Pulau Seribu – Diving again

A few weekends ago, I finally had a chance to go diving again. It had been almost a year since I took my test, and it was starting to seem like I would never get to go again!

Our diving instructor decided to take his boat out for the weekend and invited along a group of us for two days of diving fun in the Thousand Islands north of Jakarta. Now, when I say boat, I mean a big, beautiful catamaran with bunks for 8-10 people, plus a full galley and 2 washrooms. Like a floating hotel!

We taxied off at about 4 am on Saturday morning so we could get to the marina and set sail at dawn. The marina turned out to be located right beside the harbor fish market, and it was… rank, to say the least: filled with the lovely smells of rotting fish, human waste, and a whole city’s worth of garbage. But the water was flat and smooth like a mirror, and we enjoyed a beautiful sunrise coming up through the morning mist. Its glorious rays lit up all the flip flops floating on the surface of the water like little jewels in Neptune’s crown. Seriously, Indonesia, why are there so many flip flops in the water here? Where are they all coming from? Anyway, after getting settled into our bunks, off we went!

The weather was in our favor for the whole weekend – beautiful, calm seas and clear blue skies. Unfortunately, being in a sailboat, that wasn’t very helpful, and we ended up having to use the motor for the whole trip. But we spent the hours lounging on deck, reading and napping. No complaints from anyone!

That afternoon we went for our first dive, heading down to about 20 ft to check out an old shipwreck. It was an old cargo ship that ran aground a decade or so, and the owner decided to abandon it there. At first I had a lot of trouble sinking in the water – and then I struggled with my buoyancy for the whole dive. By the time we got to the ship, I just hung on to the exhaust pipe of the wreck to stop from floating away – so I had a really good, close look at that part of it! I missed some other parts, though, you know, like the whole rest of the ship. It was still a nice dive, though, and later we enjoyed a relaxing evening on deck, anchored in the reef for the night. That night, the stars came out and lit up the sky, and I slept the night away beneath them, listening to the soft waves on the hull.

The next day, we moved along to another reef and went for our second dive. There was a strong current this time, but we hugged the reef and made our way through the dust. We swam with some sea turtles and teased a giant ugly moray eel. A few of the other divers saw some dolphins, too, but I missed them, drat! Anyway, I brought along pockets full of weight this time, so I was perfectly buoyant and had a fantastic time. Too bad we got the boat stuck on the reef! Ack! But we moved all the equipment and all the people to one corner of the boat and managed to wedge it off the rocks with minimal damage.

That afternoon we motored back to town, following the breadcrumb trail of flip flops back to the harbor. All in all, it was a great weekend!

 

Carnival and turtles

We have been very busy lately. B has started work here, which means our days are a bit more hectic. After our Krakatoa trip, we were all a bit under the weather. And then I was away last weekend again. So I hope this coming weekend will be a relaxing one.

In the meantime, we’ve had a few exciting events around here. Last week, the school had a “Swimming Carnival” and LittleB did really well. He won three 2nd-place ribbons and his house team won the whole championship. It was a fun morning!

Ready to take off with his noodle
Ready to take off with his noodle
Swim faster!
Swim faster!
It's a close race!
It’s a close race!
He makes it to the finish line!
He makes it to the finish line!
Ribbon awarded
Ribbon awarded
Now for some fun tube games
Now for some fun tube games

Then, last weekend, I went with some colleagues to an island off the coast to take my open water diving test. It was a success! We did four dives, and saw lots of great fish and several sea turtles! I think if you are going to learn how to dive, it makes sense to do it somewhere beautiful like Indonesia.