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Published: June 21st 2017
a - On the way to Menjangan Island
Spice Dive is the company I learned to dive with. We swung through the market on the way out of town and picked up some offerings (literally, like a drive through). And then stopped at this little roadside temple so the divers could hop out for a quick blessing. "Good for you good for me" as the locals like to say when bargaining a price.
Geo: -8.09594, 114.521
I arrived on the North Side beach town of Lovina on Wed night. I stopped at Gitgit twin waterfalls, and Pura Ulun Temple at Lake Beratan. Very beautiful. I found a hotel (king bed, A/C, pool, 200ft from beach, $12) and then Spice Dive shop. I signed up (the only one there, it's low season), and had my first day of lessons on friday. all day in the pool with my instructor Augustus. I learned all the basics, how to breathe, what to do when my mask or regulator falls off, the hand signals, how to assemble/disassemble the gear, etc. Also, the wet suite was short sleeve and short legged, so I got some really great tan lines (Ugh!).
On Saturday I had my first two open water dives, just off Lovina Beach. There is an artificial reef, and it had some cool aquatic life, I saw a Moray Eel, a lobster, and the coolest was a spear fisherman that dove from the surface and speared a cuttle fish (like a squid) only 20 feet from me! I didn't even see him coming, but I saw him swimming back up with the fish at the end of his spear, and
b - Tulamben Beach, diving the USS Liberty
Yes, my wetsuit is short sleeved and short legged. All the tourists get these because they think we are all warmer than the locals (which we are) they use long sleeved/legged ones because they get cold in the 80degree water. Trouble is, my wetsuit left me with some really sexy tan lines. Aww yeah....
a huge line of ink following. I had to swim through it to get back to the boat. Cool but gross. I don't have pics from this day of diving. After a few house diving and on the boat, we came back to the main dive shop and I took my final written exam - not like the test at the DMV. Fifty multiple choice questions, and you can get 10 wrong. I got 8-ish wrong, 84% so I passed!! (Not bad considering I was out until 1am drinking the night before and barely skimmed the five chapters!) LOL! So I am licensed for Open water dives, though everyone always needs a buddy when diving, I don't need an instructor anymore - just any schmo who is also certified and I can go! The next level up for certification is Deep Water Diver, for depths more than 130 feet, I have no desire to get that one. Indeed after 30 feet or so it gets dark and all the cool fish are between 15-25ft, so no need for it. Augustus says it's more of a status symbol than a really useful certification. So I'm set with this one, and I
c - Boatride out to Menjangan Island
Menjangan Island is on the NW corner of Bali. We are leaving the bay on a little boat here. You can see a volcano on the island of Java on the horizon. Java is the largest island in Indonesia, where the capital of Jakarta is.
can dive anywhere in the world. It's a PADI certification, recognized internationally.
On Sunday, today, I had my third and fourth open water dives off the east coast of Bali in a town called Tulamben. There is an old US war cargo ship sunk there. It was sunk by a Japanese torpedo in 1942, WW2. There is a fantastic array of life there, I bought a disposable underwater camera and use the whole thing. I have to get them developed though, so no pics yet. I saw tons of different fish and things, but I don't have my dive log with me and I don't know the names of any of them. I'll update this later.
Tomorrow I'll take my fifth and sixth dives off of Menjiangan Island on the east coast. Each dive is about 45min, that's as long as I can last on a tank for now. Once I am more skilled (read more controlled with less flailing =) I should be able to get a tank to last almost 2 hours, so I've got room to grow. Diving is just as cool as I thought it'd be, it's like being in a big fish tank, only there is an
d - Our little boat, with offerings on top =)
A family of four came on the dive with me. They are German, but living in Bangalore India for his IT job. We had two dives that day, the Dad did the first one with me while Mom watched the kids on the beach, and then she did the second dive of the day while he was with the kids.
It was a really nice vibe being with them, the kids were great. The Dad gave me some great advice for the India leg of my trip. It was all so nice, until it was time to go, and the kids had an argument over who got the last Coke in the cooler. Then Mom and Dad got into it over how the dispute was handled. It was all in German, but I knew exactly what was happening. I could see the argument continuing well into the one hour van-ride back to Lovina, but I didn't have to hear any of it because the over-priced noise-reducing earphones I bought to squash out the Manhattan street noise on my commutes. I have never loved my iPod so much. It could have been a really bad ride, but instead I had a little rock concert of Stevie Wonders greatest hits. Ohh right, this is why I like to travel alone =)
infinite playing field. Every time Augustus says it's time to go, I'm always like, "nooo". He's a great instructor, and since I am the only student (slow season rocks!) I'm his best student!
On tues I've rented a motorbike, and I'm going to take a ride up the volcano to the Buddhist Monastery and the nearby hot springs. Should be a nice relaxing day. I've been picked up by the dive crew at 8am every day, and tomorrow twoo, ugh - so it'll be nice to sleep in a bit on Tues. Then on Wed I head down to Kuta Beach, on the south side to meet Sha and all her folks for the weekend in town there! I'd love to go see Tanah Lot Temple, Uluwatu while I'm down south. We'll see if Sha's interested, if not, I'll take them in once they've left on Tuesday.
I'm not sure exactly what I'll do after Tuesday. I've extended my visa for another month starting the 14th (I arrived in Indonesia on Feb 14th, I can't believe it!). I doubt I'll use the whole month here, but who knows? I think after I leave Indonesia, I'll trek up to Malaysia to Singapore
(cheap flight) and then overland it north through Thailand. That's as much as I've planned so far, but I've got a list going of places I need to see in Thailand, next step is to find out where they are and try to string them together somehow.
Internet connection in Lovina is PAINFULLY slow, so no pics from here. I'll be down in Kuta in a few days and no doubt they'll be a better cafe down there. Until then!!! Thanks for reading! =)
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