First views, Sanur-Tulamben, Bali
After many months of looking forward with nervous excitement, I was had my first views of Bali stepping off the plane; the weather was lovely, cool and breezy, very different from hot Malaysia, where I had been for a month. I had gone back to Sealantis in Tioman, for a couple of weeks, trying to ‘re-find’ my sea legs, to prepare in mind and body for the IDC (Instructor Development Course) in Bali.
Arriving late night, I had a pickup waiting, thanks to Blue Season Bali (BSB) and the ride was long, what struck me was the road was at most times just straight ahead. It seemed like it was a direct-straight ahead road all the way to Sanur. At most, we might have taken about 4-5 turns. After staying in Tioman, an ‘island’ had given me a totally different picture and Bali was more of a town than an island at that point.
BSB, by way of being second runner-up for the Best Dive Job Competition, gave me the chance to take the IDC and IE at Bali with some deals thrown in. I would get to live and work at BSB upto MSDT Certification over a period of 4 months. The accommodation was a typical Indonesian style home with carved woodwork doorways and the most interesting layouts of house boundaries. Each house seems to be interlocked into each other like pieces of a puzzle, with pathways and tiny gates connecting them. You could walk into your neighbours’ homes through these without exiting your front gate, I’m guessing this promotes good neighbours?
Next morning, I walked into the famous BSB, after more than 4-5 months of talking all about this place, here I was, time did fly. The place itself was set in an Indonesian style home too, with the facility of a pool in the front. It was great meeting the people at BSB, after the many interactions over mail and facebook. I was shown around by Mark Giles, one of the directors of BSB, and that for me was a kind of dejavu; I had met Mark many years ago, at a dive expo in Malaysia, and at that time I had a feeling I would be in BSB some day. There I was, I settled down for a few days, getting around to do some design work and before long had my first dive trip over to the very famous Tulamben dive site where the wreck of the USAT Liberty lay.
The drive to the site, one of the few things you have to sit through is weary and seemingly never-ending. It takes a good 2 and half hours to reach and a good way to make use of the time is to make yourself as comfortable as you can, get a mp3 player and catch up on your sleep; which you will need to. Dive days at BSB start at 6 am. Very difficult for the likes of me, who sleep best after 4 am. All that is forgotten though as you gear up and enter the waters at Tulamben. Sometimes there is some strong surge, but most times it’s a walk-in easy shore dive. The beach is quite an experience, made of tiny to small pebbles, black soil, all remnants of the recent eruption of the nearby volcano. Once you see the deep, you are again struck by the black sand, which kind of unnerves you, being used to brown or white sandy beaches. But the blackness also serves as a contrast for the amazing colours of the marine life. The wreck was easily the best dive spot I had dived so far, and relatively comfortable one too. Anyway, the IDC was coming up and more of diving would come after that.