I have posted on my FB page a link to lots of amazing photos from the Komodo Island dive trip, taken by Dragos Dubina who is a dive instructor and set up the dive boat trip. I had wanted to go to Komodo and hired Dragos as my instructor for my refresher dive course (my last dive was in 1984!) and after my second dive he mentioned by he had one spot open on the dive boat trip to Komodo! Talk about manifestation!!! Dragos is, as you will see, a wonderful u/w photographer, and has graciously consented to let me post his picasa album so that you all can see these amazing photos. I will find out how to move the link here, so until that time please go to FB to Dave Hammel with a sunset picture with an inset of the Bali Sacred pool photo on my home page. Look for a post on May 16 with the picture of the diver and click on it. Sit back and enjoy the beauty underwater!
The trek after the stop at the farmer’s was a series of steep switchbacks as we dropped into the river gorge. At first I could see the water running below us between the gaps in the trees. Fifteen minutes later it didn’t seem appreciably closer, and then shortly afterwards there we were! The water poured out of the gorge around large boulders that seemed to be jammed into the steep sides of the cliffs the water had gouged out of the mountain. It looked mostly impassable to my eye, other than to the water, which always finds a way. The water then broadened out into this beautiful, shaded pool which then spilled over a fall to a larger pool about eight feet below. I am assuming that my “Holy” vibration was lacking as I’m pretty certain that this “Holy Spring” was the origin of my “Bali Belly” malady. Even though the water flow didn’t look to be very fast, I had to swim out of the main flow in the center and approach from the side along a rocky cliff. Even here, the water was too fast and I was reduced to pulling myself forward using the rocks on the cliff. Eventually, the rock ledge was attained and I sat under the spring to get inoculated 😉
Jumping back into the shaded pool, the water quickly took me headfirst over the eight foot drop to the lower pool. The cool water was pouring with enough force to hold me under the water. At first, I waited for my natural buoyancy to assert itself, and then quickly realized that the force of the falls was going to keep me at a depth of ten feet or so. Not making a lot of progress upward, I swam forward getting help from the water flow to push me out of the turbulence and then to the surface. Good thing I’d been practicing my breath holding! At this point I was feeling tired from the exertion and cold water, and was grateful to swim out of the main flow and into the shallows. We climbed back to the trail head and then Margot and Bob went out to the edge of the next falls for photos.
The water flowed back into a stream before cascading into another fall that was over fifty to sixty feet high. The pictures of Bob and Margot posing are taken at the top of this fall. The stream kept dropping on its’ way to the ocean, and so we were back on the trek to the next set of falls. As we geared up, we were met by a German couple and young child, the only people other than the farmer that we met along the way.
We continued to the last part of the falls which we again meant a trek downhill for about half an hour. The final set of waterfalls are a popular destination and can be reached by road, eliminating the trek we took, but missing out on a beautiful walk through the rice fields, jungle, and mountains.
The pictures of the people in the chute were from a wedding party from Australia. Bali is close to AUS and is a very popular vacation spot. They all had life jackets on, but we went down the chute with just our suits on. It was a very fast trip down and you hit the water fairly hard. My sinuses benefited from the rinse, so it was all good. After we climbed out onto the rocks, our lunch of steamed lemongrass chicken and rice was delivered to us and we had a delightful and well deserved lunch.
Bob, our guide, has organized the local boys into providing a “lifeguard” type service at these falls. They get the guests suited up with life jackets, help them to cross the main stream of the falls into a calm “waiting” pool, and then hold on to the slider until they’re lined up properly for the drop. At the bottom, there is a “guard” waiting to assist anyone if needed and to direct them out of the water. They also delivered our lunch to us. On the way to the car park, one of the young men graciously relieved me of my water hydration pack as we had a steep climb back out of the gorge. We had to stop half way up to catch our breath and I was only too happy to surrender the water weight to him.
All in all, an amazing trek, fabulous day, and just another beautiful day in Paradise!
We had a little stopover with a farmer and his family for fresh coconuts and a general rest stop in the heat. We walked past large lemongrass plants, clove trees, and a small fish acquaculture pond on the way through the rice fields. The land is very rich; reminds me of Ohio growing up but much wetter. Next section is the steep part with a couple of waterfalls we swam in. The water was very cool temperature wise which was a welcome change. Best, Dave
So that brings us to the end of the flat part of the trek, as we head down into the river gorges and lots of up and down climbing though mostly cooler as we go more into the depths of the gorges with water spray thrown up into the air.
This area of Bali has been blessed in innumerable ways. Bali could easily be referred to as “Water World” due the heavy rainfall it receives. Even now, in early April when the rainy season has ended, it still rained a bit every few days. The Balinese have constructed water courses that cross the island, and here in the mountains, the sound of flowing, gurgling water is ever present; gently lulling one to sleep; providing white noise background for meditation; and reinforcing the design water plays in daily life here. The water course that wound around the corner of my cabin also serves as a corridor through the landscape. Transited by the local people out gathering foodstuffs, material for fire, or on the way home, the watercourse also has dogs, cats, and chickens following its’ curves. We started our trek to the waterfalls by following our home watercourse.
In the photo, you should be able to discern two ridges close to the top of the mountain. We trekked toward those ridges, forded the streams, and then followed the streams down through the steep terrain to numerous waterfalls. In the area of the photo, there are nineteen waterfalls spread throughout the two ridge lines as they flow north towards the sea. Most of the waterfalls are fairly dramatic to see due to the fair amount of water being carried.
This trek took place over five and a half hours. The first part was mostly flat overland with a couple of streams to ford; then through the rice fields and finally the hardest part, climbing up and then down, following the falls through hundreds of meters or elevation changes while carrying a hydration pack with 3 liters of water.
So as we start the trek from my front door which is the first photo:
The coconut palms in the photo are ripe with coconuts. The trees with a reddish tinge to its’ new leaves are cacao trees from which chocolate is made. Here’s a closer look at the cacao pods:
Aussie travel chum Margo trekking through the jungle along the water course trail. We’re on the way to the rice fields, about a half hour from here.
Much of the early part of the trek to the falls was through this type of jungle terrain. What you don’t see is that the ground is mostly muddy and wet. By this time, my flip flops were basically useless and we had really just started. Our guide, Bob, was of course walking barefoot. Once my flops got muddy and wet I just took them off and saved them for any really rocky areas. I was thinking I should have brought my waterproof North Face hiking shoes on this trek instead of them sitting nice and dry in my room….arghhhh!
The last photo for this section is of Bob fording on of the smaller streams before we get to the rice fields and the views of the hills going down to the coast. Hope you’re enjoying the blog!! Best, Dave
So, to give one last moment to the “Hello, Kitty” phenomenon…There’s a photo of the plane with the HK theme on the fuselage and at this point I’m j just shaking my head over this. The plane leaves Taipei for Denpasar, Bali (DPS) for the five and a half hour trip. I’m now at just over twenty hours in airplanes or airports with just a couple hours of sleep. A couple of hours later it’s mealtime, yay!!! I get the steamed rice and beef enter and a beer (still free), and when it arrives in greeted with not only “Hello, Kitty” themed napkin and wet back, but the plastic ware all have HK at the end of each utensil! Arghhh!!! Then when i open the sponge cake dessert, of course I find a pink colored white chocolate HK medallion ensconced on to off the cake. OK, I admit biting that little sucker’s head off with pleasure. With mealtime over, I reach for a pillow to add to the one my friend Ann have me for the trip, and you guessed it, bright yellow HK starting me in the face!!! I buried that one facedown under my other pillow hoping it would stay hidden, which thankfully it did. About this time, I remembered the picture I saw on FB of the Chinese restaurant sign that said: “We not see your cat; stop asking! Try our chicken entree, it’s purrfect!
Too tired to get into it at this point and I’m happily ensconced by the beach in Bali. I’ll update you on my 6pm beach walk/swim, Indonesian sambal and the new Hello Kitty onslaught…betcha just can’t wait for that one. ??
The answer to the “where in the world” is Dave at this moment is the airport in Taipei, Taiwan sitting on a “Hello, Kitty” themed waiting area at my gate. Wow, can it get any better than this? Pink and white checkered floor, pink furniture, pink walls…you get the picture. I should mention the kid’s play area where at least the kiddies are happily screaming unlike the 18 month old a couple rows away who yelled himself into a coma several times on the 13 hour flight from San Francisco. Earplugs are more helpful than I imagined or else it might have been the fact that the flight took off at 130 AM my time. I did have a period of unconsciousness in there somewhere; for how long I don’t have a clue
The good news is that beer was free on international flights so I relied on that and a muscle relaxant to doze. And the food was pretty good.
So now you’re up to date as my flight to Bali is boarding soon. Check out the plane!!! Maybe Bali can beat the “Hello, Kitty” theme but it’s gonna be tough!