Indonesia

I’m trying to make it a habit to overcome my fears…it’s not my fault that I have to get on a plane to another continent to do that 😉

*I’m just going to plug the video at the end at this point because I love it so much!*

I have a fear of the sea, boats, animals and fish. So diving is up there on the list of things to try and complete. I landed in Bali at 10pm and started my PADI Open Water course at 9am the next morning. I was lucky enough to be the only student on my course with Stuart, my instructor. With pool training completed on the first day, we went diving in Padaung Bai on day two.

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When I was sat on the side of the boat on my first dive, preparing to do a backwards roll into the ocean, with no idea what was beneath me and heaps of kit on – I cried. I think the captain was ready to just throw me in after two false starts! But as soon as I got in, I calmed down and was welcomed to the other 80% of our planet. I LOVED IT! My first dive was an hour long, and I just couldn’t believe the amazing things I saw and how quickly time past beneath the surface.

On the third day I had to do a shore entry dive. I had to kit up on the beach and walk in from the shore, until I was deep enough to start diving. It was very slippy underfoot as it was a pebble beach. Just after my instructor said that it should be okay if I was to slip now as we were deep enough – right on queue – I slip over backwards, landing on my tank! You don’t appreciate how heavy the kit is until you are trying to balance yourself entering against waves (okay…it was actually super calm but still).

We were supposed to be  diving in and around the USS Liberty Ship, which is a ship that was torpedoed in WW2, was on the beach for over 20 years before finally falling into the sea during an earthquake. At 125 metres long and 17metres tall it was always going to be pretty imposing, especially as I have a real fear of boats and ships. I had deliberatly chosen a course that involved a shipwreck as I knew it would completely terrify me and I wanted to try and overcome the fear. As it started to come into focus, I had a total freakout. For those of you wondering, it is completely possible to panic and cry underwater and still breath! So after surfacing and confirming that there was nothing on earth that could convince me to try it again, we turned around and did a dive in the opposite direction. Thankfully no more shipwrecks, but I was lucky enough to see a black tipped reef shark.

My highlight of that day was being in the middle of a huge school of fish (you can see this in the video at the bottom), which was incredible and certainly one of the most magical parts of the trip! We also explored sunken statues in a coral garden which was really beautiful.

Thankfully my instructor was super patient and reassuring throughout and happily put up with my underwater panic and refusal to backward roll off the boat for about 5 minutes! He was also very good at underwater filming and some of the footage in my mash up video is down to him. I would like to thank him for all his help on the course and it gave me a fantastic start to diving. If anyone happens to be in going to Bali to dive, I would strongly recommend Manta Manta Diving!

After my accreditation, I did four more dives in Indonesia and got to see some very graceful manta rays and so many huge turtles. It’s such a magical world under there!

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I have to be honest and say that diving/spending time on the beach was the majority of my trip. Obviously lying on the beach doesn’t lead to an interesting blog entry. I did go and see the rice paddies in Ubud which was very impressive and I also headed over to Lombok and one of the Gili Islands briefly. Lombok was much quieter than Bali which made it even more enjoyable. I went to the Benang Kelambu waterfalls which were pretty unique and looked even better in the heavy rain and it was great getting absolutely soaked through and not having to caring one bit.

The time came to leave Lombok and had been really laid back about booking my flight as I knew there were many flights daily back to Bali. So the evening before I had to leave I finally got around to booking my flight…to find that all tickets on all flights were sold out….as were all the ferries and fast boats! So after some serious searching around online I finally found one business class ticket. I didn’t really have much choice to book it given I had an international flight out of Bali I had to catch! So I ended up in the business class lounge, having breakfast and getting to experience a lovely spacious seat on the flight – for the grand total of 30minutes! If only the flight had been longer 🙂

Of all my video mash ups I have done this is one of my favourites! It is all of my diving footage and is to the sound track of ‘Under the sea’. Enjoy!

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