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August 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 32, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Villa Markisa, Tulamben, and Bali, Indonesia

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After a March liveaboard voyage from Sorong to Kaimana aboard the Dewi Nusantara, my buddy and I planned to kick back in Bali for a few days, a stop often made by liveaboard divers. The flights from Kaimana took all day, and ironically, we arrived in Denpasar when the king of Saudi Arabia arrived; police had closed roads, and traffic was nuts. After two-and-a-half hours of driving, we pulled up to the Villa Markisa in Tulamben, were shown to our beautiful master bedroom in the main building, and finally got some sleep.

Villa Markisa, Tulamben, BaliUpon awakening, I opened the curtains to a gorgeous view of the gardens and the ocean. Nina showed us to breakfast and some much-needed coffee; office manager Made walked us around the lush grounds. Villa Markisa (the Indonesian word for passion fruit) is not your standard Tulamben hotel. Though it's next door to Seraya Secret, it's far more high-end, from accommodations to food to the dive services. The décor, for example, features Indonesian carvings and fabrics, rich natural woods, and contrasts the textures of glossy stone with the rough-hewn. Showers are large, with rainforest and hand-held showerheads. The resort's infinity pool ends in a round bubbling section with jets of water to soothe aching muscles. There is even a small spa where you can get a relaxing Balinese massage.

The dive operation was terrific. Unusual for Tulamben, Villa Markisa has two boats that whiz you to sites never more than 10 minutes away. You wade and swim out to the boat, which staff has already loaded with all your gear; at dive sites, you backroll in. Dives are usually at 8:00, 10:30, and 2:30, with night dives either by boat or by shore. Between, I could return to my room....

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