Thursday, April 9, 2009
Reef Seen Aquatics & Bungalows
Walking along the beach being a little depressed seeing the litter and the poverty of the village people we stumbled across Reef Seen Aquatics & Bungalows – we had read about them in our Lonely Planet, so we sauntered up and started chatting with the Dive Master – who turned out to be a Holly from Oakland!! We also met the owner and founder of Reef Seen, Chris from Australia. Over the next few days we learned more and more about all the wonderful things he had instigated as far as turning things around and caring for the environment instead of destroying it, and getting the fishermen and the villagers involved actively in accomplishing these changes. It was so great to see that development can be done in a manner that benefits the environment and the local people, instead of raping a place without regards for the future. Of course there is still a long way to go, but the people of Pemuteran are on the right track, I just hope other villages will see and learn from them.
We made plans to go on a dive and snorkeling trip the next trip out to Menjangan Island, about 1 hour's boat ride out towards Java in the Sea of Bali. It was supposed to be one of the best diving spots around Bali, and also great for snorkeling, which is what I prefer – so we decided a day on the water would be a great way to cool of and hang out. We also decided that we wanted to stay at least a few days at Reef Seen, just the whole atmosphere appealed to us, not to mention being right smack on the beach right by where they are doing the very successful reef restoration, and that for less than $40 a night, including tax and breakfast! Granted, it was more expensive than what we were paying at the Jubawa Home stay, but not having to wander along the highway for about 10 minutes to get to the beach seemed well worth the extra money for the last few days.
We also made arrangements to get a ranger guide to take us on a tour of the national park so we could get all of our planned activities done while we stayed at Jubawa, so we could enjoy the beach and just relax when we stayed at Reef Seen. Happy with all of our accomplishments we returned to Jubawa at had a drink and ate a well-prepared meal cooked by the girls there, and then we turned in for an early night.
The next day I took the day off to catch up on emails, blog, and just hang out and paint a bit, and Jan went to the beach to snorkel, coming home with glowing reports on how beautiful the coral reef was right outside Reef Seen. She had also met the turtle Boomer at Reef Seen and seen all the young turtle hatchlings there – another of Reef Seen's projects that was turning into a success story.