Posted by: adventuressetravels | March 26, 2013

The Sweet Smell of Land

stunning sceneryThe floral spicy smell of Bali reached its tendrils over the Indian Ocean, beckoning us in.  After a week at sea the sweet smell of incense, candles, flowers, spices, and land drifted to the boat with a promise of exotic lands.

We were coming in at just the right time; Benoa harbor was just waking up and rubbing the sleep out of its eyes.

Ramshackle fishing vessels were just thinking of pulling out of the harbor.  The bug-like boats that skimmed over the water during the day hadn’t whirred to life yet.   It was just light enough to motor in, and we wouldn’t have to dodge obscene amounts of traffic.  This was so much the better as the current was pulling us so strongly that we were coming in at an almost 90 degree angle to our heading.

Moments later the Adhan, or Islamic call to prayer, sounded over the water as the first fingers of dawn crept into the sky.   Reminding me that though Bali is 97% Hindu, Indonesia is still a Muslim country.

After motoring for more than a week with negligible winds and not catching one fish I was more than ready to get my feet back on land and I was thrilled about seeing a new country.   Getting to see Indonesia by boat was not something I had thought that I would get to do.

monkeysUntil this year, Indonesia was not the most cruiser-friendly country.  Especially not for solo cruisers.  With a required sponsor letter, bank statements, a minimum 4-week processing, among other hoops to jump through the ton of paperwork and would be enough to sink many a private yacht.

However as of 2011, Indonesia offers a 1-month Visa on Arrival with the option to renew for another month.

Having an organization to circumvent or at least navigate much of the paperwork is one of the benefits of joining a flotilla like the World ARC.  This is why so many cruisers opt for sailing Indonesia with rallies.  Even so, we had to go through half a day of checking in and a stack of paperwork to check in and get our visa on arrival.  Even running around checking in it was wonderful to feel the ground under my feet and smell the dusty air.

It was glorious to be on dry land again.  I even went so far as to shun a hot shower on the boat in favor of a cold shower in the dodgy marina bathroom.  The cement floor and walls with spider webs in the corner just made the experience more real.   I was in Indonesia… I was in Bali!


  1. I will interested in seeing your comments about Bali. On my world cruise it ranks as the number one destination so far!

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