Mt Agung - August 18th 2015

Last night we watched the sun set over the beach. The crescent moon was visible above the mighty Mt Agung and all in all it was a magical experience. We had dinner in front of the bungalows looking out over the ocean as the light dimmed. Hard to think of a more romantic setting in the world!

Awoke this morning at around 6am and went out onto to the beach to witness the sunrise. Another incredible experience to see the colour in the east over the black beach and the ocean and to the west see the first light strike the top of Mt Agung! The world is a remarkable place.

Mt Agung is a still active stratovolcano over 3000 metres high. It puffs smoke and ash from time to time. It last erupted in 1963 killing about 1400 people. The volcanic soil surrounding it and the rain that it draws in have been the source of sustenance for the surrounding Balinese since time immemorial. It is indeed one of the most striking landmarks we have seen especially when viewed from here as it rises directly from the ocean.

Now we can sample breakfast on the beach. After a delicious breakfast we walked west along the beach. We passed many homestays and resorts, mainly devoted to diving pursuits. Eventually we reached an area that looked like we imagine the “Old Amed” looked like. There were less tourist places and much more open space along the beach. The land was lower in this area and large sea walls were the norm. Some that we saw had been undermined already.

Salt in hollowed palm logs

Salt in hollowed palm logs

Passed a salt production facility. Very primitive in that sea water is pumped into earthen evaporation ponds. After some evaporation has taken place the “mud slurry” is placed in conical bamboo containers with a hole in the bottom and the more highly concentrated salt water is pushed through along a drain into a small holding tank. It is the bucketed into hollowed out half coconut palm logs until finally all the water evaporates and it is scooped out and packaged for sale. I had some on my scrambled eggs for breakfast and it does have a unique flavour.

Sonny returns with dinner

Sonny returns with dinner

On arrival back at The Volcano Beach Bungalows Sonny, the owner came over for a chat. It turns out he was originally a fisherman for 20 years, going out each morning before dawn and returning at dusk with his catch of Mackerel. He fished as most do here with a hook and line system. He told us that in recent years large fishing trawlers from other countries have depleted the fish stock to the extent that more than half the fishing fleet is rotting on the beach. He gave up some years ago and cut his boat in half to make the wardrobes in his two rental bungalows. Sonny borrowed money from the bank to build his bungalows and small café on the beach to provide income. His wife and daughter run the café and bungalows and he guides and drives tourists. He told us he still yearns for the fishing life and goes to the beach every day at dawn as he did for years. I spotted him there this morning before the sun rose.

We watched a pair of fishing boats pull up on our beach. One had no catch at all but the second one had fresh mackerel. Sonny hot footed it down to the boat and came back smiling bearing about a dozen mackerels in a bunch. He is going to give us fresh grilled mackerel for dinner tonight.   

We have plan to walk through his old village behind the tourist strip later today.