It was humid when I got to Bali. As much as it has been only a year and I can picture the streets almost exactly, remember what I think are the details, there is so much you forget about Asia, even an Asia so well adjusted to westerners like Bali. The terrible driving and constant horn tooting, the people trying to hustle you into taxis and massage parlours, the smell of insence and something more sinister.
I checked in and re walked out steps of the year before. Although I remember exactly where we stopped for drinks and snacks, where we lay in the sun, I see it through different eyes having arrived from Australia than the Asia adjusted state I was in last year!
After a lovely evening spent in Kuta with new friends from Sweden and Italy, it was an early start the next day for a windy drive to Padang Bai and a sweaty boat ride to Gili Air, or home!
Back on paradise and ready to dive! I signed my life away at the dive school and enjoyed my afternoon of freedom making friends with English girls Alice and Jess whilst at lunch. We hired biked and cycled part of the island, stopping to snorkel and eat.
From then on the days formed revolving around time spent at school. Most mornings I ran the outer circle of the island in the quiet of first light, getting to the school for breakfast and briefing. A morning dive and an afternoon boat dive, spare time between 8am and 5pm filled with helping out, carrying tanks and lots of theory!
Becoming a divemaster is the first level of Professional diving, taking responsibility for guidin groups, assisting teaching and working in a dive school. In order to begin the course you have to have 40 dives, complete emergency first responder training and become a rescue diver. It was my first 10 days of island life which bumped up my time spent underwater, as well as scenarios of rescuing tired, panicked and unconcious divers!
Of course it’s amazing to be back in the water. The dive sites are filled with turtles both green and hawksbill. We also regularly encounter reef sharks, from babies to 2 metres, often hiding under rocks with their resident body card cleaner fish. It has also been exciting to see sea snakes, cuttlefish, barracuda, stingray, lion fish and incredibly camouflaged octopus!!
We did a night boat dive over near Lombok at a sandy bottom site. During the day the site has less ‘big stuff’ due to being sandy bottom rather than the coral life of nearer the islands, but at night it is a fascinating place. Fish and worms poke their heads out of holes and prehistoric looking creatures come to life. As the boat carves through the water the luminous planction glows like dancing stars being disturbed.
Also making the most of island life, the dive school organises weekly Bahasa (Indonesian language) classes so I have started to build a few words and order my meals in Bahasa!
It is with new friends, friendly locals and comfortable island routine that paradise and all its excitement has come to feel very homely!