It’s taken a lot of convincing, support and fun dives, but Aimi has decided to get her Open Water certificate in diving.
She’s been diving loads; in Turkey, in Mexico, in Thailand. She’s got her bouyancy control nailed, and she knows how to operate everything. In Thailand she was even learning how to assemble, test and check all the bits. She’s very well capable but lacking in self confidence. So I’m very proud she started the course today. It’s been a long road.
Literally… because physically getting here took WAYYYY longer than it should do. Google estimated 2 hours and it took us closer to 3 hours! The roads here are just diabolical. Luckily the company of drivers who we found a good deal with at the airport were happy to take us. They turned up in a very nice and comfy car, with good air con. The driver even let me connect my phone for some Bluetooth music. This was good because as interesting as it was looking out the window at the passing fields, houses and landscapes, it was so twisty and slow that I started to feel sick. Last time I got motion sick in a car was when I was about 12 years old. It’s only 48 miles from Ubud to Tulamben which means we averaged 16 mph… AVERAGED! That’s incredibly slow. And when we actually picked up some speed for a brief moment, I don’t think we topped 40 mph before it was back down to crawling long.
Oh well, once we had turned up and checked in, it was lunch time. We had a nice view of the garden and volcano in the background. While Aimi went off to the pool to start her training, I was introduced to an Ozzy called Matt who would be my dive buddy today. Apparently he dives every week, but he seemed to have a lot of issues putting his kit on and adjusting it to fit.
In Thailand we had always gone out to the dive sites by boat. You’d have everything you needed in a bag, you’d jump on the boat and pootle out to the dive site. Meanwhile you’d get a fresh air tank, that were kept and pressurised on the boat, set up your kit, test it all, put it all on and then when you arrived, jump in. Here, we are “shore diving” which I found out means, everything gets done for you and taken to the beach. You walk there because it’s just across the road and down a track. Then you do the checks, put most of it on, wade out into the sea, then put your fins on and off you go. Having learnt to do all my own set up, it’s a little disconcerting to have someone else do it for me. I was careful to do thorough checks before setting off.
Matt, the Ozzy chap I’ve been buddied with, was flustered and all over the place getting in the water. He’s a fat guy so was sweating hard, just on the walk to the beach. Then, in the water, I had to help him put his fins on. He said he was struggling because his huge wetsuit restricted his movement, but I’m not sure he can touch his toes normally, let alone in scuba gear. Then once we set off, he popped to the surface like a vegan at a hog roast. And continuing the metaphor, we had to hold him underwater till he stopped thrashing… and we could get more weights in his BCD.
Finally, underwater, we set off and I was immediately stunned by the amount and diversity of life. Mike had told me Bali was good for diving, but the water was just full of fish. Especially exciting was seeing nearly all anemones had a few clown fish living in them. I’ve seen them before, but not this abundantly, they were beautiful.
That evening we went for a brief walk down to the sea. Aimi had spent all day in the pool so wanted to see the coast. Its all foot sized black rocks leading down to the water where they get bigger, about the size of footballs. Then once in the water it quickly changes to fine black sand.
We walked a short way along the road, but the food at the dive centre was really good so we just ate there. Not that I went hungry at the hotel, but the food here is large and simple. Just how I like it and often how I’m described.