Oh. My. Goodness.
What a month. If you ladies want some good times below the water (or above- I’m not a surfer however I saw people flocking to the beaches for what must be some awesome swell) Indonesia is a must. After a wonderful time in Malaysia soaking in all the marvellous green of it’s central mountains, and eating all the incredible food of Penang it was time to jump on a plane and explore somewhere new(ish). I have previously been to Bali before (no surprises there, Bali is well known for being an absolute hot spot for Aussies). I had previously explored the islands beautiful centre- Ubud, as well as freediving it’s biodiverse waters of the east coast.
This trip called for some shorter fins, and SCUBA tanks. Indo began with catching up on sleep and relaxing in Sanur before heading to a smaller island called Nusa Penida (I say small, but for what I am used to in Thailand it still felt like this island was huge!). Indonesia is well known for it’s diving, Nusa Penida is relatively new on the tourism map (however you may have seen iconic images from a cliff/beach there on your favourite travel-inspo Instagram account, called Kelingking Beach). There isn’t much coastal development so far- although at this moment in time accommodation and dive shops are popping up everywhere, and for good reason; I had heard good things about the diving previously, but until I got into the water I hadn’t quite understood just how good it was. Guys, it was amazing. My brain nearly couldn’t take it, I was so overstimulated by all the incredible animals around. And hey, if you love seeing reefs with 100% coral coverage, this place is for you! We dove with a shop called Nomads Diving Penida, and I loved every single one of them.
They were amazing divers, easily excitable and the shop even runs conservation courses for their Dive Master Trainees (I LOVE places that do this). I was very much torn between trying to document every amazing thing I saw with photos, and wanting to ditch the camera and simply fly through (what felt like) this alternate universe displaying the perfect balance of life, symbiosis (organisms that have evolved to have closely linked and often dependent relationships with one another), epibiosis (organisms growing on things and each other, can be in competition) and amazing visability. The water temperature was a different story, it’s inconsistent and varied from 21-29 degrees celcius due to the water currents that circulate the area, thermoclines were visible to the naked eye. While it occasionally got a little chilli, it was an awesome experience! Nusa Penida is famous for it’s mantas, but if we are going to be honest most of us were too distracted by everything else filling the water column. I definitely rate the diving here a solid 13/10.
Next spot took us back to Bali to do some diving up at Tulamben (on the eastern side of Bali). This place is incredibly well known for it’s incredible MUCK diving. ‘What is muck diving?’ you may ask? Great question! Muck diving is generally a bit deeper than the coral dominated shallows, and ventures into the darker sandy and silty habitats. For the newcomer, this kind of diving can understandably be seen initially as well, kinda boring. I promise you this is not the case, because the MACRO (small) game here is incredibly strong. We might need to strain our eyes a little but if you are willing to do so I promise you will see so many beautiful alien-esque creatures that you will have your mind blown!
I will now provide a short (and incomplete by FAR) list of some of the incredible animals you can encounter in the muck ecosystems of Tulamben.
- Sea slugs (of allll types and sizes and colours)
- Seahorses (we saw some beautiful pigmeys- can check that one off the list!)
- Harlequin Ghost Pipefish (omg omg omg omg)
- Frogfish (SO CUTE I CAN’T)
- Brittle stars (such bizarre animals)
- Shrimp and crab (that are just out of this world full of cool factor)
- Octopus (aliens, actual real life aliens. Amazing.)
Coming towards the end of this amazing trip around such a small portion of South East Asia was sad, but the end brought me back home to Australia, where my heart truly lies.
At the moment I am in the midst of seeing my family and friends who I’ve missed dearly these past 11 months, being back and seeing everyone slightly older really has made me appreciate the feeling of home. While here I will catch up with my favourite humans, do some diving and work on a few topics I want to delve into further (learning is too much fun).
Hope you all have a splendid month!
Elle Haskin xx