Friday, March 16, 2012


It started out what we called in the Navy as a Cluster F**k and turned into F**king Fantastic.
So lets start from the beginning, as that is always a great place to start. Caroline and I were signing off the ship together and that is when all the trouble started. It seems that because we were staying in Bali a couple days that we had to be “registered” with Immigration.
Nobody in the Crew Office said anything about this and when we arrived on shore nobody seemed to know anything either. M&R did her best but it was not her job and it is my opinion that Crew Office dropped the ball. We were told that when we hit shore that Immigration would have our passports ready to hand over to us, make sure we match the pictures on the passport and check our baggage.
In reality Immigration was not there and the Port Officer didn’t seemed to have a clue. First after some pressing from Julie (M&R) he said that we would get our passports when we left the country. We all knew better then that and Julie jumped on him. Then he said that it would take an hour. To make a long story short Caroline and I waited 6 hours for our passport to arrive from Immigration. Nobody came and looked to see if we were who we said we were, nobody checked our baggage and nobody checked what we brought off the ship.

Caroline waiting for her passport
One reason they said that it took so long was that they did not know we were staying in Bali or going to an island. They certainly did as the Crew Office gave them a written itinerary that I typed up of everywhere we were going, where we were staying and our flights information.
I also found it amusing that we told them that we had to catch a boat to the island that we were staying at and the last boat left at 2pm. They arrived with our passports at 2:20. I’m really glad I didn’t tell them that the actual last boat left at 4:30pm or I am sure they would have shown up at 5pm with our paperwork.
So within a few minutes our ride to the water taxi arrived and we were finally on our way. Once we got to the boat staging area it was about a 40-minute wait and it started to rain. Well it was more like a downpour. We boarded the boat and we were off to the island.  It was a 25-minute ride to the island of Lembongan. When we arrived everyone was taken to a road that led to their hotels etc. We were asked to board a small 20 foot boat to be shuttled to up the coast to the Blue Corner Dive Resort. Of course it was still pouring rain so our day continued to be an adventure.
Upon arrival at Blue Corner we were greeted by one of the owners, Andrew. By then the rain had stopped and we were shown to our bungalows. They were large upgraded versions of traditional style huts with wooden floors and thatched roofs. They had a large bathroom, hot showers and large soft towels. The highlight after living on the ship for 7 months was air conditioning and a huge, extremely comfortable bed. We were discounted the rooms for $33 per night which was a great deal.

Bungalows at The Blue Corner Dive Resort
The grounds have a small infinity pool that doubled as a pool for dive instruction. There is also a “bar” for cold beers and it serves breakfast in the morning. The view is remarkable and it was interesting to sit drinking a beer and watching the local seaweed farmers harvest the ocean during the low tide that night at sunset.

Seaweed Farmers in Bali

Seaweed Harvest at Low Tide
This is a newly opened place to stay and we both found Andrew and his business partner Cody extremely friendly and willing to do anything to make your stay enjoyable. I would defiantly recommend Blue Corner Dive Resort. But do not think of it as a mainland resort, it is not, but it is great for what is and there are many upgrades planned by Andrew and Cody.
That evening Caroline and I ate at one of the many restaurants, Wurang Made, that line the road and the beach. The food in Bali is very inexpensive. We both ate a large meal, had something to drink and it was still less then $10 for the both of us.
The next day we decided to go to a different hotel that we noticed just down the beach on our walk back from dinner the night before. It was the Tarci Bungalows. Rather then traditional bungalows like at Blue Corner it was the typical white cement, stucco type building you would find anywhere.
The room that I had was towards the back and nice sized with air conditioning and again a comfortable bed. It was discounted to $15 per night. Caroline had a very large room that opened to the ocean and was only steps to the pool. Her room also had a very large bath with a bathtub. It was discounted to $30 per night.

Caroline at the pool steps from her room at Tarci's Bungalows
The ground had a medium sized pool, great restaurant with a large amount and variety of food and beverages to choose from. It also had an upper deck with a great view to sit and enjoy your meals, which we choose to do for dinner. The rest of our meals were at one of the tables that literally were at the waters edge. In fact at high tide we were talking and a wave crashed against the wall and soaked both of us. 

Time to check my email at Tarci's Bungalow

Lunch for me consisted of noodles and veggies wrapped in a giant egg

That afternoon I rented a scooter for the entire day for $6 while Caroline lay by the pool overlooking the ocean. I drove the entire island and found a number of temples along the way.

One of the many alters I passed
during my exploration of the island

One of the "Gods"

I rode along mangrove waterways, rainforests and a number of small beaches. At the far end of the island I came across a bridge that lead to yet another island. The bridge it self was wooden slats and I was told “just do not stop and keep moving.”

From One Island To Another...
Once on the other island I made my way around a narrow single road. At one point I met a young man named Ariss that acted as a guide for me and took me all over the entire island. He kept saying “good view” and pointed the way as I followed him up an even narrower road. Near the top of the mountain he veered off down a dirt footpath and I kept following him to the very top. From there the view was indeed unbelievable as he pointed to different bays and other sights.

Crystal Bay from a Mountain Top in Bali

My Guide, Ariss and Crystal Bay from Lembongan Island, Bali
Next Ariss took me to Blue Lagoon, Secret Cove and a couple of other places to get some photographs before showing me the way back to the bridge where we parted company.

Blue Lagoon on Lembongan Island, Bali

Secret Beach on Lembongan Island, Bali
Next I headed back to my hotel, which was still a number of miles awhile. En route I passed through Lembongan Village and stopped at a couple more temples, one of which was open and I went inside to take some photographs. 
After climbing yet another hill and stopping for a couple more pictures it was all downhill to the beach area where I was staying. 

View looking down on the beach where I was staying

The temple on top of the mountain overlooking the village

Driving through the village on the way to my hotel

The next day Caroline and I went to see Andrew at Blue Corner and I took my first dive lesson. Caroline had dove a couple times before and even though I have snorkeled many times this would be my first dive.
I’d have to say that Andrew was absolutely professional and very encouraging. He took his time, mostly with me, as Caroline was doing fine. After instruction and some “pool time” we headed out into the ocean.

My First Dive...Lembongan Island, Bali...
The clarity of the water was truly amazing and fish were everywhere. It really is very different from snorkeling and I became quite at easy swimming among the fish. Part of this was I knew that Andrew kept an ever-present vigilance. This first dive with instruction, pool time and one ocean dive was only $60 and I thought worth every penny. It would have been $90 for two dives but I did not have the time as I was leaving that day.

Bali Underwater...
After my dive, a feast for lunch and getting my laundry that I dropped off that morning I was picked up and taken to the meeting point for the boat back to the mainland.
All in all I really liked Lembongan Island and would definitely go back to the Blue Corner Dive Resort, the Tarci Bungalows, Wurang Made Restaurant and the Shipwreck Restaurant. I’d also highly recommend Rocky Fast Cruise Transportation, as they were also very professional in every way with both boat and land transportation.
Once the boat arrived back on the mainland I was greeted by my driver from “Rocky” and given a ride to Ellies Hotel in Nusa Dua where I would be spending the night before flying to Singapore the next day to meet up with another friend, Jessica, to begin the next part of my journey.
Ellie’s is in a residential area and very simply put a great place to stay. The rooms are nice sized, very clean and air-conditioned. The grounds are filled with plants and a small but very nice pool. There is also an open air dining area and breakfast is included in the price of your room. Also you can arrange for a number of restaurants to deliver lunch or dinner and the staff will set it up for you in the dining area. There is also free wifi available for your use. There is no television other then to use with one of the many DVDs supplied at not charge to you. If you climb to the top of the building you will be rewarded with a very nice view of the surrounding area. It is a great place to sit and relax watching the sunset over the bay.

View from the top of the Ellie's Hotel

The pool at the Ellie's Hotel

Another nice service is Divspa that Ellies has relationship and you get a 30% discount by staying at the hotel. At a moments notice they came and picked me up free of charge and drove me to their spa. It is located at the home of the owner Ketut and his wife.
It is very professional and has a wide range of different massages, facials and treatments available. I choose to get a 90-minute aromatherapy massage, $21 with the discount, that felt fantastic and afterwards I was very relaxed. 
When I returned to Ellie’s they had dinner waiting for me from a local restaurant. The next morning the taxi appeared 10 minutes early and I was off to the airport to catch my flight to Singapore.

Dinner that's service
I cannot say enough about how friendly and professional both David, the owner of Ellie's, and his staff were. All I had to do was ask and everything was taken care of from the minute I arrived. As many others on Tripadvsor .com have said “I would not stay any place other then Ellie’s while in Bali.” Again note this is boutique hotel not a big fancy resort and to me that is what makes it so great.

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