Ed's note: Harry Timson and Ollie Treacher both made it home, but read on for a few days of tension at being stuck in Indo.
The coronavirus situation is about to hit breaking point in Indonesia. Flights have been cancelled or grounded, so there are dozens if not hundreds of surfers and tourists stranded around the archipelago, with little hope of getting home.
UK ripper, Harry Timson, and videographer Ollie Treacher, flew out to Bali in January to film the next part of their excellent movie, Stone Cold Not Sober. After it was announced flights would be put on hold indefinitely, Hazza booked a trip home but that was cancelled, so was the next one, then the next two, before finally finding a flight leaving tonight, at midnight – and fingers crossed that one gets off the ground.
Stuck in? Mind surf Ulus, HERE
Like most places over the world now, the country has gone into lockdown and police are patrolling the beaches to deter any surfers. With his last chance to get home only a few hours away, we caught up with Mr Timson to see what life is like in Bali right now – and how he's keeping sane.
When did you get to Indo and why are you there?
I got here end of January and I've been here for two months filming the next chapter of my film Stone Cold Not Sober but at the moment, with all the virus stuff going on, we have had four cancelled fights which takes a toll on the credit card, as you can imagine. And we have been on lockdown, such as the rest of the world.
That's rough, where are you in Indo? And where've you been filming?
At the moment, we are stranded in Bali, we were told to fly back as all domestic flights would be cancelled and were not to resume for the foreseeable future. We spent most of our time in Sumbawa between Lakey Peak and Yoyos. It was a slow start for the swells but they kicked in around the end of February and it's pumped since.
Sounds like a rad trip, up until now. So did you try and get flights out? Then it all got shut down?
Yeah, our original flight got cancelled so we had to take matters into our own hands and rebook. Sure enough, that one got cancelled and we rebooked two more times just to have them get cancelled again. We actually have a flight scheduled this evening at midnight an it's pretty much our last hope of getting out, so you might see a lot more Bali clips on my Instagram [laughs].
The main transit spots such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpar are closed to all foreign nationals, so there are some crazy routes to get back to the UK. I think like most people, we underestimated the situation and how fast it can progress.
Damn. And surfing's banned in Bali? Lockdown? What's the vibe?
Last time we tried to go surfing there was not a soul in the water at Uluwatu, with police and security stopping you from even stepping foot on the beach. And then, after that, there was the silent day, a Balinese tradition, 24 hours with no noise, no power, you're not allowed to leave your room and they extended this for an extra 24 hours before the virus.
Even now, nearly all the shops are shut there's only a few restaurants open so it's pretty savage. We haven't seen any other tourists around Kuta so I couldn't even tell you the vibe, it's like a zombie apocalypse.
Guess like many other places, surfing's off the table, how are you keeping sane?
You should've asked me when I as still sane a few days ago [laughs]. Mind surfing and editing the new chapter of the film.
Any idea when Bali went into lockdown or any indication of how long it's going to last?
I'm not too sure on the official side of things, but there's a lot of stranded people here who can't pay for flights out, so they're depending on the government. And I don't think anyone knows how long it's going to last, I heard there's no arrivals coming into Bali.
Yeah that sounds about right... but the new flick, how's it looking? Get what you need?
Yeah super stoked on the outcome, we had plenty of swell and was nice to surf warm water after the winter clip last year. Will continue to film at home when permitted to, because who doesn't love a bit of UK surfing – film will premiere on August 5 at Dead Famous in Newquay.
Cheers mate, hope you get back tonight!