We had booked to on a snorkelling trip today to Pulau Meniangan (Island) which is supposed to be Bali's best snorkelling spot. Our driver, Toto arrived at 8.00AM and we headed off through Negara to west Bali National Park. The drive was the usual chaotic mix of overtaking when there was oncoming traffic and dodging motorbikes. There was a changeroom at the departure point and the island was close enough to see. We hired an underwater camera and I put in my memory card from my camera. All aboard a rather dodgy looking small boat with a canopy so we didn't get too sunburnt. U.V. here is only about 7 so not terrible. Couldn't see any life jackets nor was there any safety briefing but the water was warm so survival in the water probably wasn't an issue. The island was exactly as described in the Lonely Planet book as unpristine! Lots of rubbish lying around and the few man made structures (including a ranger station) very much dilapidated. We donned our snorkels and flippers and followed the guide into the water. It was sensational! The coral was beautiful and the sea life was abundant! Luckily the underwaterThe guide used the underwater camera and photographed us as well as duck diving down to the different features of interest and photographing them. After about 3/4 hour we returned to the boat and headed off to the other side of the island where we anchored and had another dive of over 1/2 hour. Back to the jetty and lunch was handed out which we ate on the island. The last dive was from the boat and was further up the beach than the first one. This was possibly the best in terms of sea life and the colour of the coral.
Back to Bali and Toto was patiently waiting for us and he took us to Palasari Village which is a Catholic community. We visited the church and met the pastor who was Timorese. Then to Pengambengan Harbour to see the fishing boats that catch sardines. This is probably where our cat food comes from! Dropped into a bakery at Negara on the way home and the Rambut Siwi temple where the man in charge took rather a fancy to Claire! Another lovely poolside meal and a Bintang or three.