We spent a night in Sanur before catching a slow boat over to Nusa Lembongan. We stayed at a place called Flashbacks, a really nice guesthouse with quite a few rooms and a little pool. Sanur itself isn't anything special, unfortunately it is ruined by the extensive number of resorts on the beach front making it rather difficult to get to the beach!! The ...km stretch of beach only has two access points at either end for the public. We did have a lovely dinner in a local restaurant called Warung Coconut Tree and I also enjoyed an Arak Attack - a cocktail with Arak, Sprite and Lemon. Although apparently Arak is essentially moonshine, made locally from ... and you need to be careful when purchasing as it may not be fully legit (something I learnt after I drank it so maybe I will stay clear from this from now on).
We got up early for our boat to Nusa Lembongan. Roughly an hr long journey off the east coast only costing 125,000 per person - compared to a 400,000 p/p for a fast boat which takes half the time!
Our boat however was rather small and had 3 motors - with one that kept cutting out. When we first set off the conditions were a bit crazy, but once we got out into the blue it wasn't too bad. We did get splashed a few times though.
It wasn't long until we arrived on Nusa Lembongan, there are only a small number of cars (mainly trucks used as transport to the ports) on the island, with most of the motorised vehicles being scooters. The island is very small (km) and can be explored within a day on a scooter. A perfect getaway from the crazy mainland.
We found a lovely room at Bunda 7 Bungalows for 200,000 - fan, ensuite and breakfast included. This was probably one of our best rooms so fair. The character was lovely and was just a beautiful place. There was even a pool which spent many hours chilling around and swimming in.
Our time here was very chilled out. Wandering the streets and eating at a variety of local restaurants. My favourite cafe was the Eco Bali Cafe - only selling fresh, organic and vegetarian produce. Lovely salads and cakes :). And I also went to my first Yoga Class at Serenity Yoga - a little toga studio set just off the beach amongst the trees. I did the Hatha Flow class and it was great, a great start to the morning making me feel relaxed and refreshed - will definitely be doing more Yoga while in Bali.
We also met Scott and Ben here and spent quite a few evenings eating and drinking with them - both from the UK although Scott has been in Australia for the past 2 years. Everywhere did tend to shut at around 10pm unless we were at Mickeys Sports Bar which tends to stay open as long as people are there buying drinks. But this suited us well as we weren't up for any heavy nights and enjoyed the early nights and chilled days.
We did hire some scooters to explore the island and it's neighbouring island Nusa Ceningan, joined by a small suspension bridge only accessible on foot or a scooter. We went to Dream Beach - lovely small cove with a lovely beach and crazy waves!
We were very excited to go diving after being so long since we last dived (in Thailand!). The boat was rather small with about 20 of us going diving - some very keen and experienced and some going on a try dive so there was a lot of variety in divers. Me and Curtis were in a group by ourselves which was nice. This was at Manta Point - there's a 93.8% chance of seeing Mantas so we had our fingers crossed. The wetsuits we had on were thicker than usual due to how cold the water is - surprising considering where we are. Our dive leader assured us that we were fine with the weights we had, even though we had our doubts we trusted him as an experienced dive master. As we were going down we both found it very hard to 'sink', no matter how hard we exhaled so our dive leader helped drag us to the sea bed, however when he let go of us we both just flew back to the surface (only 5m deep). Needing more weights he called the boat over to grab some more and shoved them in our pockets. Second time lucky we were able to go down and stay down! We were getting quite anxious as the visibility was only 3-5m (which is apparently better to see fish due to the amount of plankton in the water, their food), so we didn't think we would be able to see any Mantas but all of sudden the first one swam by. It was huge!! Approx. 5m in width. It wasn't long until we saw more and more - the dive site was at their cleaning station so we had to make sure we kept enough distance between us but the swells also made this quite tricky, throwing us all over the place. Everywhere we looked there was a Manta - probably about 6 in total just swimming around us. One even glided about two feet above my head and that's when you realise how big they actually were - it was magnificent!!
When we surfaced after our 45min dive we were very happy and pleased to have seen so many. They were beautiful and so peaceful as they glided the water. And they were right - the water was freezing!! Actually it was only 22 degrees but in terms of water it's so cold! On our way to Crystal Bay we had lunch (Nasi Goreng) and chilled during our surface interval before diving again.
This time we were in quite a larger group, there were 5 of us with two dive leaders. We were warned that the waters here are so much colder than at Manta Point but we naively thought it wouldn't be too bad. This dive was also brilliant - the visibility was amazing, the water was so clear and a beautiful turquoise colour. And the marine life and coral were just as beautiful. Again they were right, the deeper we got the colder the water was, we were even shivering at some points. But we survived - Curtis did have a thinner wetsuit on than I did as we found it difficult to find one that would fit him so I'm amazed he wasn't any colder!
It wasn't long until we surfaced and headed back to the boat ready to go back to Lembongan. It was a great morning and we loved diving again and being in the water with all the wonderful fish - especially the Mantas. It's like another world!
On the boat trip we met Pauline and Jonn. They were both from Copenhagen in Denmark. We spent our last evening with them, having dinner followed by drinks in Mickeys Sports Bar.
Our time here was great!! We loved spending little under a week relaxing, swimming and diving. We were definitely in need of some R&R. Next stop Lombok.
C & E x