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Sunday, 12 December 2010

Day 228-229: Under the Sea

Upon leaving Java, we had decided to shun the white-sanded and (so we'd heard) horrendously touristy beaches of south Bali and headed to the northern stretch of quieter, greyish-sanded (volcanic, not dirty) beaches of Lovina. Though the beaches weren't our main motivation, as the title of this post may suggest, we were here for the diving and oh were we in for a treat.

We found ourselves a cheap room that allowed us access to it's fancy sister-hotel's pool (ace) and also gave us suitable lee-way for some bargaining with the sister-dive shop. We opted for a 2-dive trip to Menjangan Island that left the following morning. We spent a very sunny and very rainy afternoon in the pool in excited anticipation.

We left bright and early for the drive NW towards the island, also diving with us was Jo – a wonderful English girl who had recently completed her Dive Masters in Koh Tao and had been diving all over the world [hereafter for 'Jo' read 'hero']. As well as being a font of information about the DM course, and having an awesome underwater camera the best thing about diving with her was that she could identify almost all of the fish we saw...and there was lots to see.

The 2 dives were based around the 'wall' of coral that surrounds this tiny island; after rolling off the boat in our gear we were greeted with fantastic visibility (10-15m) and an abundance of brightly coloured coral and a thriving metropolis of fishes in all shapes and sizes. Without just listing a bunch of names that won't mean much to most, the highlight spots of the dive were; a massive barracuda, 3 bat fish, clown fish (nemo) playing in an anemone, a scorpion fish and a very friendly sucker fish that swam with us for ages, rubbing itself against us with particular attention to Rob's crotch.

All in all, with a break for lunch in between, we were under the water for 2 hours. Did we still love diving? Of course we much so that after further price-negotiations we signed up for a further 2 dives the following day.

This time we were heading to the East of the island to dive in the sunken wreck of the USS Liberty at a dive site called Tulamben. This was our first wreck dive and Jo was diving with us again (hence, the amazing pics). Again the views were just incredible, over the 2 dives we were able to circumnavigate the broken pieces of the wreck (the Japanese bombed it some 50 years ago) and swim actually into parts of the ship.

Sometimes it was almost impossible to tell that it was a ship because the coral growth had all but completely covered each surface. There were places where parts of the structure remained, jutting out at awkward angles, and rooms with 2 or 3 walls still in place; swimming though these darker waters into the light was truly magical. It felt like being in The Little Mermaid.

Again the sea life was spectacular, with sightings of a tiny nudi branch, stingrays, flounder fish (unfortunately these are not like in The Little Mermaid, they are small, flat and exactly the same colour as sand though so the spot is still a good one), moorish idols, an octopus (only I saw it as it changed colour from purples to creams, pulled all it's legs in and disappeared into a hole in the sand), a leaf fish and many, many more.

It was incredible and we have to say a massive thanks to Jo for letting us steal her photos and for teaching us so much.


  1. truely amazing - you re so very very lucky!!! Bu as far as I am concerned you deserve it so enjoy enjoy and enjoy. het is gewoon ongelovelijk dat er zoveel moois is onder het water - net als boven het water. Geniet

  2. had another look at the fotos - how come you and rob are wearing short sleeves and shorts and Jo (I presume that's her) is wearing long sleeves and long legs (was it her own wetsuit perhaps?) dacht dat met koraal misschien lange pijpen en mouwen beter zouden zijn ik hoor dat kraal heel scherp is!

  3. koraal not kraal (dat is onze very langzame computer)...sorry

  4. yeah, it is crazy beautiful isn't it...?
    and yes Jo was wearing her own wetsuit and we were in borrowed ones but short sleeves were fine - the water was 29 degrees! and, when you're pro-divers like us (ha!), you don't bump into coral :) but you're right, it's very sharp.