Heather's Thairy

Heather's journey to Bangkok, Thailand: a year of adventure!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Vacation Day 13: Dolphins and the Drop Off!

Our second day in Lovina was spent, for the most part, out of Lovina, touring around Bali on the tour we booked the night previous. We woke up bright and early for the sunrise dolphin watching tour: it starts at 6 in the morning!

Our boat was a very narrow canoe-like structure with what seemed like boat training wheels: wide-set pieces of bamboo affixed to the sides. It wasn't particulary comfortable, especially since my feet couldn't reach the bottom from where I was sitting!

The sunrise was quite beautiful, and the water was still and the air warm. You have to go early to spot dolphins because they only come to the surface to feed at sunrise- the water surface becomes too hot during the day and the food animals ( I can't remember if it was krill or something else) move lower down.

It is next to impossible to photograph dolphins as they jump from the water, but I swear we saw dozens. It was amazing- one minute, the water would be completely still, with no dolphins in sight...the next, we would spot a pod, their dorsal fins peeking out of the water. They would breach the surface with just their backs, then begin to jump out of the water. I wasn't sure if they were only feeding or if they were also playing. They seemed to be interested in the boats (we were among about six out on the water), coming very near at times. Either that or they have become very used to the presence of boats, seeing as how there are these sunrise tours every single morning!
I loved the dolphin watching...we were out on the water for about an hour and a half before we had to head back to shore to meet our snorkeling tour. We had been promised Balinese cake and bananas on the boat, neither of which we were given, so we went to the restaurant at our hotel and endured the sneers of our extremely misplaced server to have some breakfast. Soon we were beckoned to a rusty, military issue van that took us to another big, clunky vehicle which drove us to our snorkeling site.

Now, I can't remember the name of the place that we went to, but apparently it is considered the best snorkeling in Bali. It was quite a distance away and we weren't terribly impressed by our surroundings once we got there...the beach was very shallow and covered in garbage. We were told that a lot of trash washes over from Java, where they just throw waste into the water. There was also a bonfire smouldering on the shore, complete with stinky fish carcasses. Undaunted, we put on our gear and headed into the water, where we found more garbage and were wondering if we had booked a bad tour until...
About twenty metres out we discovered the reason why the place is considered the best.
I wish that I had an underwater camera or a video or something to share with you the wonder that was this snorkeling site. At first, we saw a few fish, a lot of dead coral and too much garbage. It seemed to be a huge disappointment, then we swam a bit further and we entered a place that looked just like the drop-off in Finding Nemo.
It was incredible- we saw octopi, eels, a sea snake, and too many different kinds of fish to count. The colours were absolutely amazing, both of the fish and of the coral. The place was teeming with life and the water was very clear- we had a diver on our tour and we could see straight down the reef edge to where he was submerged. You couldn't look around you without seeing something new...I would turn to look at Alisa and find I could hardly see her for all the fish. Some were huge, some very tiny, all incredibly interesting.
After being thoroughly amazed by the snorkeling, we traveled back to Lovina and had another fantastic dinner at another restaurant. I had stir-fried squid in Balinese sauce and gado gado (can't do without it!) and was completely impressed. How come I can't get great food like that in Canada for under five bucks? Sheesh.

Until next time,


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