Wreck Diver

I spent last night reading the last few chapters of my course in preparation for today. Today I’m going inside the wreck properly and training the skills needed to stay safe and manage risk. This is beyond Aimi’s qualification because its deeper and boring if your not doing the course so she’s gone off with another guide for a fun dive.

We started with some skills on land, discussing what to do in various emergency situations like, out of air, entanglement, entrapment, visual loss and loss of buddy. Basically all of them start with “keep calm and breath slowly” then work through the steps. It’s reinforced many times on the course that diver panic and error are the main reasons people get hurt or killed when diving. We also discussed how to use a line to help navigate, prevent getting tangled in it and what to do if you lose it.

We headed back to the Boga wreck and enjoyed swimming down it. I made a big effort to perfect my weight placement and get my attitude in the water correct. Good buoyancy control would mean less likelihood of crashing into the floor or ceiling and less likelihood of damage or injury, so I was keen to be as well prepared as possible. I also needed to make sure my goggles didn’t leak. Having a beard may keep me from looking like a lanky toddler, but it means the goggles don’t seal very well to my face. Luckily, Aimi never goes far without some lip vaseline so I smeared copious amounts of that over my top lip to help create a seal. This worked really well and had the added benefit of being raspberry scented – nice.

We worked our way thru the skills and by the time we had completed them, Rick was nearly at his No-Deco limit. This is the depth and duration dependent limit you can stay underwater without requiring a mandatory decompression stop. Ideally this should be avoided on recreational dives as it adds another level of complexity. So we ascended a few meters and regained some time to head back to shore. The current was in our favour today and really made the end of the dive very enjoyable. We just drifted along, barely kicking and breathing super slowly to control buoyancy. Because we were barely moving we got really close to lots of fish which was great, especially because it was the last dive of the trip. 

Just before we came to the surface, we did our 3 mins at 5 meters safety stop. Here was the first time I used a Surface Marker Buoy. It’s like a wind sock that you inflate with air and then let shoot to the surface attached to a string. Its bright orange and marks that you are below, but near the surface so boats don’t run you over as you surface. It’s a little tricky to deploy as there are a lot of things going on; unclipping and unfolding it, managing the reel of string, inflating it, not getting tangled, and not letting the immediate additional buoyancy pull you to the surface. Apparently people have been injured by a poorly deployed and rapid uncontrolled buoyant ascent with their SMB, so this was something I was wary of. It all went according to plan and certainly I would get one to use if I was diving regularly. A few times we came up on the beach, it was near where the boats land and I can just see an accident happening if you didn’t have one.

Final dive done, theory ticked off and course completed. I’m now an Advanced Wreck Diver! We were checking out today so the last thing was to pay the bill. For 4 nights stay in our own bungalow, breakfast, lunch and dinner and drinks every day (except 1 night) and 8 dives each with all rental kit and 2 dive courses, our bill came to £ 704.82. I think that’s incredible value in anyone’s book.

But now we are off to our next, and final hotel in Bali. Google says its a 2 hour drive, whats your guess? 2 and half? 3 hours? 3 and half hours?! 

It took us 4 hours…. To cover 80km…. Average speed of 20 kmph or just over 12 mph in old money. We literally could have cycled quicker! We are not a fan of Bali life outside the resorts, its just dire. Things like being called a “taxi” or “you buy something” get draining.

But the resorts we are staying in are exceptional.

We have arrived at Pramana Watu Kurung, a hotel we booked a long time ago when we first decided to end our honeymoon in Bali. Wonderfully, its everything a honeymoon hotel should be, in our eyes: quiet, small and intimate, beautifully built and decorated, remote from the busy road, out in nature, luxurious and the view is amazing. The view from the deck and pool is out over a huge valley with a big river running thru the bottom. We actually rafted down this river last week, so apart from the distant whoops of people in boats, it even sounds like home. We are going to enjoy our last few nights away from work and reality, but we are also happy to be going home soon.