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

The Daily – 4/14

Word of the Day: Clams

Notable/Highlight of the Day: Robert was joining us again and we had another new diver, Kent, a military guy from the US.  He seemed fine enough to start but he was a dick.

Our first dive was to Seulako and pretty easy, nothing too big but pretty and good visibility.  For our second dive, we headed to Limbo.  Ken was late, but that wasn’t a big deal.

What was a big deal was that he stuck his GoPro inside a giant clam because he thought it would be funny.  none of us were amused and Miguel made his point underwater.  All I knew underwater was that Kent had done something wrong, but I didn’t know what happened.

I had to surface with him as he had run low on air quickly, and he told me he didn’t understand why Miguel was so upset with him sticking his GoPro inside of the clam. I told him we do not disturb the animals here, that this is their home.  He didn’t get it.

Kent spent part of the evening hanging out but took off around dinner time.  Robert, who was great, shared his whiskey with everyone and entertained us all.  We all talked politics and what is wrong with each of our respective countries (a lot, as it turns out).

A little later, Robert, Brett, Trisha and I headed down to Bubble Addict as they were having a bonfire and a small party. Trisha Jordan and I hung out late into the night.  Jordan was talking about how hard it was to see all the waste and trash and how he didn’t understand why people wasted so much.

It really hit deep because I’ve been feeling the same way for a while.  Living on Pulau Weh, and traveling for so long has made me realize how little I need.  Pulau Weh has so little in the way of shops and stuff and yet we’re all quite happy and want for so little.

Brett and Julian, the owner of Bubble Addict, were chatting quite a bit too.  I was getting annoyed with their conversation and realized I should excuse myself and go to bed because I was probably tired and one beer too drunk.

Location: Pulau Weh, Indonesia

The Daily – 4/13

Word of the Day: Cave

Notable/Highlight of the Day: I led another dive today!  But first I had to go to immigration with Ester. It was a rough start though as I couldn’t find the keys to the scooter I had rented.  After thoroughly looking everywhere I finally reached out to Brett, Trisha, and Sophie.

Brett, thankfully, had scooped up my bag from the night before and brought it home with him.  After reminding me I had left it out the night before and he didn’t want someone to scoop it up, he agreed to meet me in front of his hotel so I could grab the keys and my sunglasses back.

Ester and I finally got on the rode and headed into the city.  We spent a bit of time at the immigration office with one of the girls from bubble addict too, but Ester wasn’t feeling well.  Unfortunately, since it was a Friday and we had gotten a late start, all the banks were closed when we left immigration so I wasn’t going to be able to pay for my passport extension until Monday, which also meant another trip into the city.

Our afternoon dive was with Robert.  He’s a military guy, originally from the UK but moved to Australia years ago.  He’s currently based in Kuala Lumpur and has three sons, one about to graduate, one who’s become a Divemaster, and a third who’s a nurse.  He’s a recent divorcee but a very positive guy and quite a chatterbox (in a good way).

We were diving at Arus Balee and I was leading the way.  We were going to visit the cave and see some fish.  Along with Robert was Anita, Nando, and Bobby.  But really, I was responsible for Robert and everyone else had to fend for themselves (haha, just kidding!).

I showed Robert nearly every box fish the ocean had to offer because I love them so much and basically am blinded by their cuteness so I don’t see any other fish/shrimp/nudis nearby. Robert did pretty good on air but needed to come up before everyone else so he and I did a long safety stop that was just teeming with fish.  There were times we were so surrounded that I’d lose track of where he was even though he was right next to me.

We all hung out for the evening until it was just Trisha and I.  We decided to make our way down to Bubble Addict because we knew some of the guys would still be hanging out and neither of us were tired.

But it was short-lived, I ended up getting tired on the early-side and heading off to bed about 30-45 minutes after we got there.

Location: Pulau Weh, Indonesia