged Balinese in a little motorbike, while we tried to “talk” to him the other Balinese guys were having fun taking pictures with the girls, they were like movie stars there. Once the mechanic was taking the tools and the tire was stowed in the midst of this we saw the balinese guys running the other way and coming down the road carrying the structure of a house of two rooms, and others were coming for help, the structure at times seemed that would fall apart, and for a few minutes I was watching that scene without understanding what they were doing, once they crossed the road carrying the house it was more difficult to bring the house to the floor that was about 3 meters below the road and at that time the house really seemed that was going to disassemble, everyone ran for help and not understanding anything I was following the flow to give them a hand and soon the house was standing on it’s place, they thanked me and I went back to see how was the mechanic and he was cutting the chamber of an old tire with his ninja techniques and rim and covering the entire inside of the wheel, he exchanged the chamber that was punctured put everything in place and filled up the tire in 15 minutes all without getting up.
Mechanic coming where we were: 40.000RP / 4 USD
With everything new we rearranged the bags at Luís’ home and left with the bikes to Bukit in the chaos of the bypass, the main means of access to the south of the island, at night we arrived at The Gong, a Balinese family homestay with good rooms and a beautiful garden.
Daily: 90,000 RP / 9 USD per room.
Dinner: Curry or Mie Goreng RP ~ 25,000 / USD 2.50
In the morning of the next day we got to know the famous waves of the region, Ulu Watu, Padang Padang, Bingin, Impossibles and a wonderful view from the top of a cliff, when we arrived unfortunately the tidal waves were small and dry and we could not see all the peaks working with all intensity but was cool to see the coral reef all exposed. We went back to the homestay for a breakfast. We left the girls at Padang Padang, a beach which is a quieter for bathers with sandy bottom and not many big breaking waves, the famous wave of this beach breaks at a cliff far away behind the beach.
We surfed Ulu Watu, and being the first day I was very concerned, even with waves of up to 5 feet (this is very small there), plus the amount of people in the water, something around 70 to 90 people, and the best waves at least 10 padling, it took me some time to enter into this competitive spirit, but soon I was relaxing, finding my space and taking opportunities. Surfing with this crowd even in the easy waves of Ulu Watu can be stressful, a lot of people padling in your wave, moving unintentionally or deliberately, still the wave itself compensates, and even without much size the wave is strong and can have a long ride.
Breakfast: pancakes and juice ~ 25000 RP / USD 2.50
After the surf we went to Yeye’s, a restaurant with a Balinese environment but at the same time towards surfers, we spent the rest of the afternoon from Bintang to Bintang until the sunset.
At breakfast the other day we met “Alemão”, a Catarinense (Brazilian from Santa Catarina) who lives in Perth but is now returning with his girlfriend Ana to Brazil. They gave us the hint to go Balangan therefore there was a nice beach for the girls, most the beaches of Bukit have coral bottom and a small part of sand, when it has any. As this day was the worst of swell, so we decided to enjoy a day at the beach.
The place is really excellent, full of bungalows on the coast with restaurants and inns in the sand and several hammocks with sun umbrellas, as it was low season we got the deck chair for free in exchange for making all our requests of the restaurant that owned the chairs.
The waves were small, up to 3ft but worth the fun. After the surf we got back under the beach umbrella, had lunch and when the tide dropped the reef was dried out the water and we went for a walk to know better the nearby coral and saw the rich marine life.
Ulu Watu, now with some swell
The next day there was a good swell in Ulu Watu with waves up to 6ft height, this day we spent a long time in the water and had lunch at Padang Padang Inn, which is called “The Brazilian embassy” in Bali, we ate a “beef acebolado” (Brazilian style steak with onions) for those who miss Brazilian food and if the attendants were not speaking Bahasa indonesia it could be a Brazilian restaurant.
Bingin / Impossibles
This day was really amazing, blue sky, a gentle breeze and waves of 8ft with bigger sets, Bingin was packed of people and we fall into the inside of Impossibles which was more spread out than Bingin. We surfed for a couple of hours and had lunch againg in Padang Padang Inn. After lunch we stopped to have a look at Padang Padang and it was striking, with 8 feet and incredible barrels, boats with photographers, many people in the water, many broken boards, and some seriously injured surfers. We were there looking for almost an hour but in the end we tought that it was too risky and we went back to Impossibles, but now at the outside, which was very intense.
Balangan with swell
Our last surf day in the Bukit was excellent, perfect waves of 8 feet plus, and scattered crowd. Got good waves, and at the end of the afternoon before I left, the waves had a considerable drop for up to 6 feet and I decided to go for my farewell surf session, after around 5 waves, I fell in a barrel and poke just taking the fin on my head, it hurted and I was worried, I put my hand on my head to see if it was bleeding and it was, I did not know the gravity, but I was fully conscious and decided to leave immediately if I had to go to the hospital. As soon as I left the water I asked Cris to have a look and for my relief it was only a superficial cut. We went home to make a dressing.
The last Indo days and the foot infection.
The next morning I felt a pain in the groin, symptom that I had been warned could be a sign of infection, as my foot had not healed I decided it was time to go to the doctor and handle it properly. But before I had to dispose of my boards, because taking them to Morocco, our likely next destination for surfing, would be extremely expensive and laborious. As everything in Indonesia is very cheap I knew they would not pay much. I got PR 2 000 000 / 200 USD on two boards, one that had been broken in half and another that was in good condition.
From there we went to Sanur, on the way we stopped at BIMC hospital that is specialized in the foreign service with doctors who speak English, then the doctor confirmed that my foot was really infected, I took injections of antibiotics for two days, and continued taking tablets by more 10 days, now it is 100% good.
In Sanur we spent our last few days resting and packing the bags for our next destination: Singapore.