The dive shop sent a boat out to drag for the wreck 3 hours before the dive was supposed to start. When we arrived there was a float at approximately the right location so we got all geared up and decended down the line to 40 meaters and an anchor surrounded by sand! Well rather than abort the dive, we both (Adi my guide) and I decided to head into the current. Within a minute we saw the wreck looming out of the deep blue! Yipee!!! So had about 17 minutes to look around a Japanese submarine destroyer. This was my first wreck dive and my first (official) decompression dive. I have never been particularly excited about wreck diving, and this dive didn't convert me... Having said that it was interesting to see a ship with loads of machine gun bullets and depth charges in the sand arround it... What really floated my boat though ;) was being at 40m for 20 minutes-ish and seeing the soft corals and other fish on the boat. I also got a bit high of the Nitrox wich is always a bonus :) So all in all it was a great dive (rough starts and all). Turns out that the boat that had been dragging for the wreck had run out of fule and had to go fill up. They left the float where they thought the wreck should be. I'm sure glad they were close!
I did a really nice dive in the afternoon and then one of the most amazing dives ever the following morning (before getting the boat back to Bali). We dove a sight called Sunset Point. We saw 6 sharks very close, loads of really nice coral several small turtles, a huge cuttle fish and finally a HUGE octopus!!!! We spent 5 or 10 minutes just watching the octopus hunting. It never actually caught anything while we were watching... Maybe the voyers were cramping its style... But it was amazing all the color AND texture changes to match the background... All puffed up and spiky it's head was about the size of an American football. Not sure exactly how big it was all streatched out as it kept its arms pretty close in to its body most of the time.... WOW!!! Amazing!!! Lovely!!! Powerfull!!!! Cool!!!! :)
So came in from the dive and had about 30 minutes to clean up before getting a lift over to the fast ferry terminal. Then hung out for an hour because the fast ferry was late... In Indonesia they have a phrase "Rubber Time".... Seems very appropriate to many places in Asia ;) My tummy started feeling pretty bad before we got on the fast ferry... by the time I'd arrived in Ubud on Sunday afternoon I was not feeling well at all. On monday morning (my birthday) I headed to the loca clinic for something to settle my tummy down. So I'm now taking some pretty strong drugs to deal with the nasty belly. I had been really looking forward to this birthday... seems like the first time in years that a birthday has felt like something I was really looking foward to... Oh well, I postponed the spa treatment. Hope I'll feel better enough tomorrow to go. Otherwise I may just head over to the ocean and see if I can find something out there (most people seem to think the best ones are here in Ubud though...)
I think that brings me pretty much up to date. Instead of writing two updates in two days, I'll send you all wishes for a fantastic new year!
Loads of Love,
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! or HAPPY HOLLIDAYS!!!! :)
I would have sent this yesterday, but we lost power in the early afternoon and didn't get it back until about 9am this morning... I'm on Gilli Terwangan (sp?) which is a really nice little island of the north west coast of Lombok (which is the big island east of Bali for those - like myself - that are geographically challenged)...
Accomodation here is cheap and quite nice by SE Asia traveler standards. Food is fantastic, the snorkeling is quite good, diving is also quite good.
The relationship between the local community and the backpacker scene is a little strange. Some local people have really plugged in, but mostly the community here seems quite stand-off-ish.... but glad for the income from the travelers... and also not pushy (like on the rest of Lombok). Also, there are VERY FEW travelers here (or in Kuta) at the moment. They are supposed to be having a short high season around XMas and New Year, but many places are empty or only have one or two guests. In some ways, it's very nice to have so much space here, but it's a bit eary walking down the main road that has 10-20 fancy (by backpacker standards) restaurants, hotels, dive-shopes, etc that are mostly empty.
My first dive was amazing! We saw 6 to 8 of the following: Tutles, Cuttle Fish, and Reef Sharks. And a huge eel hiding in it's cave! Second dive was OK, but didn't see too much and since we were drift diving in tepid water we all got very cold... Snorkeling on Christams day was great, 4 turtles (spent 30 minutes hanging out with one of them), a school of 40-50 squid, many moorish idols, a huge variety of smallish trigger fish, banner fish, surgeon fish, unicorn fish, several small and lovely puffers and box fish. Also saw a very large eel and a tuna fighting... what a writhing mass that was! Also did a night dive last night that was OK but started out badly (just not planned well by any of us) I saw a huge ray (unfortunately not close enough to identify what type of ray).. we also saw a lovely big turtle, a HUGE parrot fish, and 3 very large lobster and lots of different shrims. The bio-luminescense was fantastic! Had my hand in the water on the way back from the dive and it looked like sparks exploding all over the side of the boat! Wow!
I was super excited about doing a cool technical dive this morning. 40 meters for 20 minutes on a sunken japanese submarine chaser with nitrox with a bunch of deco stops... Too bad the shops GPS was out on a liveaboard and the captain who could find the site without the GPS was home sick (oh and they didn't have the location written down anywhere so we could use my GPS)! Too bad that we spent half an hour setting up gear and then an hour on the boat before they figured out that they weren't going to find the site! Hopefully I'll have a redo tomorrow, sounds like a wonderfull dive, and I'm psyched to get to use my deep and nitrox certifications for such a cool dive.
I'm planning on heading back to Bali on Sunday, I'll probably head straight for Ubud so that I can do one of their fancy spa treatments for my BDAY :) I also hope to check out some of the local dances, which are supposed to be spectacular! Then I'll hop around the island and check out some of the dive sites...
Loads of Love to you all!
Had a pretty crappy flight from Taiwan to Bali on Thai. They included "one night accomodation" in the Bangkok airport. Which consisted of no more than 6 hours in a very loud capsule and being woken up by the desk because they dialed the right... wrong :) number... I had paid more for the Thai ticket because I had heard they were such a great airline... So now I'm bitter ;) But it's hard to sustain on such a lovely island. I just arrived and have arranged some of my travel to the Gilli islands. There was supposed to be an express ferry but apparently it has stopped opperating so I have to fly to Lombok, bus up to the north coast and then take a local boat... sounds like an adventure... Hope to be there in time for a night dive tomorrow night :)
Sorry for the many emails in such a short time, just wanted to let you all know that I arrived safe and sound (and pissed off ;)
I have had a really relaxed week in Taiwan. Mostly just hung out in the hostel since it has been cold here.. I did make it out to Toroko Gorge for a couple days. First day did an insane hike with two young guys from Minnesota. We gained 2500ft in 1 and 1/2 hours! Ended up being about 11 or 12 miles in a bit over 4 hours. At 6pm, I lay down on my bed to rest my tired feet for a few minutes and woke up at 4:30am.. so put my hiking boots back on and did a 1 mile hike to some hotsprings... amazing sunrise!
I'm now at the Taipe airport typing on my PDA over an open wireless network and have just gotten the go ahead to get on the plane to Thailand... I'll spend a night in the airport hotel then continue to Bali in the AM so I'll send my next update from Indonesia!
I had a lovely time in Boulder, and visiting my mum in Albuquerque. Got my 2002 taxes squared away, saw lots of friends, danced, went to men's group, enjoyed being home :) yay! I arrived back in Taiwan this morning, after a pretty grewling (time/routing wise) trip from Albuquerque. About 23 hours flying and about 31 hours total travel time... Shesh... one flight LA to Hong Kong was 14.5 hours! Strange routing Albuquerque to Dallas to LA (go figure)... then LA to Hong Kong and back to Taipei... But it was cheap and the comfortable...
I'm planning on hanging here until the 21st. Will probably head down to Toroko Gorge for a few days before heading out. On the 21st, I'm flying to Bali through Bangkok... I'm planning on a couple weeks in Bali then back to Bangkok to hang with Jess and Wade... hope to dive the Similans with the crew from New Way (now working for Coral Grand in Khao Lak) that I learned to dive with! YAY!!!
Hope everyone is well!