We made it over to Bali a lot quicker and cheaper than if we'd done it with the tour. Our only delay was waiting about 45 minutes in their version of a public bus which doesn't leave until it's full. But hot, sweaty and tired (we'd been up since 3.30am!!!) we arrived at Pemuteran. We didn't have anywhere booked and went for the first hotel we found (Jubawa Homestay) as we'd read it was the cheapest in the area. It was still really expensive though, 230,000Rp (£14) but that did include a pool, breakfast and dinner - outrageous!!!
We spent the rest of the day relaxing by the pool - it's a tough life being a backpacker! There's not such to do in Pemuteran itself, it's just used as a base to get to Menjangan Island in the near by National Park which is famous for its snorkeling. We booked ourselves on to a trip for the day after and took another day to relax!
A pretty rickety wooden boat took us and two divers out to our first location just off the island itself. We've snorkeled in quite a few places throughout our travels, including the barrier reef, but Menjangan Island has to be one of the best!
It was like swimming through an aquarium there were that many fish! The photos don't do it any justice and washes out the amazing colours of the coral and fish!
We didn't just see nemo, I think we saw the entire cast (well not quite, there were no great white sharks thankfully and the all important turtle was still missing!!) The coral dropped off like a cliff, from which you could see lots of huge fish waiting for the smaller ones to venture too far out from the coral. There were huge barricades, puffer fish and fish we'd never seen before!
After an hours snorkelling we stopped for lunch on the island and then headed to another site. This was where turtles are usually found, so Emma hoped this would finally be her chance to swim with one...but no! No turtles! We weren't too disappointed though, it was still amazing!
We had a guide with us and he pointed out things that we just wouldn't see ourselves. The highlight was when he dived down to grab a fish. It didn't try to swim away, just edged backwards until it was caught.
As soon as he had it in both hands the fish just puffed out like a balloon (hence the name balloon fish!). It went from a normal fish to looking and feeling like a large stress ball. Very very bizarre. You can't miss the photo, its just sat there on Emma's hand! As soon as Emma moved her hand it de-puffed and went back to where it was before.
Having a guide was pretty good and I think its a good idea, only if it keeps useless tourists from taking things and breaking bits off.
We loved snorkeling at Menjangan Island so much that we were really tempted to stay another night and go again. But we'll do more snorkeling at the Gili Islands so decided to continue east to Lovina.