On the banks of the deep end ....
Jun 12, 2010
|Where your soul is your best friend
Searching for a reason to go astray ....
Here I sit, finally with a few spare minutes and a computer that seems to be working properly. It has been hard to stay in touch during my time in Indonesia so far. Either the computers are not available, the connection is sooooo slow or the power goes out in the middle of typing. I'm going to try to type fast (difficult for old Frankie two fingers)and hope the internet gods are looking after me.
What an incredible time I've had so far in this amazing country. The people are very friendly and very happy which makes traveling a joy. Even if the "comforts" available are not up to quite the same standards I'm used to. It's easy to overlook with all of the smiles around me. I sat on the beach the other day and watched 4 young boys fly kites and "kite fight" with each other and witnessed such pure happiness, a happiness that is precious, and listened to such wonderful laughter that I wanted to bottle the moment and take it with me. Here though it doesn't need to be bottled, it is available in every moment. Very cool.
When I last checked in with all of you I was hanging out in Seminyak in South Bali. I was chilling and letting the next adventure take shape in my imagination before heading out. Seminyak is nice but extremely busy, very touristy, it rained a lot, was hot as all hell and I started to feel like I needed a challenge. Be careful what you ask for.
It started out fairly tame. I took some transport up through the country side to Tulemban, a small seaside village on the east coast of Bali to do some scuba diving. There is a WWII wreck just off shore. The USAT Liberty was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942. It was dragged to shore only to wind up on the bottom of the ocean after a volcanic eruption in 1963. It is now a spectacular dive site with tons of marine life. I stayed for a few days in Tulemban diving during the days with Kadek my dive guide and relaxing in the evenings at the Blue Hill Resort. I was the only one at my resort so it was a bit like The Shining at times but I made friends with the staff and had a great time. A note worthy mention goes to the hard working, freakishly strong and perfectly postured women who meet each dive van as it arrives and carry ALL of your dive kit on there heads to the beach or wherever you are going diving. Mind boggling.
I also spent a relaxing day diving a Japanese Patrol Boat wrecked off the beach in Amed. Amed is a sleepy fishing village with amazing seafood. The beaches are lined with Junkungs (the fishing boats) with cows, pigs and chickens all wandering around. It was quiet, peaceful and tranquil ... well until we started celebrating Wendy's (a random, vacationing Aussie) Birthday at the Reggae Bar/Cafe we were hanging at. It got pretty rowdy at 10 AM in between dives. Lots of fun. Once back in the water for the second dive I did get to see Pygmy Seahorses for the first time. Very sweet.
The following day I traveled down to Padang Bai, another sleepy fishing village but also the only real port on this side of the island. I spent a lazy afternoon at the pool and enjoyed delicious fresh fish for both lunch and dinner. The next morning I jumped the "Fast" Boat to Lombok. Actually my destination was a small island off the coast of Lombok called Gili Trawangan.
My whole purpose of coming to Gili "T" was to challenge myself by taking some Technical Diving International courses. Well a challenge is exactly what I got. A bit more then I had bargained for. I completed both my Basic Nitrox and Advanced Nitrox courses while working on Decompression Procedures. For those of you who have no idea what I just typed, basically it will mean that by the end of next week I should be certified to scuba dive to 45 meters with Twin Tanks using mixed gas and doing staged decompression procedures with up to 100 Oxygen. Or in even simpler terms I can go deeper for longer.
It was an extremely intense week filled with lots of reading, homework, theory, reviews and practical dive training. I stayed and did the training at Blue Marlin Dive (www.bluemarlindive.com) with a fantastic instructor Will Goodman who currently holds the World Record for the Longest open salt water scuba dive (www.goodwilldiving.com). The week started out frustrating and a bit scary and through great training and perseverance wound up magical. On a slightly humorous note in my lack of knowledge of the island I didn't fully grasp the reason they call this the "Party" island until my second night there - with little sleep and tons of homework to do - the Monday night party which is always held at Blue Marlin and goes until 5 or 6 in the morning was packed and really, really loud. My room - right under the dance floor!
When I wasn't studying I was enjoying dinners with Daniela, Cornelia and Sarah - some great new friends - hanging at the beach or just marveling at life on the island. Gili "T" doesn't have any motorized transportation so there are Horse & Carts rolling down the streets with bicycles, people, dogs, cats and locals carrying everything on there heads. Amazing blue water. Fresh fish. Lots to marvel over.
So,I've done a bit of wandering around and some exploring over the last few weeks. My journey has taken me around the east coast of Bali and over to Lombok and the Gili Islands. I've baked on beaches, made some wonderful new friends, had great meals and reveled in the laughter and smiles. I head out this week for Pemuteran in the north to do some fun diving before working my way back to Gili Trawangan to finish my TDI course. In order to pass I have to do a 45 meter deep - no mask - blindfolded - out of air - swim! Wish me luck.
Until we meet again.
Peace and love,