Bali, Here We Come!
Our stay in Bukit Lawang came to an end and the hotel arranged transportation to the airport. Until this point in our trip I had planned everything. I would have planned a bit more if I could have but our days and nights were so busy. We also found out while we were in England that Andrew would have a friend in Bali the same time as us, so I didn’t want our travel plans to be so rigid we would not get to meet up.
Our first room in Bali.
We got off the flight in the evening as the sun was setting. Andrew found us a hostel to stay for the night. It was more like a hotel than a hostel as we had our own room, bathroom, and entry. The hostel was near a busy street with lots of restaurants to choose from.
Of course, I chose pizza!
I had eaten enough nasi goreng and mie goreng (fried rice or noodles, sometimes with chicken) to last me the year. The pizza was so good! The local “working man’s” beer as Andrew calls it was also good. At least for my poor beer tastes. We filled our bellies with loads of pizza and headed to the room to sleep.
Pizza Pizza Pizza
The next day we had to decide what our plans would be in Bali. We knew we didn’t have enough time to get to explore the whole island or we’d spend most of our time in the car each day. The beach that we were close to wasn’t very nice, so we decided we would make the most of our time in Bali and further our dive skills by enrolling in a
I won’t bore you with the details of trying to find a dive school. It took emails, phone calls, and a lot of googling to find a place we could get in to the next day, and that would offer Andrew his rescue certification and me my open water course. We settled on a dive school called Two Fish Divers. They have a few locations around the island. Our location was on a different island called Nusa Lembongan.
Once we had a plan in place we went for a walk along the beach, had dinner, and decided to get a couple’s massage! Thank goodness too. After the next few days of diving I didn’t realize how much I’d need to relax a bit. That’s what I came to Bali for.
We woke up early for our first day of dive school. A van was sent to our hostel to pick us up and get us to the ferry that leaves for Nusa. We were deposited on a beach with our bags in a large pile. After all the bags were loaded on to the ferry, the passengers filed down the beach to the ocean and climbed aboard the ferry. This was interesting to me since there was no dock. You had to take off your shoes, hike up your britches, and wade in the water to get on the boat.
Getting on and off the ferry.
The ferry ride was nice. The views were stunning, and the water splashed inside a little bit when we hit larger waves. We arrived shortly on Nusa Lembongan and debarked the same way we got on. Golf carts or small trucks were provided to take us to our hostels. Our hostel was a nice and open space with a pool in the center. The room was our own cabin and bathroom. We quickly checked in and ran over to the dive school to get started.
at the dive school and were greeted by two black and white dogs, a lovely pool surrounded by cabins that looked a lot like the hostel we were staying at, and an office and learning center. We met Emily and Andrea, our coaches for the next few days. I would be working with Andrea and Andrew worked with Emily. They explained how our courses would work and what we would be doing each day.
Lovely dive center.
Our first day of training was filled with videos and workbooks. We each found our own space among the tiny dive school paradise and watched video after video and answered quizzes and filled out worksheets. Finally, after a few hours of lessons our first day was complete. We walked the short walk back to our hostel.
Day 1 of training
We had been given a nice cabin in the back part of the property away from the road which was nice. However, we could not get any of the wifi available. We asked to move and they kindly obliged. We were able to get wifi in our new room, but after one night’s “sleep” we quickly realized we may have been better off in the other cabin. The noise from the road kept us awake and roosters were crowing for hours throughout the night. It was not a good night’s sleep.
Our second room in our hostel.
We headed to our Two Fish for our second day of training. I would spend the morning in the pool working on basic skills with another diver who needed to refresh her skills, and Andrew would spend the morning in the classroom.
From here, I’ll continue with my part of the trip since our training differed drastically from here. Andrew got his Advanced Open Water Certification years ago in Thailand, so he was taking the next class to continue his dive skills. I was only working on my basic. We did a fun dive in Grand Cayman for our first anniversary.
I was assigned a wet suit and booties and all the fun stuff you get when you go diving. In Grand Cayman the water was warm enough that after an hour at ten meters you didn’t feel cold. We were only spending time in the pool today, but it was nice to train with the gear I had never tried before.
Rockin’ a wet suit for the first time.
Andrea introduced Claire and I to each other. Claire has her certification already but had not done any diving recently, so she wanted a refresher. Until lunch, we spent the whole time practicing our breathing, buoyancy, losing our regulators and finding them again, and all the other skills we would need to pass once we were in the open waters of the ocean.
was very shallow so some of the exercises were difficult. I found the hardest part was filling up my mask with water. Clearing it seemed second nature but allowing water inside on purpose is just silly. We also had to remove our masks completely, clear them, and begin our dive again. I let anxiety get the better of me a few times during these exercises. No one likes water up their noses! I knew I wasn’t going to drown, but it isn’t fun when you inhale or exhale through the wrong hole.
Overall, the morning was enjoyable and we all sat down to lunch tired, but happy and ready to eat more chicken and rice! I spent the afternoon after lunch watching more videos and doing worksheets to prep for my paper test. Andrew spent the afternoon in the pool doing exercises for rescue scenarios and going over first aid.
Andrew “rescuing” Emily his trainer.
I ended my videos around 5 pm and requested to take my paper test while everything was fresh on my mind. I finished and passed! Andrew was still working in the pool, so I relaxed in the hammocks for a bit. I spent the evening excited about my first dive, but nervous to perform all the skills necessary while in the ocean.
I LOVE hammocks.
We woke up early for our first day of diving. We would be doing two dives and then go back to the dive school for lunch. Because we spent these four days smashing information in to our brains and doing so many things with regards to diving it is hard to remember what skills I was asked to perform and when. Andrea set up my skills tests very well though.
Andrea, my trainer!
I would get in to the water, do my skills, and then we would dive for fun and see what we could see! There were a few skills I would have to do during the dive, but we discussed our hand signals and when those skills would happen and what to do, so I felt confident.
He’s so cute doing what he loves.
The dives went by quickly and were beautiful! There were so many fish, starfish, corals, you name it! I loved it! We emerged, decompressed, had some snacks, and went down for our second dive and skills at another location.
The day was short, fun, and was over too fast. We got back to the dive school, had some more chicken and noodles, and Andrew continued his rescue practice while I went back to the hotel to rest and write. We had changed hotels this morning as the roosters were too much to handle in the last place. This new hotel was basically next door to the dive school, was much more modern, and was very peaceful. (I don’t have a photo.)
Our final day of dive school! It all went by so fast, sadly. I wish we could have spent another week diving for fun and spending time with the nice people we had met. Today’s dives were unbeatable. I had a few issues with taking my mask completely off and putting it back on, but Andrea was very patient with me and made sure I completed it finally.
Awesome views on the way to our dives.
I spotted three Eagle Rays, many starfish, a few trigger fish, loads of coral of all colors, and fish of different sizes and colors. If it wasn’t for the whole not being able to talk underwater and breath, I could live in our oceans. It has its own energy and sound, and it is like being on another planet. We truly live in special place three planets from the sun.
Emily, Me, Andrea, and Andrew…we passed!
After lunch of more chicken and rice we headed back to the ferry to take us to Bali. I was sad our dive days were over for a while. We booked a hostel in a different location closer to the airport. We spent the evening enjoying the warm pool we had to ourselves, grabbed dinner at a local place, and decided to get another couple’s massage since they’re so inexpensive in Bali.
Final Thoughts on Bali
To be fair, we spent most of our time on Nusa Lembongan and in the ocean, so I would not say I have experienced Bali. What I wanted was a week-long vacation from traveling to sit on a beach, sip fruity drinks, get a tan, and take excursions to visit rice patties and take scenic photos. Instead we did a lot of diving and not much relaxing, but I wouldn’t change it. We met some great people. I learned a lot. I have my dive certification now, so I can dive in other parts of the world, and it was truly awesome.
Maybe one day I’ll go back to Bali and experience the luxurious resort-type vacation I had originally wanted. I was able to see a bit of the culture while there and see how their religion has a huge influence on their daily lives. The old world and new world are a big mix of cultures and buildings. However, there is also a bit of sadness in the changes that tourism from the western world brings in to a small place and culture like Bali.
Don’t always believe what you see in a photo.
I did not find the magic I had hoped to find in Bali, but home did call me. As we walked along the beach boardwalk our second day in Bali, it was Oktoberfest and bars were celebrating. Women were dressed in costume-style lederhosen and bands were playing. What other magical moment could you ask for but to have a Balinese band dressed in German attire playing Sweet Home Alabama. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear.
Sweet Home Alabama
The next morning, we walked to the airport since we couldn’t get Uber to work and headed to Australia. More on our Australian adventures next!