Thursday, June 16, 2011

Certified (part II)

This post is about me taking an open water course 2 months ago. If you have no idea of what I'm talking about, please see my previous post :D

After completing the theory and pool sessions in Sanur, we went to Tulamben the following weekend. Tulamben is a small fishing village in the eastern part of Bali, about 2.5 to 3-hour ride from Kuta. It's very popular among divers for the shipwreck that lies only about 30 m from the shore. We stayed at Paradise Tulamben, a nice dive lodge just beside the beach. We were going to do 4 ocean dives in 2 days (12 m on the first day, 18 m on the second day), and our skills would be evaluated during these dives. Here's the dive report: (written in present tense to give a sense of immediacy :P)

Day 1

#1: We start the first dive just in front of our lodge, at a dive site called Paradise Reef a.k.a Coral Garden. There are a structure resembling a small plane and other artificial reefs which become shelters for a lot of fish. This place is good for snorkeling since there are a lot marine life in the shallower water. Among the creatures we see are ribbon eel, nudibranch, and leaf scorpionfish. This is also a really nice place if you love Nemo. I've seen some cute clownfish and anemones when snorkeling before, but not as many as in this place. There's a table coral surrounded by lots of anemones with clownfish in each of them. We can see the clownfish playing from one anemone to another... so cute :3

#2: After the surface interval, we do a wall dive in Drop-off in the southern part of Tulamben coastline. The landscape is a slope, starting from 1m to 40m+, which leads to a wall formation. We see a moray eel in the crevice of the wall. We also come across a big pufferfish, giant gorgonian fans, and a bumphead parrotfish. By the way, I never thought that bumphead parrotfish would be that huge! :P The current is quite strong, so we need to stay close to the coral. I'm a bit afraid that my legs would get cramps since I only use small fins and swimming against the current is getting exhausting (fortunately, that didn't happen... hehe)

Day 2

#3: I was woken up in the early morning to visit the USAT Liberty Shipwreck, remains of World War II freighter lying not far from the shore. This dive site is so popular that some say diving here is like being in a market :)) That's why we dive very early to avoid the crowds. I've been snorkeling here, but apparently it was like merely 1% from the overall wreck experience :P The ship is huge... it's about 120m long and 30m deep. It's now covered with marine plants, but we can still see the parts like the helm and the gun. The animals are also great. There are green humphead parrotfish, napolean wrasse, garden eels, oriental sweetlips, and of course the schooling jackfish (I even saw them when snorkeling). This time, we get very close to the schooling jackfish! Apparently, beside of the regular-sized jackfish, there are also 2 super-sized jackfish... like, 4 times bigger. I think they look like the guardians "patrolling" the school. Haha... It's also great to do a swim-through inside the wreck. Oh, on this dive, I realize that I've been able to equalize without having to pinch my nose. Yippeee...

#4: We dive in the shipwreck again, but now we have to perform a navigation skill based on the previous dive. I have to lead the group to the shipwreck, and Fajar will lead the group to the shore at the end of the dive.

By the way, there were some skills Pak Sabra (our instructor) asked us to perform in the beginning or the end of each dive, but I forgot which ones on which dives... (well, it's been 2 months :P) Some of them were retrieving and clearing regulator, sharing air with buddy, and clearing mask underwater... basically stuff that had been taught in the pool session. Beside the ocean dives, there were also a theory exam and a skin-dive session (diving with only snorkeling gears in shallow water, maybe 4-6m). For keen snorkelers, this skin-dive thing is absolutely no problem. Hehe...

So that's it! We went back to Sanur after completing the four dives. We headed to SSI headquarter and got the diving license right away. Overall, I'm very pleased with the course. The price is reasonable (take into account the weakened USD :D), the instructor is professional and helpful, and the dives are great!

Dive center: D Scuba Club, Sanur (
Price: $300 for SSI Open Water Course (4 days, 4 ocean dives)
Include: lunch on all days, full equipment
Exclude: transport to Tulamben, accommodation

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