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Published: August 18th 2010
It seems like it’s been a very long time since I wrote but I have had some very long days recently. I have had days where I have travelled all the way to Tulamben several days in a row. It’s becoming a longer and longer journey as there are road works that involve travelling on a pretty much a dirty track for half an hour. I have travelled the 2 and a half hour journey there to spend 17 minutes in the water at 4 metres, only to come straight back afterwards. We didn’t even reach any coral but stayed above the stones and silt because the woman I was with wasn’t able to equalise so that was the end of it. Only later, I found out that every two years she has a little operation to clear her synergises and she was just due to go again. No wonder she couldn’t equalise! Yesterday I went to a dive site much closer but we did a night dive so we had to wait until seven o’clock to go out again. I got back to my room at 22:30 and had to be back by 7:30 so it’s a good job I enjoy diving.
Today is a landmark - 100 dives. A lot of people have kept telling me that dive number 100 should be done only in scuba equipment but I don’t actually know anyone who has done it! Needless to say I wore 2 wetsuits and a rash vest as I’m starting to really feel the cold. The cold wasn’t something I had to worry about today though. I went to Nusapenida which is where you see lots of big things such as Mola Mola at the moment. You see so much there though because of the strong currents. Indonesia has places where the currents are very strong because there are so many different seas meeting. Today was the first time I was with other divers without another instructor or divemaster present. It was only for part of the dive but I was still pretty nervous. The current isn’t as strong when you are close to the coral so today I had to drag the two divers I was with into the coral wall as they were being dragged down and out. It can be hard work trying to converse your air at the same time as swimming against a strong current pulling someone else. It’s a good feel though that you are able to look after someone if there was an emergency though. Of course I would never have to drag someone to the surface as you would drop your weight first for example.
I would compare diving at this site with hunting. Everyone is there to see the Mola Mola and you can get a real rush from having to really think about the water to get to the cleaning stations which are at about 25 metres but the Mola Mola are normally much deeper. My favourite dive there was with another divemaster trainee, a course director (the highest qualification) and an instructor examiner, so I was in pretty save hands. We saw the Mola Mola at about 30 metres and went down to 40 metres to see it more clearly. It was amazing because we saw two of them gracefully swim last us and no one else was there. We were only at this depth for a few minutes before we went back up. I was finning gentle to go back up and looked at my depth gauge to see that I was still at 40 metres, I swam a little harder and saw I was at 39.5 metres. There was a strong current pulling us down and out but by seeing how are bubbles reached the surface, or didn’t, we were able to swim to where it was ok. It was a thrill not only seeing the Mola Mola but also having to think the water as well.
I was told this morning that I should actually get my theory done and then I will be certified and able to start guiding people properly which sounds exciting but also a bit scary at the same time. I would feel confident taking people to sites that always have calm conditions but having the make the decision about whether a site is safe to dive or not due to the currents is much harder. I guess the worst thing that happens is that you get in and realise that a site is not good and you move to another one. It just won’t look very professional but I think that’s the worst situation really. Before this though, I have also been told that I need to do another course. A nitrox (enriched air) course as a lot of divers use it to be able to stay at deeper depths for longer so I am being told that I must be able to dive with these divers. I currently dive with air on these dives but make sure that I stay a few metres above everyone else and I have been well within my diving limits. The only reason for not doing this course yet is a financial one. To be able to use nitrox I would have to pay for the course fees and a new computer that is suitable for nitrox which also means a new air and depth gauge. Let’s just put it this way, it would cost me a lot and I can’t borrow any of the equipment from the dive centre. I am finding the dive centres attitude to my money quite annoying. If I was working and being paid by them, I might understand but I’m not. The amount of times I’ve heard just buy… it starting to annoy me. I am not going to buy a new computer just to be able to guide for free so if I have to just shadow another divemaster as to being the divemaster myself, so be it. Another example is that I have just found out that the charge for extending my visa for another 30 days is £80 through an agency or the dive centre. So I’ve asked details about doing it myself to save me the money and people tell me to stop being stingy and pay the agency. Not very helpful! Anyway a trip to the immigration will be another mini adventure I’m sure!
Anyway, the combination of very slow internet and an old laptop is making it take a long time to write this so I’m off home!
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