Fish Bites Man in Bali


Mount Agung, a 3,014metres (9,888 feet) volcano, is a massive landmark at Amed, on Bali’s north east coast. It is seen here from the water at nearby Jemeluk, where I joined other snorkelers and divers in the bay.

There is some nice coral there, although as with other coral reefs I have visited over recent years, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Bali’s Pemuteran, and Indonesia’s Nusa Lembongan, coral bleaching is noticeable. Another warning sign of the dangers of global warming.

At one point at Jemeluk, I was surrounded by clouds of different kinds of fish. I wondered why. Many came up very close. They’re curious, I thought, like some stingrays of Bass Strait near Melbourne that gently flap up and look into your face mask. Then I felt a nip on the arm, and a few more. Am I that delectable? The owner of my homestay in Amed, who is also a dive master, said that the fish would have been protecting their eggs.

In spite of having my underwater camera, I failed to catch much of the action.

A fish that likes to bite. I see aggression in its eyes.

Another fish that likes to bite. Apologies for the fin only image, and the out of focus photo, but that mouth is clearly about to strike.






Return to Bali, 2017

Bali is a regular place of escape from southern Australia’s winter.

In Bali, I try to avoid the beach ghettos catering for foreign tourists, which at their worst, are venues for booze swilling excess by those seeking the title of cultural barbarian/worst ambassador; and equally avoid the cloistered resorts that insulate guests from the real Bali in a more costly ghetto.

In spite of more than half a century of mass tourism, my impression is that Bali, away from the artificially constructed tourist enclaves, remains culturally and historically strong.

Bali visits always remind me of the humility, respect, friendliness, humour and warmth of the people. Only the Balinese could name their band for an Irish theme night The Paddy Fields Band.

Ceremonies remain a fundamental part of Balinese Hindu culture. Here are some images from a Sanur beach purification ceremony, the final stage of the cremation process.




In rural Bali, age-old sights and communities flourish; here are typical rice paddies near Pupuan.


I often enjoy snorkelling when visiting Indonesia to coral reefs and islands in Lombok, Nusa Lembongan, and Flores, as well as Bali. On the latest trip, I returned to Pemuteran, in  north-west of Bali, and nearby Menjangan (Deer) Island.

The visit raised concerns about the significant amount of coral bleaching, more than I recall from two years ago. Locals attribute it to rising water temperatures – global warming – a fate endangering coral reefs throughout the world. It will be a monstrous tragedy if current generations fail to move quickly enough from our destructive fossil fuel stage of energy generation to deny our descendants the chance to glimpse this remarkable undersea world.

DSCN0643Snorkelling off Menjangan Island. In the background are several of East Java’s volcanoes, and the boat that brought us to the reef.

Underwater, the view is a visual feast: swarming schools of fish, lone barracuda, clams, delicate and colorful fronds waving in the currents, and shallow coral gardens dropping off into inky depths where larger fish cruise.