Duane: December 2007 Archives

Madagascar, Mantas, and More

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What does Madagascar have to do with Mantas, one might ask after reading the title of this blog. Generally speaking not much. You are not likely to see a lemur or chameleon frolicking with a manta ray after all. But on this island travel blog anything is possible. Loyal readers of this column know that I have been writing about a recent Seacology trip to Indonesia. While diving there we had several close encounters with manta rays. Seacology board member Jim Sandler took some terrific videos of these magnificent creatures.

Bali Travel

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Map_Bali.gifIn my first three entries about a recent Seacology expedition to Indonesia I spoke about the fantastic diving we experienced in Raja Ampat. Now it is time to give the landlubbers equal time as I conclude this series by focusing on the end of our trip in Bali. Bali is one of the world's special places. This Indonesian island is unique in that unlike the rest of Indonesia the majority of the residents are Hindu. Their religion is closely related to, but is also distinct from, the Hindu religion practiced in India. As is the case with most islands the Balinese people are extraordinarily friendly. Per their religious custom they are often celebrating the anniversary of a temple or school, or some other landmark in the life of a building or person. It seems that every Balinese celebration is not complete without a line of women balancing a very large offering of fruit on their heads. They make the old film star, Carmen Miranda, look like pikers in this regard. You would also be hard pressed to find a celebration without a gamalon band playing the beautiful local music. Our wonderful guide, Dewa Adiwisma, took us to one such celebration in a local Hindu temple where the local people welcomed us with open arms. It was a very moving experience.