Outrigging in Amed

Kate Giles
I'm a bit of an adventurer. I'm in Amed Bali on a holiday. There's a black sandy beach with rocks. There are also lots of outriggers. Outriggers are canoes with big wooden frames on both sides. I'm going fishing in one. My feet slide on the beach rocks but I get to the boat. The fishermen lift the outrigger up and push it into the waves. The sail catches the wind. We fish with handlines and a bit of cloth. We fill the bottom of the boat with fish. The view on the way back is breathtaking.
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Kate Giles on 05/09/2012
An outrigger being pushed by two men out into the sea.
Kate Giles Outrigging in Amed

The fishermen push it out into the waves.

I'm a bit of an adventurer. However, since my vision loss I'm not quite as daring as I used to be. But I still continue to push through limits.

Amed, Bali

I'm in Amed on the east coast of Bali. Apart from a few resorts, time has stood still and yet the countryside is a height of activity.

I walk down the steps to a so called black sandy beach. I stop to scan the area with my little bit of remaining vision. Although it's black and it's a beach, it's not all that sandy. There are many rocks from the last eruption of the nearby volcano, Mt Agung. As I survey the scene, I also see many traditionally-styled boats.

I'm a bit nervous. My inner voice takes over We're going out to sea in one of those?

Hush, I say. Where's your sense of adventure?

Traditional Indonesian fishing boat

One of those is a traditional Indonesian fishing boat known as an outrigger. It's a small narrow dugout canoe hollowed out from a tree trunk. Two big arm-like structures reach out from each side. A long bamboo pole is attached to these arms. The poles keep the canoe balanced in the big waves.

As I step onto the beach, my feet begin to roll about. The constant pounding of the surf has smoothed and rounded the rocks.

This is ridiculous. It's my inner voice again. You're going to come a cropper here.

Hush, I repeat. I can do this, I know I can. Besides you can't come to Amed without going to sea in an outrigger.

The rocks roll around under my feet. I manage to keep my balance enough to duck under the outrigger's arm and ease myself onto the boat's seat.

Setting sail and fishing

The fishermen on the beach lift up the outrigger and push it out into the waves. The skipper scampers along the boat where he adjusts another bamboo pole. This becomes the mast. He unties the colourful triangular sail from the mast. The sail catches the wind and we are under way.

Traditional fishing methods are used here in Amed. They use handlines and the bait looks like a discarded piece of sail. But it works a treat. Before long we are filling the bottom of the boat with fish.

The waves are getting higher. My inner voice is at it again. It is quietly reminded this wave activity is normal in these parts. But just in case, I hang on a bit tighter. Eventually, we start heading back.

Breathtaking view

The view is breathtaking. Mountain ridges above the shoreline sparkle in the sun. Mt Agung, the largest and most revered volcano, dominates the scene. And under the watchful eye of this majestic volcano, the sun goes down. Blending with the sea and the clouds, the colours play a magnificent role. And as the coconut palms, fringing the shore once again come into view, I am reminded of why am I adventurous.

I know the memories of outrigging in Amed will stay with me for many years to come. And this alone is worth pushing through barriers.

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