Lovina and the missing Dolphins

DSC_0208Six o’clock in the morning, the waves are licking the side of the long boat, making gentle noise and rocking me back to sleep. Although the sun is coming up behind us, the flat oceanic expanse ahead and the movement of the boat is enough to counteract any excitement that was keeping me awake. On an impulse decision yesterday we booked a dolphin watching excursion, which rattled us out of bed at half past five because apparently the dolphins are more active in the morning. The sea in front of us shows absolutely no evidence of this. Other than the large black boats moving backwards and forwards, searching, there is not one thing moving on the ocean surface.

These two days we basically let fate decide what we do. We got on our motorbikes and headed north again, this time towards the west coast, rather than the east. We had faint ideas of diving at Manta Point or Island, but no defined plans. It worked out well enough, although in practice we spent most of our time driving, collecting dust and insect carcases on our clothes and helmets.

DSC_0187There are plenty of roads that head up and down the county, giving us plenty of choices as to how to get to the coast. We chose the longer way that winds its path up towards Mt. Batur, then onto the crater rim, providing views of volcanic landscapes and distant mountains. This drive provided a fantastic changing landscape, from lush green rice fields to rockier, hilly terrain, until we stared down at a charred landscape of volcanic destruction. After lunch at a restaurant on the crater rim, half of which was built on some precarious looking stilts, we continued on, back into twists and turns of road, towards rice fields and the other side of the island.

Near Lovina an elderly man on a motor bike pulled up beside us and offered us a room for a decent price. We agreed to go look at his homestay, as he calls it, which is more like a small series of bungalows in his back garden. And through that decision we land back in the boat at six o’clock in the morning, his son or son’s friend or some sort of distant relative navigating, a look of frustration on his face because there is not a single dolphin to be seen.

DSC_0115It doesn’t end up mattering much, though. We enjoy some more carefully cooked food in a restaurant with a strong communist vibe due to the colourful portraits of Communist leaders from China, Cuba and Chile, and then swing ourselves back onto the bikes to take in more hair pin turns, temple walls, vans passing by filled with livestock, and scenery, slowly changing back into lush green rice fields as we head south again.

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