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Picton Castle at Serangan, Bali, Indonesia

Having sailed in to Bali from the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea two weeks ago, the crew of the Picton Castle is getting ready to sail for Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. I am pretty sure everyone loves Bali. We have only ever had one crew member not like Bali some years ago – but he never left the port to go explore this magical island. Hard to imagine that.

It looks like the gang has had a grand time here in Bali. All sorts of treks to and in and around Ubud, a cultural centre here in Bali. Traditional dance at elaborate temples. Dawn hikes up to the volcano. Visits to the Sacred Monkey Forest. Full of little wise guys with tails. Roadside satay. A few took time to enjoy the many Bali style spas. Plenty of shopping in amazing markets for beautiful things; fabrics, clothes, carvings, swords, antiques made to order and so on. Plenty of time off the ship to see and enjoy as much as we can. Even a wedding onboard. Tonight is a thank you dinner for those that have helped us so much here.

We tried a new port this time here in Bali. The commercial port of Benoa has been getting cramped and hard to anchor there these days. So we anchored in the open bay of Serangan not far from Benoa in southern Bali. This is more a small fishing port with some yachts and a few ferry boats to nearby islands. This bay is packed with what look like dugouts, outrigger canoes. And that they are but even as they look exactly like traditional wooden canoes, in fact, most of them are made of fiberglass and their outrigger pontoons are sections of curved PVC pipe. Makes perfect sense really. Saves on trees I guess. A few of these pretty craft still operate under sail. Nice home stays and friendly warungs (small diners) featuring tasty Balinese dishes. Everywhere we look little offering temples. Seaweed drying on the seawalls for later eating, drying fish too. Lots of scooters but not many cars here at Serangan.

We had a few local day workers come out to the ship for a few days. We were pretty impressed with how good they were at chipping paint and preparing steel for recoating. They worked hard and steady and with polite smiles too. And got a lot done. We sent the spanker gaff down for inspection and recoating, and some minor repair. Topsides are painted up. We are a bit surprised to see barnacles along the waterline under the stern as we just drydocked in Fiji. But this might be a very fecund harbour for marine growth. We will see as we sail.

Coming up rainy season here. A big downpour almost every day. But now the ship is all fueled up, Donald and his helpers have done a massive food shop and are getting all that re-stowed, a few more sails bent and soon we will be headed west-southwest across the Indian Ocean. The winds look good and the weather favourable for a good passage.

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