The Daily – 4/21

Word of the Day: DSD

Notable / Highlight of the Day: every morning we decide on a whim who will dive with who(m?) and where we’re going. Tokong has about 10 different sites all around the area and we all love it.
But I wasn’t going to Tokong today. I was instead shadowing Sophie on a discover scuba diving (DSD) dive in the house reef. I’d follow with the SMB and help hold the diver down while she was going through skills such as mask clearing and regulator recovery.
It was exhausting and frustrating. There were some language barriers so Sophie was struggling to explain some concepts and the girl just wasn’t understanding.
We finally entered the water, but the girl was struggling with her mask being uncomfortable on her nose…even though it was her own mask. She had had a nose job a few years ago which was the problem.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet, but I’ve become quite talented at dropping stuff in the ocean, never to be seen again. I had brought an extra weight along and managed to drop it within 3 minutes of starting the dive. Luckily I managed to recover it.
Every time we descended after popping up to ask a question, the girl would just let herself collapse in a heap at the bottom of the ocean and let Sophie pick her up and position her.
Once we started the dive, she didn’t stop kicking and since Sophie was also kicking and holding the girl’s tank, it was like following a clumsy torpedo in the water. I was also basically dragging a balloon through the water because I had deployed the surface marker buoy in case we were going to pop up.
Our dive was about 30 minutes, no deeper than 11 meters and I had used 70 bar. On a normal dive I would have used about 40 at that point.
I ended up napping all afternoon. I was so exhausted. They normally say add four meters to account for a strenuous dive so you know how much surface time you need to take.
Current Location: Pulau Weh, Indonesia

The Daily – 4/20

Word of the Day: Picnic

Notable / Highlight of the Day: we had a big day planned! Since Ester was close to leaving we were trying to cross a few things off her bucket list.
One was a picnic on secret beach. And, since it was a Friday we had the whole morning off, we could easily pull it off.
We had planned on pushing off at 9:30, but in typical Spanish fashion, we finally got organized and on the road at 10:30 am.
Anita and Ester threw together a feast: babaganush, quesadillas, tomato salad, a few other things. We hung out in the sunshine, swimming in the ocean, playing badminton, and chatting.
Tiffany and Lea, Sophie’s two French students also came along and enjoyed our morning beach picnic.
We unfortunately hit the beach as it was nearing high tide though, and about 30 minutes before we were to pack up a wave came crashing in on our party and our towels.
All was fine though and nothing floated away. We managed to move up the back a bit and get a bit more relaxation time before heading back to the shop for our afternoon dive.
Gypsy and Jhon, two guests with slightly unusual names from Australia, wanted to visit sophie wreck later in the week, so we did a deep dive as prep to see how their consumption was and how they handled the deep.
We dove off Tokong and headed to the deep section. We didn’t have any current until we got to about 40 meters. We were all looking at the gorgonian fans leaning over and waving in the current and decided that maybe we’d go the other way.
Gypsy was doing amazingly well on her air consumption, but as an instructor with more than 1000 dives, it was unsurprising. Jhon, with 13 dives did not do as well, but seemed comfortable and confident none the less. I was also doing terribly on air, but lucky for me John was doing worse and I was taking him to the safety stop.
We got back around 4pm and Mona was starting to get fresh. She had worked out that she could sit on top of the window and observe the people…and get close to stuff to steal.
In typical fashion we hung out at the dive shop that evening, playing games, drinking bintangs, and sharing stories.
Current Location: Pulau Weh, Indonesia

The Daily – 4/19

Tokong on an easy day. Photo courtesy of Emily even though I haven’t yet told her I stole it yet. Not pictured: sharks, eagle rays, devil rays, barracudas, marble rays, the school of jacks, and other cool shit we like to visit while we’re here.

Word of the Day: flying

Notable/Highlight of the day: Sophie’s two students, Lea and Tiffany, were doing their deep dive and Sergi invited me along. Anita would be guiding Dave off off Seulako.

As we only had one boat, Sergi, the girls and I hung back during the first trip while Sergi did the deep dive briefing and I practiced knot-tying skills.

We headed off to Tokong expecting some current, but when we started our descent we flew over the top of tokong to the other side of the pinnacle in a matter of minutes. I was worried the girls would have ear problems, but everyone was fine as we sped down looking for a hiding place.

When we got to 26 meters the current died down but we were still drifting. We couldn’t go much farther without entering the chanel, which would be crazy, so we made our way over and around the pinnacle to the deep on the other side. Which was also crazy current-y.

The girls signed up for a deep dive but instead got every current imaginable in the span of 38 minutes. And my air consumption was shit and it was a bit embarrassing. And as usual, I dropped something in the ocean, this time, the advanced slate. I’m becoming part of the ocean pollution problem.

Another stolen photo

Our evening was relaxed with us playing more hand-made board games and hanging out knowing we had the next morning off. Emily stopped by for a while and gave me some stickers to use to decorate some lighters foe everyone with.

Trisha and I are becoming close friends and hanging out a lot more. I think it’s because we tend to dive together all the time and we typically stay up later than everyone.

The Daily – 4/18

Word of the Day: housing

Notable/Highlight of the day: It was a snow start to the day, but once we headed out to dive the rush started.

We had one xs BCD with a sticky inflator button which was always sticking during dives. We had another large BCD that never got used but had the right button. We also had four petite customers all needing xs BCD’s

We always are running short on the xs, and I was always getting stuck with the broken one, so I worked with Nando to swap out the switches. It was mostly a success, except the large BCD’s hose had a too-small band so we couldn’t reattach the switch without Bobby replacing a part.

But I got what I needed and we were able to gear up everyone up. As usual, it was confusion as to which divemaster was going with which group.

We were heading to Meruro which can be a fun site. Anita ended up guiding with Trisha and I followed along with Nando with Sophie’s two students and Riski. We had some easy currents and the girls were having fun.

Trisha and I decided to head over to Secret beach afterwards but no one else wanted to join. We had the the entire beach to ourselves. We ended up telling about our lives and how we ended up both in Pulau Weh. The fish were jumping, the fruit bats were hunting, and mother nature gave us an amazing sunset.

When we came back we went to grab some dinner Anita was asking Sophie if she could use her bungalow while Sophie was away, but Trisha had already asked to use it.

Anita’s been overwhelmed living at the property because she’s taking over running the kitchen when Ester leaves and cannot really get away from work. Not only that, but one of the windows to her room was left open while she was at home visiting family in Italy and the monkey made a mess.

After dinner we ended up playing board games and hanging out. Trisha and I later made it over to Bubble Addict to hang out with Jordan and Emily until bedtime for me.

Location: Pulau Weh, Indonesia

The Daily – 4/17

Word of the Day: Girl Power

Notable/Highlight of the Day: Chupito had her last two dives with her open water students and they were doing great.  Kay and Dave were also coming out and Trisha wanted to do a deep dive.

Kay, however, decided she wanted to do the deep dive with Nando and Trisha, so I got bumped from the good dive because someone needed to go with Kay’s friend Dave.  I was a little bummed because I wanted to go deep, but also was excited because I’d be guiding Dave on my own while keeping in sight of Sophie.

We had two mishaps on the way out though, first, Sophie forgot her fins but we managed to correct that very quickly because we had just pulled off the beach.  Dave also forgot his fins, which was not so easy to correct because we were at the dive site when he realized it.  There as a backup set on the boat, but they were not in the best shape.

Dave had been struggling as a diver and kept carrying 6-7 weights with him (6-7 kilos/12-14 extra pounds).  He was also wearing a shortie and there was just no way he was that buoyant.  Kay had not really been focusing on him during dives nor providing him feedback.

So, besides trying to find an octopus, I focused on Dave’s form.  It turns out he is kicking himself to the surface because he dives with his head pointed up.  He also has way too much weight.  We talked about it at the surface and I told him next dive we’d work on it.

But he decided he didn’t want to go out on the afternoon boat, which is a good thing because a group of three French girls were going to be joining Sophie on her last open water dive.  It ended up being eight girls all on the last dive.

Sophie, Anita and I were accompanying them.  There was a huge difference in skill between Sophie’s divers and the three French girls (Oceane, Angie, and Marie).  Sophie had done a beautiful job showing her students how to position themselves in the water whereas the three French fun divers were all over the place and flailing around.

But as we’re all small women there wasn’t enough gear for everyone so I ended up taking Nando’s BCD, which was huge on me but so well-weighted that it didn’t matter.  During the dive, besides watching the girls all crash into each other over and over, Capitan swam down to 14 meters and poked me.  He used to be a spear fisherman so is amazing at free-diving and surprised all the girls.

That evening was Angie’s birthday and Ester and Anita pulled together a feast for them.  Pate, cheese, baba-ganoush.  Anita even made a cheesecake!

We also had our typical power issues with the power flipping off and on all evening.  it wasn’t a big issue except it made it difficult for Trisha and me to order dinner, but Trisha asked Anita and Ester to pull something together for us and they very kindly obliged.

Sergi also had gotten a nasty looking allergic reaction that I ended up reaching out to Juli about.  It looked pretty bad the doctor told him it was a virus even though it was spreading and itchy and he thought he got it from a plant.  Juli counseled him and he could rest easy knowing that he was treating it appropriately.

Current Location: Pulau Weh, Indonesia

The Daily – 4/16

Word of the Day: Ears

Notable/Highlight of the Day: I had an ear infection.  Which was no good for diving because it made it painful to bite the regulator and when bubbles passed by my ears.

I needed to go pay for my visa anyways, and I wanted to pick up motorbike handles to make monster grips for Trisha, Sophie, Anita, Ester, and I, so it was a good day to wear pants and head into town.

I visited nearly every shop in Sabang finding rope, books for the kids, toothpaste, listerine, motorbike handles, and a new keychain for Anita.  I also paid for my visa to get processed at the bank.

I spent the afternoon reading/studying and passing all the books I was finishing to Anita.  I needed to get out of my room for a bit so went for a walk down the beach.  But there was so much trash I ended up doing a 30-minute clean-up effort and picking up a half of a trashcan worth of garbage.

The evening was relaxed as we hung out chatting.

Current Location: Pulau Weh, Indonesia

The Daily – 4/15

Word of the Day: Search and Recovery

Notable/Highlight of the Day: Anita and I started our day bright and early with a quick dive to finally find that weight belt I had left behind a while back.

Anita is the mom of Monster.  She takes care of all of us, makes sure we’re all fed and clean, keeps us all organized, and is just so lovely to have around.  She’s also very clear when planning stuff and was the perfect partner to have on my search and recovery dive.

We found the weight belt after about 10 minutes and headed back to shore.  We got a bit turned around though, because the buoys near bubble addict’s shop look like the ones near Lumba Lumba and so we ended up popping up in front of bubble addict.

The morning dive with Sophie was painful not because we were shadowing an open water course, but because instead, I was starting to get an ear infection.  It hurt when bubbles went past my ear and my jaw hurt when I bit down on the regulator…which you need to do in order to keep it in your mouth.

Trisha gave me some ear drops and I started using them nearly immediately.  I should have known I was getting an ear infection anyways as my ear had woken me up a couple of times during the night before.

Location: Pulau Weh, Indonesia