It's Sunday today. I know this because we bought our ticket off the Island today. Another 5 hours back on the ferry and we're in Bali again. We decided to check out the east coast this time as we'd heard it was really nice. We got a shuttle bus to Amed. Found a Lonely Planet recommended place to stay, which actually turned out to be really nice. We're now at the Three Brothers Bungalows. Our first day here we rented another motor bike. It's so much fun and great to have the freedom to do or go wherever we want, whenever we want. Amed is renowned for its diving, snorkelling and small coastal village feel. It definitely lives up to its reputation. The snorkelling right out front of our hotel is excellent and the road that hugs the coast all the way to Amalapura (about an hour and a half drive) is spectacular! There are a number of bays, beaches and harbours along the way as the road winds up and down some pretty hairy terrain along the cliffs
. The bike almost stalled out a few times trying to climb some of the hills. After getting used to a portion of the road that we always used to get to restaurants in a local village, I got a hang of how to negotiate the roads; drive like a maniac on the downward slopes in order to get enough speed to propel you up the hills. I thought it was great fun, but it took Erin a while to warm up to the idea :-) . There are some great temples and palaces around Amed. Our favourite was the water palace close to the city of Amalapura called Taman Tirta Gangga. It is a beautiful and tranquil place. You can actually stay in the original palace rooms there for a mere $400 U.S. / night! Just a little out of our budget. On our third day in Amed we took a snorkelling trip with one of the guys that works at our hotel (Wayan). He took us to a Japanese ship wreck just off the coast in a village not too far from Amed (maybe a ½ hour boat ride). It was brilliant! The wreck had turned into an artificial coral and was teeming with life. Erin and I were both in agreement that this was the best snorkelling we'd done to date. I've never seen so many fish and so many different species of fish in one area. Funnily enough, the day before, we happened to be looking at a tropical coral reef book that Erin grabbed from the hotel "book library". We were looking at all the different species of reef fish that there are and with no word of a lie I bet we saw 60% of them today in that one area. Wayan had a very original idea and effective sales pitch when he convinced us to go with him
. The Indonesian fishing boats have a standard main hull section, but on either side of the boat they have these very long bamboo poles used as ballasts that stick out a good 2 meters from either side of the boat. After we got tired out from snorkelling at the wreck, he told Erin and I to hang onto these (one on either side to keep the boat balanced) and stick our heads in the water with our snorkel masks on while he drove the boat over top of the coral all the way back to our hotel. Lazy man snorkelling! It was brilliant! I felt like Kevin Costner from Waterworld, only without the gills! We gave our rental bike back tonight after one last cruise for dinner down the Amed coastal road. So, another 5 days just whizzed by! Tomorrow morning we are heading back to Kuta / Denpesar Airport. Yes, another change of plans. We're now going to the island of Java until our Indonesian visa runs out (Oct. 31st).
Day .......... Umm ........ a week from the last entry: