Laze on the beach and watch the sky turn
red, yellow, and orange as the sun sinks behind the towering
volcanoes of Java, which appear on the horizon rising purple
from the ocean. At night fishing fleets head out in their
'jukung', luring fish into nets with kerosene pressure lanterns
swaying and glowing yellow all along the waterfront. You
can join them for a two- or three-hour late afternoon trip.
Or hire a freelancer and go out on a sailing excursion,
The bay is great for swimming. Lovina's warm sea laps lazily
at the gray-sand shore during the dry season, quite tame
compared to the volatile southern coasts. Although a little
dirty, the wide expanses of sand are good for sunning (especially
at Kalibukbuk), and beach masseurs are available.
For a reef so close to the beach, the snorkeling, diving,
and boat fishing are above average. The docile sea and the
shallow lagoon make this coast ideal for beginners and young
divers to safely explore the specialized marine communities
of plant and animals, which live in the intertidal zone.
You don't need to venture far for good snorkeling, but
the best spots are two to three km from shore where the
sea is shallow. The best dive sites lie closer to Singaraja,
where the reef juts farther out from the beach. You can
see fascinating reef life right from the boat just by sticking
your head underwater.
When snorkeling you'll feel as if you're swimming inside
an aquarium with moray eels, tropical fish, and pastel corals.
As the offshore water is over your head, use the boat as
your island. Wear sneakers, and watch out for the sharp
coral, sea urchins, and catfish-like fish with poisonous
spines. Get used to wearing your mask in shallow water before
venturing out deeper waters. Start early before the water
The sand is so dark it can be difficult to see the bottom.
In February or March no snorkeling or dolphin trips are
offered due to heavy rain and dirty water. The skippers
wait on the beach for customers. They may provide snorkeling
gear. You can rent 'perahu' from the hotels, or simply swim
out to the reef.
An experience with mixed reviews is 'Breakfast with the
Dolphins'. It's easy to buy a ticket the day before from
boys on the beach. The length of the tour varying from 2.5
to three hours, depending on season, boat, captain, and
luck. Determine in advance how many hours you're going to
spend snorkeling versus hours spent dolphin-chasing.
If you don't, you may end up having to bargain on the boat,
paying an additional charge to see dolphins. When you buy
your ticket, give the vendor your room number and someone
will wake you with a knock on your door 15 minutes before
the predawn departure for the 30- to 60-minute trip to dolphin
territory (one to two km).
Dolphin-watching is very competitive, with dozens of boats
going out at dawn. Most of the motorized boats can fit four
to six people. Big wooden outriggers can carry up to seven
people and are less likely to pitch and roll than smaller
craft. If you're lucky (about 75% of the time) for a few
miraculous moments your boat will be surrounded by hundreds
of leaping, flipping, blowing dolphins.
Sometimes you find yourself in the midst of 500 or even
1000 dolphins. Watch for different species, particularly
the large, slow swimmers that can weigh up to a ton. In
any event you'll get a boat ride, tea and 'pisang goreng'
breakfast, and snorkeling on the return trip. Don't let
the boatman go in before the agreed upon time.
A good place to obtain diving information and arrange trips
is Spice Dive (tel./fax 62362-23305) which has an office
in Arya's restaurant in Kalibukbuk. Staff is conscientious,
honest, experienced, and properly qualified.
Scuba (PADI) certification courses, at all levels, are
also offered. Baruna (tel. 62362-23775), on the main road
in Kalibukbuk, rents snorkeling gear by the hour, offers
surf canoes, and sponsors cruises to see dolphins, snorkeling
trips and Sunset Cruises, but no courses. Make reservations
at your hotel.
Actually, Lovina Beach was the first seaside resort to
appear in the mid-70s, taking its name from a restaurant
that operated from 1953 to 1960 where Permata Cottages is
today. Anak Agung Panji Tisna, the ruler of northern Bali,
named this stretch of coast after the English word 'love'
in 1953. He is buried today not far from the first hotel
he founded, Tasik Madu, 'Sea of Honey'. The few 'losmen'
that existed in the sleepy early 1970s were demolished in
a 1976 earthquake.
The resort began anew and during the 1980s, new 'losmen'
and beach inns appeared. Lovina has since become the generic
term for a whole line of six small villages and palm-fringed
beaches that it has, touristically speaking, devoured. From
east to west, these include: Pemaron, Tukadmungga, Anturan,
Kalibubuk strip, Kaliasem and Temukus.
The strip starts at about the six-km mark west of Singaraja
to about five km past Kaliasem. Kalibukbuk has the highest
concentration while the fishing villages of Anturan and
Temukus are less densely packed with restaurants and accommodations
and thus are quieter.