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Monday, November 24, 2014

Padang Bai Diving , Bali Indonesia

Padang Bai Diving 

The friendly receptionist at Serenity Eco Guesthouse was so kind enough to help me booked my diving activity for my fifth day in Bali. She was able to contact Eco Dive  for 1,400,000 IDR / $125 / 150 SGD for two dives in Padang Bai. It was a bit expensive however its hard to look around for a dive shop especially with Bali's transportation service. Maybe If I stayed around Kuta there's a big chance of finding something cheaper than the package I've bought. 

Vacation Checklist:

-Rash guard
-Waterproof bag
-Energy bars
-Extra dry clothing
-Bottled water
-Underwater Camera if its your second time, for first time divers this is the least of your priorities down there.
-Listen with your eyes 
-Tons of fearless factor

My pick up transfer arrived early in the morning so I didn't manage to have my breakfast. They allowed me to take it away instead of having it in dining hall. I ate inside the van as we drove to the dive office which was three hours away from my guesthouse in Canggu. 

Padang Bai Dive Itinerary:

-Pickup in Guesthouse at 07:30 
-Meet and sign waiver at Onblue Dive, Sanur
-Change to diving outfit with brief orientation.
-Head to shore, hop in the Boat – approx 10-20 minutes to the dive site. 
-First Dive with brief training of equipment's
-Rest, Relax and Quick Lunch, then do the second dive. 2 pm Back to shore ,shower and head straight to guesthouse.

We've finally arrived in Sanuk for a brief orientation , signed the waiver and had a small talk about diving. The beach was approximately less than 15 minutes away from the office, we had to take the van again to the dive site. The boat was ready to rock and roll when I got there and two other persons joining me for the dive. There's a shower and changing room right across the street, it wasn't well lit and looked abandoned. However, it was ok just for a quick change of the suit and a short shower after the dive. 

Skipper warmed up the engine as we took our places to each side of the boat. The boat trip to Guilly Island was also located where we took off, plenty of tourist queued for the ride so I guess the island is a promising place to visit next time. However I've already had my eyes on a trip to Myanmar, Nepal, Taiwan and Japan for next year, so lets see if I'll be back soon in Bali. The boat swiftly glide the clear waters of Padang Bai. We took off around 9 or 10  Am from the shore and reached the dive spot roughly around 10-15 minutes. I've have never tried diving before and I have this constant fear of total silence. I've never told my diver about that, I want him to focus on keeping us safe down there. I went down the boat and then my partner attached the equipment on me. It was freaking heavy and I wondered how am I going to carry this thing with me, but of course it was purposely made that way. There's an inflatable life jacket that allows you to float with the dive gear, a remote control is attached to it so you can deflate it when you want to sink in. It was really cool knowing just the basic of the gear. I was taught how to breath in using my mouthpiece and we snorkel for a while until I get used to the feeling of mouth breathing. We slowly descend underwater, the pressure was painful so my guide taught me how to blow through my ears to release the tension. I had to do it more often than normal because in the land of the nose breathers I tend to clean my ears frequently. I'm forced to avoid those little sticks with two soft cotton candy on both sides everytime I remember I'm going for another diving experience next year. 

Down below seemed like a dream. The water was crystal clear, the corals were bright as melted crayons. The fishes seemed calmer and vibrant in luminous shades you can find in  the color wheel. An overwhelming feeling of ecstatic wonder and excitement flowed in me that altered my ability to blink. I didn't want to miss a second of it, every detail I see I feel and touch. I couldn't believe I settled for snorkeling all this years. Every single person on earth should experience diving once in their life to truly and deeply appreciate life underwater. 

My partner took charge of my remote control for the inflatable vest as we surfaced and went back to the boat. They gave us chicken sandwich for lunch, a small orange (ponkan) and a bottled drink. Our guides brought their packed lunch with them devoured their rice meal in seconds. During that time I didn't have much appetite for food the feeling of being underwater felt like I had fever, I need to release all the heat of amazement inside of me to touch the ground. After 30-45 minutes break we were back in the water again. I was more relaxed and even managed not to crushed my guides fingers that time. My partner told me before we went for the second dive that we are not going that deep because my ears can't stand the pressure. I immediately showed him my disappointed face and I told him I'll do better for the next dive. I was definitely way better with the second dive and my partner was really pleased about it. 

The  corals dance with the fishes as little particles float in the water with glistening colors. A whole new world behold in front of me. My favorite childhood Disney movie, "The Little Mermaid" is brought to life in daylight, even the  song she sang, "Part of your world" hummed sweetly in my mind. It's a magical  experience that I'll never forget. I think I'm getting too dramatic. He told me we wouldn't go deeper due to my ear complaints but then we saw that i was calmer so we decided to go way down below. The deeper you get the corals looked more alive and the fishes is way bigger too. Among the things I remembered was finding Nemo (clown fish) along with his cousins, a few school of fishes and a small colorful string ray. I've always thought stingray were born with shades of black/brown and white colors, or maybe it was just the light reflecting on its skin. The puffer fish also passed by, and if you managed to scare this fish he would make himself bloat like a balloon which is a great way to keep to scare of his predators. Bali is truly a mecca for divers, now I know why people come here to experience the thrill and the exotic feeling of the ocean. We finished before 3 in the afternoon, had a quick shower where we had changed to our diving suit earlier and went back to the headquarters. Driving back to the guesthouse rocked me like a baby swinging on a hammock, being underwater was exhausting. Even my partner who joined the ride was snoring like a bear, we dropped him off after an hour drive and I was sent back to my place with a smiling face. 

Serenity Eco Guesthouse 
3 days and 2 nights 
$40 /S$50 /400,000 IDR

I immediately booked a yoga night session when I reached my guesthouse. The long nap I had after the dive was enough to power up my system for the rest of the day. I've learned in my lesson that Yoga means understanding your body and breathing through your soul, its an ultimate connection between both that enables your body to remain in state of equilibrium. My yoga time in Serenity was amusing. I've never felt so relaxed and flexible in all my yoga sessions, except that time. The instructor was beautiful , calm, graceful and hypnotic. The best part is I managed to do a head stand! I've almost lose my balance when I realized that I've ticked off that from my bucketlist. Now I know why I'm so relaxed for my end year bucketlist because I was able to do everything. I'd give myself a big bear hug for that and a jump shot for a job well done. Yoga Class: 75,000 IDR / 7 USD / 8 SGD

After my yoga I went straight to the small kitchen just inside the guesthouse to have mt dinner. Price ranges from 50,000 IDR-100,000 IDR. A comfort lounge is also provided for guest where you can have your meal while watching a movie. Old movies piled in the corner cabinet for everyone to checkout. A father and son were busy going through the file when I was there. The open room with gypsy style soft cushions and small tables were conducive for total relaxation. We exchanged a few words with the father while he was looking through a pile of movies. He was very surprised with all the activities I've done so far. The thought of waking up before 3 am in the morning startled him. I really like the look on people's face when they can't imagine themselves doing it. The father ordered a cake for the three of us and it was a disappointment, he even asked me to choose which flavor I wanted and still I wasn't able to finish it. It was really bad or I was full from my meal. On the other hand, the movie entitled " Man on Fire" starred by Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning was a great night movie to remember. Halfway in the movie with the mosquito's feasting on me one of the staff approach my side and reminded me of my spa time. It never dawned on me that I've booked a massage session too, but of course I did. My night ended well and I've never been so happy travelling alone, I'm even thinking of doing it again.

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