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  • Writer's pictureSara Strachan

Ocean Boheme in Bali

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

Two and a half weeks in Bali to surf, recharge, do my first ever photography shoot and swim with mantas.

I set off in Bali bound, my 8th trip to Indonesia, so it wasn't a mystery but I was determined to discover some new places. I flew out alone and last minute my friend Alex decided to join, arriving just a few hours later. We started in Ubud to discover the waterfalls of the interior. These didn't disappoint, the fresh water was bliss not having yet acclimatised and it was so much fun trying to swim under the torrent whilst trying to avoid being pinned down and sucked into an abyss!

Next stop was Ullawatu, it had been 12 years since my last visit to Ullawatu. There I met my old travelling partner in crime Kirsty and Naomi whom I met travelling in Australia years before. Our gang was set and by night we danced at beach parties and watched the sun set from the beach bars of Ullawatu and by day hired paddleboards and surfed the small waves in Thomas Beach.

Kirsty, Naomi and I all about to go for a SUP surf

Ullawatu was a great rediscovery! There weren't too many tourists, the beaches were way more beautiful than on the South-West coast and there were cool little smothie bars and cafes to discover. One of our faves was Outside Corner, serving up delicious food and the was a skate bowl out back.

Beach Party in Ullawatu for my birthday

We were also lucky enough to be there when they had a festival at Padang Padang, which included; surf competition (unluckily in ridiculously small waves), a beach party and quite randomly a vegetable carving competition!

Next stop was Nusa Lembongan, where we went for sunset paddleboarding sessions, snorkelling with Manta rays and attempting to surf at Playgrounds.

Manta Moment in Nusa Lembongan

The Mantas were epic, they always are, although over the years the amount of tourists has gone a bit bananas there! However, it's still possible to have a few moments of awe without the masses if you're lucky.

Next Stop was Canggu for some more surfing! This was my first time to Canggu, it was great, I ate avocado on toast every day, although possibly not the most authentic Balinese experience!

Waves rolling in near Old Mans

Beach bars for a post surf shake or cocktail were frequented and I think we all managed to have an embarrassing exit of the ocean with it's violent shore dump!

I was set to head back to Ullawatu for a photo shoot with @the_saltydreamers and @laviederoosa. Al offered to drive on his moped, little did we know it was going to be such a sweaty, fume filled, bum numbing ride.

Once back in Ullawatu we sped around the backstreets, smoothie bars and beaches on our bikes. Photographing a selection of new designs ready for next season.

The sun was fast disappearing on Thomas beach but the low light was perfect for a shell trumpet shot!

We even got some free iced coffees and Kombutcha whilst hanging out in Nalu Bowls.

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