Friday, February 29, 2008

My Dearest Bali

Today is my last day in Bali.
My 8 or so days here have been full and exciting. I have made many friends here, locals I am excited to see again when I return.
Since I last wrote I have been mostly diving, although I did take a day to enjoy a traditional Balinese spa. I think I spent about $17 on a 2hr massage/body scrub/flower petal bath, a facial, and cream hair bath. I was there about 4.5 hours. It was lovely.
The diving. Oh wow, the diving!! Two days ago I woke early and was picked up by my dive master, Made (Ma-dai), who is now a good friend. Richard joined me for this dive and we three headed out to Tulamben to dive the USS Liberty wreck. We did two dives here and they were both amazing. This is considered one of the safest wreck dives in the world. The USS Liberty was a WWII American supply ship that was hit by a Japanese torpedo. The boat did not sick, but was safely tugged to shore of Tulamben where all the important and valuable parts were salvaged. In 1963 Mt. Agung, which had been dormant for 300 years, erupted and the resulting lava flow pushed the USS Liberty off the beach and into the shallow waters of Tulamben bay. This event also broke the ship into three parts which make swim-throughs more accessible and safer. Today it is covered in coals and has become the home to thousands of fish which seem unperturbed by the constant stream of divers wanting to explore this great dive site. I have some great photos but the computer I am on now can not upload the files. I will give it a try when I get to Singapore. I think Tulamben was the best diving I have ever done.
After the diving Made took Rich and I to Padangbai. Padangbai is a sea side town that is home to a very important temple and some great dive sites. I dressed myself in Balinese traditional dress and watched the hundreds of people passing down the main road on their way to the temple. It turns out that we had arrived during a four day ceremony which happens once a year on the Balinese calender (so about every 1.5years for us). Balinese come from all over the island to pray during these four days. They bring offerings which they carry on their heads, and are blessed and cleansed by the priest of the temple. Hindu priests from all over Bali come as well. It was such an amazing site to see. I would have been allowed to join them as I was wearing Balinese dress but I was shy and nervous I would not do the right thing even though I had previously been to temple. I regret that, but I am glad I was not shy to wear the traditional clothing as it made the Balinese people who saw me very happy.
Yesterday Made and I dove Padangbai bay and the Blue Lagoon. The diving was not as exciting as Tulamben but we did see thousands of fish, loads of blue spotted sting rays, and I got to hold a bright purple puffer fish in my hands!!! That was such a highlight! Made caught it for me and it puffed itself up to look all scary, but it was soft and beautiful. I did not hold it long as I knew it was probably scared. We saw about 5 or 6 different kinds of puffer fish, some big and spiky when they puffed up and some small and soft like my little purple friend. We also saw lots of clown fish. At Tulamben I was bitten by an aggressive clown fish, it took a little chunk out of me the bugger. But at Padangbai the clown fish were more gentle. Some were huge! Who knew Nemo could grow so big! Huge angle fish too. I saw several eels, two giant moray eels- those are NOT cute and cuddly, and some blue ribbon little eels that I totally mistook for long fish with their heads in the sand. So the diving was great. Almost being run over buy the ferry was not so fun but more of an adventure. It passed by maybe 3 meters above us when we were in the shallows of the reef and we had to swim away fast from the propellers. I gained a sympathy for marine life and a dislike for motor boats. When Made and I were down 29.6 meters we could still hear the piercing hum of engines that hurt my ears so much I wanted to end the dive. The boats were not that frequent but they were annoying. I feel for all the marine life that dies such a painful death from the noises created by underwater drilling. Motor boats alone drove me crazy. Made was excited to dive with me because my breathing is so good. We had a bottom time of 60mins and we went to max safety depths where air is compressed and doesn't last very long. I go into this zen kind of place underwater. I love being an observer in the land of the fishes.
Yesterday I also said goodbye to Richard who has been a stellar travel companion for my time in Bali.
I am in Sanur now. Made brought me here last night and took me out to dinner. I was so tired from diving I passed out around 8pm. This morning I went to a cafe to do some writing and eat some breaky and low and behold I had walked into a Canadian-Balinese cafe. I was shocked to open the menu and see "Traditional Canadian breakfast" and I whole page devoted to Canadian food I have never really eaten (mostly pub food stuff). I had french toast and a latte. So good!!

Next stop Singapore! I am trying to get a bed at The InCrowd Hostel which has won tones of awards and looks fabulous!!! I might fall in love with Singapore, who knows!

I have loved my time in Bali as I am sure my entries here have made evident. I will miss it but I am excited to move on and discover new places. My wanderlust continues.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Taking lots of good notes for travel writing, yes?!? This blog will help as well. We are just back from To; Dirty Dancing on stage at the Royal Alex ...fabulous. As I will never be down in the ocean's depths, I am delighted to have it so well described to me!