January 18, 2017
Woke up at Gili Air for the last time 😦 We are quite sad to leave this place, as we have truly fallen in love with it ❤ Had breakfast and said goodbye to the good people of Cemara Bungalows (recommend!), and returned the bicycles before heading over to meet the boat to head back over to Bali.
Our next destination is Amed (north/east corner) to dive the famous USS Liberty shipwreck. She is a US Army cargo ship with was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in January 1942 and was beached at Tulumben (near Amed). In 1963 the big volcano of Bali near Tulumben, Mt. Agung, erupted causing the vessel to slip down off the beach onto a sandy sloped bottom where it lies today on a grade ranging from 25 to 100 feet end-to-end, and is one of the top dive sites in Bali. If you are a diver, this one is a must, as is the “wall dive” a few meters down the beach.
After a passenger drop-off at Lombok and an hour bumpy boat ride that day, we had made the crossing back over to Bali. We pulled into Amed to discover quite a quiet vibe to the area. Although the locals were more aggressive at this spot, recruiting people right off the boats and into their restaurants and home stays, we became wise to it pretty quickly. The other thing that stood out right away was that the sand was black here. This has to do with its proximity to the volcano. It is referred to as “volcanic sand”. Pretty cool!
On our favorite App for looking up great deals on accommodation, “Agoda”, we had previously found a newer, super-clean “boutique villa” down the road called “Mahik Garam”. We rented a nice little scooter in the harbor and zipped over to the villa to check our bags in and have a shower. As we had learned by now, when you approach an accommodation that you have discovered on Agoda (the best prices available), you can’t ‘wheel and deal’ with them at the door… in fact, we were give significantly higher rates upon arrival than we had found on Agoda, and they said they couldn’t move on the price, so most of the time we would end up logging onto their wifi and book it on Agoda in front of them. Very strange, but it seems to be how it is…. perhaps an agreement with Agoda that they are honoring.
The please was really great! Highly recommend this one as well, and for $28/night, you can’t lose. Great gardens and am ocean view with an infinity pool, a huge new room with hot fresh shower, AC and the best mattress of the trip! Wifi and breakfast included 🙂 Guy loved the mosquito nets too, as the mosquitos LOVE him!
We settled in, grabbed a nibble with a couple we met in the bay, and explored Amed for a while on the scooter. It felt great to cruise around and talk to locals and dive instructors, and get orientated. We have never seen such a dense concentration of dive businesses. It seemed that about 30% of the businesses were dive shops. The neat thing about these dive shops around Bali is that they have dive instructors from all over the world, so it’s a lot of fun connecting with them.
We decided to do our common late afternoon adventure, and head off in search of a live band to eat dinner and listen to for the evening. There is a large reggae presence in these islands, which suits me fine, as I love it 🙂 We enjoyed the search and the people we met during, and eventually found a restaurant at the other end of Amed called Wawa Wewe 1, which had a young band playing and a very lengthy and in-expensive menu, as well as some super cozy seating. Perfect for us 🙂
We ate until we couldn’t eat anymore and had 2 drinks each and the total bill was $22! Our kind of night! Here is our bill and a page out of the menu. Move the decimal one position to the left and you have your CAD price…. so $2 for wings, onion rings $1.50, etc.
The scooter ride back to the Villa was beautiful as well, and there were some fireworks going up in the bay. Off to bed, as tomorrow is an early one for diving 🙂