Friday, October 10, 2008

October 8, 2008 - Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia

Leaving Mata'irea moored safely in the inner harbor at Nusa Lembongan, we took the dinghy over to Nusa Penida (we really need to come up with a name for our dinghy - Sten vetoed Row v. Wade so I'm open to suggestions). The trip took us along the spectacular south coast of Nusa Lembongan, past Ceningan, a small island connected to Nusa Lembongan by a foot bridge, and across a narrow strait to Nusa Penida. When we arrived in Crystal Bay, on the Southwest corner of Nusa Penida, we found ourselves surrounded by dive boats. We put on our snorkeling gear and dove overboard. We found the water to be relatively cloudy, compared to the crystal clear water in Nusa Lembongan, and couldn't see anything worth writing home about. Apparently the dive boats come here to see pelagics, like jacks, mackerel, and tuna, and turtles, manta rays and sharks. The big draw is the chance to see a mola-mola, an oceanic sunfish with an elongated dorsal and a lump where its tail should be. We didn't see any of that stuff, but we did see a big cave, which Sten had to explore. The ceiling was coated with hundreds of big bats. Sten discovered that the cave could be accessed by an underwater tunnel, but we decided that there was too much surge to try to freedive through.

We took the dinghy up to the next bay, where we picked up a mooring. While Sten explored ashore, I amused myself with the completely tame tropical fish in the bay. They are so used to being fed by snorkeling tours, that they came swimming right up to me. I would be trying to take a picture of one fish, and another would swim right in front of the lens. It was like snorkeling in an aquarium; very low on the adventure scale, but loads of fun.

We continued along the coast of Nusa Penida. Along the way Sten amused himself by positioning the bow of the dinghy right in front of a blow hole so that I would get soaked each time the blow hole blew. (It must have slipped his mind that we are headed home for the holidays and that I am a deft hand with a snowball. As they say, revenge is a dish best served cold. Ice cold.) We completed our expedition by rounding the top of Nusa Lembongan, passing innumerable seaweed farms, and returning to the anchorage.

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