Update: A 6.8 earthquake struck Bali today and injured 50 people. Fortunately no reports of any deaths yet.
My preconceived idea of the beaches in Bali did not match up with the reality. I think I must have been thinking more along the lines of Tahiti or Fiji. I think I may need to do some reconnaissance work on the matter. Despite that I was not disappointed, not one bit.
I was planning on running on the beach. That didn’t happen. As a matter of fact I didn’t run at all because there was no fitness center and the roads…well I told you about the roads and I think I would have just been a moving target. Just walking down to and back up from the beach was a workout though. Once we got there it was an even better one. Bali is made up of volcanic rock. There are 2 volcanos on the island and that’s where I went wrong with my thinking. I pictured swaying palm trees on nice sandy stretches. There were palm trees just not on the beach and there were little coves with sand just not huge stretches of it. No problem, the beach was breathtaking because of the volcanic rock and lack of sand.
Once we made it to the entrance of the beach we could either walk around some volcanic outcroppings to the right or walk undervolcanic outcroppings to the left. We followed the mainstream the first night to get beautiful photos at sunset. It was very nice of the sun to cooperate with low tide that night to enable us to get incredible pictures. The rest of the time we went left and found it to be quieter. Ok, quieter in the sense that instead of 50 people there were 6 people, if that. So we would walk through some sandy coves, climb over very sharp volcanic parts, walk in water on volcanic rock that has been smoothed by the water, and repeat. The parts under water had a lot of small water holes for lack of a better word. That’s where we saw the live sea critters. It was fascinating. They would either hang out there until the tide came in or I saw fish “jump” to other water holes. It was also where we could find some great shells. Don’t worry, we never took live or occupied shells. It was a workout because in some spots it was either get wet or climb up and over some rather high rock formations. We usually did both on our walks. Because of having to get wet I only took my camera to the beach and that was the first night to get sunset photos. All the other times I did not want to risk it.
The shells we found were far beyond anything I expected to find mostly because I really didn’t have any expectations until Anders went down to the beach the first afternoon without me (I’m sure I was exhausted from my spa treatment). He came home with a few very nice specimens (see photo below, that would get anybody excited about looking for shells) and I was hooked. The next morning we were out at low tide and went back every day. We met some nice surfers while we were out because they were about the only other people who went where we did. They even told us where to look for the best ones, although they were all good. I managed to find a shark’s tooth. Oh yeah, that is the 4th one for me and this one was big! Kiersten, Karen, and Lori – I can’t tell you how many times I thought of you. You would have loved it. The surprising thing is that Anders got into it, when he wasn’t watching the tidal pools and water holes that is. He has a good eye and found some shells that I’m jealous of.
Anders and I talked about why it’s so much fun to look for shells. I know it isn’t for everyone but I love it. It’s a treasure hunt only you don’t know what treasure you’ll find until you see it. I could sit for hours and look through a deposit of shells, looking for that perfect one. It’s so nice to be near (or in) the water, hear the surf, soak up some sun, and have a purpose. All of the shells that are pictured did not make the cut to come home with us. Anders had fun throwing the rejects off the cliff in our backyard and back to the ocean. Hopefully he didn’t clock any surfers.
This shell is one that Anders found the first time he went to the beach alone. I have never seen anything like, have no clue what it is, and still don’t. We actually thought it was a child’s toy! The funny things is that we met Rick, a cute Aussie surfer, and during the course of the week he found two! The first one he gave to a beautiful Chinese girl and I think because of that good karma he was able to find another one. He didn’t know what it was either and he’s been around the water his whole life.
Hermit crabs would be a realtors dream. They do not live in fixer-uppers. They pick the prettiest and rarest shells for their homes. I don’t know how many times we found incredible shells and before we turned it over would chant, “Please be dead. Please be dead.” Sometimes they were but more often that not hermit crabs were living in them. We also saw some of the tiniest hermit crabs ever. At the tide line there would be a group of shells or I would reach for a shell and it would start to move. I’m talking about shells with crabs inside that are half the size of you little fingernail. It never failed to make me smile.
This is a picture of a seaweed that attaches to the rocks. It’s like a necklace of little balls of moss. It’s hard because the salt on it dries at low tide. It actually hurts your hand if you put your weight on it and it’s been exposed to the sun for a while. I loved this particular formation. Tell me it doesn’t look like Snuffleupagus!
So in the end, there were no palm trees and no sandy beaches but we were there every day and loving what the Bali beach had to offer in Uluwatu.
5PM – 78° Should have waited 3 hours for my first outside run in GZ. It was 86° and beastly but I did it anyway.