As soon as the boat got close to Nusa Lembongan, the water became the clearest shade of crystal blue. Exactly the color of water one pictures in Bali but won’t actually see at most of (mainland) Bali’s coastline. We jumped from the boat into the water and took a short bumpy ride in the back of a truck to Tarci Bungalows, our home for the week. A simple family run guesthouse with one room bungalows with a/c (happy for James) but no hot water (sad for me). Most of the guesthouses, restaurants and bars on the island line the beachfront. Exploring the island consists of a long walk down the beach or a motorbike ride up to the highest point.
Our first day on Lembongan the tide came right up to our guesthouse, that afternoon we took a siesta and when we woke up we were surprised to see the entire beachfront was empty with wooden stakes peeking up everywhere. All of the boats were lying on their sides, like beached whales. Aside from tourism, the main industry on Nusa Lembongan is seaweed farming. The seaweed is trapped in the stakes and collected during the low tide. Overall the island was pretty quiet and attracted mostly couples or young families from Australia/New Zealand. There were plenty of dining options, most more expensive that we experienced in Uluwatu or Sideman but there are a few cheaper options, like Linda's Bungalow (directly next to Tarci).
Along the boardwalk were very young children selling bracelets and small jewelry. The majority of them were between 4-8 years old, who would call out to you as you walked by… heartbreaking. Even worse they would be there long past dark (on a dark unlit path), leaving you very nervous that something bad could happen to them. Thankfully the young daughter of the family where we stayed was extremely well cared for. She could usually be found riding her bike, coloring, playing with her dog (a little white Chihuahua Ben-Ben) or generally being fussed over by her parents.
After a few days of beach/pool life, I signed up for a snorkel tour to see the famed manta rays. Our tour started at 8:30am but this still felt late to see Manta Point, where the Manta Rays swim and feed. There were already other tours when we got there and though we spotted at least 4 from the boat, the water was pretty cloudy for long distance viewing, unless you swam along side them. They were HUGE, so swimming right up to them was out of the question for me. Sadly I only got one shot of the Manta Ray who swam right by me. We then headed back in the boat for Crystal Bay, which was really beautiful but I didn’t have any new fish/species sightings – can you tell my standards are getting higher?