Bali Day 5: Crustaceans

With our late lunch and early dinner neither of us was really hungry so we just skipped breakfast. We’re still on our normal early schedule so we picked our book back up for a bit before I packed my bag for the dive.

I got to the dive shot a bit too early because most times I sign up to dive and I have a bunch of stuff to try on and what not, and collect and put together my gear. Usually it takes a good 10-20 minutes. I have my own wetsuit and mask which helped, but they had my BC, fins and weight belt all laid out. I had some extra time and went off to get sunscreen since I forgot mine.

We left a little later than planned and headed out to dive off Gili T which was a bit disappointing because I was hoping to dive further from people. I did get to see Gili Meno and Gili T go by as we made our 15 minute ride. Onboard there was 1 nervous DSD group and 2 dive groups for a packaged boat.

Our dive spot is called Shark Point and is known for a local breed of reef shark that hides in holes in rocks. The spot was good, the coral was fine but patchy, and the reef was fairly lively, but not spectacular. Along the way though we did find our two tiny reef sharks hiding in a whole, along with an octopus. We did see TONS of turtles though, more than I’ve ever seen in one place, several of them napping, which was something completely new to me. They’re so used to people they’re like “oh another person, ok back to sleep” with their heads down just parked on the sea floor.

I was underweighted for the dive. I knew I had been 14 lbs before in Belize with this wetsuit and felt slightly underweight, but I was at 12 lbs with that thicker 5mm wetsuit earlier in the week and I just absolutely doubted myself about the 15lb desired weight and said 12. Then on top of that I had trouble with my mask being too loose with the dive so shallow and had to take it off to tighten it up down like 40 ft.

After the dive instead of heading to the next site though we headed back to Gili Air and the dive shop for lunch. By now it was noon though, when I thought I was supposed to come back after two drives. I still wanted to spend the day with my wife, so I decided to cancel the second dive and paid my tab.

The divers at my place seemed to like the food at Scallywags so we gave it a go and it was a marked improvement.

We then headed down to the main dock to sort out our ferry for tomorrow not wanting to get stuck on the island and then stuck in Bali a day later. The whole thing is pretty informal, but we got our return ticket and a time to be at the dock tomorrow morning. Our plan is to return to Puri Santrian for some relaxation before leaving late morning for the airport the following day. While we’re down at this end of the island we ask about snorkeling trips, and it sounds like the best local snorkeling is off the north end of the island at high tide. The tide looked to be fairly high so we decided that’s what we wanted to do.

We flagged down a horse drawn carriage a little ways from the dock and bartered our trip. It was pretty expensive as Bali goes at 70,000 rupiah, roughly $5 for a pretty short ride, but it’s hot and Jenn is sick-ish.

We found a nice beach front bar with chairs and shade and ordered some Coke before putting on our snorkels and heading out.

Funny enough I could see my dive boat from before on the same reef not far away. The shore was very shallow and sloping taking a long while to get out to any depth, but then it fell away a bit to 20 feet and then a bit deeper which was perfect with some nice clumps of coral perfect for snorkeling.

So a long time ago I saw a comic from the Oatmeal about the Mantis Shrimp and always thought it pretty amazing. So here we are, not on a dive tour and Jenn points out a curious creature and I immediately recognize it as the mantis shrimp. He’s very quick though and scurries off to a hole any time I go in for a photo. I can see his colors though they’re a bit more muted than some of the photos I’ve seen. Sadly my camera does a poor job of it.

After floating around for a bit we’re a tad cold and notice the tide is coming in. Not wanting to slog in on foot in shallow coral strewn sand we decided to swim in. On our way though we find a turtle. It’s not horribly surprising given what I’ve seen today, but Jenn hasn’t seen any in a while, and lately it just doesn’t seem like a tropical trip if we don’t see at least 1 sea turtle. Like the others he’s clearly never been harassed by humans and lets us swim all around him. The tide is coming in though so we eventually move on. Not far from the shore I’m swimming along not really paying too much attention when whoa! I nearly swim right over a white banded coral snake, a very poisonous snake indeed. They know it too and never back off and will often chase swimmers, and this guy ain’t having it with me and comes my way. I’m so glad I noticed when I did as I still have room to make space. I get Jenn’s attention and we give it a wide berth.

Back on shore we take up our seats and ask for the menu. To my surprise they have chocolate and banana roti! On some level I should have figured with sate and so many other dishes similar to Thailand, roti might be here too! Back in the states I’ve looked all over and have just given up. I first had this in Ayutthaya, it’s sort of like an extra thick crepe filled with banana and then lightly fried in coconut oil before being drizzled with sweetened condensed milk or chocolate syrup. They make a savory one in Thailand as well which was actually the first type I had, but they didn’t have that here. Strangely enough I saw something similar in St. Lucia of all places as a Toboggan food, though the spice pallet they used was pretty different, and the pastry a thicker, tougher consistency. Anyway, I’m delighted and happy I get to share it with Jenn. Anything with banana and chocolate is good in her book so it goes over well.

Jenn and I are improving all the time with our colds but still don’t want to walk the whole way so we negotiate another ride. This time it took a lot longer but I got it down to 50,000 rupiah since it was a shorter distance and heading the way the drivers want to go, towards the dock.

We shower off the salt and take another nap.

Dinner tonight was at Scallywag’s which seemed pretty happening with a BBQ and packed crowd. We splurge a bit and get beef kebabs and lobster, both are good considering they’re from a BBQ in an out of the way island in Indonesia.

Back at our room it’s time for more of our book and bed. I think this part of our trip is a lot more like how most people travel.

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