Prior to my recent holiday to Indonesia, I trolled through the endless travel sights, for location advice and diving insight. The options were plenty but with promises of clear waters, untouched coral walls, vast arrays of marine life, the articles steered me to choose Lovina, with an added above water enticement – an island with deer. I had never imagined the possibility of deer spotting on a scuba diving trip, in fact, the possibility sounded rather bizarre.
Fast forward to my trip, I arrived in Lovina with plans to find a dive company to take me scuba diving around the magical deer island. Scrolling through trip advisor for dive companies close to my hotel, I excitedly booked for the following day.
Next morning, I daydreamed about meeting Disney’s “Bambi” as I walked down to the dive shop to get sized for gear and head off on a bus. Along the way, we pick up another fellow diver. An American with vast experience of Lovina dives. I tell her about my readings of deer’s and share my excitement with her. She laughs, as deer for Americans are as kangaroos are for Australians – very common and not that exciting.
Once the bus arrives at the Getty we boarded a small speed boat and made a b-line to the island. The 20-minute journey to the island was the perfect time for a tanning session. Once arrived and geared up, we eagerly plunged into the water.
It was everything promised online – schools of fish silhouetted against a coral wall – but the written word doesn’t do it justice. The coral wall is mesmerising; an ever changing array of textures, shapes and colours.
Menjangan island is situated in a protected marine reserve, which explains why the diversity of the fish was so outstanding. With the vast amount of sea anemone surrounding the island bay areas you are sure to see the famous clown fishes from Disney Pixar’s “Finding Nemo”. The experience was magical, and the schools of fish I swam amongst were exhilarating.
Surfacing from the dive, I was ecstatic but exhausted and starving. Our boat stopped at the side of the island so we could hop off and explore. Then a memory surfaced and my exhaustion and hunger were forgotten in the hunt for deer.
Menjangan island is very small and secluded. Although locals come to pray, and divers visit, nobody lives on the island. Its only inhabitants are the deer.
We walked down the jetty and we were instantly rewarded with, not one, but two deer waiting to greet us! They were calm, one male and one female, standing tall and strong, poised with antlers high and curiosity lingering. They did not seem too bothered by human presence and watched as I sat on the edge of a log, eating a lovely packed mie goreng lunch.
Although the thought of leaving the island before we could see the deer swim was hard, the next dive was promised to be just as exciting as the first and it soon piqued my imagination. This dive was near a bat cave and the echoes of screeches could be heard metres below the surface.
True to the internet and guides promises, it was another incredible dive. In a single day, I had lived like a Disney Princess, visited “Bambi”, played in Ariel’s garden and spotted Nemo and his friends. If that’s not magical, I don’t know what is.