Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Nusa Lembongan 2nd - 7th April

Nusa Lembongan is small island 8km sqaure with a population of approx 5000South East of the coast of Bali almost directly East from Sanur where we headed to catch our ferry.
 Nusa Lembongan on Wikki
We arrived at the port in Bali Sanur to catch the public boat and we were not the only travellers with the idea of saving cash by catching this service at Rp80,000 each one way as opposed to Rp160,000 - Rp300,000 each on the fast boat!

First we needed to top on funds as we heard the ATM on the island rarely has any cash. See below photo - makes you feel wealthy at the cash machine! Yipeee we are millionaires!! Yes?! Yeah right in our dreams!

The boat was loaded up with cooking equipment for a kitchen and plenty of gas bottles. There were also a few travellers on board, some French and a Singaporean couple, the rest were local Balinese or Nusa's.

 Our ferry to Nusa Lenbongan the other side of the channel was amazing watching how they offload gas canisters, I mean most things float right!

The boat ride was fairly straightforward except there was no jetty and ramp so you pass your bags on to the guys on the boat and if you time the swell right you jump on at the back near the outboards without getting wet.

A small video put together of the public slow boat boat ride across.

Was nervous and excited for the boat trip, boat was made of wooden planks that if you stood on the sides you might just fall below!

The water was incredibly blue and clear when we came close to the beach. We haven't seen anything as crystal clear before. Maybe in Whitsundays in Oz but we weren't lucky with visibility when we were there. Coming into Nusa Lembongan there were a few other larger cruise boats that were moored with jettys and some even looked like floating casinos with bars and huge waterslides on the one end! What an enterprising idea, look in the video carefully and you will spot them!

 An idea if how crystal clear the water was. This was probably 4m deep.

The boat ride was about an hour and a half. Finally we ''docked'' or should we say beached at Nusa Lambongan. We jumped off the boat and were welcomed by a few of the locals already there to trade and help you with your bag, we soon realised they wanted to be our taxi or to help find accomodation for us if we hadn't booked any. No problem really as we just pointed 20m to Tarci's where we were staying which changed the atmosphere a little and they were quite keen to return our bags. Gee thanks and here we thought our bags would be carried for us. What we really like about the Balines/Nusa people is they were nice about everything even when they realised that we weren't cash cows!

After stomping through some wet and loose sand with all our belongings to our new accommodation you could see the slight look of why are we carrying our own bags!! Our new pad was on the beach with a small pool and a few happy people lounging around, perfect!

In the afternoon after resting a little and enjoying some aircon, we went walkabout on the beach, you know to get some exercise and see our surroundings. Well that was short lived our hotel is on a breakwater wall that gets splashed on at high tide and so with the tide coming in the beach was diminishing fast, we also haven't seen any roads to walk around on and rumor has it there are no cars on this island. While walking around I could see the Shipwrecks break starting to get better and better with a few more surfers every time I looked out past the waves. It wasn't long and I was on a boat heading out for a surf! I have never taken a boat anywhere for a surf so this was quite a thrilling concept, imagine not having to paddle out through waves and surfers and just jump on the boat and cruise to the best waves, I really am enjoying the Nusa culture. While negotiating prices the guy Euric also said that he does snorkelling and fishing trips so I got a free surf ferry and a good price of Rp400,000 for the next day as the water here looked perfect along with the great dive stories we had been told about the place.

The food is fantastic at Tarcis and what a way to end a great surf! We splashed out a bit and shared a bottle of light fruity red wine for the first time since we were in Oz! Dinner was Calamari and Marlin steak with some sautéed veggies.

Our first morning on the Island was bright and sunny (like most mornings). We are going snorkelling and the humidity and temperature have not quite peaked yet. Our captian and local guru tour guide Euric was waiting for us along with another couple that eventually joined us from Germany.

Our first stop was was 25min after travelling SSE towards Cennigan Island and after crossing the channel between Cennigan Island and the larger Nusa Lembongan we arrived at our first snorkel site where a few others were all looking at Manta Ray. It took me longer to locate as I was looking for a white object similar to the stingrays, this was the first time I had seen a Manta Ray and it was huge. They are diamond shaped black on top, white underneath with gills and a jet intake in the front through which they eat plankton or "zooplankton" as this article states in the link below.  While snorkelling the manta ray moved around the corner and so our boat did, leaving us near a cove. Swimming against the current to go round the corner was tiresome but we eventually made it. Shev looked up and saw our guide on the boat calling us to the boat and pointing to the water near the rock. When she looked to see what he was pointing at Shev panicked turned to look at me and gave me the shark fin sign and turned to head back to the boat. She soon realised that it was not a shark and indeed was the manta ray on the surface with one of its wings out the water and at first glance she thought it was a shark fin. She explained later that it was the way our guide was calling us that gave her reason to be alarmed.

Swimming with manta ray was something else we have never experienced. A rush of excitement, nerves (thinking about Steve Irwin) and sheer awe at seeing these graceful creatures up close. Wow! There were about 4 Manta Rays in total.

Manta Ray wiki website

Manta Ray #1 (Manta birostra,)
Manta Ray #2
 Snowflake Moray (Echidna nebulosa)

Some divers while we were snorkelling.
Striped Monocle (Scolopsis lineata)  - There were not too many of these guys around and they stuck together.

Chevron butterflyfish (Chaetodon trifascialis)

Pennant Coralfish (Heniochus acuminatus) or Moorish Idol

The channel between Cennigan Island on the right and Nusa Lembongaan on the left.

Blue Damsel Fish ?
Moorish Idol
Surf Parrotfish (Scarus rivulatus)
Surge Wrasse?

Blueline Surgeonfish (Acanthurus lineatus)

See the fish link pages here: Moorish_idol and Fishes of Bali

Here is a video showing our snorkelling with the Manta Rays! :)

We had such a great day and our local guide was very friendly along with the German couple on the boat with us. You will see him in the video where the Manta Ray swims really close to him.

After we returned looking through our photos and reading more about our Manta Ray friends, did you know they acutally breach out the water? They don't know why they do this. We had a nice relaxing day at Tarci's, some more excellent food at 3$ a plate and freshly made fruit juices for 1.50$! Not to mention the service and you can chat to others around you about travels and where else to go see and do things around the Island.

A day later after going for a run to the North East of the island from Jungut Batu beach to Mangrove Forest where we stayed, which turned out to be more like running at full speed on a treadmill in a sauna! However apart from the fitness attempt we did meet a local that would take us fishing for a more reasonable Rp400,000 as apposed to 2Million that we were offered where we stayed but that was with the full kit and a nice boat. Turns out sometimes you get what you pay for as we didnt get any fish but had lots of bites! We trawled for Tuna and tried catching some smaller bottom dweller fish as well as Bream back in the Mangrove jungle at the river when we got back. No fish but we enjoyed the peace and tranquility as well as watching the sun rise!

 Sunrise fishing!
 Sunrise near Mangrove forest.
 Mangrove Forest.
More sunrise.

We did get to try some scooters out and where surprised to see that we were some of the few westerners sporting helmets, we like our heads too much...especially since Shev had had a bicycle wipe out a few days earlier.

We drove around the island in about 2hr30. The roads are terrible on the island, potholes everywhere and in some parts no road at all and it looks like a motocross track!  However on our journey we discovered the best beach on the entire Island and it has a name that explains everything, Dream Beach!

After seeing this beach and the accommodation we decided to splurge for one night, still cheaper than most parts of the world but expensive in Bali we booked a night at Dream Beach with the endless pool and its fantastic views!! 

 Dream Beach Huts accomodation. Pool looks like its part of the ocean. Best splurge we have had.

 Cocktails by the pool.
Relaxing evening in the pool with Shevy!
 We went for a walk to see the Devil's Tear. Watched the swell come in and crash against the rocks. 

Our outdoor shower!

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