Climb & fly Gurung Rinjani around Bali

Indonesia - Posted On


My situation is emotionally not so good as I spent two months in Darwin to look for a sailboat to Singapore, and I’m now stuck in Bali because the s/y Australian Maid on which I was crewing blew up it alternator. 

My mission is to find another one as quick as possible. Nathalie is a kiwi girl working with catching crocodiles in Darwin and was crewing also on the Australian Maid. She is teaming up with me to sail all the way to Singapore. Luckily, we are in the right season and Bali is a popular spot for yachties to stop by on their way to the north. Also there’s the rally Sail Indonesia arriving in Bali with 30+ yachts in the fleet! I put on an advert on the yacht club board, and see one the next day: The s/y Equinox NZ is looking for experienced crew to go to Singapore! Too easy! We make appointment and the next day we have settled the program and become official crew on it. We got so popular that another boat calls me to offer the same position on another yacht, a nice French couple on a 80ft, but I already arranged with the other... We will see later how much I regretted this decision.

Surprise in Bali, I meet my paragliding friends Wally and Ted from Bright in Australia. They came to fly for a few months in Timbis, popular flying spot here. Of course flying becomes my priority and I spend a few days there enjoying the flights after nearly 6 months of complete abstinence due to the bloody flatness of Northern Australia.

But I have another challenge in my mind: Climb and fly the Mt Gurung Rinjani, 3000+m high, the volcano on Lombok. I climbed it in 2005 and have thought of it as the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen. It is still true, but I had to bend my judgment seeing the HUGE amount of stupid plastic rubbish EVERYWHERE along the track. It is SHOCKING how much guides and locals do not give a damn about it. It even seems they provoke it. And actually some do, as they estimate the National park should pay more money to clean. And in their eyes, letting more rubbish up there will make it happen! Sometimes I feel desperate about human kind, honestly.

For this 5 days expedition, Matt, Wally’s friend and beginner pilot himself, decides to join me although he doubt being prepared for it. The few days we spent together highly challenging ourselves were extremely enjoyable. I don’t remember having physically suffered that much in any other expedition though. But we make it to the top, and the wind is south while I need a northeast wind. I spot a place where I could attempt the take off but honestly the huge crater below does not make the flight really looking safe and I decide for safety although I hesitate for hours! Matt didn’t even bring his wing, his was simply too heavy. We spend one more night on the mountain having a go at the local hot river waterfall, something heavenly mind-blowing for hard-core trekkers like us now. 

Back to the village, we spend some time with the local paragliding club, Balinese style. With no gear of their own, they learn by themselves throwing themselves from the top of the hill. Trees become often the target of the crazy but passionate young guys. We try to give them some ideas of safe practice and quick practical and theory lesson. First rule is: get more practice on the ground!

Back to Bali, I have to meet the s/y Equinoxe NZ on the northern coast of the island; it’s time to cycle! In two days of climb I reach it and get aboard, ready to sail to Singapore.