Tag Archives: Beach

Nusa Penida ⎮ Volunteering

After taking the 5 hour ferry back to Padang Bai in Bali, we spent a night back in tourism to catch up with the outside world – for me, social media! The next day, we caught the fast boat to Nusa Penida (an island off Bali) where we volunteered. The ride there is really nice. First of all, it’s fast! Secondly, Da and I got to sit up top and it was really breezy and airy, unlike the slow ferry! When we arrived at Nusa Penida, we took a taxi up to where the FNPF is (Friends of the National Park Foundation) located. Let me tell you, it was such a bumpy and steep ride there! There is no pavement up, so you could imagine how that was. Also, there are small hills that are very steep! Finally, we got to FNPF and settled in our bungalows. We paired up, Sebastian and Mama, Dad and I.  We figured that way, if there are any critters, Mom and I both had someone to protect us!

Soon it was time to leave and start some volunteer work. We drove down to the English Club school. We met a nice woman, Kate, who lived in Miami and just moved to San Francisco and she was staying at the FNPF also! The first English class was super fun! You would have thought that Dad would have been the one teaching, since he is a teacher, but you are wrong! Mom was the one teaching! She did a very good job teaching the kids slowly and wordily so they could understand. My favourite of the students was a twelve year old girl, my age. Her name is Naphi and she is really cute! When a question was asked, she was always the first one to raise her hand and volunteer. She also had a smile that would just never leave her face which reminded me of one of my friends back home, Chanel. We all loved teaching the kids so much we went way over the time! Oops! I was looking forward and so excited for the next class!

The chef at the FNPF is so amazing and his food is delicious! We all agreed that he should open up his own warung (‘food stall’ in Indonesian). My favorite dish that he made is Nasi Goreng which translates to Fried Rice and has a fried egg on top.

The next few days at FNPF, we realized that we are definitely not working as much as we had expected.My mom would say, “Okay, we did the weeds! What do we do now?!”

“Now you rest.” Johnny our guide would say. He is a really nice happy guy and loves to play music and sing on his guitar, especially reggae music because he is a beach guy! We eventually got SO bored, especially mom and I.

We went on several walks constantly and discovered a small hotel with a pool. This was a miracle for us! After we found it, we went there EVERY DAY. From eating lunch, using the wifi, and swimming in the pool after working, our days became more fun. Until one day, we rented mopeds from the nice hotel owner! Sebastian and Dad went out after they got a brief lesson. Mommy and I soon joined later on the back of their mopeds and we visited a beach called Crystal Bay. The sand there was so black and the water was rough. We also visited another beach called Gamet Beach which was very similar to Crystal Bay. The pairs on the mopeds either went Sebastian & Mom and Dad & me or they were Sebastian & me and Dad & Mom. I was pretty nervous to go with Sebastian at first, but I have to say, he is a very good and careful driver.

New Year’s Eve came quickly and will probably be one of the hottest ever for me! We had a nice meal by the chef and went to bed early (before midnight). Sebastian stayed up however and claims that he heard in the middle of the night a random time when all the fireworks went off at once. Which he assumes was probably midnight!

Soon the time came to leave Nusa Penida. We went on the same boat as Kate to get back to Bali. THE RIDE WAS TERRIBLE! I have my Dad’s gene so I get seasick on boats. The waves were choppy because the weather was bad that day. The boat was bouncing all over the place! I felt like I was on the Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios in Disney. It goes up and down and up and down etc… By the time we arrived, I was a train wreck! I wasn’t feeling very well but then I got better and a smile soon returned as we enjoyed 2 nights of awesome fun in Nusa Dua at a huge resort with a great pool. But that’s another story…


Pulling weeds


Pulling weeds


Crystal Bay Beach



FNPF Bungalows

Bossa Noosa LIVE!

The tunes of BossaNoosa (we reserve right to copyright this!) played and this is an absolutely totally awesome place in the world! My dad, who claims NorCal as God’s country, may even agree that Noosa matches up. Ok, so there is no Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco but there is a fantastic beach with great ocean water for swim and surf. The hills roll and it feels like a mellow California beach town. There are some great hikes on your doorstep that take you into a koala preservation park as well as along the cliffs and beaches of the coast. Then, for a bit of shopping/dining, just over the hill is Noosa Heads, a small time South Beach (without the trash and chaos). Can you hear the bossa beat playing now?

We spent one afternoon hiking trails and beach head; Leti and the kids spotted a nice snake in the trees but no koalas! We lunched at a local spot in Noosa Heads and ate some scrumptious sandwiches with acai smoothie. One night we hit our grill for some steaks while Sebastian mastered his bellyflop in the pool – see the pain below. We were so content in our BossaNoosa life that we could easily stay there a long while and it gives pause to reconsider that there may be more than one God’s country or at least more Gods. Thank you Noosa!

Da Splash - notice the form has not changed. Clean, full spread, nice splash! YOHA!

Da Splash – notice the form has not changed. Clean, full spread, nice splash! YOHA!

Beautiful entry: arms wide, face looking into future, still water awaits!

Beautiful entry: arms wide, face looking into future, still water awaits!







The following photos are bonus GoPro shots from Great Barrier Reef:

Louisa & Leticia walking along 10 meters deep!

Louisa & Leticia walking along 10 meters deep!

Hanging Ten Down Under!

Hanging Ten Down Under!







Corals colors are diverse and amazing!

Coral colors: diverse and AMAZING!

Who needs a tank when you can simply dive under and hold your breath? "Nobody!" says Sebastian

Who needs a tank when you can hold your breath? “NOBODY!” says Sebastian


Sebastian & Louisa in front of Oz colors

Sebastian & Louisa with the colors of Oz

From NSW to Queensland

Tomorrow we wrap up our first 2 weeks in New South Wales and head to Cairns, in Queensland.  Looking back it feels that we have been in Australia a lot longer, yet we already feel that we will miss it.  The last week in Sydney was a lot of fun. We spent a true “carioca” day at Bronte beach. I call it a carioca day because it felt just like the warm days of going to the beach in Rio. Bronte was certainly our favorite city beach, it had the crowds but there were a lot more families laying around.  And we had 3 options on where to swim:  jump in the ocean, dive into the natural ocean pools, and the salt-water swimming pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Surfers, lots of surfers around, and a mix of beautiful people, families, kids, tourists, all blending in together. Not even the chilly Pacific Ocean water deterred us from jumping in, it was a perfectly warm day after all. I chatted with a Brazilian guy playing with his son of how wonderful it must be to live in Sydney. In his own words: “É o melhor lugar do mundo. A Australia é um Brasil que deu certo.” Interesting!  The following day we headed to the Royal Botanic Gardens, which is to the right to the Opera House overlooking the Sydney Harbour. We brought a picnic and had a relaxing time walking around the beautiful gardens (free entry!), enjoying the fantastic views and checking out an afternoon wedding party at the gardens.  Sydney residents are fortunate to have the Royal Botanic Gardens right on their backyard.


Royal Botanic Gardens


View from the Botanic Gardens




Happy Family, Gorgeous View

We decided as a family that on Monday we would split up and Sebastian and I would have a mommy-son day. We researched some activities a few days before and decided on 2 attractions. Took the bus in the morning to Sydney CBD to do the Escape Hunt Experience, which is a new attraction that started only 2 months ago in Sydney.  I had a blast with my boy as we tried to solve a robbery in less than 90 min through various clues and codes. In the afternoon, we went to the Sydney Aquarium,  on Darling Harbour. The Aquarium has a nice sample of the marine life from the Sydney Harbour and the Great Barrier Reef.  We all met at home at the end of the day to share our adventures and agreed that it was a nice family break. Look forward to trying it again in another city, next time it will be a mommy-daughter day.


Mommy-Son day at Escape Hunt

We spent Tuesday with our wonderful airbnb hostess and new friend Sue as she took us to Watson’s Bay, which is a ferry ride from CBD. Watson’s Bay is a fishermen town where we had a delicious lunch: fish and chips and seafood chowder. We then headed to Shark Beach, on Nielsen Park, where we all went in the bay for a swim. The water was warmer than the ocean and the beach has a net to protect against sharks (!).  I am not kidding!  Sue made a delicious farewell dinner for us and the 4 of us know that we now have a good friend in Sydney. We enjoyed her house and playing with her dog Bronte. We will certainly miss Sydney and Sue!


With Sue, at Watson’s Bay


Sue’s home