Today we explored more of the island of Bawean. We started our exploration by visiting the endemic and endangered hog deer in their enclosure in the mountains. There are believed to be less than 250 hog deer in the wild. We continued along the roads, observing beautiful rice fields in the village of Gunungteguh. We enjoyed an incredible cultural performance and local food tasting. The afternoon was filled with snorkelling and diving, and we observed some very healthy reefs. To top it all off, the day ended with the spectacular National Geographic Orion crew show.
National Geographic Orion
The morning began with a mission to see one of the rarest birds on earth. After an early start, we made the short crossing to Bali Barat National Park, the last refuge of the Bali myna. From a population low of thirty-six individuals in 1993, this bird has made a slow recovery with between one and two hundred individuals in the wild today. Thankfully, we knew exactly where to go and soon were spending time with a flock of nearly a dozen of these snowy, brilliant avian wonders. Birds weren’t the only highlight here, as the park had abundant herds of Javan rusa. Among the many long-tailed macaques, we also encountered a few of the shyer Javan lutung, a handsome monkey endemic to the region. After lunch, we turned our attention below the water and went snorkelling on nearby Pulau Menjangan. As we headed into the water from a floating platform, the water was a little choppy at the surface. Just below the waves, we found crystal clear waters and some of the best reef life of the entire trip. The next few hours passed in a blur with ninety feet of visibility and swarms of brilliant marine life. Many of us stayed in the water as long as we possibly could. After an especially extravagant afternoon tea where most of us opted for cold, fresh coconuts, we continued overnight to Denpasar.