Underwater world: Learning to Dive

12132607_10205273220336729_438353332914942311_oOne of Luke’s goals for our months of travelling was to learn how to scuba dive. I had already completed a course many years ago in Australia, but this was completely new to him. We chose Amed as the place to learn, and Adventure Divers as our residence and teachers. While Luke became a fully certified open water diver, I buddied up with my sister Kari and we explored the under water depths together.

Even though I had completed my open water certification diving in Amed still taught me a lot, particularly because it had been years since I had been diving. After a refresher course and practicing basic skills, buoyancy control, and emergency procedures, we had a series of guided fun dives. On these we not only got to see plenty of different dive sights on the north western coast of Bali, we also learned to identify several fish, and learned some fish signs. Most challenging, I think, was learning the shore entry. Having previously only ever jumped from a boat Kari and I found it very difficult to face the waves, and I added to my collection of bruises and cuts on my knees.

12052558_10205273212576535_3167095863710964958_oThe dive sites around Amed provide some very nice variation of scenery and animals, in part cultivated by local initiatives. Some of my favourite spots were the habitats and coral reefs created by humans, generally through lowering some kind of structure onto the ocean bottom. We found pyramids and statues, home to anemone, coral, pufferfish, leaf-fish, pipe fish, and countless damselfish. At one of these locations we also had the luck of seeing a sea turtle and later a Napoleon Bump-head Wrasse. There were also more challenging dives. One of the more famous sites on the north-coast of Bali is the shipwreck the USAT Liberty. I found our two visits to the wreck intimidating and unpleasant, becoming more claustrophobic with each swim through.

12031481_10205273214136574_5968566332054036042_o
A picture I actually took! Kari in front of Mt. Batur after another great dive.

Diving in Amed for several days was great, and I would definitely recommend it. I think there are several other people who seem to share my attitude: it didn’t take much time in Amed and the surrounding areas to see that diving seems to be the up and coming selling point, and everyone is jumping on board. This led to our instructors giving us the usual cautionary note that when we continue diving, we should be careful about which companies we chose, taking into account the quality of the equipment, the supply of oxygen available, etc. As a novice I still feel very inept at identifying a good diving school and I passed on the responsibility of making those decisions to the other two and the ratings on trip advisor. (I hang my head in shame). I pass the note on to you, though, as a reminder to do your research. We later had an incident where we were offered diving through our hostel, with no evidence of the divemaster’s ability, the kit’s condition, or the preparedness of the company should something go wrong. We ended up politely declining that offer, even though the dive site was meant to be fantastic.

12139942_10205273210696488_4206485517435003920_oPhotos here are taken and  processed by my sister, who has her own travel blog, published in German. She’s kindly allowed me to borrow them because I did not use my camera during our days of diving- it’s not waterproof!

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