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Scuba Diving in Bali, Indonesia October 22, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

After accumulating tons of air miles from business trips around the world, my wife and I decided to go to Bali for holiday. Based on all the flying I’d done in 2001 (up to September 11th, when everything stopped), I was top-tier on the Star Alliance and could book any flight on Air Canada, and do fairly well on the other airlines. So we booked a business class passage Air Canada to Los Angeles, then Singapore Airlines from LA to Singapore then on to Bali. If you’ve never had the pleasure of Singapore Airlines business class, I’ve got to say it is one airline where you’re disappointed that the flight is over, even after 12 hours in the air. The food, service, comfort and everything else is simply outstanding.

We’d chosen Bali because of good reports from friends and colleagues about their own vacations. Bali is not only a beautiful place but the people are wonderful. At first, when we were walking around, complete strangers would greet us as they would by. In other places you come to expect a sales pitch or worse to follow. In Bali, people just say hello because they are friendly, and actually want nothing from you. There is the odd exception of course, but so rare as not be a problem.

It was now March 2002, about 4 years after my previous dive. I hadn’t really gone there with the intention of diving,  but I did bring my 20 year-old Mares mask (now my backup), but a brochure caught my eye offering an “Adrenaline Dive Tour” from the Bali Hai tour company. So with just a few days left in our 11 day holiday I took a taxi to the dock and boarded a Catamaran for Lembongan Island, a dozen or so miles of the coast from Nusa Dua, where we were staying.

It was March 12, 2002, and the Catamaran was full of tourists for the island, not just divers, so upon our arrival we transferred to a smaller boat for our dive. I was given the usual questionnaire and release form, which among other things asked how long it had been since I had dived. My answer, 4 years, wasn’t noticed. The dive was so named because of the strong current around the island, so we were briefed quite well about what to expect, geared up, and I did a forward roll into the water. This entry seems to have fallen from favour since I quite alarmed the staff by doing so. They asked me if I was OK in the water. Other than having to tighten a few straps which I should have done on the boat I was fine, of course. I’ve only seen one person do this entry since that day, which was the operator of Provost Adventure Divers in the Turks and Caicos.

The dive went without a hitch. The current was indeed strong at about my maximum swimming speed. The fish life was plentiful, and we drifted a long way along the island. We didn’t see any large fish or mammals, just the usual tropical fish, but being my first real drift dive I had a lot of fun. When we got back on the boat they looked at my sheet, saw that I hadn’t dived in 4 years, and told me that they were worried at first but everything was fine.

During the surface interval we got to know each other a bit. One of my fellow divers was a Japanese Kendo Champion who was showing us how to disarm an attacker. I took his picture and he gave me his address to send it to, but I lost my notebook (If you’re reading this, let me know and I’ll send it!).
The second dive was much like the first, and before long we were back on the Catamaran on our way back to the main island. As you can see it was a beautiful day (one of many), with the temperature hitting 29C (84F). I recorded dive times of 50 and 45 minutes, with both dives down to 25 metres.  Seems a little too deep for a little too long so I guess we weren’t at the maximum depth for the whole dive.

Seven months to the day afterwards, on October 12, 2002, two bombs exploded in crowded night clubs in Kuta, near the airport, by Jemaah Islamiyah, killing 202 people and injuring hundreds more. I felt sorry not only for the victims of the bombing, who were mostly my fellow Australians (I also have Canadian citizenship and live in Canada, in case this is confusing to you), but also for the gentle Balinese people, who I’m sure suffered greatly from the dropoff in tourism that surely followed. As the island is an oasis of Hinduism in this predominantly Islamic country, the people, many of whom were killed or hurt in the bombings, cannot be associated with this act of violence.

After this, almost 3 years passed until my next dive. This one was the last one recorded in my original log book, registering only as a couple of lines on the last of the notes pages. I now had 69 dives and 40 hours bottom time under my belt, and at the age of 46 thus concluded the first phase of my Scuba diving life, in the 20th year after my open water certification.



1. SmartStreet™ Publisher - October 23, 2008

Woderfull Bali….
I love Bali



2. deepstop - October 24, 2008

Coincidentally the fate of three men convicted in the Bali Night Club bombings appeared in the news today.


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