NUSA PANIDA and NUSA LEMBONGAN
A beautiful boat ride took us to the Nusa Islands for the rest of our trip in Indonesia. We hadn't really spent much time on the beaches in Indonesia and were looking forward to some relaxed beach time. We arrived in Nusa Lembongon and took a ferry across to another island Nusa Panida for the night. We would spend tomorrow driving around the entire island stopping at beautiful places along the way.
Mae Mae is where we stayed for the night, it was a reggae bar that was situated right on the beach. We settled our bags into the hotel and went for a dip in the clear blue ocean right outside the front door. We decided to go out to another part of the island for dinner and watch the sun set as we ate. After a few restaurants (all of which had nothing available, one only had garlic, bread, and octopus) we found our spot. We ooo-ed and ahhh-ed at the sun going down with our toe in the sand like it was the first time we had ever seen it. It was gorgeous as the sun sat over the ocean and the boats and romantic couples were caught in the setting sun.
In the morning we packed up and headed around the island on our bikes in search of Nusa Panidas best spots. We found them scattered about the island as we went.
Our fist stop was a cave temple (Goa Giri Purtri) where we parked our bikes and rented sarongs to be respectful as we entered the hidden temple. With sarongs tightly wrapped, we hiked up the mountain with some locals carrying all sorts of offerings and we entered into the cave after a splash of holy water hit our faces from the Holy Man. Entering the cave through a tiny little hole enough for one body at a time, it opened up into a massive cavity. Lit up by lights we could hear the bell and the meditative chanting of the Holy Man in the temple. We watched as we saw locals sitting and doing their daily rituals with flowers, baskets of offering, and peaceful faces. We proceeded deeper into the cave and came to more places where heads were being washed and more rituals were happening. All the locals climbed the steeps steps into another holy place that we were not allowed to enter. We exited the temple out the other side and made our way back to the bikes.
Our next spot was a beautiful ride on the bluff of a cliff. The bluff and beach (Atuh Beach) didn't seem like much more than a viewpoint at first as we drove along the shore, but it opened up and we hiked to a lookout that made my eyes widen and gave me goosebumps. The view below was an incredible beach surrounded by rock cliffs and amazing blue water. The type of beach that you see in a movie or on a documentary about hidden wonders of the world. We ventured down the cliff and ended up at the beach where we rested and enjoyed a coconut straight from a tree and a dip in the electric blue water. I cant imagine the feeling that the first person who discover this beach must have felt.
Two more amazing stops along the way brought us to more sea side views and another amazing beach.
Mata Air Guyangan and Crystal Bay
The arrival on Nusa Lembongan that night was a bit of a patience tester. We arrived way too late for the boat back and almost didn't make it to Nusa Lembongan. When we arrived from the boat a short 15 min. later there was no one that could rent us a bike or bring us back to the hotel we were staying at. Darja and I caught a lift on the back of a local family's bikes and the plan was to rent bikes from the hotel and then go get Anne and Justin who were waiting at the boat dock. Over an hour later we finally found bikes and made it back to the dock. We slept well that night after such a long day of riding bikes and the adventure of trying to get back.
The ocean is so deceiving sometimes when you only see it from the shore. As we were geared up with snorkeling stuff and Anne and Justin were all prepped with scuba stuff, we rode across the open ocean. The waves we saw from the boat crashed so hard against the shore and up onto the cliffs that it made me gasp, as we got further out the waves got larger and more scary than anything I had ever witnessed before. As Darja and I sat in the front of the boat the swells seemed as if they were going to swallow us whole as if we were a tiny plankton in the path of a whale. It rocked us back and forth splashing us with buckets of water and crashing hard to the ocean below. We finally made it across and to the first snorkel spot. We would snorkel at Manta Point and Justin and Anne would scuba dive. Unfortunately this time we saw no manta rays (Anne and Justin went back to the same spot on another dive later that day and saw some). The second scuba spot was Crystal Bay, the same place we had rode our bikes to yesterday. We saw much more at this spot including electric colored coral, amazing colored fish, and a sea turtle that was poking its head out from the ocean just enough to say hi.
After a morning of snorkeling Darja and I decided to take a break and do some surfing as Anne and Justin went back out for another scuba adventure.
As we geared up with our rash guard and reef shoes we grabbed our surfboards and headed to the boat. We would not be surfing from the shore but rather far out from the shore where the waves break. As we approached the waves they were massive, I looked at Darja and said there was no way I could do this! We had seen so many tourists with their legs, arms, faces, feet, all cut up and looking as if they were spit out by the wave. I was so afraid I was the next victim that would be sucked up by the waves and pummeled on the reef that was so shallow below. We got out onto our surfboard in the cold water and proceeded to practice standing on the board in some flat water. Over and over again we would fall. After practice and standing a few times in a row, our teacher thought I was ready. I headed out with him to the wave break and we waited for the right wave. When it was time he screamed commands at me to straighten my board! Paddle, paddle, paddle! And hold! That's all I heard before the sound of the wave took over and I grabbed on tight to my board as it began to feel still in the water. I had caught my first wave. I knew now that I needed to stand. I slid my foot forward like I had practiced and slowly stood up on the board as I rode my first wave to the end. It was amazing! The feeling was a rush, like that of jumping off a cliff, or riding a roller coaster. I had just rode my first wave. Now the hard part… paddling back.
Paddling back after the first wave I thought my arms would fall off. Its amazing how comfortable I felt after the second day of surfing with heading into the waves with my board. That first paddle I went way out of the way of the waves because they still looked so big and powerful and it took me almost 15 minutes to get back to the teacher. I rode almost every wave that day with success as my teacher taught me how to look for a good wave, where to wait, what to do, and occasionally gave me a little push. I felt so successful, exhilarated, and exhausted at the end of the night.
The next morning we would ride again. My teacher upgraded me to a smaller more advanced board today as we went out and I could feel the change. After a few attempts I was back at it and feeling that same feeling again and the salt water splashed my face and the reef flew by me only feet away. The tide got low and the waves slowly stoped coming. My time of surfing was over but not forever! This is a sport that I cant wait to try again. As I stepped on the reef It was up to my knees. I cant believe we had been surfing on such shallow water and I had escaped being chewed up and spit out. I was still whole, and still riding high on adrenaline. It was the perfect way to end an amazing vacation in Indonesia.