Waiting for the tide to change can be an exhausting pastime. You sit there thinking `Yep, that piece of coral has definatley gone now. The tides come up heaps’ only to see the dumb thing it re-appear. Yes, very frustrating stuff.
Graham, Joe and I had been sitting Nyomans warung for a hour and a half, and as young men can be, Joe was getting a bit impatient. The tide showed no sign of hurrying for us so other options were now being explored. `What about Bingin or Impossibles’? `Nar! We should gone to Ulu’s’. `What? and fight that crowd?’
You get the idea, and so a plan was hatched to walk over to Dreamland. Yep, just a short hike over the headland to check the beach break. Good idea while you are sitting around eating banana and honey jaffles and sipping cool drinks. But in the equatorial sun! A forced march could be a better description. `Agung the bemo my good man. Ayo’.
Its only a short drive from Balangan to Dreamland. At the turn off theres a sign that was once brightly coloured but is now weathered and fading. `Welcome to Dreamland Beach’. Agung turns into the paddock/parking area, and there some local guys lounging in the shade. One comes over and opens the door of the bemo for me. `Welcome to Dreamland. I’m Made.’ Introductions over Made and crew set off from the carpark to check the surf.
The paddock carpark is set back from the coast a little so you can’t see the ocean or the beach without walking the one hundred metres or so to the top of a small headland. Made and I walk together, Graham and Joe behind, towards the point. Made asks all the questions, `where are you from? when did you come to Bali? have you been to Dreamland before?’. `Australia, last Friday and a long time ago’. Made tells me the waves are good and people are surfing today.
The Bukit Peninsula looks more like the outback of Australia, or maybe Lombok, than Bali. It has that desert feel about it. You can tell it doesn’t rain as much here. The plants are thorny looking and the ground is brown and dry. There are those fences made of tough vines, interwoven but still growing.
If you have never been to Pantai Dreamland I’ll try and describe the view, although I will need to be Tolkien do it justice. The path ends at the top hill that is fifty to eighty metres above the ocean. If you look south you can see the Pura Uluwatu and to the north, Kuta, Legian and Seminyak in the haze.
The striking thing is the water. Its that azure blue you see in post cards, the kind you never see when you arrive, but its in all the brochures. It must be because of the sandy ocean floor below reflecting the light back up. The swell is small, smaller than what we had left at Balangan, which is annoying. But I look down the coast and it is a sight that most surfers would be moved by. This piece of coast is a natural phenomenon, a geological and meteorlogical freak. Facing out at the exact angle for the southerly swells, that have travelled a thousand miles, to wrap around the tip of island. The tradewinds blow reliably for months at a time, smoothing, grooming and massaging the swells as they race to expend their energy on the reefs.
It is a short coastline, maybe three to five kilometres, but hosts some of the worlds most renowned surf breaks. Farthest south I can see lines of swell wrapping down the reef at Uluwatu, Bali and Indonesia’s holy grail. Home of the famous cave and the place where the potential of Bali’s surf was first discovered. Then just to the north Padang Padang. A wave so perfect they named it twice. The swell collides with Padangs shallow and dangerous coral ledge and heaves itself over and into a perfect barrell. Then inside the sweeping bay I can see Impossibles and its long curve of reef. Five or six waves are funneling along its low tide ledge, always tempting the unwary to try and connect the sections but Impossibles plays a fine line between reward and disaster. Closest I can Bingin, Bali’s tubing, miniature Banzai Pipeline. Directly beneath my feet is Dreamland’s blue peaks and its sandy beach.
From atop this small hill Made and I look out at a scene that I’ll never forget. Fifteen and more waves peeling down five reefs, the tradewind holding the swells till they are vertical and finally collapse, barrell, and reel along the coral shelves. I see azure blue water, feel the warm sun on my back and tradewinds smell of the ocean. I smile at Made and say `welcome to Dreamland’.
Colin De Costa