Sorry I’ve got a bit behind with the updates..somehow I don’t seem to have much time on my hands but maybe it’s just a bigger distance from technology/the real world! Finding myself taking walks along beaches or spending hours snorkelling looking for a turtle instead..I can think of worse ways to while away my time.
Indonesia has been an epic journey so far. I arrived late (another delayed flight followed by a huge queue at immigration), but fortunately had arranged a driver, ‘Buddy’ to take me to Amed, a small village on the east coast which is rebound for its diving. I was greeted by Sony, my homestay host who was horizontally laid back and so kind. I had booked some diving in for the next day, so off I trunched with my various clobber. I dived then for the next few days, I won’t bore you with the details but saw some amazing things including reef sharks, turtles, Pygmy seahorses (which are SO small you have to stare at a bit of coral for a good 5minutes even if they’re pointed out to you!).
Sunset on the beach in Amed
I then managed to wangle my way into a French group who were climbing Mount Batur, an active volcano nearer the centre of Bali reaching just over 1700m. After having two hours sleep, we left at 1am in order to make the journey and start hiking to make it for sunrise at the top! I cracked out my head torch as the other travellers looked on in envy (believe it..) and we began trudging up the scree slope. Definitely worth the effort for a few hours less sleep, the amazing view, and the boiled egg and banana sandwich breakfast was a treat! Our guide, Tommy showed us vents of steam at points along the crater which provided me an opportunity to warm my ever cold hands (thanks mum). After a slightly dodgy trip down, we all made it in one piece, we were glad to see the car park, and more to the point some toilets!
Sunrise on Mount Batur, looking at Mount Agung
The next day I was off to be infamous Gili Islands, just East of Bali. I think it’s fair to say the Indonesians don’t have the greatest safety record when it comes to transport so I had a hearty breakfast to prepare myself for a swim and sat next to a big pile of life jackets..got to look after number one! I stayed on Gili Air which was relaxed but probably more touristy than I had expected, having come from a rather sleepy town. It was as the run up to Eid (the end of Ramadan) and so there were odd hours at restaurants and shops, fireworks at all times of the day and a lot of praying. The locals were so inviting and many were happy for everyone to get involved in their celebrations!
Sunset on Gili Air
I decided to embark upon a freediving course which I had been considering for a few years now..simply, it involves holding your breath and diving down with huge fins on…I had no idea if I would be able to do it but you never know until you try! My lovely instructor, G taught us breathing and relaxation exercises to maximise the breath and length of time spent underwater. For someone who is a bit gung-ho at times and maybe hasn’t got the greatest concentration span, this was a challenge in itself. We discussed all of the horrible feelings we might encounter when needing to breath, like diaphragmatic spasms, tightness in our throats and chest..why was I doing this? Still..we persisted and we were soon out in the sea diving to 15m! Day two, I decided to complete my Level 1 course which then consisted of some rescue drills (which I aced), to save a diver if they have a shallow water blackout, which G kindly failed to mention on day one! It’s due to hypoxia and so it more frequently happens on the divers ascent because they have then been holding their breath for longer. Interesting for those medical geeks out there! We then did a dive to 20m! What an achievement! I had a new realisation for some understanding and control of my body, a new skill, and a certificate! (Until I realised it was all done online now for anymore eco-friendly vibe..save the turtles and all).
Into the blue..I dived to 20m, with a little help from those fins!
I did some more scuba diving after the course and enjoyed breathing a lot. I also met some lovely people, Elisa and Lucien who were great buddies and we had some serious laughs together! The diving was amazing, my favourite site being shark point, I felt like I was in an aquarium with sharks, turtles, sting rays, yellow snapper, nudibranchs, puffer fish..I could go on but I’m not sure you’re that interested, basically an exotic seafood platter but alive. It was awesome anyway..
Elisa, Lucien and I on our last night on Gili Air