As I mentioned yesterday, my second trip to Indonesia was a comical carbon copy of my first — starting with a few days on Nusa Lembongan, a charming island just off the coast of Bali’s southern cone.
This time I was not only reuniting with Anders after six weeks apart, but also meeting both his parents — while under the heavy influence of jetlag. Talk about relationship thunderdome! They generously treated us to a beautiful bungalows at Nanuks, which were the perfect settings from which to recover from thirty five hours of door to door travel.
Another wonderful way to recover from traveling across Earth, and the jetlag that accompanies it? Scuba diving, of course! Which is exactly what we did on my first full day back in Indonesia. I admit I was less than enthusiastic when we were gearing up, but damn if manta rays don’t make every single bit of life worth living.
Like my previous diving trip to Nusa Lembongan, I was blessed in the manta ray department, and unlucky in the mola mola one. When we descended into the mola mola dive site, another diver gave us the signal and pointed behind him. My heart skipped a beat. Sadly, they didn’t stick around — and somehow not seeing them was even more painful when I knew others that same day did.
We had a lovely afternoon meal by the sea in which I did a great impression of a narcoleptic, and after which I eeturned to our bungalow and promptly entered a fully comatose level of sleeping. I’m sure I charmed the pants right off Anders’ family. After falling asleep mid-afternoon I inevitably woke up at about 2:00am, at which time I decided to turn on every light, wake Anders, and show him a fully narrated set of photos from my trip to Florida. He was so thrilled to have me back.
The next day, I vowed not to take any naps so that I could sleep through the night. That meant staying far, far away from any plush surfaces, so we decided to rent motorbikes and do some exploring.
The island is small with only one true road, so many of my photos were almost identical to the ones I took just a few months before.
I had motorbiked around Nusa Lembongan on my previous trip, but hadn’t dared cross the rickety bridge over to neighboring Nusa Cenigan. But we had heard rumors of cliff jumping spots that we were itching to fling ourselves off of, and the bridge stood in our way. So we crossed our fingers, laughed nervously, and drove over the bridge, feeling every last wooden slat creak beneath our wheels.
We made it, and we celebrated by tempting fate in another fashion — jumping off a cliff. Some enterprising locals built a long ladder of ropes and wooden slats, so while you could leap off the rocks for free, you were only getting back to where you started if you paid their asking price first.
We paid our dues and off we went, screaming like little girls (okay, that was just me.)
Nusa Cenigan was stunning, and we had a really beautiful day zooming around the islands, stopping whenever we pleased to have a snack, take a rest, or soak up the views — and to post them on Instagram, naturally!
These islands really are a gem and my time was no wasted in revisiting them a second time (nor would it be a third, or a fourth…) I’m sure they will change greatly in the coming years and I feel grateful to seen them in this exact moment in time, when they are still holding tight to their native charms and resisting the tides of tourism-induced change.
It was the perfect welcome back to Indonesia, and a lovely setting in which to meet Anders’ parents. It is kind of funny how nervous I was about the language barrier, when I’m pretty sure that what I should have been worrying about was the exhaustion one. But I was fretting for naught, as we all got along swimmingly — when I wasn’t falling asleep face first in my dinner plate, that is.
Curious about my underwater photography setup? Check out my Obsessions page for information on my camera gear, editing programs and more.