In the Spring of 2012 i went to Bali for a few weeks. One of the more distant spots we surfed was called Serangan. It’s now some sort of state/national park and charges a couple bucks to get in which combined with the distance keeps the crowds down. The spot is a relatively mellow reef, covered with sea grass. There’s holes and cracks complete with urchins here and there, but it’s mostly a flat reef with. Total beginner spot but gets really heavy with swell.
I’d surfed there quite a few times before this particular session. Familiar with the reef, the channels, and how the wave broke for the most part. After a couple hours of equal parts beatings and fun waves i noticed something big out of the corner of my eye. A few feet away of where i’d just come off a wave, a huge mass of something clearly alive surfaced for a few seconds before going back under. It was a reddish brown in color and was nothing i’d ever seen up until that point. No other distinguishing features…no fins, eyes, mouth, etc. Just a huge mass of something about 4 feet wide and twice as long. All of this processed in my brain along with “holy fuck” and a retreat paddle in a fraction of a second. I ended up paddling way down beach and then in.
Ended up being a Dugong. Prior to that day i’d never even heard of these things. They are huge–like a manatee but like twice the size. They eat sea grass which Serangan is loaded with. Here’s a few pics: