Selasa, 19 Agustus 2008

Adventure in Bali

After living here for almost ten years, my time had eventually come to venture into the beautiful surrounding waters and 'dance' with the fish – diving as it is more correctly termed. It's not that I had never fancied it beforehand, it's just that life somehow got it the way; being pregnant, raising a baby and so it went. Therefore, to be invited to Waka Shorea in the stunning North West point of Bali was an opportunity to attempt to dive that I would definitely not be missing this time around.
Being picked up early morning by comfortable car with a personal driver is a luxury that everyone can appreciate; even more as the journey from Canggu to West Bali's National Park takes up to 3 hours, through breathtaking scenery as roads corkscrew mountains. This is an exciting part to a journey where photo opportunities abound as one gazes down onto paddy fields and unspoilt lakes – postcard perfect. Just to breath the pure, fresh air is a treat in itself. Eventually you will arrive at Waka Shorea, where the next step of the adventure takes you onto a boat to knife through the waves onto an exclusive private resort, in fact, the only resort in the National Park.
Waka Shorea is a haven of unspoilt natural beauty. As you arrive to the private jetty, you notice that the resort blends harmoniously into its surroundings, it is very obvious that the environment has been considered above all else, although Waka's inimitable style is evident. The beach is scattered with shells and coral, and the clear turquoise water teams with fish and various marine life. Although I didn't see him, there is an eel that lives to the left of the jetty and the staff have developed an affection for him, and talk of him with fondness. This is an enthusiasm I couldn't quite share.
The resort is stunning, in a simple back to nature style. When I arrived, I was greeted by the sight of two silverback, black monkeys drinking from a source who then scampered off into the bush. I certainly had the feeling that this would be a memorable weekend. The villa blended perfectly into the surroundings and was more than comfortable, in natural linens and a mosquito net covered bed, and a gorgeous bathroom with colourful hand baked tiling.
After a hearty lunch, spent in the company of charismatic Bill Quinlan who is a wonderful raconteur, and has been with Waka Experience since 1991, the afternoon was spent getting to know the surroundings; walks along the shore, a massage at the spa and a lazy dinner to the sounds of nature. The best forms of relaxation in preparation for my first ever dive next morning.
The next morning did not disappoint; a sun filled sky greeted the day and the sea was perfect. I was taken by boat to Menjangan Island (Deer island) just across the water, and got all the gear on. My kind dive instructor patiently explained all the necessary hand signals to use below the surface although I was more distracted by the weight of the equipment. Sitting on the edge of the boat, and knowing I was to drop myself in with a backwards roll was the most difficult part of the day – as silly as I realise that sounds. Once in and mask on we went under the waves – bye-bye surface, hello complete new world. I always imagined the breathing through the mouthpiece to be a different sensation, but it was as if breathing normally, easier than snorkelling. We went down meter by meter until I reached 6 meters, and the only thing that you must remember is to equalise your ears, in exactly the same manner as being on a plane, or high in the mountains. My dive instructor did all the other necessary 'fiddlings' with dials and knobs so I could just take in all the scenery. Fish are very busy! There is constant movement down there under the waves, and it was teaming with a colour and variety that I did not imagine I'd see at such little depth. The corals were just as stunning and the sound of my breathing made it a meditative experience – I was completely enthralled by it all.
A half hour zoomed by, and once again it was time to board and head over to Menjangun Island for a walk in the nature to where there are some amazing Hindu temples. I hungrily took snap after snap, and felt that I was exploring and discovering a whole different part of Bali, which was indeed true. The scenery is very arid, a complete contrast to the green fertile fields of southern Bali.
Unfortunately, the morning flew by and it was time to pack up and head back to the north west of Bali, once again by boat. There we made our way back by the stunning roads that took us at one point to a breathtaking vista on both Danau Tamblingan and Danau Buyan (renown lakes in the mountains) as well as Bedugal Sunday market, filled to the brim with people, plants and fresh vegetables where I did some 'quick' purchases. I now have a cinnamon tree in my garden in Canggu that marks the memory of a fabulous first dive and another outstanding Waka experience.



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