After reading about the development of anti-American protests in Jakarta, we decided that it’s time to get out of dodge and head to the beach with friends. We drove three hours south to Pelabuhan Ratu Beach and stayed in a gigantic beach bungalow with our friends.

We left around 5:30am and after one stop for brunch, we arrived at the beach around 10:00am. The day unfolded beautifully. We swam in the pool several times, allowing Ellie to perfect her back float and strengthen her paddle. She’s improved a lot since we’ve been in Indonesia. She can swim about six feet unattended and without much water swallowed. She likes to use her goggles to find things at the bottom of the kiddy pool. Entertaining, yes, but great practice in holding her breath. She is a very confident swimmer, even when she’s sinking a bit.

We also swam in the bay, which was incredibly relaxing once you got past the break. The water level was just high enough to touch the floor, but still get a full body float and ride with the swells. In the evening we ordered a freshly caught seafood feast, which was prepared for us in our bungalow, including: fried calamari, barbequed fish and giant prawns, greens and rice. Once the kids went to bed around 8:00pm, we played poker. After many many many Bintangs… Someone thought of the brilliant idea to swim in the extremely dangerous rip currents around midnight; naturally teasing the lady in green, who according to Indonesian mythology, is the cause for so many deaths along the coast of Java.

The guys went out first, and immediately called us. “Put me on speaker”, said Seth. “You have to see this. This is straight out of Avatar!” So we ran to the beach to see what he was talking about and saw something a bit like this…

Not my picture, of course, as there would be no way to capture what we saw without any sort of planning. We were in pitch dark and as we walked through the ocean, blue light illuminated our movements. Seth wasn’t joking when he said it was like Avatar. It looked like blue sparks were shooting from our bodies as we moved through the ocean. All thoughts of the green lady or sharks attacking us were replaced with “this is magic!” and “nature is amazing!”

What we experienced was bioluminescence, which is essentially when an organism (like algae) produces light through a chemical reaction. Our movement triggered these reactions, which was so cool to experience. We can now cross “experience bioluminescence in the wild” off our bucket list.

I believe there is a balance to everything. My very frustrating Friday of bullshit banking rules, everything being closed on Friday afternoons, ridiculous traffic and pollution, fear of anti-American protests and any retaliation, and language barriers seemed to instantly fade away. My balance was this unpredicted bout of natural magic. You can’t buy that. You earn it. And this is why we’re here.



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