Two different times, friends told us we should go to Nusa Lembongan to swim with manta rays.
Friends from home suggested we hire a boat to snorkel the surrounding islands to see mantas. A new friend from Ubud urged us to do a discovery dive to swim beneath the mantas—saying she was jealous she didn’t have time to go herself. We did neither.
Even our waiter Hary (like “Harry” but with a soft “a”) tried to coordinate some snorkeling with manta rays. We politely declined.
Instead, we spent our time on Nusa Lembongan focused on a different kind of ray—rays that jutted out from the most amazing sunsets.
We spent our days wandering aimlessly, always clad only in bathing suits. I alternated between swimming in our gorgeous hotel pool and jumping in the nearby ocean. In between, I read and wrote and read some more. I finished the epic Ken Follet trilogy I had started in January and read an entire memoir by Geraldine DeRuiter after that.
As each day wound down, my watch alarm would buzz to tell me there were 20 minutes until sunset and suddenly we would move quickly. Shower! Put on real clothes! Hustle across the island to the row of restaurants hanging on the cliffs. Then we would settle in, order a Bintang (the beer of Indonesia) and enjoy the spectacular sunset. It was the highlight of each day and the only time I un-cased my camera.
I can’t really explain why we skipped out on seeing manta rays. And honestly, I am not sorry we did. All I know is that we showed up on an island of mostly dirt roads, walked to our hotel on the beach, spent our days waiting for the sunset, and I didn’t need anything else.