Going camping in the school holidays is something kids the world over do, Bali shouldn’t be any different.
So when Temple permanent fixtures, Maxi and Dede had too much time on their hands I bundled them, along with their mate Frenchy into the Deus Bus, grabbed the Box Brownie to capture the odd holiday snap and headed out on to Hell’s Highway, the nom de plume for the road to Gilimanuk. If you dodge trucks and motorbikes for about 2 hours you get to this huge surfer billboard that’s where you hang a left and pop, you’re there, you’re in Medewi. The boys hardly waited for the wheels to stop turning, bursting out and sprinting to the foreshore. I entered the hotel, a quick exchange of money brought us two rooms for two nights in the pauper’s wing of the Medewi Beach Cottages, well it was suppose to be camping after all. We were roughing it, the only technology we had for 3 days was our mobiles. Fans not aircon, board games not telly. Now that’s parenting.
The contents of the car was poured into the rooms and the boys flew into the water for the first of countless encounters. With time the tide receded and they moved from the point into the bay finally settling at ‘Snakers’ their own name for a dumping shorebreak down past the boats at the river mouth. Like players at a cricket match, they only reluctantly came ashore with the fading light. The gadget free night was a simple affair; shower, walk to restaurant, a game of Yahtzee, , a meal, a walk back down the hill and bed. Sleep came easy.
At first light their enthusiasm and moreover, their loud voices had me out of bed and soon paddling into the main break. A 3-5’ grey swell with complimenting grey skies celebrated the cool morning. We were happy though, first out and taking our pick. The tide was on the rise and soon it linked up with the inside giving access to 200-300m lefts. Long waves meant big paddles, big paddles meant sore muscles. When the increasing crowd also put end to our monopoly it was an easy win for exhaustion & hunger. I paddled in, the boys soon thereafter. They had inhaled breaky and high tailed it back out for session #2 before I could order another coffee. From the safety of the restaurant I took a couple of piccies.
An hour or so slipped by, I had decided my book was lonely, keeping it company I was roused when I heard the lads scrambling across the now exposed rocks to the warung driven in by a heady combination of exhaustion and hunger. The three of them topped up the tanks with bowls of steaming hot noodles before spinning around and heading back out. Not to be left behind I joined them though my attention waned after an hour or so, perhaps a massage might be more my speed.
Back onshore & buzzing from a Beng-Beng induced high they took to the asphalt, weaving around wandering cows and doing speed runs down the access road on their skateboards and rip-sticks. The hill was hot and dry and unable to hold their attention for long. Their road riders were traded back for surfboards and session #4 at ‘Snakers’. After over six hours in the water each for the day I saw them heading back my way across the rocks towards the warung reliving rides and embellishing others, chastising each other when one went to far. Wasn’t until they walked into the warung that I saw Frenchy’s downcast face, puppy dog eyes and the nose of his ride swinging in the breeze. Not happy!
We tried to lift his spirits. Being the smallest of the bunch he rode, for what is to me, an improbably short board. The offer of my 7’4” wasn’t that well received. He wandered back to the room he shared with Dede. Totally dejected. We happened across an alternative; the Rock Surf boys had a 5’6” board that we could rent for what can only be deemed as ‘tourist prices’. I dug deep and soon the fourth musketeer had a new stead. Being only 4:15pm in the afternoon with nothing other than 5 dice and a grizzly bus driver for companionship there was nothing else to it but for the boys to go for another surf. I read them the riot act about the beach break called ‘Snakers’ knowing that must have been the nose break culprit and they paddled out into the main line-up which had seen a late afternoon revival. Dede & Frenchy came in as the grey started turning black and Maxi held out for one last ride, candlepower. He soon joined us and we began our nightly ritual, shower, walk, food, yahtzee, walk back and sleep.
They woke late, just after 6, moved slower than a day before but were just as loud. Sleep must have been contagious as we still managed to be in the first group. The sea had calmed, and while some swell was gone the surface appeared like quicksilver, the sky rimmed in blue. With the tide low the link up wasn’t happening. We made camp on the inside section, the main pack much further out, we were alone. Perhaps they thought, what would some groms and a dodgy bus driver know, for none noticed us taking shoulder to head height waves weaving our magic across the bay while they sat and waited for the swell to come back or the tide to rise or both. It wasn’t long before we were found out and people who had been watching from shore, moved in. Being a grass is greener sort of chap I decided it was time to fuel up on some omelettes, coffee and juice, the groms seemed to like my idea as they followed me in, putting down a hefty platter of jaffles and pancakes lubricated with a variety of fruit juices. Dede liberally applied chilli sauce. Without waiting the pre-described amount of time between eating and swimming they were back at it. Starting deep in the bay in front of the fishing boats but making their way out towards the point as the tide rose and the swell pushed in with it. The session lasted to 11:30am, another gruelling 5 hours in the water. Would have been longer if it wasn’t time to check out. Showers were had, skateboards ridden and bags packed into the Deus bus. We strapped the boards on and reluctantly we said our goodbyes heading east-southeast back towards the Temple and home. Wasn’t a long holiday but it was what we call camping, Bali style.
Written by Ano Mac