We arrived from Bali, after a 2 hour delay and a 30 minute boat ride, on Jungut Batu beach. This is the main beach and is connected to the main part of town, where most restaurants and shops are found. We were the last to be dropped off at our accommodation, so we received a mini tour of the island. The island is more settled than Gili Air. Most of the tourist accommodation and attractions are located on the coastline, however the middle of the island is developed too. Much of the island is above sea-level with steep rocky cliffs. We stayed at Naturale Villas and absolutely loved it!
Woke up at dawn to head out snorkeling. Early snorkeler sees all the fish? The owner at our accommodation strongly suggested that we go out as early as possible. So, we ate a quick breakfast, put on our swimsuits and grabbed our snorkel gear. Down at the beach we met our local guide and hopped into the boat. The sun had barely risen. It was a very wet boat ride, we were soaked before we even got in the water. The ride was beautiful though, with the sun rising over the island, illuminating the outline of the trees. The boat stopped a few meters out from a cliff off Nusa Penida, with the waves crashing in. We were both a little nervous about being carried into the rocks, but our guide insisted it was safe.
First Stop – Manta Bay
I was first in and put my face underwater to have a look around. There it was, a huge manta ray, with its huge wide open mouth coming right at me. I swam out of its way as fast as I could. The guide yells to me “they aren’t dangerous!” I didn’t care if it was dangerous or not, it was huge and I had no idea what it would do.
Now that I knew where he was, and could maintain a safe distance, I was able to watch him swim, graceful and majestic. Just like a bird in the water. We only saw the one manta ray at Manta Bay, but it was good enough for me. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the ray left for deeper waters. Once the ray was gone, hundreds of fish appeared as if by magic. After a few minutes of swimming with the fish, our guide called us back to the boat – time to go, the water was changing.
Second Stop – Crystal Bay
A short 10 minute boat ride from Manta Bay, we arrived at Crystal Bay. The waters were calmer, as the bay is more sheltered between Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan. Now we realized the importance of starting early. We were the only boat. The only snorkelers. Crystal Bay is, by far, my favourite snorkel location ever. The reef is the most impressive I’ve ever seen. The array of tropical fish is unlike anywhere else I’ve been. So colourful, so numerous. I felt as though I was swimming in an aquarium tank. I could reach out and catch a fish if I wanted to. As our swim progressed, different fish appeared and I could have stayed for hours.
I was so excited to see my GoPro footage from Crystal Bay, but there was an error and I haven’t been able to see anything, which is very sad. I suppose it just means I have to go back!
As we were leaving Crystal Bay to end our trip, we were again thankful for starting early. There was boat-load by boat-load of people heading out to the snorkeling locations. We would have all been swimming on top of each other, which really takes away from the experience. That is probably my biggest tip – start your snorkel trip at 0700.
Swimming with the turtle on Gili Air, the Manta Ray and variety of fish on Nusa has me wanting to get my PADI dive license. I was never really sure about diving before now – the ocean kind of scares me. However now that I’ve seen some of the wonderful creatures of the sea, I want to be able to experience another part of our world.
Remainder of the day
After having been up so early and expending so much energy while swimming, we were looking for a chill day. We wandered around the island a little, checking out Sandy Bay, Devil’s Tear and then enjoyed a relaxing afternoon laying in the sun, reading our books at Dream Beach.
It can’t be a true girls vacation without a spa day! We found Harumaya Day Spa on our walk the previous day. After looking through the services offered, we decided to make a morning of it, ordering the Kenanga Package plus pedicure. Our spa package included: flower foot bath followed by traditional Balinese massage, body scrub, hair treatment and ginger tea with cookies. We were able to choose our aromatherapy massage oil scents, body scrub and hair treatment. I chose Lemon oil for revitalizing, coconut body scrub and coconut hair treatment. The spa was spotlessly clean. Out practitioners were friendly, respectful and good at their job. The ambiance of the spa was tranquil. I highly recommend Harumaya if you are on Nusa Lembongan! You can find their website here.
We were a little spa stoned for the remainder of the day. Kelsie stayed by the pool while I wandered down to Mushroom Bay for some beach time. Mushroom Bay is a very pretty beach, but you are not able to swim as so many boats are moored on the shores. There are many restaurants and various accommodation lining the beach.
Being on the western side of island, it was easy for us to wander down to sunset point, or dead pool (on google maps) for the sunset. What ended up being more exciting than the sunset was the crashing waves. Because the cliffs in this area have little alcoves and are different levels, the wave action was like a domino effect. The initial wave would crash causing huge spray, then the wave would hit the second part of the cliff inside an alcove, causing a second spray. It was exciting to watch. Careful to get too close though – we saw many people walking away soaking wet.
Back to mainland Bali for the last leg of our trip. We traveled with Scoot Fast Cruises which included pick-up on Nusa and drop-off in Legian. The boat ride to and from Lembongan was not nearly as rough as to Gili, however it was still choppy. Prepare to get your feet and legs wet, as loading and unloading the boat is done from the beach.
Tell me about your adventures on Nusa Lembongon, in the comments below!
Keep your eyes open for my Legian post on September 30th