Dolphins & Strawberries

Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
Trip End Jul 17, 2012

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Friday, July 13, 2012

Lovina is famous for the dolphins that patrol its coast. So just after 6 am with the still jet black sky above, we left Bina Ria Beach on board the outriggers for the ride out to sea in search of these dolphins. It soon quickly got a bit lighter as we headed out.

As the sun rose, I could see literally hundreds of other outriggers heading out to sea from the different resorts up and down this coast line.

Yes, the playful dolphins were here. I saw several jump right out of the water but they were in the distant. The few that I managed catch on my camera were close by but generally there was another outrigger between us and the various pods of dolphins. They were so quick in that they were literally only a split second out of the water. Even with my camera shutter set on continuous, it was so difficult to capture the “ideal” pose.

I counted in our immediate group at least 60 outriggers. Whether the dolphins enjoy the daily chase by us tourists I don’t know but suspect that at least today they didn’t as generally they were swimming away from us.

The dolphins leave the inshore waters during the day to feed offshore. Our boatman said that they were bottle nose dolphins but Nova said that they were not.

Soon time to head back in and we were ashore just before 8 am to be greeted by … those pestie souvenir sellers.

If you are going out, do take a shower proof jacket. The sea water was still really warm but the splashes from the outriggers made for a wet journey home.

Not a bad experience for just 60,000 Rp (NZ $8.00 or just over US $6). Yesterday, it was apparently better with even stiller or flat water in which the dolphins really enjoy performing in.

At 10 am it was time to leave the coast bound for Bedugal. Along the coastal road passing fields where grapes have been planted. Yes, Bali has a wine industry as I saw bottles of “Two Islands” in the Ubud supermarket - an Australian and Bali venture.

Our first stop was just along the coast at the Seririt central market. You know that I love taking candid images off my hip in the food section of these markets!

As we drove up into the mountains the van soon filled with the distinctive aroma of cloves. Along the road side were tarpaulins covered with thousands of cloves drying in the sun.

Next stop was the waterfall at Munduk which is now a tiny hilltop village. It was formerly a Dutch colonial mountain retreat.

We walked down through a clove and coffee plantation to a hidden waterfall.

As I had not packed my tripod, I took it with a view to try some more slow shutter speed photography. Well, the fine water mist of the waterfall spray was falling in the area where the track finished so my attempts had to be very quick as the lens was soon covered in the fine water droplets.

Lunch at the neighbouring Bali Jegeg Restaurant. This area offers superb views across the hills of Bali and on a clear day the distant northern coast beaches could be seen.

For me lunch was a banana milkshake 35,000 Rp with my Bakmi Goreng - stir fried egg noodles with vegetables and chicken, chicken satay, omelette and crackers - 60,000 Rp. Total 114,000 Rp (NZ $15 or US $12).

Soon the rice fields were replaced by fields of cabbage, carrots, chillies and of all things plots of blue hydrangeas that we had seen earlier the blue flowers petals being sold in the market for the offerings. 

Cool and misty, the Bedugal region is a series of volcanic formed lakes and mountain ranges covered in lush vegetation. Being 1,200 metres above sea level it was definitely a bit cooler here than down on the coast!

A stop at Lake Bratan where there were views of Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, a classical-style temple set on a small island in the lake.

Besides being a famous 17 century Hindu-Buddhist temple on the lake, it features on the 50,000 Rp note.
Pura Ulan Danau Bratan is dedicated to the Goddess of the lake, and is one of Bali's nine 'directional temples' that protects Bali from evil spirits from the North West.

I sense that it rains here often judging by the number of people with umbrellas in the car / bus park no doubt for rental.

Yes, Strawberry Hills is the best accommodation for the Bali trip. It has wi fi albeit only 1 bar in the room but after so many days with no TV, it was kind of good to have BBC World ie English speaking TV to have on till it started to repeat itself. Being so high here, no need for a pool. The accommodation and setting at Sideman wasn’t that bad at all and that had a pool. In fact it was cool here and for dinner I had to put on not one but two layers of merino. They even had an open fire going in the restaurant!

I couldn’t get over how inexpensive the food was. So … being an area known for their sweet strawberries, it just had to be a Strawberry Juice 9,500 Rp, Soto Ayam - delicious chicken noodle soup with bean shoots, sautéed onions and lemon 14,500 Rp, Gudeg Yogya - tasty stew made from young jack fruit in coconut milk with egg and chicken and served with rice 13,500 Rp. I was still hungry (put it down to the cold!) and had no vegetables so the obvious choice was Gado Gado - steamed fresh vegetables topped with crackers and peanut sauce 12,500 Rp. Not quite finished, they had no fried banana with honey so I was tempted for a piece of apple pie and ice cream. The whole dinner was 92,000 Rp (NZ$12 or US$10).
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