Bats and Bat fish in Bali

May 12, 2007 - Bali, Indonesia

When we arrived in Indonesia, we were rushed by a mob of taxi drivers and airport porters. Terry joked that they were just like the sea gulls from Finding Nemo; “Mine, mine, mine...” My first impression of Indonesia suffered from this bombardment. I would find out later that this was just the Indonesian way and everyone, although ultimately trying to separate tourists from their money like everywhere else, the Indonesians we met were genuinely helpful. Networking seems to be the key here. Everyone has a “friend” that they can set you up with. Vosko, who we met at the airport, knew the girl working for the Aggressor and got me in touch with the captain on his cell phone. Later he would get us a cab and ride with us to meet the captain (to book the liveaboard for the following week) and then to a hotel in Manado. He brought us to his “friend” the travel agent who booked our ticket to Bali. Later we met him for beers and he gave us his view on American politics. Arriving in Bali, we took a taxi to Lovina at the opposite side of the Island, well away from the touristy area (Kuta) that was bombed in 2002. When we arrived in Lovina we were shadowed by a motorbike whose driver, in route, was shouting to our driver trying to suggest his “friend’s” hotel. We ended up taking his suggestion and staying at a beautiful bungalow at the Sea Breeze resort. After we learned the Indonesian-tourist relationship we were able to take full advantage. On our return from Bali we arranged a taxi to take us around to a few sites on the way to the airport and made a day of it visiting the local hot springs, a waterfall, a monastery, the floating temple, and a few other sites. The dive sites changed their pick up time so we had time to eat breakfast at the resort before our dives. On the down side the vendors were very aggressive. They remained on the beach at the border of the resort grounds and nearly begged us to buy their goods giving us all sorts of sob stories. One guy haggled us the entire time we were trying to eat which really put me off. On the good side we had one vendor deliver us fruit to our resort each day and ask what we needed for the following day. Once one vendor knew my name, it seemed every vendor in Lovina called me by name to sell their goods.

Lavina proved a great location for diving. The resort was half way between Menjangan (Deer) Island and Tulamben, the site of the US Liberty wreck sunk during the war by Japan. For 50 US$ each the Lovina dive operators would bus us the 1.5 hours each way to the dive site, provide a dive guide and feed us lunch. Deer Island had great vis. Our guide grabbed a puffer fish from its hiding spot and after it puffed up handed it to Terry for a photo. The diving was very easy in bali. I took lots of shots and started to learn how to use the new Sunpak G-flash external strobe that I bought for the trip; the strobe that would be flooded and useless by the end of the week. On one dive we had a resident Bat fish escort us the entire dive. We found out later he was waiting to be fed bananas like he usually is. We surfaced from the dive in from of three small coves filled with restless bats squealing and flapping around. The Tulamben wreck was Terry’s first wreck dive. The wreck is nothing special but for some reason is a major and well known site for divers and snorkelers. It is very accessible; just off-shore in shallow water, so this could be the reason.

Pictures

Lovina Fisherman
Terry with Puffer
Rich; 1 million rupiah!
Tulamben boys at play
 
 
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