Island off of Bali - Scuba Diving and Manta Rays

Trip Start Feb 22, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

We have arrived in Bali, Indonesia and it is very different than any of our stops so far.  Neither of us have been here before and it is Missi's first time in Asia. Both of us are very happy to have made this a stop on our world travels!

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.

Together we joined forces to hire a boat/captain to take us out in the afternoon to Manta Point where Manta Rays are known to be seen.  The waters were quite choppy and some of the sea swells so high we sometimes wondered if our small "fishing boat" would make it over the top. After going back and forth in the rocky conditions we were losing confidence that things would work out.  Then, all of a sudden, our our young captain yelled, "Manta"!  Within moments we were all in the choppy waters with our snorkels and fins on having breathtaking encounters with Manta Rays. Manta Rays can get up to 20 feet in size.  We sometimes saw 3 at a time and by the end of experience had swam with at least 10!   What an amazing experience to have one of these massive, alien like, underwater creatures inadvertently swim towards you with their mouths gaped open.  They didn't seem to bothered by our presence though and just moved around us with their graceful "flying".  It was so thrilling we had a hard time leaving! 

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.

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Rachelle on

Once again, I just have to say how awesome it is to be able to follow you as you travel the world. You've packed so much in already and you still have so many places to visit! I can't deny that I'm a bit envious but mostly just so excited for you guys! Thanks for sharing ;D

Auntie Mary on

I sure am enjoying the blog , pictures and the videos. thanks for sharing them and I can't wait for an update.
Hugs to you

Missi's Mom on

I've printed out postings to date and sent the pkg off to Grandma in Michigan, who's always asking how you two are doing, where you are, etc. There's much for her to enjoy in the way of armchair travel as she reads the blog entries with a cup of tea in hand. Haven't heard from you in about 6 days now, so you must be doing something exciting in a place far from Internet access. Curious and eager to see the next installation, especially regarding the Balinese temple dancing! Whoopee. Bring it on. Hope you're both well, healthy and safe.
Love to you both -

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