'Cause there's a place you've never been ....
Aug 4, 2010
|Maybe a place you've never seen
You can hear her calling on the wind
Go on and drift your life away ....
It's been a while since I've checked in. All is well, all is wonderful. I'm still in Indonesia and back on Gili Trawangan after an incredible journey to Komodo National Park. My adventures, both above and below the water, continue to thrill me and grow in intensity. I have been blessed over the last few weeks to sink to new depths, enjoy a blood pumping, beautiful dive with dolphins and a somewhat pointless hunt for dragons on land.
It is the "High Season" here in paradise and prior to leaving Gili Trawangan - between massages, sun baking and naps - I actually did my first day of work (okay, work may not be an accurate description but I did get paid for it) since resigning from Quick Dispense. One morning during breakfast the General Manager of the place I'm staying at - Blue Marlin Dive - came and asked me to be a "Dive Guide" for some customers. I somewhat reluctantly agreed (thinking that I am barely responsible enough to watch out for myself) and soon found myself dragging "tourists" around underwater. It was a fun experience and I managed to bring them all back safely. Hmmm, maybe a career change?
After all that hard work, like anyone who needs to blow off a little steam, I decided to reward myself with some excitement and then some relaxation. So I set out to fulfill both goals.
The following day I went the deepest I've ever been and completed a Decompression Dive to 51.6 meters (170 feet). It was absolutely awesome. There is a very special feeling - okay it may be Narcosis - that I get slowly frog kicking along at depth. The reefs at that depth are virtually untouched and though you lose a little color due to the lack of light the scenery is spectacular. That dive coupled with reading the book "Diving Into Darkness" has cemented in my mind that I AM going to 100 meters! There are a few more courses I will need to complete prior to reaching the 100 meter mark and I may not do it today or tomorrow but soon ... very soon. Hey, maybe I'll do it on a Re-breather?
A group of us then boarded the boat - Ikan Biru - bound for Komodo. This trip was put together by Will Goodman, my Technical Dive Instructor and Komodo Dive Guide Extraordinaire. So Will, along with 6 other passengers - Martin, Ben, Marina, Chris, Howard and myself and four crew members - set out to do some of the most challenging and rewarding diving available. The trip was a 7 day Live Aboard and we had such an amazing time we chartered the boat an extra day and stayed out to soak up more of the best diving I've ever done. This coupled with the sunsets, sunrises, great food and amazing friends made for the trip of a lifetime.
Komodo is famous for it's raging currents and superb marine life. It is an area where the Pacific Ocean the Indian Ocean and the China Sea all meet up to create some of the most heart racing currents anywhere for diving. We managed 23 dives over the 8 day period and dove sites like Highway to Heaven (difficult, sometimes dangerous down currents along a magnificent wall), Castle Rock (an amazing dive site with tons of sharks and the highlight was a visit from the dolphins), Crystal Bommie (Eagle Rays, Giant Trevally), The Cauldron ("hold on please, hold on, It's the fastest ride on the Boardwalk"), Batu Tiga (Help!), GPS Point and many many more.
Probably the most unusual and highly entertaining thing that went down all week was that at one point on a dive to Crystal Bommie I stopped to watch a group of Giant Trevally (hoping to get a little lunch - the Giant Trevally not me) chase a Fusilier. The Fusilier swam around me and right into the pocket of my BCD (buoyancy control device)! The Giant Trevally tried in vane to bite the fish out of my pocket and I was surrounded by a large angry looking mob of hungry Trevally while my fellow divers, including my Dive Buddy Ben, almost laughed their regulators out their mouths. Very, very funny. When Ben was done pointing and laughing he managed to safely remove the Fusilier from my BCD and it quickly swam away to hopefully live another day. Life is tough. Your position on the Food Chain even tougher. The best part is that we had Martin (an accomplished videographer) filming the whole thing and we have this all on DVD.
On one of the hottest afternoons we all went ashore at Komodo National Park for a nice leisurely stroll (read HOT, I mean Africa Hot, dusty, long, painfully long hike) through the park to hopefully spot the Komodo Dragons. Our local guide - Joseph - who was an amazing character - told us that since UNESCO made this a World Heritage Site they have stopped feeding the Dragons which used to make it easy for the tourists to see them. About half way along our 2 hour trek Joseph sat for a rest and after exclaiming (*quickly read over this if you are reading with children) "It's Fucking Hot!" he went on to tell us again that since they stopped feeding the dragons that it is, and I quote, "Fucking, fucking hard to see dragons!" It made the whole hot, sweaty experience worth while.
We did not spot dragons on that 4 Kilometer loop through the park during the hottest part of the day. But when we returned to the main area near the beach Joseph cheerfully said he thought there might be one more place to look? So, about a 3 minute stroll (read easy, short, shaded walk) from our boat we found the elusive Komodo Dragon - fat, full of wild boar and lazing under a tree in the shade - exactly where I wanted to be! In the brush nearby there were two smaller dragons devouring the corpse of a wild boar - of course the "official" story is that the dragons caught it themselves ;) Call me a sceptic but me I'm not really sold on the "official" story. None the less, like any good tourist I snapped the obligatory pictures and then got the hell out of the hot sun. Thanks Joseph.
Back on board the Ikan Biru I enjoyed another delicious meal, watched another spectacular sunset and fell asleep under the stars. Wow!
Returning to Gili Trawangan I was thinking, once back on dry land that I would book a flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and then work my way into Thailand. Yes, thinking always gets me into trouble.
Since returning to Gili Trawangan I have manged to delay my departure from the island 3 times already. As I sit here typing today my best thinking is to go to the Lombok Immigration Office and pay to extend my Visa another 30 days. Some great new friends I have met all want to go to Nusa Penida (an island off the coast of Bali) next week to try to see the Mola Mola (a giant, like the size of a car giant, sunfish that only comes up from the depths at this time of the year). I figure, why not?
Oh yeah, another fun, quirky, neat thing that happen to me is that upon checking back into the Blue Marlin I found out that there was another Francesco Cella who checked in the same day. They actually thought it was a double booking and almost sold my room. My surname is not very common and to find someone on this tiny island in the middle of Indonesia with the same name made for great conversation and a perfect photo op.
Always something to entertain me.
So the journey continues...
Peace and love to all,