My retreat package doesn’t include any weekend activities so I do a snorkeling excursion to Nusa Penida with a couple other girls from the retreat.
We have to be up at 6 am for our car ride to the ferry but I wake at 3 am for no reason. I lie in bed for about an hour trying to sleep then eventually turn the lights on to catch up on some research. After about fifteen minutes I start hearing buzzing from a very large flying bug. It is annoying but really likes the light. I’ve got the mosquito canopy so I am sort of safe for now. I soon hear more buzzing. It is almost like a bunch of eggs have hatched many of these things in my room. I count 6 during one count. It is time for me to get ready and they are everywhere: One on my backpack, One one the shirt I want to wear. They are scary looking and I have no idea if they bite or sting. I open my door hoping they will fly out with no luck. I eventually manage to get all I need for today. I lock my room and decide to deal with it when I get back. Fortunately when I return that night only one is left and he just hangs out at the light so I leave him alone.
Our driver picks us up and takes us to the ferry that will take us to the island of Nusa Penida, where we be snorkeling today. The traffic is terrible trying to get to the ferry. Our driver is going to be with us all day. He parks his car and directs us to the ferry. I am glad he is there because all the ferries look alike to me and I would never know which one to get on. Our guide sits in the back of the ferry but us three girls pick out a row. I grab the window seat so I can have the breeze but offer it to the girl in our group that gets sea sick. She refuses but I know her pain. I have taken my medicine so I should be ok for the ride no matter where I sit. Traveling out for a day at Nusa Penida is a crapshoot this time of year. It is the rainy season so the waters can be uncomfortably choppy if the weather is bad. Fortunately rain isn’t expected until later today so we seem safe.
The ferry ride is about an hour. We can not only see Nusa Penida in the distance but we also see a mountain. We try to determine which mountain it is. We get to the island and the boat backs up to the shore. We are not getting off at a pier; the way off is through the back and into the water. Because I am short and clumsy I have a slight fall exiting the boat and end up getting wet in the lower half of my body. One can stay on this island overnight but thank goodness I am not trying to haul my heavy backpack off this boat. I am sure all my things would end up getting soaked.
Our guide takes us to the snorkeling shop where we try on fins and pick out our lunch choice. We are to get our other equipment on the boat. We are waiting around a long time to start, it appears they want a larger group. I use this opportunity to apply sunscreen.
Our main guide tells us he will meet us later and we go to board the boat. Luckily the group isn’t too large where the boast is overly crowded. The water is beautiful. We use the opportunity to take a few pictures before snorkeling destroys our appearance.
We have 4 stops today. The first is the furthest away Manta Bay. The guides warn us the the seas will be rough on the way there (on the boat and in the water) but the reward is that we will see a manta ray. They didn’t lie about either. I start to feel nauseous on this part of the tour even though I had my motion sickness medicine this morning. The boat is rocked around. When we enter the water to snorkel it isn’t much better. The waves cause me to swallow what seems like gallons of sea water. I am constantly emptying out my breathing tube (no I don’t know how to “blow” it all out like the professionals). There isn’t much to see at this location since the fish are scarce and the coral isn’t impressive. At some point when I am underwater I look over and a Manta Ray that’s diameter is longer than me comes swimming toward me. It is partially scary and partially amazing. He kind of looks like he is smiling at me. He glides by without touching me. I pop my head up and tell my friend to go look down right away so she gets to see it as well. Unfortunately there are no photos of this event. We get back on the boat soon after.
The second stop is probably my least favorite, Crystal Bay. The beach area looks beautiful and we see some fish but I am not impressed.
One of the girls with me notices that some of the girls on our boat that are choosing to snorkel are not able to swim. Why someone who couldn’t swim would attend this is beyond me but what happens is that they hang out in their life jackets and hold on to this raft and scream and monopolize the fish guides the entire time with their drama. They also get the best photos from the guide as evident at the end when our trip photos are sent to us all.
Our next stop, Gamat Bay, is the most impressive so far if you ignore the Manta Ray from the first stop. You can see some nice coral here that hasn’t been bleached out. The fish are plentiful. The guide gives me some bread so I have a cheat with the photo moments. I think this is my favorite of the day so far.
The tour advertised online three stops but we have four today. I am getting tired of getting in and out of the boat and the previous stop is good so I think about skipping this stop. In this stop, the Wall, we are told that we swim up to the wall and let the current take us down to view all the good stuff. I decide to go in. Again they did not lie. This is a tie with the third stop of which is best. There is plenty of coral to see as well as colorful fish, with not much physical effort. I am glad I got off the boat.
We head back to shore after this. My only complaint about this tour is the last time I snorkeled in coral areas I not only got some photos of myself but also some photos of interesting fish and coral taken by the underwater photographer. There were no such photos such as these. I would have at least liked photo proof of the manta ray because he was so dang scary and cute at the same time.
When we get to shore our guide meets us along with another gentlemen who I guess is the driver on the island since we didn’t bring a car with us. They take us to a resort for our lunch.
We are directed to a shower to use that looks kind of like a bidet hose and not very sanitary so we all decided to stay drenched in seawater. In retrospect this should have been a red flag. There is a pool nearby and one group of girls jumps in while we wait for our pre-ordered food. It takes a while. My chicken curry comes out with a plate of rice and some raw vegetables. The curry is more like a chicken soup, flavorless, but I eat it anyway. I am smart enough to not eat the raw vegetables but as you will find out later I am not sure it made much of a difference.
We get back in the car and drive for a while. We end up at the viewing area called Kelingking Beach. The beach is actually a 45 minute hike down the stairs but we are not doing that. We are here for the photo opportunity. The place is a madhouse with “models” and tour groups. If you have been following my travels for a few years you will hear me complain constantly about influencers or instagrammers and how they are totally destroying travel. Today we contributed to that just a little bit. If I was on my own I would have taken one look at the crowd and said see ya but our driver was very eager to take us to the best places to take pictures and somehow he knew how to avoid the long lines. I still didn’t like 50% of my photos because I have body image issues but I appreciate what he was trying to do. The only part I didn’t like is when he had us practically running uphill, in our sandals to get to another spot. When we had a moment to enjoy it was a great view though. We made good time because it starts storming as we are leaving. That driver deserves a tip for rushing us.
We then drive down broken road, which is a REALLY broken road, to broken beach. At that location we see the arch from earlier when we were snorkeling. We also see the Angel’s Billabong that is an interesting rock formation. We rest here for a few minutes then start heading back toward the ferry.
We have to hop back into the water to get on the ferry and it is once again very awkward for me. My bottom half gets wet because I am short and clumsy. Also we are fighting the waves while trying to step in onto a swaying ferry. The ferry takes us back to the main land of Bali and then the van back to our retreat.
We decide to order dinner out as a group because there is an order minimum anyway. I order a so-so pizza and mango sticky rice. Soon it is bedtime because I am exhausted from the day’s activities. I sleep well … until I don’t. I have some nightmares about high school – very bizarre.
Bali Belly Strikes Again
It is Sunday I don’t set an alarm. The only thing I have scheduled is a 9 am massage today so I do my version of sleeping in. My finger is still weird and I don’t feel the best. It seems like that pizza last night has not agreed with my stomach. It feels a little like a hangover with out the drinking. I bravely try breakfast.
I find it really hard to eat. I know I need to eat but food seems disgusting at this point. I do as well as I can then I excuse myself because I am increasingly nauseous. I walk up the stairs and realize I am not going to make it to my room. I throw up my entire breakfast all over the beautiful lawn of the retreat. Luckily there is a hose there that is used by the surfers. I try to hose away evidence of my mess but it is too much and more is coming so I warn the guys who take care of the facility, apologize and run to my room for more.
I think I have it all out of my system for now. I have no idea what I am doing for lunch but I decide to make my morning massage appointment. There can’t possibly be anything left in my stomach. As the day progresses so does my symptoms. I sleep most of the day and spend a good amount of awake time in the bathroom. I officially have Bali belly. I have had this before last time I was on the island. It is not fun but sometimes it can clear up in a day or so. There is not much I can eat so I try to wait it out.
Hopefully this is a 24 hour thing and I feel better tomorrow.