Seeing as though surfing conditions are only marginal at the moment I though you might be interested to check out some old photos I came across on one of my many old hard disks. I’ll have a bit of a dig and see what else I can find ok. Feel free to contact us anytime for Bali surf information or our home stay offers, just click on this blue text
Ho Tsai Fa No.18
I think it was on the 15th of July 2008 that this Taiwanese fishing boat ran aground on the Bali’s Padang Padang reef. I was at home when I got a call from a friend down at Padang Padang saying that they had heard the GPS warning alarm going off on a ghost ship that was drifting in towards Padang Padang. I can’t remember who it was but they had told me that after paddling out to the boat before it ran aground and climbing on board to see if there were any crew, but only to find it deserted.
My friend had worked on commercial fishing boats and said that everything was in working order in the helm, so the mystery began. Not wanting to get in trouble with anyone he then paddled back to shore and watched the Ho Tsai Fa drift into and run aground on the reef.
I also think it was around the time of the opening ceremony of the Rip Curl Cup surfing contest that was due to begin shortly. At the time wave height was only small with just a 1-2ft swell breaking on the reef but enough to push the boat up on the shelf, just to the south of the surfers take off launch pad. There was a big swell forecast for another day or two so I think with the help of the ROLE foundation based on the bukit everyone went into over drive to try and get her off the reef.
At one stage I did see two big old long shafted Javanese fishing boats working together to try and pull it off the reef but she wasn’t budging. There was a valiant effort by locals to clear to water of any fishing gear, hooked long lines out of the water and make sure there was no oil or fuel spilling into the water as well. But still that boat wasn’t going anywhere.
I remember driving home from Uluwatu the day after she was reefed seeing locals everywhere carrying big Tuna fish raided from the boats freezer. That night while down on the beach in Tuban we could also see flares going off in side and around the boat from people who had climbed aboard and started salvaging.. I even heard that there were life rafts that had been inflated inside the helm.
When the swell did hit it didn’t take long to push the Ho Tsai Fa all the way up into the rocks on the shore and that’s where she remained, broken and finally set alight and burned.
It was a mystery at the time but it didn’t take long for the news to break of how this boat had gone off the fleet owners radar / gps. Apparently the Indonesian crew had done a mutiny and murdered the Captain and fled onto Bali. I’m pretty sure all but 1 or 2 of the mutineers were captured and punished.
I’m sorry if I left anything out of this but it is only my account of what I can remember after finding these photos on one of my old hard disks.
Good yarn! More details here:
The fact that it was a Notorious pirate fishing boat rapping the oceans fish stocks for decades all around the world with a slave crew makes it a bit better story.
I think that there is always a good reason for a proper mutiny?
Good call by old matey to let it drift onto the reef
Clive Rodell says
Bring on those great stories Jim! It’s your vast experience of Bali that makes your Surf Guiding so good!
mark berry says
I have the flag of that ship at home..
I went aboard it and climbed up and took it..