From Nusa Lembongan I head back to Bali and then get myself up to Padang Bai. I’m planning on heading to Lombok from here in a week or 10 days so it’s a good place to rent a motorbike and head out to explore the north of Bali. I’m a little worried about not having that International Drivers License but after some research online and a short, friendly discussion with the local police here I decide to risk it, even if I do get stopped it’ll likely not cost me more than 50,000 rupiah (about 5 dollars). So with my big pack between my knees and my little pack on my back I aim for Tulamben. I’ve read that there is a wreck from WWII just a few meters offshore and I want to snorkel this as I haven’t seen a wreck before.

It’s a beautiful drive up the coastline, I pass through villages, drive up and down curvy mountain roads and see plenty of rice paddies. I relish in the freedom of driving myself around by moto. Upon arriving in Tulamben I find a nice little spot to lay my head and meet 2 brothers from Hawaii and one of their girlfriends. They’re on a surf/dive trip around Bali and together with the guys who work at our guesthouse we make a big bbq fish dinner and sample Dua (not sure about the spelling). It’s a local alcohol that smells strongly of old fish, and tastes suspiciously like it as well. The taste lingers in your mouth long after you drink it. It comes beautifully packaged in a 3 gallon plastic jug, and at only about 5% alcohol content you need to drink a lot of this foul substance to feel any affects. I decline my second glass and opt for beer, being a girl I can get away with this, but the guys are not so lucky and one glass is constantly refilled and passed around the table in swift succession. The language barrier becomes less obvious the more we all drink and it turns into a fun evening.

The next morning I head out to rent some snorkel gear and go see this wreck. As the wreck is only about 10 meters away from shore and in approximately 4 meters of water I can just walk into the water from the shore. Easier said than done, it’s a windy day and the waves are crashing in. To make matters more difficult the beach is made up of baseball sized rocks. Valiantly I manage to get my fins on while being pummeled in the surf and almost losing my bikini top. Barring a bit of bruising on my shins I’m fine and make my way into the deeper water. There are a lot of divers around the wreck, obscuring my view with the bubbles from their tanks, plus with the water so choppy the visibility is not great, really I can’t see much of the wreck, if I didn’t know it was there I would probably have missed it. Figuring that this is not so awesome I head away towards where I have been told there are some really good coral formations. I swim and swim, battling current and waves, for over 20 minutes and find…nothing, just rocks. Exhausted, I am not a strong swimmer, I throw in the towel and drag myself out of the water. I spend 10 minutes hopping along the really hot, black rocks back to return my gear, soles of feet bruised and burnt. Oh well, mission attempted anyways.

Batur Volcano, seen from the eastern coastal road near Tulamben, Bali.

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