Enjoying diversity in Indonesia – Part 1

Hello dear readers,

I am now in Indonesia for my last stop in Asia. After 4 weeks visiting this country, I will then cross the pacific to the US West Coast.

Coming from Cairns, where I left Australia, I land in Denpasar on Bali island. At the exit of the baggage claim area, even if it’s 3 o’oclock in the morning, I am welcome by an army of taxi driver: “Taxi, taxi!” I am definitely back in Asia 🙂
After an usual endless bargaining on the price, I jump in a taxi to a small city South of Denpasar called Sanur. I spend the rest of the night in front of the office of the company where I booked the ferry to my first stop: Gili Air.
The Gili islands are a group of 3 islands located North West of Lombok. Traditionally, Gili Trawagan (or Gili T) is known as the party island, Gili Meno is the most relaxed one and Gili Air is supposed to be a mix of both islands.
As I planned to stay only a few days there, I chose Gili Air.
The island is quite small and it takes only 2 hours to walk around. As I am there during low season, there are only few people and the whole island is really slow paced.
No big noise due to the scooters engines, people are moving only with electric scooters or by horses.
The landscape is amazing. During the day, the water has a very nice blue color, which turns to a mix of grey, brown, orange and dark green at sunset. The shores are very scenic, with one side of the island having Bali and its volcano in the background.
I stay 3 nights in Gili air, which gives me just enough time to recover from Australia and start exploring Indonesia.

My second stop is Nusa Lembogan. This island also belong to a group of 3 islands (Nusa Lembogan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida) between Bali and Lombok.
The 1st day is quite short since I arrive in the middle of the afternoon. After having checked in in my homestay, I just walk along the beach and enjoy the sunset with a nice fresh beer.
On the 2nd day, I wake up quite early to explore the island a bit further before it gets too hot. I walk along the coast from beaches to beaches on the South West side of the island.
Some lookouts are really impressive, like the Devil’s tear which is a point facing the open sea and where strong waves come break on the rocks, generating impressive water projections after having traveled through big holes and caves.
At around 3pm, i come back to the village to start a Nitrox certification at a scuba diving school. For non scuba divers, Nitrox also known as enriched air is a special gas mix with a higher percentage of oxygen than normal air.
It allows to stay a bit longer in the water and for some people, it allows to feel a bit less tired after the dives.
It is quite useful in diving cruises on liveaboard with 3/4 dives per day. I wanted to do this certification since a long time but due to back luck it never worked before (Nitrox instructor on holiday or ill, no Nitrox blending machine or equipment broken, etc…).
On the next day, I am back at the diving school at 07:30am to take the boat to Nusa Penida. I am doing my 2 practical dives for the Nitrox cert there. Nusa Penida is very famous as dive spot to see the giant exotic fish Mola Mola.
Unfortunately I won’t see any during my 2 dives. Nonetheless, I am not disappointed by the underwater world and get to see a lot of stuff, small like nudibranches or schrimps or big like turtles and reef sharks.
I am also confronted to a rather big problem in Indonesia, the management of the garbage. On the way to the dive spots, I can see that the water surface is sometimes very dirty with a lot of plastic bags and bottles floating around.
At the end of the 2nd dive, I even see a dead dog floating, which I mentioned in my dive logbook ;-).

After 3 nights on Lembogan, I take the ferry back to Bali, where I’ll take a long flight (with a 9 hour stop in Makassar) to Sorong, the main transit airport for dive trips in Raja Ampat.
Raja Ampat, which means “four kings” is a group of island in North West Papua. It is known as one of the best diving spot in the world, due to the diversity of the underwater fauna (500+ different coral species and 1500+ different fish species).
I spend 7 days/6 nights on Sea Safari VI. This boat is one of the smallest diving boat made of wood in the Raja Ampat area and has a capacity of 10 double rooms/20 passengers + crew.
As the cruise is only a 7D/6N, the route will take us only to the North of Raja Ampat.
The group is very cool and the dives are all different and entertaining, even if the visibility is not very good, as we near the end of the diving season.
During the night dives, we get to see some rare species like the walking shark or the Wobbegon shark.

I am impressed by the level of equipment of some japanese guys. One of them is working for photo magazines from times to times and carry a 5 digit value photo equipment with him on every dive.
During a night dive, my group crosses the path of one the japanese group and I am surprised by one of them who came 5 cms close to my mask to check who I was. A few minutes later, as we swam away, we realised that one of the japanese lost his group and joined us.
After we’re back on boat, he tells us how/why it happened. In order not to frighten the fishes, the group goes down in the night dive with only 1 light on for the whole group!! So at one point, he spent too much time taking a picture and as he turned around, he couldn’t see anything but darkness around him and swam to the first light he saw, which was one of our group 🙂

After 7 amazing days, the boat brings us back to Sorong. From there, I take the plane for another long flight to Jakarta (11 hours with stops in Makassar and Denpasar).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s