Sunset's and Manta Rays.

Monday, March 28, 2016
Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia
We had our boat from Sanur to Lembongan already booked from the previous night. We were originally going to get the slower public boat but with it being low season we managed to get a great deal on one of the fast boats. £2 each more for a return was too tempting to turn down and took over an hour off our journey time. And what an interesting trip across it was! Once everyone was on board the captain (I guess that's who it was with his fancy white shirt on) popped on the music of his choice, which turned out to be some ridiculous hardcore rave, cranked the speakers up as loud as he could and navigated his way from shore and out past Sanur reef. Once past the reef he handed the wheel over to one of the other lads who looked distinctly like a Balinese Snoop Dogg and decided to grab himself 20 minutes shut eye. I'm not convinced that Snoop was qualified to be at the helm of the four engined aquatic speed beast and I got the distinct impression he had asked his mate (the Captain) for a spin at the wheel. The Captain was all too happy to have a well earned rest after spending all of 3 minutes navigating from the shore. So with Snoop Dogg at the helm we smashed and crashed our way through the Bali seas towards Lembongan to the delightful ambience of an Asian hardcore rave version of 'Happy Birthday to you'. As we neared the shore Snoop was relinquished of his duties and Captain Hardcore took us in to the beach.

We didn't really have a plan of how we would get from where the boat dropped us to our digs so we parked up at a small Warung and grabbed a drink to sort ourselves out . The island is small but hilly and fun to get around so I wandered off and haggled for a scooter again for another few days to get us out and about, transport to our Homestay all sorted then. It didn't take long to find and with our bags dropped off we were out and about exploring in no time. Secret beach was our first port call and is one of my favourite places on the island. It's a quiet small stretch of white fine sand with cliffs at either end and beautiful turquoise water glinting in front of you. I guess it's not quite as secret now as it used to be. The last time I was here I spent around ten days coming to relax on this beach, reading books and generally just chilling and hardly saw another soul. Now though it does seem to have a fairly steady stream of people turning up. Your only talking maybe half a dozen all day though so I guess we can't complain. It's amazing how quickly things change round here. On Bali and also the islands. In Bali a few of our favourite warungs from last time no longer exist, new developments are popping up like structures at a Lego convention and Lembongan now is not as quiet as it once was . Cars are not allowed on the island so it's always been bikes and the tiny little four wheeled Bemo carts that ferry people around. There are so many more of these little four wheeled carts now though that there may as well be cars on the island. Just before sunset now is like a mini rush hour as everyone races down to the beach. Speaking of sunsets, we were given a right treat on our first night. The sunset's in Lembongan have always been better than those on Bali. I think because it faces Bali to it's West so you get all those lovely little wispy clouds built up over the mainland that light up at twilight, something for the sun to catch before it disappears for the day. The sunset this first night was beautiful. Tangy oranges and pinks on the horizon where the sun had just dropped and golden rusty hues stretching all the way up above us and behind. The best things in life are free so they say....just a shame it costs a bit to get here!

The next few days blurred into one a little . Not through drink I may add as it's expensive on the island but just settling into the lazy laid back feel of island life. Some more trips to secret beach and really just ambling around the island as well as its sister island Nusa Cenningan which is linked with a small rickety wooden bridge. I think everything has started to blurr a little now. I've stopped becoming aware of which day of the week it is or what the date is. Something that happens when you travel. There aren't weekends anymore there are just days, At times I check now then or am reminded by my dad on Skype that it's a match day, and once in a while we check the date to make sure we know how long we have until our visa runs out and our flight out of the country but that's about it.

After what felt like many lazy days of just living (I think it was only about three in fairness, but feels longer) and trying to spend as little as possible we needed to get out and do something and snorkeling is something we really wanted to do here as it's a beautiful place to do it . After a couple of days of tracking down a guy named Ketut that we knew from last time we finally found him and arranged to go out the following day. We were piggy backing on a diving group that he was already taking out that day and agreed a reasonable price. We were also fortunate that the first spot the divers were headed to was secret manta point. A place where if you are lucky you are able to see manta rays going about their wing like fishy business. It didn't disappoint. As we arrived there were already several boats and people in the water which was a good sign that manta's were there. We spotted a couple just under the surface from the boat and as soon as I got in the water and looked down a massive manta with about a 6 foot span glided gracefully underneath us. Amazing. They are much bigger than I expected having never seen one before and they are so smooth and graceful with their movements. They dance around, arcing and banking as they turn, like giant underwater aircraft, it was a real spectacle to see them and we feel very lucky to have experienced it .

From secret manta point we went round to Crystal Bay which sits in a small cove on Nusa Penida island. It was decent but not spectacular. Hight tide at the time and more suited to the divers I think. Although the waters there were crystal clear it was quite a way down to the coral and fish, and a difference in water temperatures below us made a blurry have making it hard to make out anything in great detail. After that it was on to Blue Corner just off the Northern tip of Lembongan, behind the famous 'Shipwreck' surf break. Again this was another one of the divers and I didn't even get in the water this time as it was deep with a fair bit of litter floating around the surface. And that was it. The snorkeling and coral/fish etc wasn't brilliant and tagging onto the dive trip didn't help I guess but we got a decent price from Ketut and it was most deifinitely money well spent to see the impressive manta's in their natural habitat. A good day all round washed down with a Bintang and a sunset.

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