Days 94-96 in Southeast Asia (April 28-30, 2016)
Ubud to Nusa Lembongan Island
After finally getting a full night of much needed sleep since our mountain climb, Maddie and I were ready to leave Ubud (well, as ready as anyone ever is, so not at all…) and head to Nusa Lembongan, a small island to the East of Bali (still part of Bali), just off the coast near Sanur. We booked a shuttle bus to take us to Sanur (through our hostel) for 60,000IDR ($6), and we arrived an hour or so later at around 1:30pm. When we got to Sanur, we went to a booking agency nearby and booked the ferry that would take us from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan.
The ferry cost us each 515,000IDR ($50) for an open ticket, round trip to the pier at Jungutbatu (the village/beach area where we wanted to stay). At 3pm the ferry left, and only took about 30 minutes to get us to the island. When we arrived, we were provided with “free” transportation to the home stay we had looked at ahead of time online, however when we were dropped off, the driver was insistent that we pay him 50,000IDR each, which was not what we were told. We were prepared to walk the 1 and a half km or so to the home stay, but the man running the booking office at the pier told us that our ticket included a taxi to our accommodation, and to hop in.
Normally I wouldn’t make a huge fuss over a matter of $5, but honestly we had very little money on us, and weren’t sure if there were ATMs anywhere nearby. Plus, we had made it clear that we were going to walk if the taxi wasn’t free. Eventually, the driver gave up after asking us one final time to pay him, to which we replied “Sorry, no. The man at the office must have made a mistake and told us it was free. We are not paying.” I felt bad, but also frustrated at the situation, especially since the ticket for the ferry was so insanely expensive (all of the ferries around Bali are).
Booking A Dive & Sunset On The Beach
After we settled into our accommodation for the night (at Surya Home Stay, which cost us each 105,000IDR ($10) per night for a private air con room for the next two nights), we walked just across the street and down the road to Blue Corner Dive, a dive shop that had been highly recommended to us, run by Canadians apparently. We booked ourselves for two fun dives the following morning with a guide. We were really excited to put our new PADI Open Water Certification to use, and to hopefully see some sea turtles or manta rays, which are very common here.
Unfortunately, the dive shop said that because the swells were so high in the water at the moment, there were no mantas and very few turtles, but that the reef and fish were still beautiful, and more than enough reason to go diving… We didn’t take much convincing. We grabbed a bite to eat at the dive shop after booking, walked along the beach for a beautiful sunset overlooking Bali and Mount Agung in the distance, and called it a night, enjoying the Wifi and air con back at our room and resting up.
Diving With Blue Corner Dive
The following morning we went to the dive shop at around 10, and got our equipment together and ready to go. The boat left at 11am and was back around 3, and it cost us a total of 1,165,000IDR ($110CAD) including equipment rental, for two dives (about 45 minutes each), and lunch. We excitedly hopped on the boat with Eka, our guide, and a few other groups of divers and instructors.
Eka would be guiding us as well as a couple of other divers, one who we quickly realized had little experience or natural talent for it. Our first dive site was Buyuk, near Nusa Pedina (a larger island, right beside Nusa Lembongan), where we saw incredible sloping reef and magnificently coloured fish for the entirety of the dive. We even saw a lion fish, and several “Nemo” fish.
I also saw a trigger fish, huge colourful fish that are extremely territorial and will swim at you quickly and aggressively, even bite you if you appear to be getting too close… I was. Eka swam up behind me as I started kicking to swim backwards away from the fish as it charged towards me, and signalled to me to stop kicking. He slowly pulled me back, and the fish backed away. My heart was pounding, but after a few minutes I shook it off and continued to enjoy the dive.
The only part about the dive that wasn’t spectacular (because it really was spectacular) was the other pair of divers with us. The woman diver was extremely inexperienced, and I think it may have even been her first dive, so Eka spent the entire dive following her where she drifted (the current was strong), and signalling for us to follow him, so we basically spent the dive following her and Eka, and cringing as we watched her kick the reef with her fins and stir up tons of debris, scaring away the fish and damaging the aquatic life below. It was painful to watch. The first dive was 45 minutes, and our maximum depth was 16m.
Afterwards, we went for a boat ride and sat around for an hour enjoying lunch before suiting up for our second dive at Mangrove Point, off of Nusa Lembongan. The second dive was even more beautiful than the first, and while we didn’t see any sea turtles or manta rays, we did see a moray eel and a massive puffer fish, along with several beautiful sea anemones, and reef that just cannot be captured properly with a photograph. We stayed down for 40 minutes at a maximum depth of 15m and then made our way back to the boat, impressed, amazed and wishing we had enough time and money to do it again every day for the next week.
An Evening At The Beach
After cleaning up back at our room, we walked down the beach for dinner and watched the sunset from a nice restaurant we found nearby. We relaxed and listened to the music for a bit before walking back towards Blue Corner, where we stopped at another restaurant that had cheaper beers, and sat to enjoy a few.
Not long after, a couple of guys joined us at our table and introduced themselves. Janes (from Germany) and Alex (from Maryland, USA, but also with a German speaking family) had met on the road and been travelling together for the past little while. We chatted and drank, and made our way over to Blue Corner Dive, where everyone seems to go on Fridays on the island. We grabbed a few more Bintangs and enjoyed chatting until fairly late. Eventually though, Maddie and I were crashing after such a long day in the sun and water, and we decided to say our goodbyes and head back.
Mission to Seminyak
The next morning, we packed up our bags and arranged our return ticket to Sanur. The 30 minute ferry left at 9:30 and arrived not long after 10. I’ve honestly really grown fond of ferries/speedboats. I have learned that relaxing up top (when it’s allowed), listening to my ipod and feeling the warm sun and cool breeze has proven to make for a very peaceful ride.
Today was no different, other than a Chinese couple who were so obnoxious they had everyone on the upper deck infuriated. For the first half of the boat ride they sat across from each other (about 10 feet apart), each on one side of the boat, taking photos of each other… hundreds in the same pose, with the camera volume so loud it was audible even over the wind and waves… but whatever, who am I to judge? Take your photos, do your thing… Then the ride got bumpy.
The girl started yelling and screaming, scared of the waves, and honestly looked like someone out of an old school horror movie; hands on her face, crying and screaming and laying dramatically on the deck. Her presumed boyfriend decided to walk across the boat to comfort her. I had just turned up my ipod and closed my eyes again, and he stood up, started walking across the deck, and FLEW across to the other side because of the waves, landing with one foot forward… all of his body weight… straight on my foot.
I screamed and grabbed my foot as it throbbed, praying that it wouldn’t debilitate me for the last few days of my trip, and saw that he had actually landed so hard that he ripped off the top layer of skin from several spots on my foot. He apologized as the crew members ran over to ask if I was okay, and they then screamed at him that this is exactly why there is no standing on boats while they’re moving.
I was pissed… and within 5 minutes the dramatic girlfriend was smiling again and posing up on the railing for more photos as her boyfriend stood up, AGAIN, to walk back to the other side. I just about lost it as he stumbled back over, and the crew members along with every other passenger yelled for him to sit down. Finally, he did, and I could not get off of that boat fast enough when we reached the pier at Sanur.
Once we got there, we haggled for a taxi to take us to Seminyak for 50,000IDR each, and just under an hour later we arrived at our hostel, Capsule Hostel (118,000IDR/$11CAD per night for a mixed dorm), dropped off our bags, and went out for lunch and to hang out somewhere until check in opened at 3pm. We sat at a bar/restaurant, ate lunch, read and relaxed all afternoon and finally made our way back to the hostel where we checked in, cleaned up, and waited patiently for the arrival of our friend from back home, Michelle. She would be visiting Bali for the next 2 Weeks from Canada, though of course I’d only be spending a few days with her before I headed back home on my own, and her and Maddie carried on.
We were all thrilled when she walked into the dorm room, and quickly got ready and settled before taking her out to the main street for some dinner and drinks to celebrate. It wasn’t long before the jet lag kicked in though, and Maddie and I were feeling tired as well, so we decided to save our partying energy for another night, and went back to bed at a reasonable time. Maddie and I were very excited for the latest addition to our team, and couldn’t wait to check out the gorgeous beaches around here the following day and to give Michelle her first real taste of Bali.