Hey everyone. After a few days of surfing and ding repair lets take it from where we left off shall we. Breakfast atop of Mount Batur.
After a wonderful breakfast, overlooking the sunrise the more adventurous and less weary of our group decided that instead of just hiking back down that we should continue our trek upward. We grabbed our bags and began the short hike from the cater to the uppermost portion of the rim of the volcano. With daylight the hike proved much easier and while the terrain remained challenging at least we could see where we were stepping now.
Twenty minutes later we found ourselves atop the volcano at a small temple overlooking the most impressive views of the surrounding landscape. Everywhere we looked our eyes were met we unparalleled natural beauty from the grassy craters below to the mountain tops afar. Taking a break at the top everyone in our group silently enjoyed the scenery and couldn’t help but feel an immense sense of wonder and gratitude at the experience we were sharing together.
Leaving the relative safety of the plateau atop Mount Batur we began navigating our way around the thin rim. Entering the misty clouds hovering over the volcano we balanced along the narrow path hugging a steep decline into the mouth of the crater on our left and a jagged downward slope on our right. Hiking the rim was without a doubt one of the highlights of the entire adventure. Every so often the cloud cover would part and we could not help, but to stop dead in our tracks at the awe of our surroundings. Once another half hour had passed the path along the rim began to slope downward and our group was faced with what some would call a decision, but which we viewed more as an opportunity. We could take the easy way down and be back before lunch or pay our guide another 100,000 rp ($10) to take us back down along the less trekked side of the mountain covered with trails through volcanic ash and passing numerous steam vents. Without hesitation we took the second of our two options.
For the next hour we had the most incredible decent back to Lake Batur. We were able to run, practically ski, down the gradual slopes of volcanic ash. As you ran down the ash, volcanic rocks would dislodge themselves and rolling downward it sounded as if a thousand raindrops were hitting the mountainside. At every turn we were greeted with more amazing sights. There were the most impressive steam vents which created colorful mineral deposits on the rough, hardened volcanic rock. There were so many craters and nooks that we took our sweet time making out way to the bottom exploring each and everyone. By the time we made it back to the base at around 12:00 pm our group was exhausted and not looking forward to the long journey back to the coast. After a brief dip in lake Batur, Sasha and I said our goodbyes and headed back to Sanur in preparation for an early boat ride to Lembongan the next morning.
After our volcano adventure we had little time to relax because I was intent on arriving in Lembongan in time for the next swell to hit. We grabbed a room in Sanur, ate dinner and went to bed, waking early the next morning to take public boat to Lembongan. Upon arriving we found that my favorite spot on the island, Agus Shipwreck Resaurant, was all full so we had to settle for another amazing beachfront hotel. When we arrived Lacerations, Playgrounds and Shippys were all firing so after getting settled I went for a surf while Sasha relaxed.
The next week consisted of great surf and relaxation. Lembongan is a fairly small island which is connected to another island named Chennigan by a small and rickety bridge only wide enough to fit one motorbike at a time. We spent the next four days roaming around the two islands checking out the sparse tourist attractions in a day and spending the rest of the time surfing, watching the world cup and relaxing.
The two highlights of our first days in Lembongan, aside from the surf, were without a doubt when we went trolling and snorkeling. Trolling was uneventful as we didn’t catch anything, but the look on Sasha’s face the whole time was priceless. She had never really been on a boat in the ocean like this before and she loved every second of it. Even though we didn’t catch any fish watching the sunrise over Lembongan and the expression on her face made the trip more than worth while.
Snorkeling was a bit more fun, nerve racking, hilarious and amazing than our trolling experience. It was definitely a high point of the trip for both of us. Initially Sasha’s anxiety was palpable as we took the boat from Lembongan to another island nearby where the snorkeling and scuba diving is spectacular. In the past, Sasha had a traumatizing experience snorkeling and not being the strongest swimmer she was more than a bit tense on the ride over. I think she might have uttered three words during the 20 minute trip. The look of excitement at skimming along the ocean in a boat was replaced with a look of extreme discomfort as we approached a pristine snorkeling area called, The Wall.
Once we arrived, we got Sasha all set up in her life vest and snorkel as her fear and discomfort grew. I tried to be as comforting as possible, but when it was time to enter the water I feared that she may not be able to take the plunge. After I was already in the water and reassured her that everything would be fine she slowly entered after me. As I swam over to here I could see the fear in eyes, which were significantly magnified by the mask that she was wearing. She hyperventilated, “I don’t think I can do this,” and was on the verge of tears. Knowing that nothing I could do would help her anxiety, I grabbed Sasha’s hand and told her, “You don’t even need to put the snorkel in yet, just keep your eyes open, stick your face in the water and look down.” Sasha reluctantly agreed and put her face in the water. As her head reemerged from the water all signs of anxiety we replaced by utter amazement and joy. She gasped, “Its amazing. I never knew there was so much down there!” and without another word stuck the snorkel in her mouth and was off and running.
The Wall, is an amazing shelf along an island called Pennida which is home to a spectacular array of coral and fish life. The shelf is located in a channel between the two islands of Pennida and Chennigan and as such there is a current that slowly drags you along as you soak in the amazing sea life. Seeing the change and wonder in Sasha’s eyes was one of the most wonderful things I have experienced this trip. I never would have thunk it, but right before my eyes I think a long time snorkeler was born.
We spent the next two hours snorkeling along The Wall and then another site called Crystal Bay. At Crystal Bay I brought a bag of chips into the water and dove down about 12 feet before releasing the contents above me. Immediately we were surrounded by hundreds of beautiful reef fish glad to have a free snack. It was an incredible day.
After that we went back to Lembongan and switched rooms over to Agus. Agus just rebuilt his entire Warung and it is now one of the nicest on the beach. Agus and the boys all remembered me, as Poker King from my last visit and we were lucky enough to be the first guests to stay in the nicest room in the place. Our room had a TV with Satellite, air conditioning and the most amazing view of Shipwrecks right out front. We spent seven days soaking it all in, completely content with doing nothing, but sunning and surfing before embarking on our next adventure.
The pictures above detail the best part of the trip. Everything seen above details a once in lifetime experience that we happened upon because of our good friend Kadek. I will continue next time with those amazing adventures.
All our love,
Matt and Sasha