Missed Manta Rays in Nusa Lembongan

Ubud, Bali. 8.30 in the morning. Me and my friend Peter are waiting for the minibus to Sanur from where we’ll be taking a slow ferry to Nusa Lembongan.

The ferry is full, and slow indeed, but it’s not an unpleasant ride. The sea is relatively calm and the island slowly gets bigger as we get closer. The ferry stops on the main beach and when we get off locals start approaching us to get us to their hotels.One guy keeps following us trying to get us to a guesthouse. We keep on walking and tell him that we want to look around by ourselves. He keeps following us. We ask for a room somewhere. The pushy guy says something to the staff and tells us that they’re full. We’re not really sure if it’s a scam, and if it isn’t about his commission, but the staff in the place doesn’t speak English. We go somewhere else. Our follower surprisingly turns out to be the manager of this place. The room is okay. He wins.

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Now we can start exploring. We seem to be in the main village of the island. It looks a bit more basic and less developed than  Bali. Because it’s an island a lot of  stuff has to be carried in by boat and we watch how fast the locals carry big, heavy items such as rice bags, ice, and even scooters.

A bit later I walk all the way down the beach and pass a seaweed farm. A woman is collecting seaweed. She waves at me to come over and take pictures. She is a bit pushy. I smile at her as I keep on walking and she keeps on calling and waving. It’s probably her way of making some extra money. She isn’t too charming in the way she presents her request, but I decide to be nice, take a picture and hand her a small amount of money, just because I want to be out of this situation and my life is probably easier than hers.

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I continue my walk and end up very close to the mangrove forest. It’s hard to walk here, so I go back and decide to explore more of it later.

There is a beautiful sunset that night and the atmosphere is quiet and pleasant. We watch the boats coming in, see big birds flying above the ocean and listen to the sound of the waves.20151019_183453

The next day we rent a scooter and drive around the island. Some of the roads are quite steep and others have lots of cows on them. We get a good impression of the island. There are a few smaller beaches around. Some of them have very high waves and it doesn’t seem very safe to swim.

We drive up to the cliff that can be seen from our beach. This place is known as Devil’s Tears. We walk up to the edge of the cliff. We watch the waves crushing aggressively on the rocks. The sea is angry here, making clear she’s the boss and in control. I can’t stop watching all this destructive beauty around me and something inside of me just wants to stay here forever, watching the waves coming and going, crushing up to the rocks.

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Thankfully, another part of me wants to see more of the island and we continue our little trip. We end up at the mangrove forest where we decide to take a small boat tour. The boat is very low and it smells like mud around us. There isn’t much to see, just mangroves and green water. After we get back I feel somewhat relieved our little mangrove tour has come to an end. It’s time for a drink.

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The next day Peter spots a manta ray while I’m still asleep. He’s all excited when he gets back from his snorkeling trip and I feel like I’ve slept through all the fun. We decide to go to a luxurious  resort with a swimming pool and very big nice chairs for the afternoon.

I spend hours sipping my small beer while I enjoy the pool and observe the people who stay at the resort. It’s a luxurious place. Unfortunately I can’t look into the rooms. As a budget traveler I always fantasize about luxurious places with private infinity pools and rain showers and I always enjoy to take a peek at what I can’t afford. The next day we find out that the resort has closed it’s bar (and chairs and swimming pool) for outside visitors who are not eating. We were just in time!

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