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

The Daily – 4/12

Word of the Day: Family

Notable/Highlight of the Day: This time of year is quiet, but normally there’s a small trickle of guests most of the time.  But today there were no guests and I had a weight belt to find.

It was initially going to be Trisha and I heading out, but all of a sudden we went from two divers to five.  Miguel, Capitan, Ester wanted to join too.  We didn’t have much of a plan besides trying to find the weight belt, but as we got to 10 meters, Miguel cancelled the search because we had drifted too far.

Miguel took over guiding as he knows the house reef so well but I was bummed I failed at my first mission.  It ended up being a 90-minute dive with lots of worry over air, Capitan surfacing early as he ran out of air, and a frogfish.  It was just chaos and this is apparently how family dives go.

I did some studying and reading and hanging out and otherwise not too much.  I am working hard on my Spanish lessons too.

That afternoon a few of us went for sunset at secret beach,bswimming, playing games and watching for Mantas.  On our hike down we passed a couple fishermen who had quite the haul.  They sold us the biggest fish (a milk fish) for 50,000 rupiah ($4).

That evening we had fish BBQ and firepits and searched the jungle for firewood and ate a feast!

Location: Pulau Weh, Indonesia

The Daily – 4/11

Word of the Day: Real World

Notable/Highlight of the Day: I had two fairly unremarkable dives, one to Tokong and the other to the house reef with Iiro and Dave.  When we got to the house reef in the afternoon I was excited to finally get introduced to the frogfish.

But, Dave is struggling with his buoyancy and as such, when we got to the frogfish he managed to insert his fin tips into the sand and kick up the bottom pretty thoroughly, not once, but twice.

That evening I had an interview back home.  It’s making me start to think about the real world again and what going home is going to look like.  The interview went well and the position is a good fit for my work skills.

but it means S. America will have to wait and being a divemaster in Central and South America along the way won’t happen this trip…and will there be a next trip?

Location: Pulau Weh, Indonesia

The Daily – 4/10

Word of the Day: Overthinking

Notable/Highlight of the Day: I spent most of the day overthinking and working on learning physics around diving.

I was getting stressed that my time traveling was starting to come to a close and was I making a mistake settling in to small island life.  I had also chosen a shop where the predominant language that was spoken was Spanish and my Spanish skills are thin at best.

But it was all silly because I’m becoming part of a dive-shop family here and learning quite a bit.  What was really going on was that I have an interview scheduled and if all goes well I’ll be heading back home in less than two months to go back to an office.

le sigh.

Location: Pulau Weh, Indonesia

The Daily – 4/9

Word of the day: Swimming

Notable/Highlight of the Day: We had a drift dive and a navigation dive to do.  Nando didn’t show up and I realized it was because he was going on a visa run.  As usual I got all the gear set up.  I thought I was going out on the 9am boat and started putting my wet suit on.

But Sergi asked where I was off to once I had my wet suit on, making me realize I was not in fact going out on the 9am boat.  We did the drift dive briefing and as we were about to start, Brett decided he was going to, in fact, go get the square and weights that I had left behind the other day. As he was leaving A Spanish girl came by to talk about doing her open water and her she had Sergi’s 100% attention.

Brett’s task was not, in fact, super helpful because Sergi told him to leave behind the weights on the belt so I’d have a search and recovery task.  Which was probably partially my fault as that’s what I said yesterday when I left them behind.

We finally started the briefing around 11:30 as we saw the boat coming back from the morning dive.  Which put us in the water about 30 minutes late. Carlo and Francesco did not really get a drift dive as it was half moon and the tides were not strong and therefore there was no current.

But it’s still such a beautiful dive and we even saw a turtle at the end.  We also hit deco, so my computer sounded like I had won a video game.

The afternoon when we got back Sergi had ordered duck for everyone, but there was none for me.  I don’t know if he ordered one short or if someone took one who hadn’t ordered, but I drew the short straw.

So I went down to Western and was joined by a rooster who first snuck up underneath me and started crowing, and then wouldn’t leave me alone.  I ended up moving across the street to watch bubble addict as they tried and failed to bail out their boat (which sunk).  I decided Jordan was having a worse day than me.

Sergi told me I needed to swim out to the buoy on the 2nd dive “because the boat would weigh too much.” Which, obviously was bullshit, but I really wanted to play in the waves.

But the dive was not for me.  I couldn’t equalize my ears and ended up coming to the surface after only 8 minutes.

It was Bruno’s last evening so him and Tricia headed off to secret beach, but Sophie was busy cleaning gear, so I therefore was now busy cleaning gear.

They came back a short while after sunset and hung out for a bit, but everyone was tired and headed to bed early.

Current Location: Pulau Weh, Indonesia

The Daily – 4/8

Word of the day: Lost

Notable/Highlight of the Day: As I was taking my morning shower Esther started to whip around the shop to open up the doors.  This was a bit unfortunate for me because as I was suds-ing up, she pulled up the front doors which was a straight line of site from the shower I was using to the street just as Nando was walking up.  Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately for Nando?) I was wearing a swimsuit.

Our three advanced open water (AOW) students we’re going to be doing three of their course dives today.  First Buoyancy, followed by deep and night.  I got everything ready for nearly all the guests, lugging all the air cylinders and various bits of gear as the shop woke up and guests began to arrive.

When Carlo, Francesco, and Unge arrived and got settled, Sergi started his briefing covering what to expect, the mistakes generally made, what exercises everyone would be doing, and my role.  The dive was easy for me as I basically only watched everyone crash into the bottom, into the ring, and struggle with different kicks.

Unge also got the BCD with the sticky switch, and, started uncontrollably shooting to the surface.  Sergi grabbed her in time and disconnected the hose.  She was a little shaken up but ok.  As she was doing her buoyancy exercises though, she needed new gear, and luckily for her we were the same size.  So, we swapped gear underwater so she could continue with the rest of the skills.

The weights had started to get scattered, so I went to pile them up as Sergi started a new skill.  Or so I thought.  He was done and was now off in the distance.  I rushed over to let him know and he signaled…what I thought was to go grab them, but I thought he meant to get them.

And that was fruitless because we had kicked up so much sand when I got back to the very undefined area, I did a few U-shaped patterns but couldn’t see a thing. It was useless though, I wouldn’t have been able to grab anything with a broken inflator anyways.

We laughed about it when I got back and discussed what everyone was doing underwater and ways to improve.  Poor Unge thought Sergi was telling her she was stupid the whole time because in diving you point to your forehead to say think.  In Lithuania, you do the same thing to tell someone their stupid.

Our deep dive was next but first everyone needed to read the deep dive chapter.  I took advantage of the time to try and finish my next section, but because I was sitting at the table with the AOW students they interrupted every 10 minutes or so to ask questions.  So, in an hour I only made it through one more section of my book.

The deep dive briefing was long, and in Sergi’s typical fashion, terrifying.  But the dive itself was beautiful.  We started in Tokong and ended in West Selaco.  It was beautiful as usual and everyone did great.

We did some more afternoon reading where every 5-10 minutes someone would have a question and ask me as I was trying to work out the formulas from my own course work.  Not super conducive to studying.

The wind also had picked up substantially causing some big waves for our little beach.  Normally it’s not that big of a deal besides it being a bit dangerous getting in and out of the boat.  But it makes shore dives a little tough too, which is how we do night dives.

It’s tough because of the surf, but also the sand getting whisked about cutting visibility.  The night dive was sandy.  It felt a little like being in one of those snow globes that had just been shaken up until we got to about nine meters deep.  I imagine this is also what it feels like to dive along the east coast of the US.  I did get to see some cute baby squid inking away from me.

We came up near Lumba Lumba’s buoy line because Miguel wasn’t going to be able to find the Monster line. I could barely find Miguel’s light there was so much sand so I was glad to be getting out. Brett, of course, commented that there must have been some current instead of just asking what had happened.

Current Location: Pulau Weh, Indonesia