Jimbaran Beach and the old boat builder.

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Well, I've got no idea how old he is really but just occasionally he looks old - but certainly not worn out. We first met him in 2003, quite by accident. We were driving along the beach front road on our first ever trip to Jimbaran and I happened to see a boat that was obviously under construction. It was under a thatch roof that seemed suspended between more substantial sheds on either side and a shadowy figure was bent over it. Being an old boat builder myself an immediate shout of, 'STOP' woke up Made and Herself from their post-lunch-with-Bintangs drowsiness and we turned round to investigate. He seemed friendly enough but pretty disinterested in visitors who wanted to wander around his 'workshop' and take photos, and he didn't speak a word of English which perfectly matched my command of Bahasa Indonesia so we had a great conversation! Anyway when we got the photos developed we got one for him that Made took around to him after we had gone home. We were here this time for another lunch and to give him a little present that we had bought in Oz; a pack of new drills. I had noticed that his were badly in need of a re-sharpen and he obviously didn't have a grinder - or any electricity to run one - hence the new pack. Herself wrapped it up in sparkling turquoise metallic paper and adorned it with ribbon stretched into those long curls that defy my efforts to duplicate, with a ribbon bow stuck right in the centre. I bet he'd never had anything quite like it before and at first refused to accept it. Made took over and handed it to him with some explanation which I guess included that we had been here before, pointing to the photo tucked up in the roof rafters in a plastic bag. The light seemed to dawn and he took the gift, pointing to it and then himself several times before he would open it, with much encouragement from Made. The nice wrapping might just as well have been a stream of toilet paper as it was ripped asunder. The pack of drills revealed, there was more pointing to them. 'Borers!', said to himself, Made nodding all the while. There was, I think, a brief nod and a smile at us before he went back to work hollowing out the hull he was working on. (Photo below.)

His simple workbench and tools which are razor sharp, sharp enough to cause him some concerns when they are picked up by hands that might not handle them with due care.

His narrow work space between two other sheds.

The view along the beach at Jimbaran, towards the fishing fleet anchorage and the pier.

There is a large fleet of fishing boats at Jimbaran, sheltered in the curve of the bay to the left, the reef offshore and the airport runway extension to the right. The boats begin to leave their moorings mid to late afternoon and their single cylinder engines send an echoing, 'pop, pop, pop,' back to shore as they pass through the gap in the reef. They frequently fish out from the Pantai Restaurant on the beach at Tuban where their fairy lights add to a spectacular view across the floodlit sands.

There are basically two types of large boats at Jimbaran. The boat in the foreground has a traditional Indonesian straight stem, flush planking and a transom stern while the Bugis/Bali type is a double ender with rounded stem and stern and with the lines of the lapped planks emphasised by the paintwork. Larger versions of the Indonesian type are common ocean going vessels and are familiar to Australians as the typical people-smuggling boats. The white fibreglass cruiser just to the right of centre is very much the odd boat out in these waters.

Sunsets attract diners to the dozens of fish restaurants at Jimbaran. Sitting on the beach, dining and wining by candlelight with strolling minstrels to serenade you is most attractive but a walk along the sand in daylight will reveal another reason for that fishy smell. A visit to the fish market on the beach early in the morning, even later in the morning is a never-to-be-forgotten experience.



There are more stories of our Bali travels in the list of contents on our Home Page. Like to visit there?


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