Day 4 Continued: The Boat from Sanur to Lembongan takes about half an hour on the fast ferry. We climbed up the top and had fresh salty air for the trip. I hear the bottom deck isn’t great as you’re close to the engine and a bit close to the fumes. Our accomodation at Lembongan was at the Piri Kirana home stay. Prior to arriving I thought I would be staying in someone else’s house! However it turned out to be a cute little huts surrounding a large lap pool (see main image) and contained your own bedroom and bathroom. In Lembongan theres a bunch of surf breaks all in the same bay. For the first day we went out to Playgrounds. I suspect it gets that name from all the large boats kitted out with play equipment such as water slides and banana boats that seem to appeal to the tourists (not me I’m a surfer girl now 😉 ) . The waves were great a bit slower and no choppiness in between sets. I persevered and caught some long waves but the Rosé from the night before definately hazed over my enjoyment. Antoq had also had a big night before but you’d never know, such professionalism! He was still there yelling ‘paddle, paddle, paddle’ then ‘jump’ at the right moments. I’m sure the sea air did me good but it was a relief to get back to the villa and relax. That afternoon there was a ceremony for some of the people that had sadly lost their lives on the bridge collapse in Lembongan. Alisha, Eric and Rae went down to the field to pay their respects. Alisha said it was a very moving ceremony with about 15 priests dressed in white and the cremation happening in large banana leaf huts.Later that afternoon we took the ten minute walk down a path that took us past palm trees and local houses. There is a bar right on the beach called Blue Corner complete with beanbags and umbrellas to relax under. We had a few bintangs then it was time to head back to the feast Anna had been preparing. She did an awesome version of Chicken Cordon Bleu stuffed with spinach (I tried the spinach) and Tempeh burgers for the non-chicken eaters.
Day 5: On Friday I awoke from a terrible sleep with my legs feeling like they were in boiling water. I was a diligent sunscreen applier but the sun had penetrated my skin in the day before’s surfing session. The girls went off to yoga but I could barely move. Luckily Edy had noticed I wasn’t at yoga and came to my hut to check on me. A moment later he was back to my rescue with Aloe Vera leaves and fresh juice. Not long after Eric arrived in doctor mode supplying panadol and assisted me with to apply the Aloe Vera to my scorched legs. I was on holiday though so I made it to breakfast, had some fried eggs on toast and set off for the snorkelling expedition. One of the most well known Skippers in Lembongan is Newman who has a great boat and knows the best spots for seeing the tropical fish. We did a cruise around the cliffs in case there were any Manta Rays but they had already fed at 730am according to Newman. We stopped off at Crystal Bay where there were boats and snorkelers a plenty. We made the astounding discovery that Hortense is scared of fish! A swimmer scared of fishes! She said she would just sit on the boat and wait for us. Luckily Aaron was having none of this and takes about her fears before slowly guiding her into the water and staying with her. Having grown up in Mandurah I ditched the slow ones and darted around the cliffs finding some cool Clown Fish and some spectularly coloured tropical ones. I covered ground pretty quickly so went back to ask Aaron if I could explore the other cliffs. He said I could so off I went following a massive fish that was stealing bread. It was a two move method first he would smack them in the head then while they were stunned steal it out of their mouths. Anyway I got a bit carried away following this fish and found myself outside of the bay around the other side of the cliffs. After about 10 minutes of paddling, then breaststroke and freestyle I concluded I wasn’t getting anywhere. Trying to remember all the surfing tips I’d heard over the years I tried to be smart and swam up the current then down the current to try and find a spot that wasn’t hectic but it couldn’t be found. I knew eventually I would get saved and I had my surf coaches drumming into me their philosophies about not stressing so I just chilled out and treaded water knowing that eventually I would be saved. After about 5 minutes more of treading water a boatful of people came past me. The skipper stopped beside and asked If I wanted a lift. They handed me a bottle of water and took me back to my boat with a short lecture about going too far. I came back to the boat a bit cheeky and said that I’d asked for a lift back but everyone had worked out that I had to be saved! Aaron said he thought i was pointing to in the bay, not as far as I’d gone. So kids if you go to Crystal bay don’t go outside of the bay. Next we stopped at shallow water in the Mangroves and Newman threw some bread into the This was incredible the reed was about
a metre and a half down and you were swimming through hundreds of colourful fishes. Then it was back to the Homestay and relaxing in the pool. The boys came back and were complaining about burning lips as they had just had some local food. I told Edy I liked spicy stuff and a second later he was off on his bike getting another bowl for me. It was delicious like a laksa, spicy and flavoursome with noodles and meatballs. I don’t eat chicken so i I told myself it was most likely fish balls and got stuck in. After I’d eaten one Hortense asked what meat it was and of course it was chicken! It was so delicious I still ended up finishing the soup and the noodles. It was my first time eating from a local stall but I had no regrets and felt fine after. That night it was the big night at Blue Corner so we headed back to the beach. Half a beer in Edy was starting the dance floor and had moves just as good as on a board. After about two songs and a couple of Mojitos each Antoq and I decided it was time to join him. Edy and Hortense responsibly went home first while Antoq and I had many ‘deep and meaningful’ conversations about life in Bali and how excited he was that his French girlfriend was currently on the plane to see him for his Birthday. After a couple of beers Antoq luckily remembered we had to go surfing the next day and neither of us would want to do that hungover again. We left Aaron there who was having a great time as he seemed to know all of the Lembonggan population!
Day 6: It must have been the Plaga the last time because I woke up feeling great! The rest of the crew pulled up fine too. Aaron said he had a constant reminder not to party too hard as Eric had been messaging him saying “Teman (mate in Indonesian) don’t drink too much” and “Teman come home.” We went and checked out the beach but there was no waves in the morning, Aaron was devastated but determined to do a water sport. We went over to the Mangroves and hired Stand Up Paddle Boards. It was pretty cool and like going through a maze the mangroves were so high bordering the river. We had a photographer with us, Denis, who took some cool drone shots above us. Back at the home stay it was time to say goodbye to Antoq as he was off to the airport to collect his girlfriend.
It was sad to send him off as he had become a good friend over the last few days as well as my safety net in the waves. That afternoon to Aaron’s delight the waves were back and this time we went to Rezor. There were more people this time
but everyone was respectful and the waves were wide and long so it was was enough. The first wave I was a bit too far forward on the board and nose dived into the reef, tonnes of water going up my nose. It shook me a bit and I was wasn’t as confident on the waves, however I had Edy along side me spurring me on. Paddling back from the second wave I accidentally got caught in another wave and stood up in a wave so that also helped me to get back on the horse. Edy and Aaron caught a few waves and showed us what we might look like if we kept up the surfing!
Hortense had really picked up surfing in the last few days and was looking great. The constant waves and tricky paddling conditions had really taken it out of me so Edy and I went in search of some local food. I got a big juicy coconut for 10 000 rp (about $1.20 Australian) and Edy found some cool pockets full of food just sitting out side a store in the table. They were full of seasoned meats, noodles, rice and peanuts. They were only 10000rp so in my shock at the price I tipped the shopkeeper. Back at the hotel Edy told me last time he went they had been cheaper and that he had gotten a Westerner surcharge! That night was our last dinner altogether and Anna put on a feast. There was satay chicken, fish caught that day with samba, corn fritters and guacamole, vegetables and more. Denis showed us a few of the cool drone pictures and movies he had taken and then it was time for an early night.
Day 7: Last day of the retreat. We had some amazing vegan pancakes with fruit on them from Anna and set off on a tour around Lembonggan. Just up from the beach there is a cool road that takes you up to a spot called Panorama point where you have 180 degree views of the bay. Theres a beautiful bar and restaurant called Sandy Beach beach club. We just stopped for a coffee (good quality) but you can see how it would be a pumping place at night! My friend Jarrod was there last night and said it books out. Lembonggan has a beautiful coastline with cliffs and seaweed farms. Inland there are a few shops, fields and huts. We went to where the bridge had come down and people lost their lives. There was lots of Indonesian people and officials paying their respects. After our tour it was time to pack up our things and head back on the boat to Sanur. This time it was much clearer
and you could see the big volcano pulling clouds as we cruised past. Aaron said it barely ever rains there even if its raining in bali as it seems to suction the clouds away from the land. After a smooth half an hour cruise we were back and it was time to say goodbye to our crew and face the realisation that I would no longer have the luxury of itinerary, food and built in family right in front of me.
My week with Ocean Tribe was definitely one of the best weeks of my life! It had all the benefits of the best Island holiday you could think of : Adventure, friends, sun and delicious food without any of the headaches of planning, finding the right people, bartering or looking after yourself when you are ferociously sunburnt. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for fun, activity and the best spots for a week in Bali! If you would like me to put you in touch with the owner of Ocean tribe, 2 amazing surf coaches or you have any questions then drop me an email.