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Dive Day #5

Another early one today as we head out to dive the USS Liberty once more.

For anyone who missed the earlier post, this is the wreck right next to the resort. It’s very shallow, only about 24m on the deepest part and not much more than 10m around the upper sections. Some superstructure almost breaks the surface.

In the water before sunrise. Pitch black night dive conditions.

Within moments Jo is chasing a small octopus around.

The wreck was very quiet, all the time we were on it we didn’t see another diver.

I enjoyed playing with the wide-angle lens and Gede was looking after Jo who is in permanent super macro mode, showing her the slugs.

At the end of the dive, when we left the wreck, we saw one bumphead wrasse then two then five. All up close.

Back on dry land and sorting cameras less than ten minutes after surfacing. Iced tea and water melon then breakfast. Buffet today with rice, noodles, eggs and bacon, super yum.

During conversions with our guide we learn that the ‘wine’ he gave us yesterday was 25% alcohol, that explains a lot!

We now have a 40 minute break before the next dives. These will be two back to back at some as yet undisclosed location!

…and the location is…. Big Tree, so called because there is a big tree on the beach.

Swim down to a ridge where there is a lot of nudi action going on. All smaller types. Lots to see, a small white painted frog fish turns up too.

After our surface interval we return to the same site for more of the same. On the way down we play with a peacock mantis shrimp.

At one point, a dozen small squid put on a bit of a display.

The water felt a little warmer today though the computers still recorded 29 degrees.

Some mechanical intervention is required on Jo’s dioptre holder. It seems quite easily jammed by getting a little sand or grit in the wrong place so it’s Allen keys out and take the thing apart. Before long there are parts, springs and ball bearings everywhere. We get the thing back together and it all works, phew! Another diver here has had the exact same issue, a design feature (fault)?

Off for a light lunch, a local dish called , Toasted Sandwich, salad and fries.

Then it’s camera prep and general R&R before the next dive during which time I finish off the Rambutan, don’t want scurvy!

For the last dive of the day we head back to Liberty Slope to see what we can see. I gear up with the snoot which I forgot earlier 😭 and plan to spend most of the dive with the strobes off, which I succeed in doing. Nice candy crab, loads of nudis and towards the end of the dive, blue sea squirts on the USS Liberty wreck.

Back at the resort we sort cameras for a bit and then slip into our ‘private’ pool for a Bob about before going back to the room to dry off.

We sample more of the local brew which is lurking in the fridge pretending to be bottled water. I’m now convinced it tastes more like whisky than anything else, oh dear,!

There has been a group here from Taiwan and today they offered is some ‘taiwan tea’ which was interesting, quite yellow in colour and tasting very vaguely of tea. We accepted their offer and finished it off!

Dinner is prawn crackers followed by pork on y sweet sauce with extra chilli and Sambal, so excited was I that I failed to take a picture of the main course, which is a Shame as the pile of freshly sliced chili’s looked quite impressive!

Prawn Crackers

We were joined for dinner by ex-pats Carole and Leon who now live in Sydney, fellow muck diving enthusiasts they have been here several times and like us, enjoy the challenge of finding out what really is hiding in what looks like a barren wasteland!

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Dive Day #4

Woken up with a cup of coffee and some ginger nuts then to breakfast at 7 shortly followed by diving at 8. We both opted for the noodles for breakfast.

More orchids

On our way back to our room, as we passed the dive centre, Gede called to us then gave us a bag of ramputang…

Ramputang

A bag of mangosteen…

Mangosteen

And a very inocent looking bottle of “water”.

Not to be drunk before diving

Two dives on the truck to Melasti

Dive #11

Another muck dive. Pretty much all mucky diving here which we’re very pleased about. We love it.

Another sandy slope with lots of nudis, many of which are absolutely beautiful.

Camera issues!

Strobes not flashing, so changed to the snoot.
Made some headway on the use of the snoot THEN the strobes start working again.
THEN, the lens fogs up and can’t take any photos, at all!

During our surface interval we open up the camera housing, all dry. The problem seems to be steaming up inside the 60mm lens. So we dried it as best we could.

Dive 12

Same site but when we go in turn left instead of right.

We saw amazing yellow and blue Shaun the sheep nudi, a beautiful bright orange Lady Bug and to top it all of a
MOLA MOLA!!!!

Yippee!!!!

My first ever! That’s another one off the list!

Quick truck drive back to the resort shortly followed by lunch. Steak sandwich for me and noodles again for Richard.

Beautiful flowers that fall from the trees – they smell beautiful 😁

The third dive of the day was at Surya. Back to see the harlequin shrimps.

Dive #13

In the water and to the left. A fair bit of current. Viz not so good, less than 10 metres.

Spend time with the harlequin shrimps playing with strobes and exposure.

Another lovely dive.

Back of the resort, we sort the cameras out and go for a swim in our private pool.

Everyday at about 5 when we’re in the pool the staff bring around incense as a ritual. It is very beautiful, much care is taken.

The offering

Within moments the pigeons have got them. Devastation!

Devastation!

So relaxing now. Eating ramputang and mangosteen. Wash down with a very small tipple. Local wine. More like saki that wine we get at home. Could easily blow your head off!

For dinner we were joined by Carole and Leon. Richard and I had the same, prawn crackers followed by beef randang. Mine, a little spicy. Richard’s very spicy with extra chillis.

Richard, would you like some randang with your chilli’s?
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Dive Day #3

It’s 04:50, I’ve just served coffee and ginger nuts and Jo is snoozing, just saying!

Anyhow, we are up and getting ready for an early dive on the USS Liberty. Apparently we might get to see ‘Bumpheads’ which we take to mean Napoleon Wrasse, for me it was the chance to go diving before breakfast that was the real attraction. It could also be a little less busy on the wreck, we shall see.

.. And indeed we did see! We were in the water at around 06:00 and made the short swim to the wreck. As soon as we arrived we spotted a large Napoleon which really wasn’t going anywhere fast, it ended up being within touching distance but we didn’t like the look of its very big teeth so after staring at it for a few moments we continued on to make our way around the wreck.

It was still mostly dark as we started at the stern. The wreck lies on its starboard side and the rudder is still in place making an easy swim through. We continue along the port side admiring the soft corals that adorn the metalwork along the way.

Before long a group of 7 of more Napoleons are spotted sitting on the sand. Most of the ship is well broken up and it’s easy to navigate through and around the various sections.

We turn to make our way back along the starboard side towards the stern.

USS Liberty Bali

It’s a big old wreck!

Back at base it’s buffet breakfast for a change (probably thanks to the group who arrived from Taiwan last night) and it’s most yum!

Back to our room for some logging and blogging then it’s back out for a couple of dives at 09:00.

We go to a site called Serya for a couple of dives which were really enjoyable. Once again we are greeted by the locals who carry all our gear to the waters edge and we get in to find a rocky then sandy slope down to typical much diving area where we see all sorts of nudis and other sealife.

During the surface interval we take on much needed water and risked the local coffee which was much more enjoyable than the last one we had at a similar spot.

For the second dive we get in at the same point but turn left instead of right. Lots more nudi action, a tiny red Frog Fish and towards the end of the dive, a couple of good sized Harlequin Shrimps, lovely.

Back on dry land we enjoy the customary water melon and iced tea then we change for lunch which today consists of steak sandwiches, fries and coleslaw.

The next dive is at three in the PM so we go back to our room to watch a bit of a rain storm.

It’s still raining when we head off for the dive. Fortunately it’s about 60 seconds to the dive site. We get in and the water is really warm. It still only measured 29 degrees but it was a little like getting in to a warm bath. The dive is Liberty Slope which is right next the wreck. Loads of nudi action of all shapes, colours and sizes. Also quite a few ray’s on this dive, mostly blue spotted but one much larger one cruised by one point.

A large Napoleon also put in a brief appearance.

Another most enjoyable diving experience.

Back to base for a swift rinse, iced tea and water melon then off to our private pool for yet another splash.

The splash was most excellent even though it was raining. Back to the room for blogging and photo work before dinner.

At said dinner we join up with our French Canadian friends as well as Leon and Carole from Australia, so much conversation that I completely forgot to take a food picture so imagine this: Prawn Crackers to start with followed by Beef Rendang and Pork in Sweet Source with some spicy Sambal on the side, all most excellent.

Tomorrow’s diving starts at eight so plenty of time to play with cameras, batteries and breakfast before hand.

Nearly half way through the first half of the diving and it’s all been excellent. It’s all so easy, we’re not allowed to carry anything indeed, we are still a little embarrassed when toothless octogenarians carry our made up dive gear to the waters edge on their heads, perhaps they’d like a summer in Selsey πŸ€”

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Dive Day #2

Diving at 8.30 today. Breakfast at 7.00. Coffee and biscuits at 6.00.

Looks like a sunnier day today. Richard went out to take this early morning shot of Mount Agung.

Shortly after sunrise.

The view from our breakfast table….

Another swimming pool 😁

A change of plan on the breakfast with both of us opting for Nasi Goren.

As it comes
With extra chilli and extra sambal

I will leave it with you to decide who’s was who’s…

The gardens here are so beautifully kept. The orchids are stunning.

Two dives this morning. Meeting at 8.30.

A ten minute drive out to the dive site, in the back of the truck with Gede, Carol and Leon and their guide. The sun is shining.

I always feel a little embarrassed when a little Indonesian ladies carries my kit down to the beach balanced on her head. But it is her way of making money, and I wouldn’t want to take the food out of her great-grandkids mouths…

Dive #4

Current fish on a barren slope.

Lots to see, Gede (pronounced G’Day in Australia speak) found lots for us to see. Many different nudis, and shrimps. Not so easy to take photos in the current.

This is were we had our surface interval.

Time to change my cylinder?

Dive #5

Same dive site but off to the left. Very little current.

Saw some lovely nudis, shrimps, critters etc.

Macro paradise.

Coming up from the dive and it was pouring! It was a very wet journey back from the site to the resort. Hardly rained at all at the resort!

Dinner was a steak sandwich and chips, each. So much for ordering less…

Richard is having a quick nap before the next dive at 3pm.

Dive #6

Liberty Slope

This is a really interesting site. Bimbled down to about 25 metres.

So much to see. Skelton shrimps. Two mantis shrimps the slightly larger one trying to eat the other. Tiger shrimp. Lots of new nudis. A small cuttlefish and a very very tiny cuttlefish. Red hairy shrimp.

A quick dip in the posh pool before getting pictures off the camera. Richard is having forty winks.

We had a lovely meal chatting to Carol and Leon from Sydney, Australia.

Richard had Nasi Goren for tea with extra chilli and extra sambal (no, not a typo, same as he had for tea last night and breakfast this morning). I had pork with sweet sauce, although I thought it was more spicy than sweet.

Special treat for dessert. Ramputang!

Richard’s favourite

Off to the camera room for battery and lense changing, trying to be organised for our early morning start. We are diving the USS Liberty wreck at 6.00am.

So I have written up my logs and now blogging. Richard is snoozing.

Good night. 😁😁

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Dive Day #1

After a solid nights sleep I’m awakened with the news that it’s 07.00 already and time for breakfast πŸ›πŸ²πŸœ so we head over to the restaurant for what ends up being our standard breakfast of eggs on toast which they call an American Breakfast!

We then head across to the camera room to see if we can remember how it all goes together let alone how it works.

Before long we have two bundles of bits that we plan to throw into the sea and it’s time to go and get wet.

It’s a short 6 minute ride down to the first site ‘Sidem’. Most of the sites are accessed via a truck and within moments we are there.

The usual ‘guests carry nothing’ rules seem to apply here so we kit up and wade in where our cameras are presented to us and we submerge.

The site is a black sand and rubble slope with a fair collection of nudibranches, shrimps and crabs etc. We bimble around for 75 minutes whilst pointing cameras at things then it’s time to surface. Highlights include a pregnant boxer crab, a psycadelic nudibranch and a monster mantis shrimp.

The plan is to take our surface interval there and then go back in but in a slightly different direction. We meet another couple from our resort who live in Sydney though she comes from Portsmouth and has dived in the solent twice (she referred to it as ‘the wedding cake dive’ which represents 50% of her UK diving. They are fortunate to do most of their diving in warmer waters.

We compare camera gear and swap stories and it seems we all know the same people and have all progressed through the same kind of camera kit. It’s a small world.

Back in for the second dive for more of the same though this time we saw different nudies, Tiger shrimps, blue feather duster worms and a cuttle fish.

After another 75 minute dive in water at about 29 degrees it’s back on the truck for the swift journey back to base for lunch. We tried not to have first day madness but I ended up with a really tasty burger and fries whilst Jo had the ever popular club Sandwich, must order less food!

Before not quite long enough we are back on the truck for the afternoon dive which is all of 60 seconds away.

This time we visit the sandy slope which is next to the wreck of the Liberty Bell. We see all manner of nudies and shrimps, some familiar, some not, but all great. Highlights include a Picachu nudibranch and a bright pick skeleton shrimp with babies wrapped around its neck.

Each time we return to the dive centre we are presented with iced tea and water melon which is most welcome.

Our guide’s name is Gedie and as hoped for, he does a really good job of finding all the small stuff though I would like to point out that I still find the odd critter myself now and again.

We decide to go for a swim in our ‘private’ pool. It’s obviously not ‘private’ in any way, it’s down where all the Uber push rooms are and has a fine view of the volcano but as almost all the rooms are empty there’s noone else around.

We were interrupted at one point when one of the staff walked around placing josticks at various strategic locations. Might this be for the ombiance I wonder? More probably something to do with mosquitos I expect.

We also had some prawn crackers as a starter, all super tasty. We’ll definately be having that again.

We change for dinner (that’s dry shorts then) and head to the restaurant. Jo goes for Beef Rendang whilst I go for Nasi Goreng with extra chili AND Sambal (a mix of chili, onion and calamansi juice). All washed down with a large Bintang.

Over dinner we chatted with a couple from Canada who are here for a week and then in Australia for a week. They have had quite a treck to get here. Ontario to Los Angeles, then on to Taipei, Singapore (we think) then here. During the conversation we found out that we can go and dive the wreck at 05.30, in nearly wet myself, book us in!

We were also joined by this ambitious guest:

Back in the room the is a little time for photo editing before we pass out. It seems that the bundles of bits jabber performed well, phew!

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We’re Off…

Well… We are at the airport after lots of rushing around trying to prepare for any unexpected events that may arise due to the coronavirus. Trying to track down antibacterial hand gel πŸ‘πŸ–οΈπŸ€šπŸ‘ŒπŸ€žπŸ––πŸ€™β˜οΈanywhere in the Chichester locale proved fruitless. We did, however, purchase a Three sim for my phone πŸ“±, just in case we needed to rearrange flights etc. A bargain πŸ’° at Β£10 for 30 days, including unlimited texts, calls and 4GB of data which can be used in Indonesia. Substantially better than EE at Β£1.80 per minute for incoming and outgoing calls, and texts at 60p a pop!

Up at 3.00 this morning! Very early and what with the ongoing situation last night of remembering something we had forgotten, ever time the light was switched off, we didn’t have much sleep. It did make for a short journey to Heathrow Terminal 2 though. Ibo was punctual, as always and sped us away.

We did the final bag weigh at 3:30 this morning… 59.9kgs. Yes! At check-in, however, it was heavier… 60.0kg on the nose! We like to get our moneys worth.

Through security. So it must be time for breakfast… The Perfectionists Cafe. Don’t know why we chose it, particularly as it was the most expensive that we found. Heston Blumenthal, no less.

Hmmmmm…. Not impressed. Explained to waiter that I can’t have dairy. Basically, his answer was… Perhaps, you could choose a side dish! Obviously bacon is full of milk, as is bread, and eggs. FFS! So, I watched Richard eat and then bought myself a meal deal in Boots. Heston Blumenthal, you should be ashamed!

Oh, update on the hand gel… Boots at Heathrow had some. Not many but enough for us.

So, off to Gate B38. When they said 15 minutes to gate, they weren’t joking. Bloody miles!

Long Flight, twelve hours followed by 20 mins in a holding pattern.

No shortage of hot towels on this flight although we had read that prepacked wipes would be provided instead because of the coronavirus.

FYI, We did wipe our seating area over with antibacterial wipes, just in case. You never know…

Food was good, once they found me something to eat. There is always that slight worry that I might not get something suitable to eat. Anyway, tomato and mushroom pasta for first meal and beef in oyster sauce for the second. Both very good. The meals were interpersed with a drink or two. Tiger beer for Richard and a Singapore sling for me.

I watched Jumanji 2, Last Christmas, Maleficent 2 & Bombshell. I chose well. All very entertaining.

Richard watched Ford Vs Ferrari (highly recommended), Joker and some others not worth watching.

Boats – Singapore

Changi airport, Singapore. First things first, a quick train ride from terminal 3 to terminal 2 followed by heat scanning. Test passed! Phew! No time to have a hot flush!

I could talk about the banana Soreen incident but some things are better unsaid.

Enchanted garden
Koi carp
Real flowers!

Our next flight is a short hop from Changi airport to Densapar airport in Bali. Happy days. Lots more people with masks on, even the air hostesses. We’re not wearing masks, as they were also in short supply in the Chichester area. We feel like the great unclean although we have never been so clean.

Oooo, we’re half way there.

Oooo, we’re living on a prayer🎡🎢🎡🎢

Easy flight! Watched a very odd film called Paradise Hill, not sure that I would recommend it. Richard had a snooze.

We had breakfast. Mine was diary free with beans, chicken sausage, potato and spinach, with a roll and greengage preserve. Pretty ok. Richard, well he had fish three ways, with rice. You could smell it from the other end of the plane. Does anyone know what Bombay duck smells like? It was just like that. Anyway, it was, surprise, surprise, a mistake. Richard thought that he might be revisiting the breakfast again.

My top tip for traveling. For breakfast, always go with something that looks and smells familiar.

Officially Covid free at this time

We were met at the airport by Haddick, then whisked away to Liberty Dive Resort, Tulamben. Passing lots of palm trees. Don’t remember much else. The two and a half hours was only a long blink of the eye.

The resort is lovely. Lots of pictures will be following. The resort feels like a cross between Kasawari, Lembeh and Cliff View in So Nang.

Been for a swim, been to the dive centre, marked our stop in the camera room, smashed Richard at crib and now off to dinner.

Diving at 9.00 tomorrow, so a very leisurely start to the holiday…

Just to leave you with a view from one of the swimming pools.

Mount Agung in the distance
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Not long to go now…

As long as Singapore Airlines will take us!