Seeing the sights of Bali

At breakfast, a waiter made a mistake of asking us about yesterday’s dive. Delanii didn’t hold back sharing her views, so the waiter gave us free breakfast and promised to raise it with the management.

After breakfast, we were picked up by a guide, Buddy, for a full-day tour of Bali together with Lisa, while Shawn had flown to Australia to climb the “towering” Mount Kosciuszko (2228m).

We visited a number of locations seeing batik painting of fabrics, wood carvings and finally the beautiful Tanah Lot temple, including its sacred guardian, The Holy (Sea) Snake!

Diving monkeys

After breakfast, we were picked up by Yos Diving for a diving trip at Nusa Dua. The diving was terrible and we saw more garbage floating in the water than marine life, so we cut the day short and headed back to the hotel after the first of two dives.

In the afternoon, while having lunch at the bar, we were entertained by the resident macac monkeys: next to us, an American lady was feeding the monkeys so they got bolder and started taking food directly off her plate.

As the lady tried to scare the monkey away, the macac showed its teeth to which the lady responded by yelling: “look, it’s smiling at me”…..luckily for her, staff chased the macac away, before it ”smiled” its teeth into her ;-)

The monkeys also showcased a skill I’ve never seen monkeys do before – they followed the example of the guests and swam and dove in the resorts pool!

Reconnecting with Shawn and Lisa

We spent the day relaxing in the sun and swimming.

In the evening, Glenn picked us up for a dinner on the beach with Shawn and Lisa, who had returned to Bali earlier in the day, while Bart had continued his trip elsewhere.

After dinner, we also got our backpacks back and noticed a jacket, which I had lent to one of the female porters for the day, had been kept by her.

Meldy heading back to the jungle

After breakfast, we met with Glenn who took us to the Bulgari Resort & Hotel, about 45 mins away from Kuta Beach, which we had booked ahead of the trip.

Glenn also told us that the Freeport McMoran mine had forced Meldy, our expedition leader, to walk out of the jungle alone rather than letting him exit via Tempagapura like we had.

Disappointed with the both the inaction and eventual actions of the mine, we decided to write a letter to the CEO upon returning home.

At the Bulgari Resort & Hotel, given the Indiana Jones–like adventure in the jungles of Papua, we were very happy to get a luxurious villa and enjoy a nice lunch, followed by long massages.


Geronimo E-KIA

We were woken up at 0500 and taken to the helipad for a helicopter charter to Timika. However, our departure was delayed due to the confusion about who’s our sponsor in Tembagapura (apparently everyone needs one there) and we were only allowed to depart once that was clarified.

A representative from our trekking company met us in Timika and arranged tickets for a connecting flight to Bali, where Glenn picked us up and took us to a hotel and told us that Bin Laden had been killed by US Navy Seals.

Glenn also brought a bag, which we had left with the trekking company, with clean clothes (rest of our gear is still in the jungle with the porters).

After long showers, we watched CNN talking about Bin Laden and as we walked around Kuta Beach, we could feel tension amongst security personnel everywhere – realising that Kuta Beach had been the target of an Al Qaeda-related bombing in 2002.

Trying to “free” Meldy

After breakfast, nurses arrived to draw blood from Delanii. The tests results showed nothing new, including no malaria!

With Delanii’s condition improving, I appealed to the doctors and nurses to try to “free” Meldy from the container at Balidan and get him brought to the hospital as he was also sick. However, I was simply told to look after Delanii and forget about our expedition leader.

In the evening, a janitor noticed that the VIP room had two “guests” and brought in an extra bed. I’m happy to be finally off the floor!

At 2130 in the evening, two ladies in civvies showed up stating that they’re from the hospital administration and needed us to pay the bill for their services in cash. They also told us that we would be leaving Tembagapura on the first flight tomorrow.


“I need to know everything”

Delanii got a “VIP room” at the hospital, however, the only luxury turned out to be a private shower and toilet, which I used to wash-up before falling asleep on the floor (no extra bed available).

In the morning, several doctors visited Delanii, including one that questioned whether we had the appropriate permits to climb the mountain (which we did) and then continuing to make a bizarre statement that he’s in charge and needs to know everything that happens on the mountain and that he didn’t know about us.

In the afternoon, the doctors deliver their verdict, concluding that Delanii’s collapse was due to exhaustion and dehydration and decide to hold her for observation for another night, while they also decide how to get us out of the “private area” – the entire city of Tembagapura is owned by the mining company and its off-limits for anyone not associated with the company.

Evacuation to a hospital

In the morning, yet another security patrol arrived to finally let us into the container. However, the patrol also left two security guards with us to stop me from wandering into the mining area again ;-)

In the late afternoon, over 24 hours after we had requested a doctor, I was getting increasingly frustrated and started suggesting that we consider walking through the mine or hijacking a car from the security.

Fortunately, at 2100 as we prepare to spend a night inside the container, an ambulance arrives from the mine’s clinic with two paramedics who check Delanii and decide to evacuate her to the clinic.

Despite arguments that Meldy should come along, the security refuse to let him come with us.

At the clinic, Delanii is administered with a drip and oxygen, and then evacuated to Tembagapura Hospital via ambulance and cable-car with security escort. She’s admitted to the hospital after midnight and given another drip.

Trouble on the mountain

Despite promises from the group leaders that we could sleep in following our return from the summit, we were told to pack quickly at 0900. This meant, that Delanii who had been keen to sleep in, also missed her breakfast.

At 0930, we started the trek back with the porters leading the way and with Delanii and me holding the rear. Climbing over the New Zealand Pass, just an hour or so into the trek, Delanii collapsed of exhaustion.

After Poxy reached us and discussed the situation with his boss via satellite phone, we concluded that we needed to evacuate Delanii to the Grasberg Mine. Poxy also tells us that Meldy is bizarrely already on his way there.

We reached the mine’s edge, Balidan, at about 1430 and shortly after, one of the security patrols of the mine located us. We requested a doctor, but surprisingly were simply told to wait while the security patrol sought advice from their superiors regarding what to do with us.

Over the next few hours, several security patrols visited Balidan to check on Delanii, Meldy and me, but while they brought us water and food, none bothered to actually check Delanii’s or Meldy’s condition. Furthermore, there was no doctor or access to the container, despite heavy rain.

In light of the lack of action, my frustration was growing and I wondered into the open pit area of the mine and started stopping huge Caterpillar trucks transporting rocks, to request for a doctor.  The only result from this was another security patrol arriving to tell us not to wonder anywhere.

Fortunately, in the evening another security patrol brought wood and helped us light a fire to keep warm as we had only one sleeping bag for three people. This was great as the temperature had been dropping all day due to continuous rain.

On the summit of Carstensz Pyramid!

We got up at 0100 with the plan to start for the summit at 0200. However, with heavy rain starting during the night, we delayed our departure until 0240.

We trekked for an hour to the bottom of fixed ropes where we clipped on the ascenders (jumars) and started heading up the mountain with water gushing down the climbing path in many places.

At 0800 we reached the Tyrolean Traverse, a well-known place on the mountain, where a set of wire cables connect two peaks approximately 20 meters apart, with nothing but emptiness below. With only one guide, Poxy crossed the traverse first, leaving me to secure the remaining climbers on the cables.

I led the group after the traverse and reached the summit of Carstensz Pyramid at 4884m at 1005 as the first climber. The rest of the group, led by Delanii arrived at the summit at 1025.

We enjoyed beautiful views from the summit, including Grasberg Mine, the largest gold mine in the world and the 3rd largest copper mine, operated by Freeport McMoran company.

At 1130, after taking some summit photos and eating a bit, we started our descent.

Delanii and I reached the bottom of the fixed ropes at 1635, wet and exhausted.

We waited for the rest of the climbers to reach us and then started the trek back to base camp together, reaching our tent at 1830 after a 16 hour summit day.

Delanii headed straight to bed, skipping dinner.