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GL BAL TREASURE

INDONESIA

22

Shadow Of the Fan

Gorgonian sea fan ( Melithaea sp. )

ocated in the Lesser Sundas, Bali is midway along Indonesia’s southernmost chain of islands between Java and Lombok. The island’s south coast just touches the easternmost edge of the Indian Ocean, while the north coast looks into the Java Sea. The islands of Penida, Lembongan and Cenida lie in a tightly packed group, just off the south-east coast of Bali. The Bandung Strait not only separates these islands from mainland Bali, but is also part of the Wallace line, an imaginary border that separates the fora and fauna of the east and west. As such, the natural environment here is distinctively different from Bali and Java. Impressive cliffs that rise up to 200 metres, show distinct strata lines, and dry weather conditions defne bizarre, arid landscapes. Although at the narrowest point of the channel, Bali is a mere 11 kilometres away, it is in every sense, as far as one can be from ‘the other world’. This region incessantly fushes a huge volume of water between the Indian Ocean and the Java Sea. Deep icy ocean upwellings, downwellings and fast currents replenish the reef systems with rich nutrients. Diving can be treacherous for the inexperienced, but offers a serious jolt of adrenaline for the experienced and well prepared.

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