Clear water cool breezes

Trip Start Aug 25, 2003
Trip End Jul 18, 2004

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Where I stayed
Astina Cottages

Flag of Indonesia  ,
Thursday, September 4, 2003

From Ubud Sarah and I decided to head up to Lovina on the north coast of Bali. It is a somewhat touristy area with nice black sand beaches. We stayed there for three nights at a nice place called the "Astina Cottages" which was near the beach. It had a little more road noise than the place in Ubud but the roosters were fewer and farther between in the morning.

Even at this point in the trip our sleep schedules were messed up and we were both likely to fall asleep by 6 or 7 a night. Of course this meant that we would wake up from 4 to 6 in the morning. This turned out to be not so bad in Lovina because the boats that left for Dolphin watching left at 6 AM. We caught some decent pictures of dolphins with our Austrailian accented Indonesian boat driver "Eric." We saw the dolphins swim in schools up to 20-30 dolphins maybe more, it was really hard to tell there were so many. Of course the chase to get a good view was somewhat amusing as there were many boats out on the water and as soon as one spotted a dolphin they would all swarm towards it until it went deep and the boats would all cruise around until the next dolphin was spotted.

After a few days in Lovina we headed to Tirta Gangga because it was in the mountains and Lovina was roasting hot, even the ocean seemed extremely warm. If you're trying to find Tirta Gangga on a map, it is on the easternmost mountain in Bali. Besides more picturesque rice paddy fields it is also home to a very cool and unique series of pools that were, according to local hitory, "created a long time ago for the royal family." The pools were fed with water from the mouths of statues of animals, some were reflecting pools, one had a neat path of stones you could zig zag across it on, and two were actually meant for swimming. After checking them out we went for a swim and it did feel a little weird (not just because of the odd tourist walking by). Imagine swimming in a crystal clear pool that was all stone and easily Olympic length. The interesting thing was they had to do a lot of work on these pools & statues, and were in fact still working on repairing the damage from a volcano explosion that happend in the early 1960's.

We only spent one night in Tirta Gangga and from there we headed to Padangbai. This town is the first we've been to that has more than just tourism as it's main industry. It is also a fishing town and a port to Lombok, the next island east of Bali. I think this is the reason why it seems more laid back here and also why, for some reason, the way the town looks reminds me of a Grecian Isle with added Pagodas, not that I've been to Greece. Sarah and I went for my first time snorkelling this morning and I can say I am hooked! From this small bay only a 10 minute walk out of town we went into the sea where coral started growin probably 20 feet from shore. As I said I've never been snorkelling before but the variety and color of fish easily bested that of 5'th Ave at home!

Anyway we plan on going again early tomorrow morning so we have more calm water time. I guess that's it for now, we plan on staying two more nights here and then we're off to Nusa Lembongan.
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