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Published: April 11th 2014
Feeling rejuvenated from my earlier Yoga trip at Ubud, I headed towards Padang Bai, a small port town in the North of Bali on Friday, March 21, 2014.
I had taken it for granted that road in Bali was relatively easy to navigate, and it should not take that long to drive from Ubud to Padang Bai (if you know the way). The last time I went to Padang Bai was more than 20 years ago, and I had no idea there was a new road linking Sanur to Padang Bai which took only an hour! Relying my poor navigation skill and guts, I finally reached Padang Bai from Ubud in three hours (to a non-local who didn't know the way and didn't have map or GPS, this was an achievement), which was supposed to take only an hour. This is a port that operates ferries to Lombok and the Gilis.
By the time, I reached the village it was around 3 pm while my friends were out diving (they arrived earlier than I did). I spent the afternoon by exploring the area, had my late lunch at a new cool cafe cum dive centre Colony and had my
massage in the room (the entire village seemed to know this lady called Nyoman Belanda or Dutch Nyoman). My friends Nina and Lolo arrived at the resort slightly before dusk and only then I learned Nina felt sick underwater and had to cut her dive short (she had one dive only for the day).
The next day, I woke up at dawn to get some shot of the sunrise and was lucky enough to see some people gave prayers and provided offerings for the safety of their boats. The prayers for the boat do not happen every day. Just like Javanese and Chinese, the Balinese also believe in the "right day" for prayers.
We were told to get ready by 8 am, had breakfast and left for the dive centre. My friend Nina had warned me that the dive centre was 'very basic' and I should not be surprised. It's within a walking distance from the resort, and yes, of course, I was surprised to see a hut-like dive centre, but again this is Padang Bai. The lady who is the wife of the owner was so helpful that she literally provided first class service to us (one
of us - Ming who lives in Bali - is a regular). Taking an outrigger, we reached the first site in 15 minutes at the pier around 9 am. While one by one started to back roll, I was the last one who was supposed to go in and in the nick of time, I learned both Nina and Lolo didn't have their weight on (apparently, the weight inserted in their BCD was taken out). Reluctantly, we had to approach one of the dive boats nearby to 'borrow' the weight, while Nina and Lolo regret that they should have checked their weight earlier.
This was the dive trip that we had low expectation. I was paired with the dive master, Wayan as - even though I had my underwater pocket camera - I was not so into underwater photography (yet) unlike the rest of the divers (this was like my 3rd trip using my underwater camera). The dive site was quite interesting as we descended, we could see the 'pillars' covered with corals while the bottom of the sea was sandy. While we started exploring the area, we realised that the water was colder than usual (22c, it's cold
by Asian standard as we were in a 3mm wetsuit). I didn't even understand why my camera refused to auto focus and could not get many shots (not to mention my inability to see small objects underwater because of my 3+ eyesight).
Later on, I was explained that we had a thermocline which had caused my auto focus camera to jam. Despite the low temperature, we managed to stay underwater for about 45 minutes but by the time I surfaced, I was too numb to speak or to think. It took me a few minutes to 'regain my consciousness'. It was an experience anyway, as there was a lot of school of fish, lots of puffer fish, nudi branch.
We had our interval before going for the second dive at Jepun. Turned off by my camera inability to focus on the first dive, I didn't use my camera actively during the second dive (yes, I got the shot of a blue spotted sting ray but without strobe and inability to auto focus, it became colourless and blur). My shot of a cute cow fish was a blurry as well (time to change the camera?). After second dive, we
went back to the Dive Center, had lunch at a restaurant across with the intention of having the third dive afterwards. By the time we finished our lunch, it was close to 2 pm, and we all decided to call a quit.
My friends decided to join me to stay behind at Bloo Lagoon Resort instead of going back to town and to chill out for a night, which turned out to be one of the best decisions we have ever made as the three of us were upgraded to a three bedroom villa. Fortunately, the place was not fully occupied (or perhaps, people had activities during day time) that we had the entire pool to ourselves (www.bloolagoon.com). This was such a pleasant surprise!
Tot: 1.635s; Tpl: 0.027s; cc: 19; qc: 29; dbt: 0.0273s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb