Tulamben- Bali

Volcano on the way

Day two of our Bali dream vacation began rather early. Right before going to dinner the day before, I booked us on a snorkeling tour to Tulamben, which is on the northeast coast of Bali. We agreed to go with a group of scuba divers so that we wouldn’t have to pay for the requisite three people that is required for a tour. We decided to schedule a tour because hiring a car is expensive in Bali, and the place we were going was two and a half hours away. For the price of the tour, we got a guide, lunch, snorkeling equipment, and transportation from our hotel to and from the dive site. I thought it was a great deal considering it would have cost us just that much in transportation to get there! Anyway, we had to leave early- around 7:00 am to get there by 11. We chose to go with Bali Aqua snorkeling, and we loved our experience!

Rice Fields

First, they took us to their office to pick up our equipment. We were each outfitted with fins, a mask and snorkel, and a wetsuit. They also provided towels and water for the journey. To get to Tulamben, we drove up the east coast of Bali and through the volcanoes and rice fields to get there. It was a beautiful drive, and since we knew it was going to be long, we brought along Landon’s tablet to keep him entertained. He actually was entertained just looking out the window for over an hour before we had to break out the tablet.

The rocky beach starting point

Once we arrived at the dive site, we parked our stuff under a shelter at an open air restaurant. We chose our lunch off the menu- fried noodles and cap cay (chicken and vegetables in a broth) and some yummy drinks. We were just about to figure out who was snorkeling first (we were going to take turns watching Landon at the rocky beach) when our guide suggested the driver watch Landon. I changed him into his swimsuit, and provided him with his pail, shovel, and rake and left the driver with his snack and water. Landon ended up playing on the beach the entire time we were snorkeling so the driver didn’t have to do much, but we still appreciate him being willing to help out!

Once we got in the water, I knew that it was going to be awesome. The water had visibility to 35 m and was full of the most beautiful tropical fish I had ever seen. There were some in common with the fish we have seen in Hawaii, but many others that I had never seen before. Many were bioluminescent so they glowed an interesting blue color as they swam by. We saw parrot fish and so 
many other kinds! My favorite was a green fish with bright purple and blue horizontal stripes.
Landon played with the rocks

We followed our guide into deeper water and the shipwreck appeared in our view. This ship was an American transporter that was damaged in WWII. It was dry docked in Bali to be fixed enough to go on to another port. Apparently it was left there after the war and in 1960, there was a big earthquake that dislodged the ship and it fell on its side into the ocean and sunk. After that it became an awesome artificial reef with all kinds of coral. I was so sad we did not have a Go Pro or something like that to take pictures underwater. I was also mad that we weren’t scuba diving, because it would have been awesome to be able to actually go through the ship instead of just seeing it from above. I didn’t realize it while we were snorkeling, but I wondered why I was not able to go down very deep when I dove down. There were some free divers/snorkelers that were going down incredibly deep, but they did not have a wetsuit on. Next time, I will not wear a wetsuit and I will try diving down more. I was unable to clear my ears very well for some reason so I did not go as deep as I wanted to, but at one point I dove down deep enough to go below a piece of the ship and see the coral up very closely.

We saw all sorts of beautiful corals, giant blue seastars, and of course all the fish feeding off the reef. We did two trips out to the wreck, one before lunch and one after lunch. Like a punctuation mark at the end of the dive, we saw an eel and a big puffer fish hanging out in the same rock outcropping. 

Landon’s “Snorking” trip

Landon loves the ocean!

Snorking!

In between sessions, Landon asked to go “snorking.” I took him out into the water to splash around. There even fish up shallow enough for him to see, if he would cooperate with wearing a mask. I put the mask on his face (it covered his eyes, nose, and almost came all the way down to his mouth. The first few times, he did not want to look underwater again- I think the mask was leaking and he didn’t see any fish. The third time I checked to make sure there were cool fish that he could see and dunked him one more time. He saw the fish and he was so excited! He wanted to go under water again, but eventually grew tired of the mask so that ended that. He also worked on his big freestyle arms while we were out there. The water is so warm it is like taking a bath so he was content to stay out forever, but lunch was ready so we went in and ate lunch. After lunch, Landon went right back down to the beach and asked to go snorking again. So we went out again. It was fun to share our water fun with him even though he’s a little young to try the full snorkeling experience.

Done Snorking
Daddy’s 20 minute rendition of “Wheels on the Bus” on the way back
No, we didn’t bring our carseat on this trip. None of the vehicles we
rode in had seatbelts, so it would not have worked anyway

Our second dive, I think our guide got the picture that we were not going to drown, nor were we afraid of the water, so he left the life preserver behind. That left him with more freedom to dive when he wanted to, and it was fun to watch him and interact more. He wore yellow fins so it was easy to recognize him amongst all of the people there at the dive site.
Although there were groups coming and going all the time, once out in the ocean it did not seem so crowded anymore. Most were diving, and the dive and snorkeling guides would take different routes to make sure everyone had a good experience.
To get an idea of what kinds of things we saw, google Tulamben diving pictures and you’ll get the idea…

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