Riiiiiiinnnnnng! The alarm clock. I open my eyes: where am I? I get out of bed and I come to terms with the world. I open the shutters just in time to see a full moon illuminating the rice fields to day, but just about, as by now it is sinking at the horizon, and is soon covered by dark clouds. Then I remember: I have an appointment with a boatman for a sighting of dolphins in the open sea. I have met many who have the desire to see a dolphin at least once in their life, and this desire in Bali can turn into reality.
It is 5am and the muezzin begins his morning litany from the distant mosque. I get down and walk to the nearby beach of Ume Anyar. Now it is quite dark. The volcanic sand is cool; it is a pleasure to walk on it, since during the day it is so hot that it is nearly impossible to touch.
The color of dawn is still far, and soon the boat approaches from the sea in a relatively silent way. It is an outrigger boat traditionally used by local fishermen. I get on board and take up a seat; the boatman gives me a life jacket, starts the engine and goes out to sea at a medium pace. The cool wind caresses my face, and while the outrigger cleaves the small waves, the sun suddenly comes out and paints the mountains and the volcanic slopes of a deep red.
The boatman continues impassive his march, first towards west, then he changes direction to the east, moving increasingly fast, as fast as the little engine his boat mounts can go, that is.
After the dark morning, the colors of the boat – water-green and turquoise – are now shining a new light. Behind us, to the south, Mount Agung looks impressive. The sea is relatively calm, and the boat is still silent. I was expecting a boring trip with the only purpose being dolphin-watching, but the morning is proving to be an unexpected pleasure, and a trip at sea is always a pleasure for me.
At one point the boatman stops the boat and points towards the sea: not too far from the boat, a group of dolphins finally makes its appearance. I am all excited, I take pictures and try to observe them carefully: they leap out of the water, play, swim at the water’s edge. But they are too far away, I would like to see them close. The boatman feels my wish and after a few minutes, when the school of dolphins moves away, he resumes the march eastwards.
We navigate for only 10 minutes and here’s another bunch, this time closes and more crowded. The sun is now a ball of fire and it starts to warm. I enjoy 15 long minutes observing these intelligent mammals swimming so close to us, performing in stylish somersaults, following our boat as if they wanted to make contact, and then leave all of a sudden, swimming towards the silhouette of the Java volcanoes.
I feel more than satisfied, and the boatman starts for the return trip to the beach of Ume Anyar. It was a wonderful experience that I will repeat for sure.
DOLPHINS AND BALI
There are several locations in Bali where traditional fishing boats depart in search of dolphins. With a little luck you can see dolphins every day without problems. In the north of Bali, Lovina and surrounding area is the main place where people come to admire dolphins offshore. Amed, in the northeast of the island, the dolphins swim near the beach. The best places in the south are in the area of Tanjung Benoa and Sanur. Both the north and the south, there are hotels that have suitable pools hosting swimming dolphins in order to allow tourists a close encounter with these beautiful animals: http://www.balidolphins.com – http://balidolphins.bali-vacation.biz – http://balidolphin-lovina.com
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