Amazing Lembongan (and dolphins!)

Trip Start Feb 18, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Tuesday, April 13, 2010


April 14- April 17

We needed to get out of Sanur, fast, so we decided to skip the roads all together and jump on a boat to the nearby island of Nusa Lembongan.  It's a good thing we did too because here we found the Bali we were looking for.  Here we could enjoy the sand, the coral, the waves (and surfers), and best of all the locals amongst what seemed like just a few like-minded travelers scattered along a short stretch of western facing beachfront.  Most of the locals on this island are seaweed farmers.  They are up before dawn and work tirelessly all day harvesting and replanting plots of seaweed that are then dried out in massive bundles to then be sent to Jakarta to be processed into carrageenan where it is used in things like ice cream and cosmetics! 

We also rented a motorbike here because since there are like no people and NO CARS it is so much less crowded driving around here.  So we felt pretty safe learning our left hand driving.
There is also a sweet wooden bridge connecting Lembongan with the very small Ceningan that we drove over with our motorbike. Check out the video!

We have an awesome room facing the water for 120,000 rupiah/night (like 12 bucks) and even end up getting moved next door to the private villa because we had a tiny problem with a bed bug (found on our sheet the next morning....)

We are going snorkeling everyday, sometimes right off the beach and other times hiring a local "captain" to take us out on his boat.  The best day by far was when we went out on a snorkelling excursion to 4 different places around Lembongan and the 2 nearby islands, Ceningan and Penida.  We found 3 other people to go with us so the 5 of us split the cost of the boat. (The boat hails from "Sexy House", just the awesome name of the place where you can find the captain chilling by the beach)  We saw so many amazing things including a fish that looked like seaweed, some large pipefish, small baracuda, huge sea slugs, and black and white clownfish defending their anenome.  We also so a couple more banded sea snakes (not as big or as into us as the first one we saw in the Philippines), some small and colorful reef squid, and some big fish with their fins spread and their mouths open getting cleaned by little silver and blue cleaner fish.  Oh also my favorite, the shy purple black and yellow polkadotted puffer fish.  On top of all that there are so many different kinds and colors of hard and soft corals teeming with thousands of reef fish.

After our last snorkel spot we begin to head back on the boat towards our beach.  After cruising along for about 10 minutes we happen upon a group of dolphins jumping around in the water!  They are beautiful as they leap out of the water and dive back in.  Our driver kills the motor and we drift in really close.  We are all standing up leaning over the edge of the boat ooo-ing and ahhh-ing and our captain says that dolphin sitings here are very special.  After a few minutes of this I start to get really ancy.  In the back of my mind I keep hearing a story that Ziv told us when we were swimming with the whale sharks.  He told us how one time he was on a dive trip and as they were relaxing on the boat, a huge whale came right up to the boat to hang out.  Without even thinking he grabbed his snorkel and mask and jumped from the upper level of the boat where he was sitting into the water.  Because of this he got to swim with a whale.  So I'm standing here thinking, Ok, we've got all our gear right here, and we couldn't be closer to these dolphins who are prooobably not dangerous, and when are we ever going to have the chance to be in the water with dolphins that's not some tourist attraction with a hundred other people and boats around?  I look at Jon and say "I'm going in."  With that I put on my snorkel and fins and jump in.  I hang on to the outriggers of the boat and stick my head in the water.  I immediately look up at Jon and say, "I can't see anything, but I can hear them!!  I can hear their squeaking and clicking!!"  With that he's in the water too, followed shortly by everyone else.  We swim and swim towards the dolphins who are moving quickly all around. Our captain is great and he steers the boat so he is always near us.  I lift my head out of the water to locate them and they are jumping all around us.  Jon gets close enough that he can see them all around him.  He sees 2 dolphins swimming together, leaping up and out of the water and twisting and spinning as they land.  At first we thought they were chasing a group of fish, but we can clearly see they are just playing around for the fun of it.  What a great way to end the day!

Another day we got a tour around Nusa Ceningan from a local guy who showed us all the awesome spots, and even climbed a coconut tree to get us a delicious snack!

At night we sit around with new friends eating delicious food and drinking Indonesia's delicious beer: Bintang!  The electricity goes off for longer than usual one night and the beach is really dark so we draw with light, my favorite night time activity!

(By the way, I know there are lots of pictures in this entry, but it's the best of 4 days worth. There would have been more if only we had our underwater housing!)

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