On our second full day in Bali, we woke up and had breakfast by the pool again before packing up our things to go to the next hotel. We played in the pool for a while and then got smoothies and a couple’s massage overlooking the ocean. It was really nice to pamper ourselves before getting in the car again.
We checked out at 12 and our driver picked us up once again to take us to Bali Sharks. I made the reservation with them a few weeks before our trip, and I was really excited about having fun while also donating to a good cause.
We arrived at Bali Sharks and I started to get nervous about what we were actually about to do. We sat down with the director and she was extremely sweet and told us about what they do and why it’s important. Indonesia is a big exporter of shark fin, and it’s contributing to the endangerment of many shark breeds. Sharks are an important part of the ecosystem, so Bali Sharks asks fisherman who come across adolescent white-tip and black-tip sharks to hand them over. Then, the sharks are divided by color and put into nets in the ocean until they are about one meter long. At that point, they are considered mature enough to go back into the ocean without a high risk of death, and the people at Bali Sharks release them back into the wild.
The director told us that the sharks have an instinct to bite anything directly in front of them if provoked. She told us that we could pet their tails and bodies but to avoid putting our hands in front of their faces. That made me even more apprehensive, but we paid our donation and headed off to the boat.
The boat was tiny and even though we didn’t go far, it was nerve-wracking to ride in the marina. The view of the shore and the ocean on either side of us was incredible, though. In no time, we arrived at the small floating area where the sharks are kept. We put on life jackets and snorkel gear and the staff encouraged us to get in whenever we felt comfortable. They also had food for the sharks to lure them over to where I would be so that I could get a good look.
Junkyu was still getting ready by the time I put my foot in the water. The nets were really deep, so they had a ladder and some wooden poles above the shark area in order to give swimmers something to hold on to. I got my camera ready and snuck into the cold, shark-infested ocean water. The sharks all swam away from me, but whenever they got close, I tensed up at first. Eventually, I got used to being in there with them, and I learned that they were more scared of me than I was of them.
I was able to pet the tails and bodies of some of them, and they felt so smooth and sturdy. But whenever I reached out to pet them, they would swim away in fear. The staff poured out food near me so that it attracted the sharks, and I got a lot of great video footage. Their eyes were so strange-looking. Some of them looked scared, and others were intimidating, but at the end of the day, they were all baby sharks just swimming around. It was an amazing experience that I would recommend anyone try.
Junkyu got in finally, and it was hilarious being in the ocean in a net full of sharks with my husband who can barely swim. I think it’s safe to say he enjoyed the experience as well, but he let out a decent amount of frightened screams. He was impressed that I found such a unique place during my research and attributed it to my English ability. When we went back home, he told all of his Korean friends that our Bali trip was probably only good because I was about to make reservations in English, unlike most Korean tourists, who generally go through a tour company.
There were two other tourists there that afternoon; a German guy and an Australian girl. We chatted a bit on the boat ride back, and then we were provided with a free lunch. I asked the director about seeing baby sea turtles, and she let our driver know the address and told me to show them our receipt. I also couldn’t resist buying a Bali Sharks t-shirt.
After lunch, our driver took us to the sea turtle conservation center, which is free to Bali Sharks participants. The lady who takes care of the sea turtles was kind enough to show us the baby sea turtles (all about one month old), along with her one-year-old turtles and even a 50-year-old gigantic sea turtle. Most types of sea turtle are endangered, and there are a few other places in Bali that house baby sea turtles until they are old enough to make it back to the ocean with a higher survival rate.
She let us feed the 50-year-old turtle with some seaweed, and then she let me hold some of the baby turtles. It was yet another amazing chance to see an endangered animal without causing harm to it. Many people who visit Southeast Asia try to pet tigers or ride elephants, but many of the ways those animals are raised is harmful and should not be supported. (Thankfully, I have seen the ban of such practices in some cases, but Bali is still a place where you can ride elephants.)
We bought some handmade wooden turtles to display in our house, and she promised that the money would go toward feeding the turtles. Back into the car we went, and it was a long, traffic-ridden ride to Tanah Lot. Tanah Lot is another famous Balinese temple, known for it’s beauty at sunset.
The trick is to go at low-tide, when the temple is accessible by foot. Otherwise, you’d just have to look from afar. I looked up the time of low-tide, and thankfully, on the day that we went, it was around the time of sunset, so we were able to explore the rocks and shore of the temple and saw it up close.
The temple was so interesting, and it was an adventure getting down to it and getting back up. The scenery was gorgeous, and we had a lot of fun playing near the little holes in the rocks and sand. The sunset did not disappoint, and we stayed until it was almost dark. We walked around the little shopping area, ate some corn on the cob, and then found our driver, hungry for dinner.
He dropped us off at a place he knew. It was a huge restaurant with a main floor along with huts that overlooked the rice paddies. The huts were separated by a koi pond, filled with orange and white carp that dazzled us while we waited for our food. The meal was delicious and I think I liked it even more than my husband did. I’m a picky eater, but I gobbled down a noodle soup that he refused to eat. We had pork and seafood and a chocolate dessert, and we were ready for bed.
Our driver took us to our hotel to check in, and when he stopped at a swanky looking place and told us it was the place, I couldn’t believe it. I booked our room on Airbnb, just like I had the first place we stayed at, so I was sure it wasn’t a place as nice as the one we arrived at. We checked in and were led to our private hut, surrounded by palm trees and rice fields. Our hut had a beautiful bathroom (with an actual bathtub, which I hadn’t seen in a while) and a spacious bedroom that we fell in love with.
We had to sleep early that night in order to wake up at 6AM for the next day’s activity. All around us, frogs sang us to sleep, which didn’t last long. Around 3AM, we were woken up by an incredibly loud storm, and the sound of pouring rain made us worry that our plans for the next day might actually be ruined.