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Moving up the coast, away from tourist areas (we want to experience Balinese life), we were surprised at how arid the landscape became; it’s so much drier in this region. We landed in the far northwest corner of Bali, in a town called Pemuteran.

Pemuteran’s community and local businesses have forged a sustainable vision for development and also a restoration programme for coral reefs,  previously damaged by dynamite and cyanide fishing, so it’s a really interesting place to visit.

The Bio Rocks Project is quite incredible and Pemuteran was the first place to implement such a solution on a wide scale, using electricity to generate new coral. Using local materials, dozens of large metal cages, sculptures and statues were built and placed out along the threatened reef, close to the shoreline. These have been hooked to very low wattage generators on land so that the current can stimulate limestone formation on the cages, quickly growing new coral (at about 6 times the rate it would take to grow naturally). The project has gained international accolades and we understood why seeing it first hand.

New structures being built, to ‘plant’ on the sea bed.

The other project we wanted to visit whilst there was the non-profit making  ‘Proyek Penyu’, a turtle hatchery. Sick turtles, turtle eggs and baby turtles are rescued from the beach or bought from locals, and looked after at the hatchery until they are ready for ocean release. This is a really important project to protect these endangered creatures, whose eggs, meat and shells are sadly still poached and sold as delicacies.

We stayed at a place called ‘Sunia Loka’ (meaning ‘peaceful stay’), a little way out of town along the beach, but we were glad to be living near the local community, talking to them about their daily lives.

Sunia Loka is set in a beautiful garden, with the scent of frangipani flowers filling the air; it’s pool was a wonderful surprise too – probably the best pool, that you can actually swim in, that we’ve found.

Albie, unfortunately, was sick for the four days we spent in this gorgeous part of Bali, so, poor boy, when he wasn’t sleeping or throwing up, he bravely soldiered through so he could try everything we did! Due to his poorliness, we sadly didn’t get to visit the nearby Menjangan Island, which we had read mixed review about: some say the snorkelling is amazing (rivalling the Great Barrier Reef), whilst others say there is lots of plastic waste in the sea. Another time!

We know that we’ll be visiting the Gili islands in a couple of weeks, so will save our mega snorkelling for the promise of crystal waters there!

Next stop, Bondalem village along the north coast…