Balinese house surrounded by ricefields

July 8, 1997

Sapit to Lembar

Back in the saddle! Rode from Sapit to Lembar, the main port on Lombok. This pedal has taken me from the NE to the SW part of the island. The distance is 100 km. The island of Lombok can be crossed easily in a day by a cyclist. The ferry to and from Bali docks in Lembar. The boat ride across the Lombok Strait is around four hours. The capacity is not a concern with ferries departing every two hours. In Bali, I spent the night in the Padangbai, where the ferry lands. The town is located on a perfect little bay and is used as one of two main shipping ports in the south of the island. One could enjoy a few relaxing days here. However, I will continue pedaling up the west coast of Bali to Tulamben.

July 9, 1997

Padangbai to Tulamben, Bali

The cycle was around 50 km from Padangbai to Tulamben. I was a little unsure because my speedy computer was dead at that moment. The cycle was scenic cruising between Mt. Rinjani (3142m) and the Lombok Strait. Also, several rice paddies were passed along the way. In Tulamben, the prime attraction is a huge World War II wreck of a cargo ship The Liberty, which I will dive tomorrow. On January 11, 1942, the armed US cargo ship USAR Libery was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine about 15 km southwest of Lombok. It was taken in tow by the destroyers HMNS Van Ghent and USS Paul Jones with the intention of beaching it on the coast of Bali and retrieving its cargo of raw rubber and railway parts. When its condition looked perilous the crew were evacuated and although it was successfully beached, the rapid spread of the war through Indonesia prevented the cargo from being saved.

Built in 1915, the Liberty sat on the beach at Tulamben, a prominent east coast landmark, until 1963 when the violent eruption of Mt. Agung toppled it beneath the surface. The ship now lies 40 meters offshore, almost parallel to the beach with its bow only a couple of meters below the surface.

July 10, 1997

Tulamben, Bali

The day started with the diving of the wreck of the Liberty. The first sighting of the ship was the bow, which is in good condition, lying some 40 meters off the shore. The hull is broken into sections, creating a scuba jungle circling in an out its compartments. The stern appears in good shape and even the propeller is complete. The ship is more than a 100 meters long- This is a large wreck! The main attraction is all the coral which encrusts the ship, and the huge variety of fish it supports-as many as 400 species. This is inclusive of my limited diving experience, which rates the best to date.

July 11, 1997

Tulamben to Lovina

This morning's cycle trek started north along the road which continued to skirt the slopes of Mt. Agung with frequent evidence of lava flows from the 1963 eruption. Beyond Agung, Mt. Abang and the outer crater of Mt. Batar also slope down to the sea. The route has lots of beautiful vistas of the sea and mountains. On the north of the island in Kubutambahan, I visited the temple Pura Maduwe Karang. This temple is noted for its sculptured panels, including the famous bicycle panel depicting a gentleman riding a bicycle with flower petals for wheels. The cyclist is Nieuwenkamp, one of the first Dutch people to explore Bali, who did actually get around by bike. The attendant at the temple befriended me and invited me to his house to see his one month old baby. The Balinese are very spiritual people. Kino requested a photo of me and the baby to ward off evil spirits. I Finished my journey for the day and I looked forward to watching the dolphins swim in the bay early the next morning.

July 12, 1997

Lovina Beach

Before dawn I took a boat in hope of spotting dolphins in the bay. The sunshine was pretty as it burst over the volcanoes of central Bali. Then I noticed that despite the early hour, numerous other boats had gathered beyond the reef and lie waiting. Suddenly a dolphin would leap from the waves to be followed by a school vaulting over the water in the pursuit of unseen shrimp. Then all the boats chase the dolphins and cause them to swim away. The vast number of the boats this particular morning resulted in a decline of this morning's show. For the remaining part of the day I relaxed like a tourist. In the evening I watched Balinese dancing. I even had an opportunity to give it a go myself.

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