Bali and My Coastal Wanderings
My travel days were blending into one another. I had a hard time keeping up with what day of the week it was. My days were filled with one expedition after another. The fourth day of my Bali visit was no different. In the morning, I hiked the rainforest in search of waterfalls and by 3:30 pm I was on my way to the coast of Bali. We made our way through the traffic of the narrow city streets of Denpasar to Legian where my hotel was located, just across the street from the beach.
After I checked in, I had just enough time to take a shower before walking down to the beach to catch the amazing sunset. Another amazing day had passed.
The next morning would bring another adventure, this time in the sea. With an early pickup, I was on my way to the pier to for a full day of snorkeling. Or, at least I thought I was on my way to the pier.
We actually waited at a staging point on the beach where transfer ships would come ashore and we would have to wade into the water to get on board.
The boat ride took about 40 minutes to get to the island of Lembongan where we were collected and taken to the tour company’s facilities to be given our snorkeling gear. Then, we were on our way to Manta Bay to swim with one of the most graceful beings of the sea, the manta ray. This was one of my most anticipated excursions of my mini-Asia tour. I know that with animals in the wild, it is never guaranteed that they will appear. We were made aware that the presence of manta rays only happen 50% of the time. The seas had been so rough that no one had been allowed to even attempt to swim in the bay for the last 10 days.
The bay is surrounded by cliffs and could be dangerous in rough seas. On this day, the ocean was choppy and we didn’t spot a single ray but an eagle seemingly spotted us. We tried another spot and one of the guides spotted a ray, then another. The water was rough but it wasn’t going to stop us. I quickly jumped in before the others and swam toward the rays.
There it was swimming in the distance and swam out to meet it, then another appeared and then another. They were majestic, appearing to glide through the water. They averaged 5 feet in length and appeared to be more afraid of us than we were of them. The only fear I had is when one swam beneath me and I was afraid the barb on its tail would accidentally hit me. Another danger was hitting the cliff walls as the rays would swim close to them and I blindly followed with my GoPro.
It was a surreal experience to swim with these gliders of the sea. The conditions weren’t ideal and some of the others had to be helped with a floatation device by the guides. We weren’t in the water long, maybe 30 minutes, but long enough to create the memories I will never forget. The tour continued on to two more spots for snorkeling on the diverse reefs of Lembongan and Penida Island. The waters here were crystal clear and teaming with different species of fish, all shapes and colors. I would have to say that it was one of the best spots in the world for snorkeling that I’ve experienced, even without the rays. The extensive time in the water had made everyone hungry and it was time for lunch so we went back to the tour companies facilities.
We rested after lunch and we were gathered again and this time it was for kayaking through the mangroves. Behind the facilities was a bay filled with mangroves and provided a perfect backdrop for kayaking.
The day had come to an end and it was time to head back to the island of Bali. Another long day in paradise filled with unique experiences had tired some travelers.
The next day was my final day in Bali and I hadn’t spent any time on Legian and Double-Six Beach, the beaches right in front of my hotel. After breakfast, I finally did just that. I walked along the beach, taking photos and video, trying to soak up as much as I could before I had to leave. The morning haze was still lingering before burning off, prior to the sun and heat had enveloped the coast. The beaches here are beautiful and the waters warm with the convenience of the city just steps away. I know having the beach in the city is a draw for most but I would rather be further away from civilization. I prefer a quite slice of beach than a crowded one. The price for food and goods are higher here because it draws so many tourists from around the world. It’s similar to the costs in Southern California. There are many beautiful coastline accommodations here in Bali that would fit anyone’s preference. I still wouldn’t hesitate to visit again.