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World Travel Log

Follow James and Jay on a trip around the world.

Oct '09

Bali is awesome!

Bali has definitely lived up to it’s reputation as an amazing island.

Pictures:   Jay’s Bali Picasa Gallery.

After a small hold up at the airport because my passport was full and
didn’t have room for the Balinese visa, we spend our first day hanging
out on Kuta beach enjoying Bintang beers, which were sold on the beach
for $15000rp, which is ~$1.50us.  The warm weather and surfing crowd
was a really nice change from the colder climates of New Zealand and
Australia.  We wrapped things up with dinner from a local marketplace,
which like most of our meals here so far was very delicious and just
under $5 in price…

Day 2 (7/28) started early when our dive guide Made (ma-day) picked us
up at our hotel for the drive up to Tulamben for our diving (me) and
snorkeling (James) adventure.  The first dive site was the USS Liberty
shipwreck.  The dive site tends to be crowded, so Ma-de had a special
dive hood that made him easy to identify (see pics).  Other highlights
were a few blue spotted stingrays, very large grouper fish, barracuda,
many schooling fish, a seahorse, and really big clam…

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The beach off our hotel and walking path was not a sandy beach.  There
were many large black rocks.  I remember thinking it was a difficult
walk to the dive site, but we didn’t carry our gear.  The hotel staff
explained that their “porters” would carry the gear for us.  When we
showed up, our dive gear was there, so I didn’t think much about it…
until later in the day when I saw a porter.

Porters are women in Bali who carry things on their head.  In this
case, it was walking on the slippery black rocks carrying dive gear on
their head!  BUT WAIT, there’s more…  Our porter carried two sets of
dive gear on her head!  Two tanks, two BC’s, and regs – all balanced
on her head.  I don’t think I would even attempt the task and these
ladies do it all day long.  My dive guide explained that it was good
training for a local dance they do…  A picture of our porter with
the gear on her head is in the Picasa album…

The second dive was a reef in Tulamben.  The highlight was definitely
the blue ribbon eel (see pics), but there were some other sightings,
including a colorful mantis shrimp.

The next day (7/29) started with a nice breakfast overlooking the
ocean.  We were picked up by a new driver and dive guide who took us
to Jemeluk Reef Bay.  The drive was very scenic I thought, but James
had another plan (see pics).  Jemeluk Bay was also quite beautiful and
the diving there was done out of a very small boat.  The boat looked
to be carved from a single piece of wood, held upright by two large
pieces of bamboo – one on either side.  The engine looked like it came
from a weed-eater and they just put a prop on the end…

The diving was good.  We saw many large carpet anenomies, with pecula
clown fish (see Nemo cartoon) hiding inside.  There was also a group
of five blue spotted rays, lionfish, large clams, colorful sea stars,
etc.  After diving and a grilled barracuda lunch, we got back on the
road to our final diving destination of xxx.

The diving in xxx was action-packed.  We took a larger boat this time,
which comfortably fit all the divers, snorkelers, and driver.  Near
the end of the first dive, Tunas (second dive guide) pointed out a
large hovering mass above one of the coral heads.  It was not like
anything I had seen before.  I think the name for the fish is a cattle
fish.  The front looks like an elephant with six tusks, and the back
looks like something on a squid.  There were five or six of the large
fish floating in the area, and they didn’t run away from the picture

As you got close to them, they changed their color like an octopus.
VERY cool!  The first dive also included many of same things the that
we had been seeing on dives from the previous day clown fish, lion
fish, rays, etc and a very large spotted eel.  On the second dive, we
ran into a large turtle and white tipped shark in addition to the
other sea life…

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