Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by indohoyindohoy on 15 December 2010 • Itinerary
Say it with me! Time to travel Bali, again! I said that on purpose just to hook on the search engines out there about Indonesia hehehehe… anyways, and here I am, back in Pulau Dewata, the land of Gods. I personally believe that there is so much more destinations than Bali, especially Kuta, but in ways I always end up back here to see what I haven’t seen. And that turns out to be plenty considering I have a new hobby. There were 2 major excuses that allured me this time: the crazy Spermonde South Sulawesi gang and Gunung Kawi. I didn’t plan much for this trip but everything just fell in to place and work, and for reasons that all travelers never could answer.
As the gang was busy taking their Advance and Rescue certificate with PADI, this Open Water girl kept herself busy. I called a few friends that knew connections of the island, and got myself engaged with the Nusa Lembongan Dive center. They were about to make a 2D1N trip with 3 dives. It was a great offer, so why not.
Nusa Lembongan – Dive
I met up with Pak Rudi Hartana, the Dive Master (DM) that started his own dive center. I think this the only local run dive center on the island. Come people, support the local business here! He picked me up and two other cute blokes from the Sanur – Nusa Lembongan port. Sanur beach is one of the crowded beaches in Bali. It’s a long stretch of sand with mild waves sometimes used for surfing.
Mbli Rudi Hartana
We hopped on the boat that left at 12.30 according to schedule. On this boat, I also met Bertrand, the cowboy DM from Kadidiri Paradise Resort in the Togian islands. He did tell me that his contract ended in August and he was to head out. And there he was, looking for work in other areas. I introduced him to Pak Rudi who was looking for an extra Instructor and the rest is business. Too bad I didn’t get my 10% for introducing them.
I also met this girl who came from Russia. Why bother ask her name, when I can ask why she’s smiling all the way to Nusa Lembongan? Really, her smile literally was her default face. Her answer was plain and simple. She’s happy 🙂
Nusa Lembongan is a small island neighboring to famous Nusa Penida. Coming in to the port you could see that Nusa Lembongan was dedicated to fun water activities such as banana boat, parasailing, jet skis, seawater pool and planks, etc. You could also see some people catching waves at one part of the breaks, snorkels, and swimmers here and there. The island has a small road running around it. I didn’t see any cars so if there were any, there wasn’t much. It was kinda like Gili Trawangan but a lot quieter and had more development on it.
Yay, the DM on duty and assistants were jolly so cute. I can’t remember what the dude’s name but he was British. I think it was Mark. Tall and just came home from a dive after seeing about 20 Manta Rays. Lucky dude! Stivo, the assistant, was from Manado and had the sweetest smile.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any underwater pictures for you on this trip, since Irma’s camera isn’t with me 🙁
Anyways, the 2 blokes and I geared up to do our first dive at the Mangrove beach. The corals of this area were dense and alive. It had a relatively tight coverage of soft and hard corals and we just had a nice fun dive looking for creatures. To be honest, we didn’t see anything spectacular than the usual spectacular. You know, the usual countless fishes, Scorpion fish, Moray Eels, a few nudibranches, etc. But a fun dive is to enjoy and I enjoyed my glide out. I did two dives since the guys were suddenly already out of air and I still had more than half a tank. And so I did 2 fun dives.
We headed back to get a late lunch beside the pool provided by Pak Rudi, and chatted away till the afternoon. Pak Rudi’s little place was under construction to make the ideal place to stay and dive. The pool was great to dip in even though it was brackish. We were then escorted to the Puri Nusa hotel to get some dinner and shut eyes. Man sleeping after diving is great.
I wasn’t as excited to dive the next day. I though the SD location, just in front of the Sekolah Dasar/SD (elementary school), was going to be similar to Mangrove beach since we were in the near area. There were so many people diving from Pak Rudi’s center that morning. About 15 big guys smashed in one boat.
At first, when descending, SD sight was more like a wall but similar to the Mangrove Beach. But the trip developed in to a interesting one when suddenly a strong drift made our fun dive in to a drift dive, a dive quite famous in Nusa Lembongan. A drift dive is basically drifting along a current. The current that day was quite strong, and we had to hide behind some huge hard corals and rocks just to wait for each other. We also had to bend our bodies just to avoid corals that we were going to slam in to. Sometimes, when I lost my balance, I can have the corals so close, it was literally in my face. I would recommend gloves just in case you had to grab on to something. It was like a slower roller coaster ride where you can’t control your speed nor destination. You just follow along. Since the speed was pretty fast, it pumps your adrenaline just to stay in control. It was my first drift AND IT WAS AWESOME! m/
The other gang found a Mola-mola fish, a shark, and an octopus when diving. It’s rare to find them in this area but they saw it. Lucky them!
This area was prized for its dense and beautiful corals. What can I remember about Ceningan besides it was a fun dive? Hmm.. I forgot my weight belt :D. Shameful mistake floating when you want to sink. It was basically nice dive. It wasn’t something new, just enjoying the dive itself. Saw lots of creatures, but I can’t remember them now, and the scenery was just as what any diving experience would be… relaxing and fun to see.
I was quite satisfied by Pak Rudi’s dive center. It met up to any expatriate run business. Yeah sure, it has glitches such as language and limited amount of people that can join trips, but it’s a developing business and I would recommend it to anyone.
Stay tuned for part two: to see what a lot of divers want to see. Here the clue. First word rhymes with Fanta, and second word rhymes with bay. Ok, that’s way too easy right?
This hotel is located on the far north of the beach where Pak Rudi’s dive center on Nusa Lembongan. We just had to walk a few hundred meters to finally reach this establishment. The hotels had nice rooms, some with AC and some without. As I remember the room without AC, during low season can cost about IDR 150,000/room, breakfast included. During high season, it could reach about IDR 400,000/room. Prices depends on which room you’re in.
They do have a garden in the middle of the complex, great for a cartwheel or two.
The restaurant was facing the beach and the night breeze was chilly that night. The 2 blokes and I enjoyed a bad movie put on by the staff with dinner. They had a great fried banana dessert dish, but you really can’t go wrong with dessert.
Bali by Air
By the way, here’s handy information. Generally, there is a slot of cheaper plane tickets during or just after Lebaran or Idul Fitri. It’s a great time to travel Indonesia on a budget. And I think about 3 years ahead, Lebaran is during the summer. Yippie!
Nusa Lembongan By Sea
The real information I can give you here is only about going to and from Nusa Lembongan. The other times, we were either by the car we borrowed from a friend, renting a car, or organized by the dive centers.
There are many ways to get to Nusa Lembongan. You can start from Tanjung Benoa, Sanur or Padang Bai.
From Sanur there are 4 boats heading to Nusa Lembongan per day. You can choose between the speedboat or the public boat. Prices range about IDR 60,000 – 100,000 /pax depending on what boat and when you leave.
We were given a try of both options. We left with a speed boat. A nice fiber boat and spacious. Not a lot of seating area since it was purposed for less people and looks like you can rent it for diving trips.
We came back with the public boat. The difference was, of course, quantity of people inside. The boat itself was also fiber but it was less luxurious. I personally think there is no significant problem between the 2 boats, especially if you sit in the back. You just get wet!