Despite having a yucky tummy, Ubud was really nice. Some great restaurants! Diane Cafe and Casa Luna in particular were VERY good. I also browsed many cool art/craft shops and watched lots of jet set rich folks comming and going :) I didn't make it out to the rice paddys so I'll probably stop back in Ubud on my way out of the country so I can do that. The ones that I did see were great and I keep hearing stories about lovely secluded places in the fields...
From Ubud, I took a bus to Padang Bai which is on the east coast. I did 2 very so-so dives and one reasonable one with Geko dive. Vis was not good, currents were annoying (not terrible) and DMs were not very good at all. I met a lovely woman from Singapore (Lynn), who is also a divemaster and we were buddies for all 3 dives and then headed to Amed together.
When we arrived in Amed, we went to Euro dive and the guy in the shop seemed like he was on valium or something... very strange, and the town was completely empty. So we got back in the van and headed straight for Tulumben.
Tulumben is probably the most famous dive site in Bali, with the Liberty wreck right off the beach. We did 6 really nice dives in Tulumben, most on the wreck and one so-so dive on a wall on the east end of the beach. Our dive guide (not DM) was VERY good and we saw tons of stuff. My first pigmy seahorses and garden eels, ribbon eels, huge hump-head parrot fish, loads of corals, reasonable vis... a white tip reef shark with white panels on it's chest... I've never seen these before (even in a book.) Flashlight fish on a night dive... Turn of your light and this school of about 200 fish flash on and off like fire-flys... The guide also pulled an octopus out of it's cave on the night dive. Was very impresive, but not something I'd care to see repeated. The octo turned deep red and inked off in a very bad mood (quite rightly).
Lynn headed down south for some more advanced drift diving with a friend from her work and I headed for Lovina. I've been here about a week. It's a very laid back place. And has the cheapest diving to Mengangan Island... Strange since it's over an hours drive to get there, but all the places that are closer are in really fancy resorts.
I have been to Mengangan 3 times, 2 dives each time. I've been diving with Spice Dive. They are quite professional, although their equipment is a bit old (not surprisingly since their customer load is about 10% of what it was before the bombing.) I had 2 fantastic dives and 4 OK dives. The only new things I saw at Mengangan were razor/shrim fish and a lizard fish. Neither of wich was a big wow, but the sites and the corals are really lovely! Also, on the second to last dive, we dove a site called eel garden, after about 30 minutes of following a really awsom wall, we came to a huge underwater sand area that was covered in thousands upon thousands of garden eels... WOW!!!! Garden eels are very skinny snake-like fish that live in sand burrows, they protrude about 2/3 of their bodies out of the sand and wave around like a forest of branchless treas... They are shy so when you get close they pop down into their holes. It's pretty cool to swim over them... you get a big sandy patch around you and then about 10ft out the eels start popping up again...
I did a really nice hike yesterday with a local family. Walked through the fields and forest near their hose. They also prepared a fantastic local meal for me and we went to some so-so hot springs... the day was quite magical. A real treat to be with some local people for the day and get an idea of what life is like for them. Thanks Putu and Ria! :)
I'm planning on heading back to Thailand on the 19th so I can meet up with Wade on the 20th. I don't have much planned for the rest of my trip. I'm excited about a huge festival that's going to happen all over the island mid week, sounds like a really amazing thing to behold! Other than that, I'm enjoying reading and walking on the beach, meeting people, etc. Like I said before, I'll probably head to Ubud after the festival for some hiking. Not sure that there is much more Bali scuba diving in store for me, but I'm alway open if something great turns up.
Loads of Love,
Posted by binduwavell at January 11, 2004 11:31 PM