Discovering Pemuteran, in Quiet Northern Bali

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April 6th 2016
Published: June 25th 2017
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Thank Yous from My Music BuddiesThank Yous from My Music BuddiesThank Yous from My Music Buddies

I always bring a number of sets of guitar strings along with me to give away to music friends I meet when travelling, who always seem to be playing guitars that needed new strings long ago. As I did not have the opportunity to see my music friends I had jammed with at Joe's bar again before I left, I asked Amanda, their avid music fan, to pass along to them some new strings. It was a very small gesture of appreciation to them for allowing me into their lives. After all, it's the little things that really matter. This is the photo she sent me after they received them. Those smiles are priceless. Giving is such an honor. Thank you.
We hired a taxi for the scenic three hour drive from Ubud, over a high mountain range, to our destination of Pemuteran, on Bali's northern coast, where diving at numerous beautiful dive sites is the primary tourist activity. Pemuteran is very quiet, with a few excellent restaurants and only one live acoustic music venue every Friday night at Joe's Bar. Fortunately, we arrived on a Friday afternoon, and were informed of the Friday night action shortly after by our hotel management, Amanda Spencer, who is a devoted Friday night local live music supporter. We unpacked, rested a bit, and shortly after found ourselves at Joe's bar. Well it wasn't long after listening to the band do a soundcheck jam of classic 70's American folk rock tunes that I was could not resist joining them. I was kindly escorted back to my hotel on the back of Joe's wife's motorbike, grabbed my guitar, and returned to play a few tunes in their first set. The highlight of the evening was singing James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend" , with the full band joining in on the choruses. These Indonesian boys barely speak English, yet here we were, connecting through music what these
Our Dive Resort Diving Departure PointOur Dive Resort Diving Departure PointOur Dive Resort Diving Departure Point

The nicest thing about diving here was that most sites were a mere ten minute boat ride from right here, where we stayed.
lyrics are all about. I also sang for them my favorite childhood song, the Louis Armstrong hit "When You're Smiling" (the whole world smiles with you) which I have now translated into Indonesian, and which, whenever shared, I explain to my audiences in Indonesian that this song in a sense summarizes why we keep returning to their country, where smiles are so freely offered. The universal language of music connects, reminding me once again of the real reason I do music.

Diving in Pemuteran was entering a world of macro diving, looking for numerous tiny creatures amidst the colourful corral, although we were told there were many dive sites still to be discovered where larger fish would be found. For us it was also an opportunity to experience the difference between diving with an instructor or dive master, and diving only with a guide. We learned that when diving with a guide only, the diver is not so closely attended to, as the primary focus of the guide is to be familiar with the environment and with spotting varieties of marine life, and we felt a little uncomfortable with that, being still relatively novice divers. But it was very
Stan's Buoyancy Training SessionStan's Buoyancy Training SessionStan's Buoyancy Training Session

For one of our three dives in Pemuteran, we hired a dive instructor for additional buoyancy training - learning here how to stay consistently horizontal three inches from the ocean floor - which is not as easy as it sounds, but feels wonderful when you finally get it! Always good to add more skills training.
good awareness to acquire, as we learned to be more independant and take more responsibility for our own equipment, and for our diving in general. But we also decided that our comfort zone will always be to be accompanied by at least one instructor on subsequent dives, to lower the risk factors as we work toward becoming experienced divers. After all, our aim is to dive in more demanding conditions, such as the Komodo Marine Park on the island of Flores, with its strong currents, where we are off to next to seek those gigantic manta rays.

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 Diving =  Meditation in Action  =  Yoga    Diving =  Meditation in Action  =  Yoga
Diving = Meditation in Action = Yoga

I never expected diving to be so totally meditative. Love it.

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