“It may look uninviting, but it tastes better than it looks,” said a local seaweed farmer in Nusa Lembongan, holding a shimmering frond of the green kelp he had just plucked from the warm seawaters. “Really?!”
We all go about our daily lives without inquiring, without really caring to find out more. It’s one thing to read that most commercial ice creams, being so darned airy, use a form of carrageenan or seaweed to trap air bubbles; and quite another thing to actually taste the plant in its raw form. I was out on a late afternoon drive in Nusa Lembongan, when one simple question led to an interesting learning experience.
It was a stunning day with a gentle breeze, blue skies, and a sublimely calm sea. On my modest hired Honda Vario, I passed the beachside, bumpy road of Lembongan on my way to the sister island of Nusa Ceningan, when out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a cove flooded by lots of canoes. The canoes were an attraction in themselves, especially for tourists’ cameras; but what lay underneath them was a story of how the coastal residents of the island maintain to support their humble lifestyle.
Looking out to the sea, I could see small groups of men and women bent over, tending their lines of seaweed. These farmers have hitherto eked out a living earning a few dollars a month selling fish and fruits. Farming seaweed is not going to help them get rich, but it may help ease them out of poverty. It wasn’t a mega-agriculture site, but I could see that the seaweed farmers of Lembongan took the business very seriously, and were even going about it in an environmentally-friendly way!
All along the beach seaweed farmers came and went, bringing out bags of seedlings or loading the latest harvest into their boats. The farm consisted of a few simple buildings the farmers used for resting and for preparing the seedlings. The remaining land is used for drying the seaweed, which, when dried, is sold to the local suppliers for less than five dollars per kilogram! The dried seaweed is then be shipped to Bali’s Denpasar and other areas in neighbouring Java to later be used as an ingredient for food and beverages as well as cosmetic products.
The seaweed was easily visible as the water was so clear; and this gives the farm extra appeal in the view of visitors. Fortunately, the farmers don’t feel disturbed by the presence of visitors.
WHILE IN NUSA LEMBONGAN
The seaweed farm in Lembongan is definitely an attraction any visitor shouldn’t miss. But while on the island, you should also indulge in Lembongan’s magnificent, tranquil atmosphere, for neither hawkers nor traffic mar the brilliant natural features there. Lembongan’s pristine beaches lure quite a number of sun worshippers. Dream Beach, no doubt one of the prettiest beaches in Bali, is increasingly drawing more visitors. The coastal landscape in this part of Lembongan is mostly low-lying limestone cliffs, and there are some dramatic cave formations.
Alternatively, Lembongan’s Mushroom Bay Jungut Batu is a quaint, attractive and sheltered bay with a great swimming beach. Nestling in Mushroom is an escape within an escape, the Hai Tide Beach Resort, a beachfront resort run by the popular Bali Hai Cruises.
From the resort’s “Absolute Beachfront Lumbung” you can enjoy the spectacular views of the tropical sunset over the Indian Ocean from your own private balcony, or simply relax to the rhythmic sounds of waves gently washing up the golden beach right on your doorstep. For a more secluded mood, you can check in to Hai Tide’s “Garden Lumbung,” nestled amongst the resort’s lush tropical gardens and located only footsteps from the beach or the resort pool.
When you book any of Hai Tide Beach Resort’s accommodation, you are entitled to access to all beach facilities such as unlimited banana boat rides, snorkeling equipment and instruction, guided village tours (including a visit to the seaweed farm), swimming pools, a volleyball court, kids play area and bicycles.
You also have access to all Bali Hai Cruise’s Pontoon facilities that houses a 35 metre water slide, underwater viewing chamber, semi submersible coral viewer, and diving board. For bookings and other inquiries, visit www.haitidebeachresort.com or call 0361 720 331.