Like on the boat in Raja Ampat, I took a little video of the room at our resort. It's shorter than the boat video that you might have watched in part five, and less silly. Check it out!
|A bird on the shower head of our outdoor shower|
|Markisa, Image courtesy of sonymon4|
The pond in front of the dining area had three turtles living in it. The biggest and friendliest was named Camilla. She would come over and sun herself and look for hand outs, although we never fed her. The other turtles were teeny tiny, and they would run away when we would get close. Too cute!
|Camilla the turtle|
|The pool at Villa Markisa|
After breakfast, we headed out on our first dive. Villa Markisa is right on the ocean, so we decided to stick to shore diving at the house reef, called Seraya Secrets. This dive site is muck diving, which is a lot like what it sounds. Instead of being on a reef, we dove on sand flats. The sand was black and volcanic, and looking across it, it looks as if there is nothing there. However, the closer the look, the more you see amazing small animals living in the sand. On that first dive alone, we saw nudibranchs, Harlequin Shrimp, an ocotopus, tons of cleaner shrimp, a small baby frogfish, and tons of more things. It was our first experience muck diving and it was incredible. You know it's great when Todd surfaces and just screams "WOW!"
|Cleaner shrimp waiting for something to clean.|
Each night, we ended with dinner, delicious Indonesian fare served in the beautiful outdoor dining room.
Day two, we started our dive at the USAT Liberty wreck. This is a US Army transport ship that was hit by a Japanese submarine in 1942. The army beached the ship on the coast of Bali when it was taking in too much water being towed to port. Then, in 1963, the volcano nearby (Gungung Agung) erupted and pushed the ship into the water where it is now. It is a huge wreck, and very impressive. It's covered with soft corals, nudbranchs and more, and schools of bumpheads and jacks circle it. I also dove this dive as a start to our third day of diving, but Todd was not feeling well (stomach issues) and snorkeled on the surface. From below, I looked up at him and he was literally making a hole in the center of about a thousand jacks. It was amazing, and I'm so sorry that I don't know how to use the camera. Todd shot macro on our first dive at the wreck, intending to come back and take wide angle photos of the wreck the next day. Since he missed our second dive there, he didn't get any wide angle shots. It's a reason to return to Bali again, especially since we'd like to dive the Liberty with better visibility.
|Harlequin shrimp eating a starfish.|
For the rest of our dives, we spent time mostly doing muck diving. We were seeing tons of colorful nudibranchs. Christiane had a guest at the resort, Judith, who also livwed on Bali. Judith and Christiane would come and dive with us on some dives, and we'd find tons of critters. We spent some time at a site called Coral Garden, covered with tons of beautiful soft corals. We saw lots of clown fish, and our first Ribbon Eels. I know that the diving in Tulamben could have been better, but to us it was spectacular. It is definitely on our "must do again" list. We did a total of ten dives at the resort - 3 for each of 3 days and one dive on our last day.
|A nudibranch (which is a sea slug)|
On our second day of diving, we ended the day with massages at the spa at the resort. A Balinese massage is oh-so-relaxing and remember the relaxing rain? It was raining outside during my massage, which for some reason put me into a total trance. After I had my massage, Todd had one also. It was his very first massage and he loved it!
|A Balinese woman carries a scuba diver's equipment|
on her head.
On our last day, the air was windy and the seas were rough. When we did our boat dives (as we did every day except the first), we had to swim to the boat. There was no pier, the boat was mored out off of the beach. Typically, seas are calm and there is no issue, but while we were there the waves were getting progressively higher and it was getting more and more difficult to get to the boat. The staff would take Todd's camera and our equipment to the boat, but we had to get ourselves in and out. On the last day as we got out of the water, waves were so high that two staff members would get on either side of me and hold me by the arms to help me out of the water. It was exhausting, and we had dove 40 dives since we arrived in Indonesia, so frankly I was happy on that last day to be packing up our dive equipment for the last time.
|A nudibranch on the USAT Liberty|
|Blue Ribbon Eel|
|A Clownfish takes care of his eggs. He intends to name|
one Nemo, and the rest will be Marlin, Jr.
Stay tuned for part seven, where things go slightly wrong in the artist town of Ubud. We visit rice paddies, relax at our private pool, turn down rides for taxis, get deep into Balinese culture, and get a little more than we bargained for from some sacred monkeys.