Island off of Bali - Scuba Diving and Manta Rays
Trip Start Feb 22, 2011
51Trip End Ongoing
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Although we haven't been here very long, we almost immediately felt the welcoming culture and spirituality of Bali. Incense fills the air everywhere we go and the place is buzzing and alive. The people are very friendly and family oriented making it a very comfortable place to visit. The weather has been sunny and a bit hot from time to time, but we've been lucky with good sea breezes and some refreshing tropical rain. Our "step-up from backpacker" accommodations are costing about $18 a night and the food is anywhere from $2 to $5 a meal. Quite affordable and very tasty!
After arriving late into Bali after a 15+ hour airplane extravaganza through Singapore, we spent our first night in Kuta. The next morning we promptly left Kuta for the east coast of Bali and the beach town of Sunar where we would be able to catch a boat to our first main destination - the quiet island of Nusa Lembongan. Our hotel that evening had a beautiful garden and served us hot tea from our balcony overlooking the ocean - how nice.
March 29th - Birthday Paradise
On Aaron's 33rd birthday, we arrived in paradise - an island off of Bali called Nusa Lembongan. This sleepy village island offered what can easily be described as paradise for pennies. After hopping off our cargo-packed slow boat (journey taking about an hour), we set off to find the perfect beach front accommodations. We found Agus Shipwreck and a lovely room looking out onto our porch, an infinity pool, and the ocean 10 feet beyond that. Interestingly, our room numbers in Bali were creating a pattern: #234 in Kuta, #23 in Sunar and now, #2 in Lembongan. That afternoon we took a walk along the ocean and through parts of the nearby village. The standards were very simple with people living mostly in huts; lots of roosters, dogs, and seaweed drying out on any area of open land were found everywhere. From what we heard, almost the entire population survives off of seaweed production, which is mostly shipped to China for use in beauty products and ice-cream.
March 30th - Exploring the Island by Scooter
Today we rented a scooter and set out to explore the island some more. How fun and what a great way to get a better view into the lives of the people who live here! The children were excited to yell, "Hello!" when we drove past and even ran out to slap hands with us. Our first stop was a Warung (restaurant) called Scallywags that was certainly designed for tourists. We had a filling meal there after taking a swim in their relaxing infinity pool that looked out onto a private bay filled with crashing aqua blue waves. After lunch we were back on the bike. After a quick stop at Dream Beach (appropriately named) and more than a few wrong turns, we headed across a very narrow suspended bridge that would take us to yet another island, Nusa Cenigan. Now we were on an island, off of an island, off of an Island (Bali) - wanna get away?
March 31st - Scuba Diving and Manta Ray experience
Today was the best day ever! We woke up at 6:30 and wandered over to the dive shop and left 20 minutes later for what some have called the best diving in the world - we would have to agree it was pretty spectacular. There were so many different kinds of coral (lots of soft coral too) - an underwater garden - so beautiful and alive. There were also more fish than I have ever seen - our eyes didn't know what to take in first. We saw lion fish, scorpion fish, a turtle and a couple of octopus just to name a few... what a treat for the eyes! Here we met our friends from Holland, Charlotte and Tatiana, who are on holiday and had just finished their advanced scuba courses.
After our Manta encounter, we headed to Crystal Bay just in time to see a pod of dolphins leaping out of the water. Again, we quickly scrambled and jumped into the waters. Though these weren't as curious as the dusky dolphins in Kikoura, New Zealand, we had some great underwater views of them.
Overall, it was an amazing day! Scuba diving along one of the best coral reefs in the world, encounters with 10 Manta Rays, and swimming with dolphins. As we pulled back into shore a dark storm in the distance was blowing in over the island to give us a great electrical show for the night. As we headed toward the village center with our new friends to have dinner at Marie's (a local "restaurant" - where the owner, cook, and waitress is Marie), the storm took the power out. We continued our spooky journey through town where we eventually had a candlelit dinner to end our time on Lembongan.