Cliff Fishermen And Diving in Nusa Penida at the Manta Point and Crystal Bay Dive Sites, Indonesia
The boat ride to the Manta cleaning station dive site was very choppy.
There are usually high waves at the southwest and southern parts of Nusa Penida.
In those areas, there are no sandy beaches, except for the rare sandy bay.
Tall limestone cliffs rise almost vertically from the sea, with their very tops covered in jungle greenery.
I had to squint my eyes in amazement, when I spotted some fishermen sitting on impossibly narrow cliff ledges, fishing the turbulent waters below with long bamboo poles.
The other divers on the boat were all setting up their diving gear, and completely missed this unbelievable scene.
Like the old tradition of sitting on bamboo stilts in the middle of the ocean waves in Sri Lanka, these fishermen walk a long way from their villages in order to fish every day.
They have carved small steps in the rock wall, and created tiny ledges in the cliffs, on which they sit with their handmade bamboo poles.
They leave those bamboo poles on the ledges, because I have seen some ledges with no fishermen, but only the bamboo poles tied to the cliffs.
These ledges seemed impossibly small, perhaps just wide enough for a fishermen to crouch on with his cone shaped bamboo hat and a woven basket, in which to keep the catch of the day.
People here eat very little compared with people in our cultures. In our culture, a normal meal is a small fish with side dishes, or a fillet of a bigger fish.
When a fishermen here catches a fish, it will be cooked for the whole family in a coconut curry or wrapped in a banana leaf and eaten with steamed rice.
But the most popular dish that everyone eats almost daily, is Nasi Goreng, which is fried rice with vegetables and one fried egg on top, with a few prawn crackers on the side.
I was encouraged by the dive shop to take a pill against seasickness, as I tend to get seasick when the sea is very choppy.
I did take the pill and also sat at the very back of the boat, almost on the lap of the captain, who was super nice and very experienced with divers.
The water felt warm and the current was tilting us right and left.
It was impossible to fight the currents, you simply had to go with the flow, and let the currents take you where they will.
We were lucky that several manta rays did come to be cleaned at the cleaning station during our dive.
There were lots of other dive boats around, but it did not translate to a very crowded dive site.
We saw both reef mantas and very big oceanic mantas.
The visibility was not fabulous for taking photos, but it was exciting to see the mantas gracefully flying around us.
After an hour of resting on the boat between dives, we dived at the Crystal Bay dive site.
Located in a calmer bay between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, this dive site, just across from a sandy beach, had many diving and snorkeling boats.
Part of the dive was around the small coral reef in the area, where we spotted tiny seahorses holding on with their tails to some seaweed.
The anti seasickness pill that I had taken did help me not get seasick, but I was very tired after the dives.
At first I thought that it was the strong currents during the dive, but later I realized that the pill had made me very drowsy.
I spent the afternoon by the pool, swimming, sleeping and reading.
Island life suits me very well.
I love having a simple life where our only concerns are what to eat for lunch and where to eat dinner, where to go for a run, or take a dip or go for a swim.
It calms my mind to focus on simple daily chores like walking to the laundromat to drop off our laundry or pick it up, buy some water to make a pot of jasmine tea to drink on our villa’s patio, or where to get good soy iced lattes….