Ever since I had lunch with one of my best teacher friends and her family in a beach side cafe in Banyuwangi, the most eastern province in Java, I had it in my head that Bali – an island with an entirely different culture, religion and ambiance – is only a ferry ride away.
In my mind, Bali was theoretically closer to visit than Surabaya – the PCV haven for when we need a break from site – which is between 6 to 8 hours away from Bondowoso by public transportation. It turns out that barely 5 hours from my site (granted good public transportation luck), a gorgeous paradise in northwest Bali awaited me and Katie, another PCV placed in eastern East Java.
After an amazing weekend of bike rides to the beach, sun, swimming, snorkeling, sea turtles, AC and Western food, we wondered how we hadn’t made it out there sooner (!!!), and before the very end of our service. (Though, that’s probably a good thing, if for nothing other than the safety of our skin.)
Beautiful Balinese architecture and stone Buddhas that decorate the entire island.
The tranquil beach of Pemuteran, Bali surrounded by luscious green mountains.
Beneath those waters there’s a reef restoration project taking place, making a good spot to snorkel and dive. Supposedly, there’s an eel garden nearby.
A local fisherman arranges his net in Pemuteran beach. The sole mosque in this area can be seen in the background.
The sun begins to set on the tree-lined dirt path we biked down to reach the Pemuteran beach.
Katie checking out the turtle conservation project at Reef Seen, a dive resort in Pemuteran.
This project was started because of this turtle, that was taken from the beach by a local and then released when it got too big. By this time, however, the turtle was too accustomed to humans and kept coming back to the shore. The owner of Reef Seen took this turtle in, which is tamed and loves human attention, and now rescues baby turtles and buys turtles eggs from locals, whom will eat the eggs from time to time.
All those rescued eggs have become hundreds of baby sea turtles kept at this site, 1000 of which were released into the sea in 2013 alone.
The turtles are released at about 3 months old to ensure a higher survival rate. The turtles picture are about 1 month old. (It was just like “Finding Nemo”!)
These adorable 1 week old baby turtles tuck their flippers close to their shell and float around, forming patterns on the water. For the rest of the time, I just imagined them peacefully swimming around to Moby and the song “We Are All Made of Stars.” (Forgive the poor iPhone quality photo of this shot.)
“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies [and beautiful baby sea turtles!] were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff.” – Carl Sagan in Cosmos, first published in 1980