Today we had booked a local driver to take us to the other side of Bali to Tumbalen to snorkel the Liberty Wreck that had been torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942 after this the driver was then going to take us on to Tirta Gangga on the return journey which sounded like a plan to me. The only problem is that even the very smallest distances in Bali take a disproportionate amount of time to get to.
To be fair the drive was a very nice one as much of the time we were accompanied by Mount Agung being on our left side and the sea on our right producing the most wonderful sceneries along the way.
However, on the trip there was also another more sinister accompaniment both on the way out and back and that was ‘the police’ (not the band). We had previously been told that corruption is quite rife in Indonesia and I could not tell if the moves by the police were organised or not, but every once in a while our driver would be stopped by them, he would then have to get out the car and go and pay them some money or as he put it, be in fear of the consequences. This is one of those things the locals simply accept although somewhat begrudgingly therefore it will just continue on. Our driver said that sometimes a clampdown by the government would occur to stop it for a while but then it would resume and this extortion happened to us four times in our relatively short journey!
The drive (and driver) were both none the worse for the costly interruptions and Tumbalen was reached soon enough. The wreck is about 50-75m from the pebbly beach and luckily for us the visibility was good enough to see much of the wreck and the many fish and coral calling it home – we even saw a small turtle that appeared to live in one of the ship’s holes or at least had found something of interest there. Every now and then we would dive down to see close up the upper reaches of the ship’s deck as these were quite manageable and further below us we could see some scuba divers some of whom appeared to be undergoing instruction.
After a first run out we came back and then wifey wanted us to take some bread in to encourage what turned out to be a feeding frenzy as fish, not all of them small, came up to have a nibble of whatever they could lay their nibblers on and this was not always the bread! The wreck, however was a really good snorkel with lots of life and corals and it was identifiable as being a ship so everything we could want so we thoroughly enjoyed it.
On the way back we visited Tirta Gangga this is a really nice garden more than a shrine and has excellent views of the sea and surrounds.
The place was restored after the eruption of Mount Agung in 1963. It contains some very nice big ponds with both fish and stepping stones in them which we hopped and skipped over.
The bridges and statues are all Hindu, so really quite unusual and very beautiful.
It is not really a place of worship more a place to relax and kick back so this is what we did. The photos do far more justice to the garden than I ever could but it is a really cool place to go and you can even swim in one of the pools they have so all round top place.
The gardens done our guide then wanted to take us to a place he new for lunch – a place where the ‘locals’ frequent as it were. Upon visiting it appears the reason the locals are so keen is to have a real bum burnout here. This is perhaps very normal for them but less so for these poor Euro-backpacking-bums! The food was very tasty but everything had an extra hot chilli kick but we were not the only ones having a bit of a sweat on as our driver and guide was also suffering alongside us – a thing, he said, that had never happened to him before that he sweat whilst eating – he must’ve been poorly … lol.