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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sept 16 – 21, 2012 - Island of Lombok and Anchorage at Medana Bay

Arriving at Medana Bay we grew excited to once again meet up with many familiar friends and to be getting some amenities. Our supplies were rapidly depleting. The "marina" at Medana Bay consists of about a dozen moorings and one floating metal pier that accommodated about 8 berths. It was so crowded there that we had no chance of getting onto either and so we found a spot to anchor among the bobbing yachts. Although it is marketed as an international marina in a well-protected bay we think the publicists were on mind expanding drugs when creating the brochure and website. This place was clearly not even close to what was advertised. It was in fact very rolly and at times the wind came blasting through there with such force that if everything on deck wasn't secure then it went into the drink. Lots and lots of yachts' anchors dragged during our time there, and in fact so did some of the ones on moorings! Often the waves were so choppy that the berthed boats seesawed violently against the metal framework of the little dock.

In spite of those shortcomings Medana Bay staff worked very hard to make us all feel welcome, offering laundry services, diesel, petrol, and water supplies while turning a very nice profit. We paid a 50,000 IDR per day fee to enjoy anchoring there. The café boasted free wifi but we could never get a connection. The biggest attraction for us all was visa renewal services. Everyone's visas were due to run out within two weeks. For some idiotic reason many of us had been convinced to get that done here instead of Bali, where we were initially scheduled to have them renewed. Once again we followed BAD information. Without going into it in great detail and in order to save myself quite a bit of whining, the bottom line is that we paid over 650,000 IDR per person here for that service and then had to wait here 8 days, from beginning to end of the process to get those visas. It entailed an hour and a half-long  trip to Mataram, a large town where the immigration office is situated. Had we gone on to Bali it would have taken only 3 days and the "service" would have been handled for us, costing less than half the price. I do not recommend doing it the way we did because we got stuck at Lombok for 10 days, causing us to miss our anticipated time in Bali. We were on a tight schedule now to be at the Kumai River in Kalimantan on Borneo by October 3rd for our Orangutan tour.

So while in Lombok we made the best of our time. A couple of 5-star resorts were situated just around the end of the bay. We enjoyed a delicious dinner one night with "Renegade" and "Northfork" at one. Another evening Medana Bay hosted a blues and jazz concert and dinner for us all, costing a nominal fee equivalent to about $20/person, that was quite good!  We shopped in the large town of Mataram on the trip to immigration, picking up a fair amount of supplies. Then suddenly the ear infection I'd been fighting hit me with full force, settling into my throat and knocking me down for the count. I was in a tremendous amount of pain and ended up homebound for a couple of days with no voice and minimal hearing. We had thought of leaving Destiny here and flying to Bali whilst awaiting our visas, but clearly I could not fly. Frank managed to procure some antibiotics  (C-phat) at the pharmacy for me that worked wonders, getting me quickly back on my feet.

We were becoming increasingly bored sitting at this remote Medana Bay awaiting those visas when "Scallywag" and "Avant Garde" arrived, talking us and "Renegade" into taking a road trip to see the island of Lombok. Frank was worried that I wouldn't feel well enough for that but I can be sick anywhere – why not get off the boat and try to have some fun? So we rented 2 vans from the local village of Sengiggi and took off for three days.

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