Wreck diving, nearly a wreck myself!

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Warung Mama near Jemiluk

Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Saturday, September 3, 2011

Today I went on the wreck dive, it's not far off shore and as such we put our equipment on then walked into the sea from the beach, this sounded easier than it was, in fact it was bloody difficult. The equipment is incredibly heavy and bulky, the rocks are big and unsteady and the waves coming in at you misbalance you so that it is almost impossible to stand up, and if you fall down, you need someone else to help you up.

After the initial challenge of just getting into the water, we went down a few metres and found ourselves at the wreck, it really is only a very short distance, maybe 20m from the shore, and completely submerged so you wouldn't even know it is there. The current took us past it at a gentle pace, and I was surprised to see so much life growing on the rusty old wreck. It was barely recognisable as a boat at all in fact as it was so broken up, but the corals growing on it were vibrant and varied in species, with lots of great big barrel corals too which the fish liked hiding in. The numbers of fish and different species were also incredible, and I could go all David Attenborough on you if I knew what any of them were called! I just know they were all brightly coloured and swimming around us happily. There was also a great shoal of silver fish swimming in a circle so as to form a tube of fish above us. As I understand it the volcanic waters are a fantastic place for all these things to thrive as it contains so many minerals and nutrients. During the first dive we went past quite low at a depth of nearly 20m and also saw the ships huge guns on the front deck, and then an eel garden where tens of small eels sort of had their bums stuck in the sand and their heads were above, by about 30cm, so they were just swaying about in the currents. The divemaster’s 'O-Ring’ on his air tank broke and a stream of bubbles came out from where the air tank connects to the breathing apparatus on his back, just behind his neck, when we were 20m down. Of the 3 of us diving I was the next most experienced, this being my 11th dive (my 12th would follow later that day) and saw all this going on and swam over to have a look if the connection had come loose, but it hadn’t, he fiddled around a bit and just turned his air down a bit before just carrying on like normal. When we came up the other 2 said they had been a little scared, but even I knew there was nothing to be scared of as he was with 3 other people who all had more than enough air in our tanks to share with him until we surfaced, so we just carried on.

After 40 mins we came out of the water, and the waves were stronger now. I’m sure you know how it feels to get out of the water after 40 mins of swimming around feeling weightless – your body feels horrible heavy even, with just a swimming costume on. Now recall how heavy and awkward I said all the kit was going into the water….now imagine coming out. I felt a whale! My legs could barely support my weight after floating round for 40 mins, not with all this extra equipment and the waves trying to take your legs away, all whilst making the ground underfoot move even more than normal, it was SOO hard getting out.

Once we were out, we had a rest for an hour and a drink, because when diving, breathing in dry air makes you very thirsty. I chatted with my other 2 dive buddies, Amalie and Alex and told them my life story practically, before we headed out again, in even heavier waves! I part groaned as we went in with the prospect of having to get out again in another 40 mins time!

For the next dive, we swam a little higher, seeing a different area of the wreck, but this time we swam into the hold area. It was really cool to be around this 3 dimensional object and able to swim higher and lower around it, swim through little holes, and just be surrounded not only by the metal of the structure, but also all the beautiful corals and fish associated with it. The most amusing thing was when the divemaster went up close to a bit of metal, took his breathing apparatus out and opened up his mouth really wide, a little cleaner shrimp then pretty much got in his mouth and started cleaning his teeth!!

It’s hard to describe just all the wonderful things you see when you learn to dive, mostly it’s all the colours of the fish. Who would have thought that so much colour would exist under the water in a world where not many people really get to have a look.

After the second dive, the exit was predictably difficult, and as sorry as I was that the dive was over, I was glad to be back on dry land not fighting with the waves trying to knock me over.

We returned to Amed and had lunch at the dive school together, then I went to meet Amalie and Alex on the beach nearby and we continued to chat, then me and Alex went snorkelling together. The area around Amed and Jemiluk, right in front of the 3 Brothers Café was a wonderful coral garden filled with more fish and coral, and gave us another 2 hours (!!) of fish watching. I’m hopeless with names, but I took my underwater film camera out and hope to have a few good shots. Around sunset they went for a massage and I walked down the black beach to a little café with wifi and had some dinner all the while, watching the sun set behind Gunung Agung which towered in front of me.

I went back to my room and slept well, as it had been a busy day of swimming.

Best: going on a totally new sort of dive – a wreck dive

Worst: feeling like a total whale getting out of the water

Beautiful: all the life that had grown around the wreck
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