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The journey home

No diving today ☚ī¸ so a leisurely breakfast was enjoyed where we learnt that our friends return flights to Australia via JetStar had been cancelled, they needed to change to earlier flights as all future international flights to Australia from Bali have been cancelled.

After breakfast Jo spends some time showing Gede some of our pictures then we set about shoehorning our camera gear into the box for the journey home.

After that we start the rest of the packing and before long, most of it is done. Time for the first big weigh-in. 20.3 and 25.5 which leaves 14.2 for the last bag, it could be a close one!

Last bag weighed, oops, over, redistribute and use up that spare 2kg in Jo’s carry on! I suppose I could always put my long trousers and sweatshirt on instead of stashing it in my bag, could cause a bead or two of perspiration 😰😓

Bebas Gula

It’s a monster hot day and the idea of taking a 100m stroll down to the shop for travel snacks had become strangely unattractive. Thankfully the thought that the same things might cost ten times as much at the airport is incentive enough!

Update, the mid day sun dash to the Indomarket was completed with no significant loss of composure, phew!

Four compressors and continuous flow nitrox blending kept things flowing underwater.
All ready for the Corona challenge!

We have a nice lunch then spend sometime time chatting with our various friends from Australia until the transfer pickup.

The journey to the airport seemed endless, I must have slept through most of it on the way out. We are in a 12 seater minibus and our driver seems intent on overtaking anything in front regardless of the lack of road space, blind bends and the scooters that are everywhere!

Almost three hours later we arrive at Denpasar airport, clear security, check in and make our way through the masses of duty free shops ( all very posh here) to our departure gate where its not too long before we commence boarding. An uneventful flight (the best kind) and we arrive in Singapore. We have to travel all of two gates along the way to the connecting flight so for now we are resting in relatively comfy chairs.

Easy chairs!

We are about to board and there are only about 50 people here. Soda law says they’re all going to be sitting next to me!

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Dive Day #14

So, it’s our last diving day. ☚ī¸â˜šī¸

We have had a wonderful holiday. 😍😍

Three dives today. We have arranged to go a little later to try to avoid the strong currents. Basically, 9.00 instead of 8.00.

BTW, it is super sunny and super hot! Nice!

So camera prep, then on to breakfast…

We have tried to ignore what’s going on in the world, but the Coronavirus has made us a little concerned. Two weeks ago the world was pretty much running as expected and now it looks like it is all going to ratshit!

We checked on to our flights, last night. Also we have regularly been checking the Singapore news page, just in case all flights to the UK are suspended, as in a number of European countries. All okay, so far.

We have decided to self isolate for two weeks when we get back, as it is best to be on the safe side. Our Aussie friends have been told to self isolate, or face prison!

Anyway, we went diving. Nice!

The fishing boats here are all beautifully decorated.

Mahi mahi. what we had for dinner a couple of days ago.
Black marlin

Dive #47

Sidem. Nice!

All sorts of critters, including a couple of boxer crabs.

Current fish was ok.

Richard and Darryl (posing as nudibranch with my help)

We moved to another dive site during our surface interval as Carole had her grumpy face on.

😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠😠

In fact, we were very happy to move. We went to Big Tree. I think the guides were happy to move as they have the best food in a stall there. Gede got us some Indonesian salad. Wow, super spicy! Very good indeed. Ate it before we took a picture, so I took a picture of Gede’s second helping…

Indonesian salad and noodles
Ginger tea
Setting the ambiance…
Darryl and Dianne
Our kit heading off down the beach to the entry point

Dive #48

We got wet! We saw stuff! We took pictures!

After lunch, at about 3pm, we went diving again, the last one of the holiday.

Dive #49

Liberty wreck slope.

Lovely last dive. Huge thermocline though. You can tell as you need to equalise. It was so strong, it turned Richard around 180 degrees, whilst he was trying to take a photo! This was shortly followed by a strong down current. Nethertheless, still a good dive!

In the evening, we went out to Chops and Hops with Darryl and Dianne, their guide, Made, and our guide, Gede.

Chops and Hops

I had a burger…

Burger

Needed a flip top head!

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Dive Day #13

Whilst we wake to another day in paradise, the world appears to remain on track for total shutdown. My brother arrived in France at the when for a week’s skiing, only to be told on Saturday night that he had to go back home on Sunday.

Our flights are still scheduled and we should be able to check in tonight. Let’s see how that turns out.

Cameras are all prepped and we’re waiting for breakfast.

View from our breakfast table

We finally get our order in and processed before all other breakfast orders are taken. It sounds a bit trivial but we were generally first to order and last to get served, so when we want to get away promptly for a dive it often meant that whatever we had eaten for breakfast stayed with us throughout the entire dive.

Let’s see if the situation improves today!

We travel across to Melasti for two dives. When we arrive there was a bit of a current flowing but we get in, then we all agree to give it a while longer.

A while later we try again, this time we get as little further before accepting that the current was still too much. We give it another half hour or so, third time lucky!

The current was fine and we get our dive done.

During the surface interval we have lolies and hot ginger tea.

Made, Gede, Jo, Richard, Darryl, Diane, Leon and Carole
Gede, Jo and Richard
Leon, Carole, Darryl, Diane, Gede, Jo and Richard

On the second dive we mostly current free though that thermocline fish crept up on me at one point Brrrrrhhhhhh!

We see some nice nudis as well as other stuff.

Back to base for lunch where we are presented with some snake fruit.

Snake fruit

.. Which oddly taste a lot like Apple!

We also get another batch of mangosteen and Rambutan, yum

For the afternoon dive we head back to Liberty Slope where more nudis present themselves as well as various Shrimps, blue and yellow ribbon eels and a black tip reef shark, which was nice.

We return to base and after iced tea and water melon we go for a dip in our ‘private’ pool before returning to our room for snacks and logging etc. Jo is giving the snake fruit some serious attention!

Cassava Chips

For dinner we had sir fried vegitables with chicken and beef Rendang. It rained a bit during dinner, a bit like the rain on ‘Monsoon Wedding’, I’m not sure I have ever seen quite so much rain!

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Dive Day #12

Another early morning dive on the USS Liberty. In the water as the sun was coming up.

Dive #39

Lots of bumphead wrasse. Ten just as we got on to the wreck of various sizes. On the bow of the boat another nine huge bumpheads came out of the hold and swam right passed us. Amazing!

Issues with the camera, as I had my strobes on full rather than manual and all the pictures were black. Hmmm… Mental note made…

Some very cold bits as the up current came in and some very warm bits as the current went down.

They have the strangest currents here. Very changeable in the matter of minutes.

The up currents can drop the temperature but up to five degrees. The down currents can be like a warm bath. Who would have thought that I would spend my dive hoping for a down current!

Back to the resort for American breakfast then back out for two dives at Baturinggit.

Just a bimble about. Currents came (usually when I was trying to take a photo) and went (when I wasn’t).

Dive #40
Lots of photo opportunities, including a yellow sea horse and a variety of other critters.

A hours surface interval under the trees, then back in.

Dive #41

Another bimble, but as there were a few more divers in the water we headed further to to the right than we have done before.

We saw a candy crab in soft coral, pretty slugs, banded snake eel out hunting. Also a sexy shrimp on beautiful red mushroom coral.

Lunch was fish and chips for me and Sicilian pasta (a portion and a half), with lots of garlic!

Had a nap before the afternoon dive.

Dive #42

Liberty slope joined by Carole.

Such an excellent slope.

My mission. I was to have a guy at videoing. Richard had got me some video lights for my birthday.

The best video I took was of a beautiful risbecia acting very strangely. I was very pleased with the results.

I also took photos using the snoot of different nudis and shrimps. Sexy shrimp on a very pretty anemone.

Another special meal for tea. Darryl had arranged for Mahi mahi (dolphin fish). Delicious and perfectly cooked.

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Dive Day #11

After a quick squint at the news where it is confirmed that the planet remains on course for total lockdown and panic buying ensures that there are no essentials available for those that really need them we turn our attentions to our immediate needs and decide to go and prep the cameras before breakfast. On our way to the camera room a quick glance at Mt. Agung confirms that we are not about to be consumed by molten lava flows or buried in volcanic ash, some good news at least!

Mt. Agung, when less dormant

After breakfast (where those who are first to order are always last to get served) we head out for the diving. The first site is called Bulaken which is a sandy slope known for the Shaun the Sheep slugs. We find several!

Above water there are two temples and a great view of Mt. Agung.

Temple
Mt. Agung

For the second dive we travel along the road a few minutes to get to Agung Resort.

Agung Resort

The water was super clear on this dive, lots to see including many nudis as well as a couple of Octopus. There was a thermocline fish as well, how cool was that? About 4 degrees cooler than I was used to!

Back at base at are invited to partake of some babbagouling (local pig based dish) and I very carefully check whether this is for lunch or dinner. Dinner is the answer.

So we order some lunch and are then told that we are expecting the pork to arrive for lunch. It seems that dinner means different things depending on where you come from!

Regardless, over an hour later it still hasn’t arrived so everyone else orders lunch. It’ll probably turn up in the next 5 minutes!

The afternoon dive is on Liberty Slope. No current fish and no thermocline fish! Some great hairy shrimp action as well as lots of nudis, shrimp, Tiger shrimp and really excellent visibility.

Following a dip in the pool we head back to the room for snacks!

These are anything but mild!

18:00 arrives and so does the babba gouling! We head down to the restaurant where packets of pork, rice and Sambal are distributed. We got to eat our take away in the restaurant which was handy. It’s basically freshly roasted piglet.

Babba Gouling

Not long after dinner I was ready to pass out (we are doing a lot of diving) so shortly after seven in the PM, we retired, shortly after that, I did indeed pass out!

Fully justified as we have an early motioning dive on the wreck, up at 05:00 etc.

Dive Day #10

Up for breakfast at 7 and diving at 8. Doing two dives this morning on Baturinggit.

I think that this is my favorite dive site in Bali so far.

Today I will be using the dive resorts BCD as my inflation hose seems to be stuck on inflate.

Dive #32

A fair bit of current on this site today but it was still an excellent dive.

We saw lots of things to take pictures of, including a very pretty and some lovely slugs. Also, some very nicely positioned tiger shrimps.

We have an amazing guide in Gede!

The surface interval was spent chatting with Darryl and Dianne, and Carole and Leon. We are very lucky to spend a holiday with such lovely people.

Dive #33

More of the same, trying to take some more pictures of the yellow seahorse but failed.

Back to the tiger shrimps to try out some different lighting techniques. Towards the end of the dive I was taking some pictures of a feather star shrimp. Fingers crossed that the pictures are okay.

Jacket working well. Fine in the water, only a bit hard on my back as I was getting out of the water.

Back at the resort, we went for a dip in the pool, whilst drinking iced tea and eating watermelon.

After a lunch of steak sandwich for me and fish and chips for Richard, there was time for a quick snooze before the third dive of the day.

Dive #34

Back to Liberty wreck slope with Carole.

A really good dive where all the nudity pranks (so much for talking to your phone! should be nudibranch! Ha ha!) seemed to be facing in the right direction skip. We also took time to take pictures of yellow and blue ribbon heels. For the first time ever I saw a popcorn shrimp with eggs.

A quick dip in the pool with our iced tea and watermelon, then a work break for Richard and blogging time before the next dive.

Dive #35

Night dive on the Liberty Slope. Excellent!

A quick tea of fish and chips for me and seafood spaghetti for Richard, then back to the room to get pictures off the camera.

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Dive Day #9

A most excellent early morning dive on the USS Liberty.

Gede pulled out a Happy Birthday sign during the dive, a nice surprise for Jo. Got close ups with a Bump Head and a small shoal of sweetlips, very few other divers, a really nice dive. Back to base for breakfast, diving again at nine.

A note to anyone considering the same dive: if your wet suit boots don’t have thick and rigid soles then we strongly suggest you get some. Most of the beaches are covered on large stones at and below the waters edge. Thicker soles would help immensely.

Upon our return to base, the assembled team at breakfast all sing Happy Birthday to Jo as our truck pulls in.

Birthday Treats

After breakfast we head out for a couple of dives at Seraya, nudis, harlequin shrimps and other stuff, all great.

We were diving next to the Seraya Resort which looked none too busy.

Salt, pepper, chili squid for lunch, the birthday girl had a steak sandwich, so excited was I about the prospect of lunch I forgot to take pictures, yum!

Fresh fruit

Mangosteen and Rambutan courtesy of our guide Gede, very local and very lovely.

In other news mount Agung has been venting steam/gas today. Perhaps we’ll be evacuated?

The afternoon dive is at melasti, all was going well until we get in to the water where we find that Jo’s inflator is stuck on. Despite all attempts to remedy the situation, it remains on. I suggest we swap BCD’s and I’ll use it without the inflator connected. This is what we do and technically it all goes well. Jo’s jacket is a cosy fit on me but my jacket is not quite so snug on Jo. A ‘loose’ fit is being kind! Thus the dive was not quite as relaxing as it perhaps might have otherwise been ☚ī¸

We return to base and have the usual water melon and iced tea in the pool then we learn that transport has been arranged to take us all out tonight.

We enjoy a mahoosive steak and curry at ‘chops and hops’ followed by a surprise birthday cake for Jo, yum.

… And a birthday balloon too!
Sir Darral in at far end

Thank you Carole for organising the cake. We get back to base and it’s firework time courtesy of Darral.

Preparations are made by the pool, Darrell’s team of skilled operatives prepare the various ordinance.

Poolside prep

Then it’s off with a bang!

Oooh, aawwww!
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Dive Day #8

Slept well. WhatsApping with my dad when I got up. I was just getting up and he was just going to bed.

Quick camera stuff then on to breakfast.

With breakfast all done we headed to Melasti for a couple of dives.

On the back of the truck. Richard, Carole, Gede and Leon.

Dive #25

A bit bumpy on entry and exit.

Another muck dive, as nearly all of the diving is here. We saw lots of nudis and lots of pictures were taken.

Surface interval and Darryl gets spoken to by the police!

Badge negotiations
Gede working hard
Hot ginger tea for refreshments

Dive #26

Went in a bit to the left after walking along the beach. Getting kitted up in the water and Richard had lost his mask. I gave him my mask to find his and he was in the waves searching when Gede found it dropped on the beach. So all good.

Excellent dive.

We saw lots of things including blue and yellow Shaun the sheep slugs and lady bugs.

Richard got a lovely picture of the Shaun the sheep nudi once I pointed out that he was taking a picture of the back end. Make him chuckle! Reminded him of the turn it around joke.

Back for lunch.

So this afternoon it was just us and Dianne. Back on the Liberty Slope.

Dive #27

Once again a very excellent dive. We spent time looking at hairy shrimps and lots of other creatures.

Both entry and exit were a little bumpy, so we decided to give the night dive a miss. We decided that we will do the USS Liberty for the early morning time.

Back at the resort, we had a quick dip in our private pool. Then, after a little bit of work stuff we headed out to the shop.

View from our room. Geoff and Sue opposite and Darryl and Dianne to the left.

Only went out for a packet of crisps…

Wonder how long this will last…

A quick dinner for ten (us, Carole and Leon, Darryl and Dianne, Geoff and Sue, Albert and Rebecca) where the gin came out again. Richard had a beer and I had a small gin and lemonade.

Gin o’clock

Got some good pictures today.

Early night.

Alarm set for 4:50!!!

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Dive Day #7

An early start for another dive on the wreck at 06.00 and what a spectacular dive it was. Pitch black when we went in, straight on to the wreck with no other divers in sight. A good morning for a wide angle session taking nothing other than the same old pictures I always take, lovely!

As daylight occurred I could introduce some blue backgrounds from the surface and so things progressed. Jo was in super macro mode so we spent the first 40 minutes more or less in the same spot before spending the next 30 minutes moving around the rest of the wreck then making our way to the shallower areas to see the Bump Heads (Napoleon Wrasse) in about 5m.

A fantastic dive, just the thing to work up that appetite for breakfast.

Mia Goreng, Nasi Goreng and some Dragon fruit for breakfast then back out for a couple of dives at Sidem.

Dragon Fruit

On the first dive we found the ladybugs at 31m as promised.

On the second dive we found loads of nudis and flat worms and at the end of the dive we found the boxer crabs (first time I’ve seen them).

Kitting Up
Beach at Sidem

Between dives we get ginger tea from the locals and ‘lolies’ from Adelaide.

Lollies from Adelaide

Back on dry land for lunch, when I say dry, it is raining a little right now.

If it rains any more I can log it!

Darrell’s brother in law and wife have just arrived along with their friends who are staying for a few days.

Rain starting to ease off, no, really it is!
Team Adelaide

Diving again at three, I hope the rain stops, don’t want to get wet.

Monsoon

This afternoon’s dive was on Liberty Slope, an excellent muck dive site on which today we saw skeleton shrimp, Tiger shrimp, loads of nudis, blue spotted rays and other stuff.

Much snooting was going on, looking forward to seeing how that all turns out.

Back at base the rain starts again in Monsoon Wedding style. We enjoy iced tea and watermelon in the main pool which is toasty warm compared to the rain. Unbelievably, now we are back to our room and changed it looks like it’s easing off a little, then again, perhaps not, The Tropics eh?!?

.. And that’s how it started

Dinner was lovely, prawn crackers followed by the chicken curry.

When signing for dinner, the three young ladies at the counter took it I upon themselves to tell me that I was handsome and that I had a very beautiful wife. Quite right I told them!

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Dive day #6

Not to an early one this morning. Breakfast at 7.00 after having coffee and ginger biscuits at about 6.00. Buffet breakfast today so there was a good choice and specially cooked scrambled eggs for me.

We met for diving at a 8.00 and we went in the truck to Baturinggit, where we did two Dives.

The locals had been fishing.

Huge fish
Gede getting ready

Dive #16

Lovely dive.

Spent quite a long time at depth of about 22m on the pile of tyres.

Had a situation with a turtle.

The turtle was on the tyres when we got there. He wasn’t particularly worried about us but move slightly to one side when we got there. I took some pictures of a nudi then I spotted some Durban dancing shrimps, which are very colourful, bright red with white lines and spots. I settled down to take some pictures. After a while, I noticed that the turtle had snuck in underneath me in the 12inch gap, and was making himself at home. So, rather than disturb it, I decided to carry on with what I was doing. Some minutes later,after taking the photos, I looked down, the turtle had moved slightly, had opened its mouth and was about to take a bite of my fingers. Knowing what turtles can do to coral, my fingers would not have stood a chance!

We saw a beautiful pink nudi, I think of Cinderella nudi, found by Richard. Got some nice pictures.

Very nicely positioned nudies!

Our surface interval

During the surface interval we chatted with Carole and Leon, and a young lady “from China without coronavirus” about cameras.

Richard is the odd one out

Dive #17

In the water and to the right. This site has a gentle slope and slight mound areas that are covered in critters.

We saw a very tiny red frog fish and then we saw an even smaller tiger shrimp. Lots of things to see. Then we saw two different types of Shaun the sheep slug on a green leaf.

When we got out, the was a delivery of bamboo. No health and safety here to worry about.

Bamboo delivery

Lovely lunch of steak sandwich and chips, followed by another dive.

At 3.00 we went for another dive.

Dive #18

This is the same dive site as Big Tree but we entered the water from a different access route.

This time there was no current, which made the taking of pictures so much better as the  subjects were not waving around like a fart in a thunderstorm.

Big slug. Sexy shrimp. Tiny red frogfish. Skeleton shrimp.

Back to the resort to be greeted by our friends, Darryl and Dianne, just arrived from Adelaide, Australia. So lovely to see them.

Then on to all the usual stuff.

Dip in the pool.

Pictures off camera.

Blogging.

Dive logging.

Then onto a fun evening with Darryl, Dianne, Carole and Leon. I did take a picture but must have deleted it by mistake. ☚ī¸

Richard went overboard on the sambal and couldn’t stop hiccoughing, which was a good thing as it was the only thing keeping him awake.

I helped cure the hiccoughing using Sarah Ash’s tried and tested cure. Richard then promptly fell asleep. I woke him up and escorted him to the room.

He is asleep and this is what I am doing…

So that was our day. We are up early tomorrow to dive the USS Liberty as the sun comes up.

Happy days!