This is the second article on our recent Bali trip which I wrote for the U3A Photography Group newsletter in June 2022.
Bali Photography, Menjangan snorkelling, a poem excerpt and some pics plus links.
To recap on camera gear for the trip to Bali, I decided to travel light and took my Fuji XT30 with the XF18-55 and XC55-230 lenses, both providing excellent images. Also my Oppo phone has taken many a fine shot. For the snorkelling trip our daughter Cara lent me her Olympus ToughTG6 which proved to be very effective.
The interior of Bali is quite mountainous and with persistent rain it slows up a journey. So we had to stop for lunch at a fine sheltered restaurant somewhere on the side of a mountain - delicious barbecued whole fish for each of us with accompanying spicy aromatic side dishes; a welcome break. The cost was AUD40 all up (3 fish, rice, side dishes and two beers, two coffees).
Our daughter had organised a snorkelling trip and resort accommodation on the NW Bali Coast, close to Java. All went well until we arrived at the resort. The booking couldn't be found. What?? And the place was chokkers, Ocker with o/s tourists. But... 'perhaps the spare accommodation might be available?' suggested The Manager to his minions. And thankfully it was and it turned out to be an upgrade, three houses plus swimming pool and gazebo inside a walled garden. 'Stick with me...' Cara said.
The resort had its own beach, and offshore was what looked like a hut on a raft. The area in front and around the raft is adorned with underwater sculptures, temples, Buddhas, bicycles etc. as part of a successful coral reef regeneration project. It's ideal for snorkelling over, so Cara informed us. Great, we'll do that in a couple of days. Bad decision. Once a year a large swell stirs the sand...
The boat trip to Menjangan Island and its reefs from Pemuteran took about 45 minutes, The west coast of Java with its primitive, mysterious volcanos loomed closer. We were fortunate, the coral had rejuvenated because tourism had dropped off since Covid asserted itself.
The Olympus TG6 is a 'tough' camera, well suited to rugged use, inclement weather and underwater shots. There are a number of settings which provide photographic control. The daughter said to use the fish symbol, which I did. As a wise person once noted, the 'P' in PASM stands for Professional. This is my 12 year old grand daughter Eloise in yoga lotus position alongside the cliff face drop to the depths.
Snorkelling on the reef of Menjangan Island,
40 minutes off shore. Java is close
with its primitive mysterious mist
shrouded volcanos. Fish and reef, the absolute
splendour of this other universe.
The variety of shape and colour,
the shift of motion. You are astounded
as you float with the current over reef
gardens then out over the shelf with its
vertical cliff and cold flow from below.
You drift into a shoal of electric
blue sparks and suddenly they are spooked
into a comet trail. You wish you could
speak fish and understand the murmurings
and coughing of coral.
Our guide dives down and assumes a yoga
position then blows a perfect circle
of bubbles which rises, widening.
On the return journey we visit Penestanan outside Ubud, an artistic area where our son in law has built an eco village. All houses are now sold both here and in the second eco village at Sibang, but anyone interested in seeing what has been achieved can click here:
Covid has hit tourism heavily in Bali which is now gradually returning to some semblance of normal. Artistic Penestanan villagers used their time well in this quiet period by carving the rock face in a ravine behind the village. The amazing thing is that the atmosphere has created moss covered sculptures which now look as though they've been there for hundreds of years.
Daughter Cara was interviewed for an online Bali magazine. It's interesting for her family's experience and insights. There are photos here too.