Diving in Bali and quick getaway to Lombok-Gili Trawagan
After some surfing and commerical atmosphere in Kuta and breeze of culture in Ubud I continued my trip towards the east of Bali to do what many come to Indonesia to do: DIVING! And partly snorkeling.
We made our way to Amed, one of the 7 villages that make up the eastern coastline of fishing villages. The life here is slow and the scenery quite stunning which makes for a perfect place for a relaxed holiday in Bali. Amed is a recent tourist development area in Bali. They just started laying tarmac here in 2000 and telephone lines in 2003. While many partygoers prefer to Kuta, I definately can see feel the charm of Amed. We got ourself a room near the beach and it was nice to chill out, read a book and go snorkeling whenever you felt like it.Many divers and snorkeling enthusiast visit the eastern coast for diving and snorkeling. One of the notable attraction is diving the wreck of the USAT Liberty at Tulamben. I don’t actually remember my experience diving around the wreck anymore to be honest, but I think we dove there twice and I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it. I don’t think we maneuvered in the wreck itself much but we probably looped around several obstacles that day. But it’s always nice to get more diving done so I could practice my buoyancy control even more. Just makes me love diving even more! I even did a nightdive as it was popular in that region since you could see things that only come out at night. Such as the Spanish Dancer, a large and colorful sea slug. It was given the common name “Spanish dancer” because the whirling swimming movement, and the red color of the mantle, are reminiscent of the skirt movements of a flamenco dancer.
But other than the Spanish Dancer, I didn’t really like the night dive at all. It was …. well… dark and there wasn’t much you could see. Maybe I wasn’t looking good enough, but it bored me a bit. But Livia loved it though, eventhough initially she was scared of the nightdive itself. Once she got in, she was the last one to go out! 😀
Lombok & Gili Islands
To be fair, I didn’t really visit the main island of Lombok. I merely stayed on one of the Gili Islands north west of Lombok. I originally planned to do some more surfing in Lombok, but that required me to go all the way down south of the main island just to surf for a day or 2. I changed plans and decided to just go back to Kuta a day or 2 earlier and surf there instead to save up on travel time.So we took the boat from Amed to Gili Trawagan, the biggest island of the 3 Gili Islands. Gili Trawagan was the largest one and the most visited island of the bunch. They said if you’re looking to party and chillax, this is the place to go. Gili Air is the one closest to Lombok itself and has a well-developed local community. Gili Meno is the one sandwiched between the other 2 and is much more relaxed and secluded than the other 2. Here you can probably find a nice stretch of beach just for yourself or sharing with only a handful of other people. From the islands there are several island hopping tours with snorkeling available. At this point, I wasn’t really that interested in seeing the other islands since I just wanted to do some diving, but other travelers told me that diving here wasn’t really worth it. So I just kinda followed their advice and saved my money to dive back on Bali. I chilled out for a few days on Gili Trawagan, enjoyed the sunset, drinks and dinner on the beach and went back to Bali.
The only reason why I stopped by Padangbai was to do another day of diving before heading back to Kuta to do some more surfing and catching my plane out. I contacted the same diveshop from Amed because they had a package deal to several dive sites in the area. One of them is to see the mola mola and another one to see manta rays. And let me tell you, both were awesome!First we went to the manta ray site, we waited for a bit down there and suddenly we saw a family of manta rays swimming around us and above us. It was really awesome to see these creatures up close and in group. At one point we didn’t now where to watch anymore and one of the manta rays startd coming up behind me and another diver. Not that we were afraid of getting eaten, but we were just suprised that we were in the swimming line of the ray itself and got to see it from up close.
The mola mola was a more rare sighting. The creature itself usually lives at a deeper depth and only came up to get cleaned by the other fish and afterwards went back down. So we had to time it well to catch a glimpse of him. During the dive itself, the water was really cold at 19° so even with a long suit, many of us were shivering and there was a strong down current which could pull divers down, which is actually quite dangerous. At the beginning we manage to drift along with the current to the spot to see the mola mola. I was actually too distracted by the cold to notice and spot the mola mola at first, but I did manage to get a glimpse of the huge thing. But before I knew it, I saw the rest of the group swimming away from the fish itself and against the current. At this point the current was already quite strong pulling us closer down and towards the mola mola. Again, we weren’t gonna get eaten but the current was just dangerous. Most of us got away but one other diver got caught somewhere and had to do an emergency ascend (which is dangerous). Anyway back on the surface we found him and he was all fine. But it gave all of us a scare. I was mainly suprised by the cold temperature and the strong current we had to swim against. It’s like getting pulled into a whirlpool, mainly also because I didn’t know what would happen if you get pulled in into the current and how far you drift away. After the diving, I went back to Kuta for another day of surfing and got my flight out to the Philippines! Bali and Indonesia was really awesome though. I really loved the hospitality of the people here and the nature and scenery was simply amazing. I really liked Bali for its Hinduism, everything seemed so authentic and cultured. I definately want to come back to Indonesia because there’s still so much I haven’t seen or visited yet and so much I haven’t experienced! Some couchsurfers actually told me they eat monkey brains in Indonesia (UGH!), not that I’m wanna try it out but I wanna see if it’s just an urban legend. Anyway, Indonesia, this ain’t over!