A Travellerspoint blog

July 2008

...Kiting Sanur Continued...

...a request for more...

sunny 26 °C
View Mike & Kim's Trip on msmitheman's travel map.

...a request for "technical" kiting info....and video of Kim..

me - 12m Naish Helix on a custom made 135cm Amundson directional board
Kim - 9m Naish Shockwave on a Lightwave 132cm Freestyle board

wind - averaging 12 to 14 knots

I have to admit I haven't been too good at taking photo's and video, all my shots have come out terrible...however here's a brief clip of Kim riding with me filming from the water and also from the kite cam.

Posted by msmitheman 21:22 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

Kitesurfing Sanur

....and the hidden tiles!

sunny 28 °C
View Mike & Kim's Trip on msmitheman's travel map.

It's been a strong comeback over the last few days....two 300+ scores, multiple 7 letter words!!! Oh, and as I was making the bed the other day, what did I find, but an "A" under Kim's pillow....got me thinking of all the words I could have made, had I had an extra "A"!!!!

This may be a boring post for most as since we got back from Singapore the wind has been consistent and the tide high, so we've been getting a lot of kiting in....but I thought I'd write an entry about it!


The winds got stronger and stronger all week. The first couple of days were pretty light, but enough to get practice runs in for Kim and for me to mess about. Later in the week, it was perfect.

First the bad...I did have a close call that woke me up and made me be a bit more careful. I have been trying to work on some new tricks that require unhooking from the harness and taking all the weight on the arms and bar while performing jumps and spins.

When it goes wrong (quite often at the moment) it goes wrong pretty spectacularly! This isn't a problem if you're far from shore as you're still attached to the kite by a long leash meaning you maybe get dragged around a bit in the water and end up with a lot of water in your nasal passages, but that's about it! However on one run, I cut it too fine, too close to shore....unhooked, realized I was way overpowered, but couldn't let go as the kite was almost over the beach....panicking a bit, I just pulled the bar in the opposite direction to the beach and as the kite went over the top to point out to sea, I shot up about 20 feet in the air....at which point I couldn't hold on any longer and let go of the bar...and plummeted 20 feet in the opposite direction...down...into about a foot of water. I managed to engage the "spread out as wide as possible and land flat" pose, slapping down onto the water without hitting the bottom....at which point the kite slapped down about a foot in front of me.

I grabbed the kite and walked up onto the beach, with my best "I meant to do that" face on....no harm done...and a lesson learnt not to try things to close to shore! I have since been improving!

Anyway, here's some random video of how not to do a trick....

...and here's a slightly more successful version....

Kim is getting better and better every outing and progressing very quickly....I even saw an attempt at a transition the other day (turning around without flopping down into the water and starting again), which she almost pulled off....next time I'm sure. She manages to get her fair share of bumps and scrapes and drags through the water along the way, but never the less seems to be enjoying it judging by the laughing and shrieking that can be heard from the shore!


I kited out beyond the reef yesterday. It's a little sketchy as it's very shallow and you have to negotiate your way through the coral and rocks and sometimes huge breaking waves, but once you're through those it's fine. I had spent some time sitting on the beach at low tide (when there's no water), working out where the big rocks were, after my last mishap of hitting one. Once you're through the breakers, the waters fairly calm, a little choppy, but that's it. It's then possible to get some scary wave rides back in over the reef....not a place to mess up and fall!

in the lagoon on the inside the water is so flat and smooth....it's fun just getting up so much speed and bombing along up and down the coast taking in the view.


We have seen 3 or 4 other kites out this last week, although way south of where we are...I suspect the odd holiday maker. One young girl came over to us the other day to see if she could kite with us for a while....she was there with her non kiting friend for a couple of days. Turns out Hayling Island is her regular spot....small world and sport (for those that don't know, this is where I learnt in the UK). There are quite a few windsurfers out (when I say quite a few, maybe 6 or 7!)...looks like local kids, maybe 10 or 11 years old, who rip back and forth on the oldest gear I can remember. They're very good though. Other than those, the odd outrigger canoe and the 2 terrible jet ski's that get rented out for 30 dollars for 15 minutes (Kim and I are working on ways of disabling them without anyone being able to fix them), we have the whole area to ourselves.

On Monday we up and leave for the Gili Islands for 5 nights. These are 3 small islands off the coast of Lombok (the next major island over), which involve a 2 hour boat journey and island hop to get to. We have picked Gili Meno, the smallest of the 3 and supposedly the quietest....the guide book informs me you can walk around the coast of it in less than an hour and that it's extremely quiet with nothing to do but lay on the beach, snorkel and....well that's it. We thought as it is low tide again next week, we were due a vacation. "Extremely quiet...", well I hope so, but I don't believe that there won't be a cockerel or rooster waking us up at 6am every morning as there seems to have been at every other place we've stayed! It will also be nice to (hopefully) get away from the cries of "transport?", "massage?" or "you looky in my shop?" every time you walk down the street!

Posted by msmitheman 03:43 Archived in Indonesia Comments (3)

Answering My Critics...

...and being unable to reason when there is no reason!!

sunny 28 °C
View Mike & Kim's Trip on msmitheman's travel map.

Seems some are criticizing my posture on the horse without the full story!!

First off, I was having problems with my equipment...well the horses equipment, specifically the stirrups, which were a good foot too short. For the equestrians amongst you, you'll understand that this makes it fairly difficult to sink into the saddle and grip at the same time. The end result being a rather uncomfortable seating position.

Secondly I had been wrestling the animal for some time and yes I was a little saddle sore.

Thirdly (and the main reason), was the guy taking the photo had tried three times and cut one or other of our heads off (be it the horses, Kim's or mine) of the picture. I was unable to manoeuvre my animal into position for the picture (I think he was busy plotting his next attack and was ignoring me), so I engaged the "lean into position" approach to try and at least get me or Kim into the shot. Of course that was the time the guy taking the picture decided it would be more successful to zoom out therefore making me look like I'm about to fall off the back.

...I hope this clears things up!

We are back in Bali in the same room and hotel. The trip to Singapore was fun. We went on the Singapore Flyer on the last day. A big Ferris Wheel...supposedly the biggest in the work, although I thought the London Eye held that honor! Oh well...managed to get a good view of the city, which appears to be one big building site these days. There is so much construction going on.

An uneventful trip back until it came to getting a taxi back to the hotel (the second part of my blog entry title!). I've decided that 99% of the people you meet in Bali are just trying to rip you off, and it really does get quite tiring. Proven once again when we got to the taxi desk at the airport. You go and prepay the taxi at a desk which has set rates to different towns on the island. The published rate to Sanur being 95,000 Rupiah.

We are traveling with 2 fairly big kite bags, about 5 foot long, and they won't fit in the boot (trunk for you americans) of a car. We have got pretty proficient at getting around with them though, the best way being to put the front passenger seat down and stack them front to back, with me and Kim squeezing in behind the driver. I've tended, however, to point them out when getting a car, just incase this isn't possible to do (seat doesn't go back, partition in the cab etc).

Well I pointed them out to the guys behind the taxi desk and immediately the price went up to 150,000 Rupiah. The argument ensued...it caused quite a scene...

I asked them whether that was because we were getting a bigger car?
No, they don't have bigger cars.
So why more money?
Because you have 2 big bags.
But we're getting the same car that we'd get if we didn't have 2 big bags?
Then why is it more money?
Because you have 2 big bags?
But it's the same car!
So that's not fair!
95,000 Rupiah isn't fair for 2 big bags.
But it's no different!
So how much if I just take one big bag?
[blank looks, and a lot of discussion]..still 150,000 Rupiah!
So 1 big bag is the same price as 2 big bags?
Yes sir.
So what if I had 3, I've got another one waiting round the corner? [calculator comes out]...

Kim was having her own argument with one of the other guys while this was going on. From what I could hear it was something along the lines of...we'd only payed 95,000 last time we were here....the guys point was that they had put a new sign up now with the advertised rates (which indeed they had). Kim pointed out that on the new sign it said 95,000 to Sanur....he pointed out that that was without 2 big bags!

It was at this point I threw three 50,000 Rupiah notes at the guy behind the counter and stormed off. Unfortunately there are no other transport options at the airport, so we didn't really have a choice.

...once again when we were in the cab, it dawned on me that the whole thing had been over the equivalent of a 15 dollar cab ride instead of 10 dollars...but it's the principle of the thing!

Sunny still in Sanur! We went to the beach with the kites this morning, but the wind was a little light. Still we both got a couple of runs and Kim got going upwind for the first time (which for those that don't know, means a lot less walking back up the beach!). Forecast is better for tomorrow.

Posted by msmitheman 01:06 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

Still in Bali

...and losing miserably 26 - 19 at Scrabble...

sunny 26 °C
View Mike & Kim's Trip on msmitheman's travel map.

...my losing streak started when the 7 letter word "quieted" was played on a triple word score...."quieted"?????...yes the american way of saying "quietened"...grrrrr

Bali continues to be great. We have had consistent winds for kiting. It tends to be a few days on and then a few days off as it's not possible to kite at low tide on the beach side of the reef...no water. I can't believe that no one else kites here as the winds have been so consistent, but I'm not complaining, I'd rather we had the beach & water to ourselves.


A week or so ago we moved accommodation. The other place was fine apart from the screaming kids that woke us up without fail at 6am every morning. It became too much. We moved further south to the "little pond homestay", a small place (maybe 10 rooms) centered around an even smaller swimming pool (if I stretch out I can reach all 4 ends!). It is actually much nicer, cleaner and quieter than the other place, despite no AC (just a fan) and no hot water. It has wireless internet (sometimes) and is half the price (all of 9 dollars for both of us).

A few weeks ago, we considered moving location for a while as we'd heard of some other potential kiting spots, Nusa Dua and further south of Sanur. We decided to rent a car for a couple of days to check them out. Like everything in this place the hardest part of the car rental process is actually negotiating the price. I'm sure I ended up paying over the odds, as I went to one of the big hotels to rent it...I wanted to be sure I was properly insured etc and it was legit. It still involved a good amount of time haggling...I find it quite draining.

Anyway we used the car to check out the two spots. Nusa Dua is nice, mostly expensive hotels, but a few cheapies. However the beach and more importantly the water seems to have been overrun by jetskis. Loads of them, bombing back and forth like a busy highway...if the noise wasn't bad enough, I didn't like our chances of not being hit on kites, so we quickly ruled that one off the list. The second place south of Sanur was ok, with 2 or 3 other kiters out, but really not worth moving for as it still has the "no water" at low tide problem. In the end we decided on the move of accommodation in Sanur instead, but it was fun checking out different places.

Driving in Bali isn't as bad as the guide books would have you believe. As they drive on the left it meant I got the honors. I quickly worked out that there are only 3 rules of the road:

1. concentrate solely on the area out the front windscreen....do NOT look in your mirrors, preferably remove them if you can so you don't sneak a look...trust me you don't want to see what's going on behind.

2. do not hit anything that's in front of you...even if it's a car pulling out from a side road (remember, they won't stop and look as they're concentrating on what's in front of them).

3. use your horn as much as possible

...if you stick to those rules then it seems to be fine.

Our visas ran out in Bali this week. We decided we'd like to spend another month there, but you have to leave the country to renew the visa. So with that in mind, we decided to take a vacation and booked a return trip to Singapore for a couple of nights! I booked flights on "ValueAir"...yes I agree not a great name for an airline, but cheap and actually not bad at all. All the years of work travel meant I could book a fairly decent hotel on points in Singapore. We have spoilt ourselves with some great food whilst we're here...particularly the Japanese meal we had last night.


We return back to Bali tomorrow night. I have updated the horse riding entry with some photo's if you want to look back!

Posted by msmitheman 23:11 Archived in Singapore Comments (1)

Horse Riding

sunny 28 °C
View Mike & Kim's Trip on msmitheman's travel map.

Yesterday we booked a 2 hour horse ride at the Umalas stables north of Seminyak on the west coast of Bali.

We were picked up in a very nice air conditioned car from our hotel at 2:30pm (made a change to the Bemo) and driven out to the stables.

It was a great ride through the Rice Paddy's and then out onto the Beach. That whole coast is a lovely wide sandy beach with crashing surf on it....particularly wild yesterday....and the first time we'd seen some other kitesurfers out on that coast.

The stables were lovely....horses well looked after....they were not at all busy, looked like we were the only ones that had been there that day...or maybe that week or month!


In hindsight maybe telling them that we were expert riders who have ridden all our lives wasn't the best of ideas! The hope was that they wouldn't put us on donkey's but I think they took the opportunity to bring out a couple of their horses with "attitude" problems to give them a bit of a run.

We set off with 2 Balinese guides....Abdul and I never did quite catch the name of the other one. They led us down the streets of Umalas (complete with honking cars, mopeds and the mass of Bali dogs running about). Horses seemed well behaved enough. Then we cut through the paddy fields and next thing we were crossing a river on our way to the beach.

It was on the beach that I realized we may have problems! Both horses seemed solely intent on getting us off their backs...although each with their own unique way of doing it!

Kim's horse took the approach of having 2 gears....stop and gallop. It would either just stand there pooing or it would take off down the beach at a gallop whilst employing a tactic of ducking and swerving from side to side. Thankfully Kim appears to be a competant rider and I have to say she did a great job of keeping it heading in generally the right direction and not falling off.

Mine employed a slightly sneakier tactic....on our first canter on the beach it was great...kept its head up and I was able to steer and control the speed. Once it had made me complacent it then decided that it would be much easier if I wasn't on its back. It would take off nicely in a canter, getting quicker and quicker and then just when I was getting comfortable, it would stop dead...front hooves splayed out in front, dug into the sand...head down, hind quarters in the air. Just as I would be untangling myself from round its neck, it would bolt upright and take off again throwing me to the back.

Thankfully neither of us came off, and the guides seemed to be enjoying the show.

It was really good fun though, and by the end we both had them under some sort of control. Neither of us can move this morning....my backside is raw, my back is aching and my calves and thighs are swollen to twice their size. We're taking a day off kiting!

After the ride we got the driver to take us to Kuta for dinner, however on the way he convinced us there was really nice fish restaurants in Jimbaran just further south from Kuta, and one in particular had particulary good food and a great view of the sunset. Realizing it was a scam and he was on a commission we thought what the hell, we'd go anyway.

Jimbaran Bay is a lovely spot overlooking the airport runway (not as bad as it sounds).....the beach has been taken over by restaurants sprawling out onto the sand. It is clearly a tourist trap but not in too bad of a way. I have to say the food was excellent if somewhat pricier than other places we've been eating. Kim went inside to pick dinner and the next thing I knew we had a huge red snapper and lobster being delivered to our table.....really yummy and probably one of the best meals we've had since hitting the road.

A cab ride back to Sanur saw us in bed asleep (ok I was, don't know about Kim) by 9:00pm


Posted by msmitheman 20:00 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

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