Post by Sarah Sackville
So my life brings me to Bali.
Home of epic waves, lush rice paddies, copious bintangs and terrifying monkeys.
I’m working over here remotely for a while, I mean why not! I spend most of my time in a co-work space in Canggu writing about all various things and getting distracted by the wonder of what the other 200 people that share the space are doing.
Canggu gets pretty overwhelming at times, it’s full of hipsters with motorbikes so loud it makes you stop your conversation and cringe. The restaurants (Warungs) are becoming more expensive and the smiles less genuine – one local put the term to me “money smile” recently. I liked it. I understand why people are like that, I just wish there was a different way.
I’m a country girl at heart though, so I miss quiet open spaces, of which very few are left here in Bali. I have to trek or paddle to find solace. So that’s exactly what I did a few weeks ago.
I trekked Ubud, and I surfed Medewi.
Starting in Ubud
It’s quite the sensory overload Ubud, which I find ironic given its reputation for being a place to relax, unwind and get in touch with your spiritual side. If comparing it to Kuta, okay, yeah sure, It’s way more in touch with the old Bali.
I met with some friends. One old and three (then not now) new. We decided to go on one of the Lonely Planets “walks” to escape the hustle. I invert that because what was meant to be a 6km paved walk turned into a 13km trek through the jungle and sliding down dirt mountains.
I don’t blame Lonely Planet, I would say that due to all of our similar natures of being adventure seekers, one or two times where we should have checked to go left or right, we optimistically went with our “intuition”. Of course, after only ten mins of walking, none of us had any idea where we were.
At first, we were walking single file down the busy roads of Ubud, trying to avoid traffic, falling in ditches and piles of unidentifiable waste..all at once.
Then we were greeted with what we were seeking the most – quiet, green jungle landscapes with pockets of rice paddies equipped with their hard-working farmers.
The real Bali
The Bali that is untamed, unkempt and still wild. Wandering down, down, down further we came across a path veering towards the sound of water, so of course, we went down it!
What we found, in fact, was a little prayer area. These are everywhere you go in Bali, for the daily offerings and prayer. This one though was stunning, surrendering to the natural forces around it, it had almost been overgrown by the jungle and there was a little waterfall tiering off towards the river below.
We made our way further down to the murky river flowing fast, surrounded by beautifully kept lawns and what seemed to be a gathering area.
I found a swing.
The adventurer in me was so excited. No average swing, it hung out so far and high over the water I needed a nearby palm frond to reel it in. The swings reliability was seriously questionable.
Weighing up the diseases I would contract if I fell in and how badly I wanted that little adrenalin kick, I emptied my pockets of valuables and swung.
Admittedly, not before I sat there holding my friend’s hand refusing to let go for a minute.
Then, of course, everyone wanted a go.
We all got to swing, and no one got diseased.
So we carried on, only to find our path had turned into a 10m dirt mountain deposited by nearby construction. I wish I had photo’s of this but we were all too concerned as to what to do. It was either over the mountain or into the river.
I guess we could have turned back, but personally, I don’t really do turnbacks.
So we went up, discovered we couldn’t go over, so we went down the side that seemed to veer towards a path. Half surfing, half sliding, arrived at what we had correctly identified as a path.
The rest of it was relatively uneventful, mostly just stopping to take photo’s to avoid the long flight of stairs back up towards the streets which we knew were inevitable.
Home many hours later than what we first estimated, I was overly content. I may have filled my shoes and every bodily crevice with dirt, not wore enough sunscreen or drunk enough water but I was happy.
After Ubud I decided I needed a good rinse, much to my partner’s delight. I also was missing surfing longboard waves. Canggu has a surf break – Old Mans – that is suitable for long boards but not really a long wave.
Then Medewi was mentioned. A left-hander wave that on a particularly good day boasts 1 min + ride. There’s an awesome little section perfect for nose riding closer to shore that sucks up and thrusts you along the wave at twice the speed.
I found out about Medewi through a post on the Dojo co-work Facebook group, there were some other “dojoers” going there for a weekend, so I joined.
We were forewarned that the road there was “death highway”, it joins up with the same road that all trucks were transporting goods in and out of Java come down.
Balinese roads are chaotic enough without the added implement of a consistent streamline of trucks whose drivers are underpaid and impatient.
Needless to say, happy we chose to get transport and not drive our bikes.
Arriving in Medewi
Upon arriving in Medewi we were greeted with fields filled only with the occasional family of cows and sporadic homestays. The backdrop 6ft + waves peeling off the point with only a small crowd.
Did someone say heaven!
Medewi is yet to be heavily developed, and I hope it stays that way. We stayed in a homestay on the hill that looked over the point, and beach breaks, super simple, super chilled, no wifi or reception..the place was perfection for the getaway I was craving.
Walking down through farms, being greeted by excited children wanting to practice their English and the genuine overall feel of the place left me with a feeling of satisfaction.
The 6ft + waves had me a little intimidated so not too much surfing was done that day. However, the following day as it dropped off a little I scored some really nice waves that left me – excuse my Aussie slang- frothing!!!
Contrary to the “guarantee it will happen to you” I had read online, I didn’t succumb to an attack of the sea urchins or did I leave with a kiss from Medewi (A laceration from the rocks surrounding the exit/entrance to the water).
Now, again I sit back in Canggu having my thoughts interrupted by guys on big dirt bikes with no mufflers (There are no freaking bike tracks here) that I feel are possibly over compensating for something.
I sit dreaming of the serenity of Medewi and its relatively uncrowded waters, preferring its mosque chanting at 5 am compared to the standard wakeup call of a semi-coherent gaggle of drunk geese aka girls night out in Canggu.
Canggu serves its purpose though, providing a base upon which I build an epic lifestyle. Next week’s escape… Bukit. Time to get barrelled! (In my dreams).
And here are a few pictures I took along the way and didn’t use in the article: