When we were planning our trip, one of the first things we put on the list was snorkeling in Menjangan Island. I’d heard about the island and its reputation before, but seeing how far it was from my usual destinations in Bali, it always put me off.
This time, it was different though. I was getting sick of crowded places, and escaping Jakarta with its hustle and bustle would only be worth it if I spent a good amount of time in a remote place. So when Katka said she really wanted to go to this place, I welcomed the idea.
We stayed at Pemuteran, a small village in the north of Bali (more on that later). Everything about Pemuteran was special, but it was snorkeling in Menjangan Island that cemented our love for this place.
On our third day, we woke up earlier than usual, put on sunscreen and packed our bag. A few minutes later we were on the beach, eagerly trying on our snorkeling gears before we finally hopped onto the boat. Shortly before that, we were hesitating whether we should rent an underwater camera or not. I’m so glad that we did, as the photos from this camera are amongst my treasured possessions now.
Leaving the main island, my excitement was building as I saw this view of the island behind.
We also passed a temple built on the edge of the uninhabited island, which looked quite fascinating.
Getting closer to our first snorkeling spot, the water slowly changed from cerulean blue to turquoise, and it was incredibly stunning.
Just as we got here, a group of dolphins swam right before our eyes, and I took it as our welcome sign. Soon the captain turned off the engine, and we put on our goggles and fins, before jumping off into the fresh cool water.
Now, let me take you to the splendid underwater world. But I have to tell you though, these photos were mainly taken by Katka and Lukas, as they were so much better with the underwater camera (I had no idea it would be THAT hard to take good pictures in the water, I completely sucked at it).
At one point, Katka spotted a sea snake, which she perfectly captured on the camera! How the hell she did it, I have no idea.
After an hour of exploring, we went back to the boat and drove to the second spot. We had our packed lunch on the swaying boat and drank coffee while chatting with fellow snorkelers. Before we knew it, it was time to jump off again!
While in the previous spot we snorkeled in shallow water, here was a different experience. Close to the island, the water was shallow, until at one point there was a sudden drop, and I couldn’t see the seabed anymore. One second I could touch the seabed with my toes, but the next I was meters above the seabed! Looking down, it felt like I was on the edge of a cliff, and it was terrifying and amazing at the same time. I also could feel the huge difference of the temperature, warm in the shallow water and cooler in the deep water. And the colors! Gorgeous turquoise in the shallow area and dark blue as the terrain changed.
Down there, there were underwater caves, and even though I felt like it was out of my comfort zone, I’d love to try diving next time.
That is our guide, Agus, who kindly informed us the name of things we saw during our snorkel. He was quick to spot interesting species, and I have to say it was pretty astonishing to see all this with my own eyes. It was like watching a live show of National Geographic.
One of the many, many blue starfishes that we saw.
When we were snorkeling in this spot, we saw another group of dolphins swimming a few meters away from us (no pictures unfortunately, as we were too mesmerized to capture it). The second time of the day! We couldn’t believe our luck, but that wasn’t the end of it. As we bid farewell to this wonderful place, we saw another group on our way back to the main island. Three times in a day! We really lucked out.
This time, we only visited 2 spots. Those were tiny parts of the whole thing, and it makes me wonder what other amazing things in this world I haven’t seen. This few hours of underwater experience gave me all sorts of feeling, and I remember all the time I was snorkeling, I kept wondering, ‘Is this even real? I don’t wanna get out.’ I gotta say, that Prince Eric guy must be so handsome for Ariel to give up her mermaid life in exchange for a pair of feet…
We came home feeling elated and grateful, and couldn’t stop talking about our experience in the days to come. That night, I found my back had turned red and I ended up sleeping on my side as my back really hurt (thanks, sunburn!). Over the next couple of weeks, my skin would peel like crazy, and I learned my lesson: even my Asian skin (and a layer of sunscreen with 110 SPF) couldn’t handle the intense sun. But I’ve got to say, I want to do it again, even if I have to suffer in the next few weeks (I will keep reapplying sunscreen generously though, as I don’t want to make the same mistake).
I have to say, this was one of the best experiences I have in my life, and I’ll make sure this won’t be my last time exploring the underwater world. ;)
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