Clown fish in sea anemone near USS Liberty
I had an early start this morning -- 6:30am for tea, then to the Dive Shop at our hotel at 6:45 to be outfitted for a dive. Kat and Nancy were also certified divers, so we got fitted with our equipment -- full wet suits, bcd's, a tank, mask, flippers and booties. The other guests were all going to snorkel, as they were not licensed divers. We had two dive masters. Both were Japanese ladies not older than 25! Miyuki guided Kat and Nancy, and I had Satchiko as my dive master. We were taken out from the shore in little boats with outriggers and two-stroke engines. Our target for the dive was the wreckage of the USS Liberty, a freighter sunk by Japanese warships in World War II. We were told that the wreckage used to be closer to the coast, but the eruption of Mt.
Rice paddy along the bike route
Agung in 1963 had pushed it further out and had fully submerged it. We dove to a maximum depth of 55 feet. I had a little trouble staying down, so Satchiko kept having to add weight to my belt to get me to stay down! The dive was fairly murky but still amazingly beautiful. I saw a white tipped reef shark, a pod of dolphins and lots of colorful tropical fish. I even saw a clown fish in the anemone -- like the movie "Finding Nemo!" We swam past the steering wheel for the ship as we went through the hull of the boat. One of the most beautiful sights was a school of silvery jack fish that went by us. In all, our dive took about an hour. On our boat ride back to the hotel, we were surrounded by a pod of dolphins. Definitely a cool escort!
I took a quick shower back at the room, then went down for a real breakfast.
Sea water is poured into this vat and filtered during salt production
I had told Nancy and Kat about hearing the couple having "screaming sex" the night before -- and when I got to breakfast, our drivers were cracking up hysterically as they heard about the antics. I am pretty sure it was the newlywed couple from Australia that was also at breakfast that morning -- but you never know! I did tease the married couples in our group that I had heard them -- but all denied it was them!
After breakfast, it was back on the bikes for another ride. This one was 33 miles from Tulamben to Candi Dasa, our next stop. Candi Dasa is on the eastern side of Bali.
Salt 'snowcones' -- the finished product.
It was originally a fishing village, but is now more of a resort town for tourists, divers and sports fishing. It was very hot, but a very nice ride. There were some beautiful rice paddies along the route. As we neared the town of Candi Dasa, there were large poles with sweeping fabrics on them at the entrance. It was a beautiful demarcation of the town. I did all of the ride except the very last hill. My chain had fallen off my bike and I took it as a sign to stop, so I did. That is one of the great things about a Backroads trip -- you can do as much or as little as you want. There is always a support van nearby that can pick you up and take you to the next stop.
We stopped for lunch at a nice restaurant along the ride route.
Entrance to Candi Dasa
It was near a spot where workers were mining salt from the sea. We got to walk around the site and see where they poured sea water first into conical shaped vats to strain out some of the impurities in the sea water, then into long troughs to let the hot Bali sun cause the water to evaporate leaving gleaming piles of salt. The final product is scooped into cones like giant snowcones. Balinese sea salt is world renowned for cooking. I bought several sample bags to take home as gifts. I also got a couple of small woven baskets made of clove wood for gifts. They smelled so good!
We arrived at Candi Dasa around 4pm, and checked into our last hotel, the Alila Mangiss. I showered, and went down to the pool to journal and relax after the bike ride.
Jundre and Irika with our bottle of Arak
It was a welcome respite after a busy day!
Before dinner tonight, Jundre brought out one of the bottles of Arak we had bought on our hike a couple of days previous. The hotel bar staff made us all an "Arak Attack" cocktail with our smuggled in moonshine. Their version was made with lime juice, sugar and Arak, with sugar on the rim of the glass. It was excellent!
Dinner tonight was very special. We had a great salad, then a dinner of grilled lobsters and prawns, curried fish, crab salad and sauteed calimari. The seafood here was awesome! We had some good wine with the seafood -- and it definitely helped me fall asleep early this night. I was out by 9:30pm!