We were in Nusa Penida, Indonesia for our 10th wedding anniversary. And instead of the lazy luxury vacation my husband was imagining, he found himself on a tiny island off Bali. Staring at volcanic Mount Agung and agreeing to come along on an adventure with me.
Our trail began early morning and took us first to Tembeling forest and its natural rock pools. It took about 50 minutes drive from Pandawa Resort where we were staying. Then it was a 3 km walk from the road on top, with the path winding down through the dense forest. Luckily there were Ojeks (bike taxis) who we could book for 50k IDR to take us down to the lower levels and they would guide us walking thereafter to the rock pools and the beach below. What a hair raising ride that was! The “road” is just a mere suggestion and a collection of mud and pebbles snaking down at an angle befitting a rollercoaster.
After about 15 minutes of frantic praying and holding onto the scooter with a white knuckled grip, we reached. No rock pool in sight yet. This better be worth it, I thought to myself. Andre was probably wondering if love blinded him into going along with my insane plans and if it would eventually get him killed in a jungle after 10 years of marriage.
Good things in life don’t come easy, so we had to walk down some rough stone steps to a little temple carved into the rock… and there it was.
The first pool glittering emerald in the filtered sunlight. Little local boys dived off the jutting edges of the rocks high up and the clear green water rippled. And it was so surreal. Further ahead, there was another rock pool with water splashing down into it.
The cool sweet water was crystal clear and just beyond the rocky wall, was the sea with its white crested waves crashing enthusiastically on the coral filled shore.
I can see why people still make the long trip down to these pools. It’s absolutely magical. I wondered how the water was so clear and greenish when the rocks are brown and the sea is a bright cobalt. It didn’t make sense, but we weren’t thinking any more as we jumped into the pool and had the best time ever.
Climbing back up and hanging on for dear life up that gravel path however, was not the best time ever. The bike taxi guys were of a different opinion and were laughing and cheering on the other scooters as they passed by. What a rush! We were now even more excited for the next leg of our adventure.