I initially downloaded the Indonesia Meteorological and Climatological app to keep an eye on Tsunami warnings. But a few days before our boat trip to Nusa Lembongan, the island next-door to Bali, I was borderline obsessed with checking the Bali strait swell forecast. After a particularly rough crossing to Cozumel on our honeymoon, we have some light ferry trauma. And the stretch of sea in between Bali and Nusa Lembongan was marked bright red, labeled ‘rough’, with 1 – 4 meter swells. Great.
So two hours after I made us drink what I only later realised was drowsy motion sickness meds (sorry for drugging you, Joel!), we waded into the water and heaved our backpacks onto our fast boat to Nusa Lembongan. A quick thirty minutes of motion-sickness hell and it’ll be over, we figured. Five or six songs max, or half a podcast.
In the end it was totally fine. I got used to the boat slamming after the swells, which weren’t so bad anyways. That’s the secret, I guess: Expect worse, you’ll love it!
(So if you’re thinking of taking a ferry to Nusa Lembongan from Bali, take the not-so-strategically-named Rocky Fast Cruise boat. It’s better than the name implies.)
Where Bali is overwhelmingly green, Nusa Lembongan is blue blue electric blue. After we checked in to our island hut, we walked over to the Devil’s Tears point (‘tears’ as in sad tears or tears as in a tear in a cliff, I am still not sure), hitting it right at sunset. And here Nusa Lembongan made a startlingly strong impression. Giant waves, pulsing blue even in the fading daylight, crashed up onto the rocky coves, spraying huge clouds of mist into the air. Droplets of sea catching some sun and being tossed aside in the wind. It’s beautiful but alarmingly treacherous-looking. It’s clear why this is the devil’s place (whether he’s being sad or aggressive…who knows).
After dreaming of giant swells and crashing waves (and also passports and visas), I was excited waking up the next morning to see the sights, and more of that blue we had a glimpse of at sunset. We set off on our new scooter with a bit more trepidation than before – the roads coming in on the truck taxi were questionable: tar roads suddenly giving way to bumpy sandy rocky stretches; potholes here and there; quite a few steep slopes. We were off to Nusa Ceningan, yet another island, except this time we could just drive from one island to the next (PTL), over an iconic bright suspension bridge.
Our first stop was the Blue Lagoon, and, spoiler alert, it was BLUE. As in the bluest shades of blue you could imagine. Intense, deep dark blue. Electric neon cyan. Soft milky baby blues. All these blues swirling and frothing and crashing into another stunning cove. You haven’t seen blue until you’ve been to the Blue Lagoon. And watching all these blues ebb and flow made us pretty tired so we rewarded ourselves with some blue-themed lounging at Secret Beach.
And then when it’s not blue, it gets green and dark and whisper-tone quiet back in the mangrove forest where we kayaked around in between large and lazy iguanas.
Lembongan and Ceningan are our first tastes of the ocean on this 5-month journey that should be packed with more ocean hues. It gave us the entire range as a taster to come. Every shade of blue and green; giant waves crashing against water hewn cliffs, to lounging in wooden docked boats rocking gently in two feet of lapping crystal clear bays at high tide between the two islands.
It was only a moment and then it was over – we were waiting around the ‘office’ of the ‘official boat to Nusa Penida’ with our backpacks to continue our trek. We paid 60,000 Rupiah each (about $4), waited until there were enough customers, and hopped on a tiny boat with about 6 other people to make the crossing to Nusa Penida.
Another day, another island.