Manta Point, Nusa Penida, Bali


Video by Rick Horner on Youtube.

I’m crying as I write this because it has brought back so many mixed memories for me and I can’t believe how bad things have become in such a short space of time.

I got tagged this morning on facebook by a beautiful person I met and and now have the pleasure of calling a friend when I travelled to Bali a little over a year ago – Emmie Phelan.   Bali as you know was one destination I wanted to travel to for most of my life, it was top of my bucket list.  I wrote about some of my experiences but others I kept close to my heart.  It didn’t feel right writing about my experiences when my sister Antonia had been diagnosed with Cancer just two days before I departed.  It was the longed for trip of a lifetime that very nearly didn’t happen.  Bali left an impact that I still feel to this day and she helped me in ways I never dreamed possible, especially in coping with the sadness and pain that lay a few months ahead.  There were many tears shed on that journey.  It was the most heart breaking trip I had ever set off on, alone.

Bali has unbelievable beauty, both of the landscape and in its people but Bali also has a troubled side brought about mainly by the tourists that visit.  Plastic.

Plastic has become such a huge issue all over the world but never in my life was I faced with such blatantly obvious destruction as I was in Bali.  It was everywhere most especially in the ocean.  Here in Ireland if I dip my toes into the sea I am normally concerned about not stepping on a jelly fish, in Bali the concern was not to get wrapped up in plastic.  There is a conscious effort being made to clean up in Bali but its out further in the depths of the ocean, where years of refuse and disregard from humans that the enormity of the damage can really be seen.

This video is of Manta Point, Nusa Penida, Bali.  This is where I dropped into the ocean for the first time off a boat filled with people who were all 1) able to swim 2) able to snorkel or 3) able to dive.  Whereas I, couldn’t do any of the three!   Our first stop was Manta Point.  I had only ever seen Manta’s on TV or in the Aquariums so I was a little excited about the prospect of seeing one for real, so fear of not being able to swim didn’t even come into it as I was not missing out on an opportunity of a life time.

Except when I jumped in, I had hoped to see Manta’s swimming in the deep in their natural habitat.  I was anticipating beauty of an enormous magnitude, instead the reality was human waste, plastic. Plastic bags, plastic cups, plastic wrappers, plastic forks, knives, spoons and plastic bottles floating on the surface and beneath.  I got such a shock I actually gulped ocean water.  This video shows you what I saw that day except when I was there it was to a lesser degree.  This is the same area a litte over a year on and it is totally heartbreaking to see that the matter has escalated not resolved.

We didn’t get to see Manta’s. The sea was too choppy and when a lot of the experienced people started going green and getting sick, a collective decision was made to get back on the boat and travel to a quieter bay.  I wrote about my experience and the beauty I did see at the quieter bay but this video this morning was like being back down there all over again and it is just harrowing to witness.

Like anywhere there is enormous beauty in Bali but there is also the problem side.  I have every intention of returning to this place that captured my heart from the very first moment.  Here are a few pictures of what looks like rocks on the beach but in fact are the remants of the damged coral reef.  You will spot the odd glimer of colour in a couple of photos, a reminder of a healthier reef.

We are doing this people, we are ALL doing this.  We are destroying our planet and its eco system.  Watch the video.  This is real I have experienced it.  This problem isn’t just in Bali it is also a problem in Irish waters.  Bali has started  major clean-up projects as have a lot of other locations around the world.  But we need to do the same.  Placing your plastic bottle into a recycle bin is not the solution, you need to start cutting down altogether on the use of plastic, find another way.   Richard’s Little Farm in Mallow, is finding another way, he is buying organic produce in canvas bags and he will fill containers for you.  Reuse…  Reclaim this planet we live on before we destroy it beyond repair, lets not lose the beauty we have on this planet.

Om shanti