Exiting Medana Bay Marina by bus, the World ARC fleet set off for a day’s tour of the island of Lombok to discover and learn about the local people and their daily lives. Still effected by the pandemic very few tourists are yet to reach the shores of Indonesia, so the locals are very happy to see a bus full of eager visitors and welcome participants with mad waving of hands and big smiles as they go past.
After clearing the low hanging mango trees and scattering street dogs and chickens, participants firstly headed up into Pusuk Pass Forest where they had the opportunity to feed the local grey monkeys known as Pitu with locally grown peanuts. This provided a great deal of entertainment throughout the group and the monkeys were very happy.
Along the route and throughout the tour the excellent guide, Eddie, relived skippers from the helm for the day and took charge providing a comprehensive overview into life on the island. With an inhabitant number of over 3.7 million people on Lombok, which is just 45 miles across and 70 miles long, it certainly makes for a busy place to live. There is no public transport therefore getting around is mainly by moped or motorbike of which there are reported to be over 200,000 registered on Lombok.
Continuing through the pass, taking in views back down across the forest and out towards the coast to the west of the island, the next stop was a local market in Pamenang. This market predominantly contains food stalls providing an abundance of local spices, dried fish and many fruits which all grow well in the surrounding fertile lands. Additional stalls included tobacco and live fowl, so participants got a good overview of the local daily.
Situated so close to the equator provides two seasons to this part of the world, wet and dry. Lombok is currently still in the dry season, but the rains are expected to come in the next month. Grown during the dry season Eddie identified fields of corn, soya bean and peanuts which are all grown from the months of April to September. Although some types of rice are also grown in the dry season, most rice will be planted and grown in the coming months when the rains begin to fall.
Following a tour round the market, the next stop provided an opportunity to taste the local coffee and purchase arts, crafts and the all-important t-shirts. With a slightly more commercial setup we learned that this shopping area is in fact owned by a local businessman who employs over 300 villagers and provides the very poor with rice and all profits go back into the community.
After gaining so much knowledge and taking in many sites, lunch was calling. Situated on Senggigi beach a splendid seafood lunch was provided by Yessy Kitchen. As previously mentioned, because tourism numbers are still extremely low, the owners and staff were delighted to welcome the World ARC and provide a delicious meal of fresh fish, prawns, squid and clams.
The final location included within the organised tour was a visit to a Hindu temple located on the rocks overlooking Senggigi Bay. Carved from black lava rock Batu Bolong Temple was quite mysterious but provided everyone with a brief overview of this faith. There are in fact many faiths practiced across Indonesia all of which are respected amongst the people.
A total of 8 boats and circa 35 crew members make up the World ARC fleet this year and all boats are now gathered in Medana Bay Marina on the west side of Lombok. Most of the boats have paused in the Pacific and now recommence the rally taking them onwards to the Caribbean to complete their circumnavigation. Already forming a strong bond, the fleet are excited to be on the move again and with the support of World Cruising Club they are sure to experience the very best of each stopover.
Before the start of the journey from Indonesia to Christmas Island on Sunday 18 September, a dinner will be held here the Marina on Friday evening where local foods will be served, and a band will provide entertainment. A fitting send-off after such a fascinating visit to Lombok.