After three great weeks on Nusa Lembongan and its surrounding islands, the time came to move on to something new. I caught the ferry with a bit more panache than my previous effort and sat in a window seat, sadly watching the island grow smaller. I arrived wanting to beat a lifelong fear of being deep underwater. To that end I’ve completed 17 dives in stunning surroundings, completed my open water and advanced open water training. Words really do no justice to the kaleidoscope of colour and movement of its reefs. Early on I lost count of the array of sharks, turtles, morays, sea snakes, clams and macro-life. The World Diving crew were fantastic in their coaching and support, as well as a great bunch of people socially and my thanks to John and Sue, Ben, Carolyn, Kai, Nicole and Jason for their encouragement, tips and tricks. And of course to Catur and Tink who were with me from the very start to the very end, and so seamlessly replaced a phobia with a passion. A special mention to Mr Cat who slept through my entire three weeks – surely the most relaxed feline I’ve ever met. His zen attitude was really an analogy of the appeal of the island.
It was also very sad to leave behind my happy little bungalow, with its cold showers and barking gekkos. Nestled between the beach and the mangroves, its isolation was its appeal. Early morning breakfasts of banana pancakes overlooked a grove of coconut palms where cattle mooched about, their wooden cow bells clattering like bamboo wind chimes. Goodbye also to shirtless lunches at Maria’s bamboo bench warung, with her four or five comatose dogs and an occasionally lame chicken. Given that I dropped a dress size in a day or two while unwell, I did reasonable service to her menu, and have since paid back the debt with double mains at every meal.
Towards the end of my stay I gave up on the charade of being a helicopter pilot, and the word got out that there was a veterinarian on the island. After conducting a couple of lengthy consultations regarding patients I couldn’t touch, I’ve decided that after almost a month of barely thinking about my work, I really do miss it.
Vale Lembongan. You were very kind to me.