I am about to finish my time in Bunaken, and again I am not at all ready to say goodbye. Although, I have almost finished checking all the boxes for completing my Divemaster program! With my last two weeks so near, I really have no idea where the time went, and I am not ready for it to end. The past two weeks have been quite action packed, finishing up more specialty courses and assisting with guiding and other courses.
This week in South Lombok, we had a strange visitor to the dive center as he wondered across the road and straight through the gates and we have not been able to work out what he is. We have checked all the fish books we have and have come to the conclusion that he is a shrimp lobster.
Well, the last week of my divemaster course in Lembongan was bittersweet. I was so excited to finally journey to the breathtaking Bunaken I had heard so much about, but could not shake the melancholy I felt for leaving Nusa Lembongan Island. I did however get very lucky, as my last week there was full of guests and scuba diving courses, which meant a lot of daily fun diving for me! I thought eventually I might get tired of the reef walls along the north coast of Nusa Penida, or eventually my wonderment for Mantas might dwindle but I am now quite sure, that is impossible.
Bunaken is home to Asia’s best wall dives, making it easy to marvel at the sheer length and depth of them whilst overlooking the smaller creatures that live underwater in Bunaken – but this week, we’ve been fascinated by a tiny little marine dweller called candy crab or soft coral crab. Hard to spot as they mimic the soft coral they live on almost perfectly, it’s down to our guides’ amazing eyes to find them.
I had the pleasure of doing my Wreck and Night Diver specialities this week. Having not been on a night dive for over 5 years, I was reminded of why I loved it so much. Bunaken night diving is amazing; enormous crabs lurking in the reef, mandarin fish hiding in the corals, and beautiful Pleurobranch displaying their splendid purple colour in the torch light. On the final dive, when I was required to turn my torch off for 3 minutes, I was lucky enough to be diving on a near full moon, and found that my body movements activated the bioluminescence. This made the three minutes rather enjoyable, this also served as entertainment for a student taking her advanced course night dive who commented on the light show she witnessed whilst all was dark.
While things around the resort calmed down a bit after Easter, our instructors Dion and Yvonne have been busy teaching right across the spectrum of PADI courses for the past few days. They’ve been introducing first time divers to the underwater world, explored shipwrecks and worked with our divemaster trainees to perfect their skills both underwater and on land. And they even managed to re-introduce a guest to the underwater world after a 13 year break who was most impressed by the number and size of turtles on our walls (picture by Alex Schade).
One of the first things my instructors mentioned to me when I arrived at Two Fish Divers is that in the diving industry plans change all the time. Safe to say that’s been very true for my Divemaster course. It’s not just down to dive centre logistics either, it can be simple things like a sinus infection which mean you spend rather more time with your books. Now that I’ve been back in the water for a few days, let me tell you what’s been going on.
So there I finally was, arriving in Nusa Lembongan, to begin my much anticipated journey on the divemaster course. After planning the trip for months, and packing up everything I had in the States, I was ready to start what has so far been a delightful yet challenging adventure. The first couple of days were absolute paradise. I started with fun dives in the morning witnessing some of the most alluring marine life I have ever seen, then spent the afternoons reading by the pool, and watching the harlequin sunset over the beach. But of course, this couldn’t last forever, some work had to be involved in getting my divemaster certification.
This week in Lembongan… Our instructors have been busy teaching new students about the wonderful world of diving. We have had Rowan jumping between teaching an Open Water course with the help of Yayan, to teaching discover scuba divers. Bryce and Fred have been out panicking and screaming for help while teaching a rescue course. Yayan has popped over to Bali to teach another person Open Water course and Fred has just started a deep specialty course.
This week, we were joined by Ismail from Jakarta, who specifically travelled to our Bunaken resort to get started on the route to technical diving. So far, so normal. Asked about his diving experience to date, Ismail said he had completed just under 30 dives, prompting the question what time is the right time for a diver to start technical diving training.
We’ve enjoyed a huge variety of divers and a huge variety of life in Amed, Bali this week. With many of our guests asking to visit the USAT Liberty it was a chance for many of them to meet the resident Great Barracuda that lives there – I don’t think he has a name yet so any suggestions welcome 🙂 Other than that our guests and guides have been seeing a sample of the eclectic life that lives here.
As my PADI instructor course and internship at Two Fish Divers in Bunaken comes to a close, I can’t help but look over this past month and realize how much I’ve learned and experienced in such a short period of time. In a lot of ways, it feels like it’s been so much longer than a month. But of course in other ways it feels like it’s been only a couple days.
I finished my DMT on the 10th with one of the most memorable and insanely overwhelmingly beautiful display of manta life I’ve witnessed, or even my mentor Rowan has witness. A 65 minute dive where we undertook some unknown swim throughs, slipping in and out of overhangs as the swell ebbed and flowed, using it to our advantage. As it picked up we decided this might not be the best idea anymore as we were moving sometimes 3 meters at a time with it. Unable to hide from it, Unable to fight it, it brought us where IT wanted us to go.
This week in Lembongan… It’s been an eventful week over here on Nusa Lembongan; our divemaster trainee Eanna McAtamney, completed his 6 week course. We have had some up and down water temperatures which normally starts to happen with the seasonal change of the currents. With these changing currents, visibility at the manta dive sites has been a little low, but it has not scared the manta rays away. Some dives, divers have reported seeing 10+ manta rays and staying around for most of the dive.
After a few days of fun diving and completing his PADI EFR and Rescue course in Bunaken, Tristan has now embarked on his Divemaster course here at Two Fish Divers, which will also take him to our Lembeh resort in a few weeks. Until then, he’s getting to grips with dive logistics, among other things.
Two years ago, Simon completed his Divemaster course with Two Fish Divers Bunaken. This year, he returned to take the next step and become a PADI instructor. After his course, he decided to stay on for a couple of weeks and complete an instructor internship. Here’s how it went….
Week three and four passed with the blink of an eye.
These weeks I have been, assisting on open water courses, advanced open water courses, scuba refreshers and servicing equipment, every morning in the ocean was immediately followed by hours under the glaring sun in the pool or sheltered in our maintenance room tinkering with the devices one needs for the survival of the gill-less underwater. Following on from days like this, its been nose to paper (not difficult for a nose of my calibre) completing knowledge reviews from PADI’s dive master manual, studying the ocean mechanics and the history of diving in PADI’s Diving Encyclopaedia. The amount of information taken on in such a short amount of time has been a bit tricky at times, but its been the most fun I’ve ever had in terms of learning before.
It’s time for congratulations and celebrations this week in Bunaken as our instructor candidates have successfully passed their Instructor Exam! A fantastic start to our 2016 series of IDCs at Two Fish Divers and we’re already looking forward to the next one.
So there I was, my first day after arriving in Nusa Lembongan, sweating, thirsty and in need of an ice cold coconut to rehydrate the never ending perspiration that comes with living in Indonesia, i was ready to start what can only be described as a life altering course.
I had been her for 5 weeks prior to this, travelling, surfing and the inevitable dose of party thrown in the mix. Deciding to do my Rescue course, and further than that, my DMT with Two fish in Lembongan was a decision I had been weighing up for almost two months and now it was to become my reality.
We’ve been hitting the books in Bunaken this week as our first PADI IDC (Instructor Development Course) of the year is getting underway.
Two of our five instructor candidates are Two Fish’s own: Yayan, Divemaster in Lembongan is taking a step up and Simon from England has come back to become an instructor two years after completing his Divemaster course here. Together with Fred from Belgium, Roya from the U.S. and Prema from Southern France they are being looked after by Course Director Marie-Lise Roux who is based on Koh Tao, Thailand, but travels across Asia to teach IDCs.
Many people who learn to dive do so while on holiday because many vacation destinations offer warm water and fantastic tropical marine life.
However, while learning how to dive in an exotic place is definitely a fun experience, how can you do this without devoting your whole holiday to your scuba certification?
You actually have the choice of 3 ways to easily learn to dive, and two of them will help save some valuable vacation days.
Meet Singaporean Sing Yi. She came to Two Fish Tech in December to dip her toes into technical diving and had some concerns about being able to handle the amount of equipment involved. Whilst we do carry more on technical dives, we strongly believe that excellent skills and thorough planning make a good technical diver much more so than physical strength does. Here’s how Sing Yi’s time with us went:
As the New Year begins, you may be starting to prepare yourself for that dream career-change or gap-year with the New Year’s resolution of becoming a PADI Divemaster. If so, then you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the different options that you have.
Whilst working through all the different options, one big question may come to mind – should you pay or work off your DM internship?
Week 3 of my dive master training was full of tests and assessments, in the water and on land.
One experience that stands out is the equipment exchange underwater which would be a little tricky even without instructors causing a few extra problems. Not to mention underwater mapping which is definitely a fun experience – you think you’ve drawn the dive site on your underwater slate and then you look at it on the surface and can’t make sense of it!