We thought that we would take this opportunity to provide an update on Two Fish Tech, the Tech operation of Two Fish Divers. Over the last few months Yvonne, our intrepid Tech Manager/Instructor, has had to contend with volcanoes causing cancelled flights/bookings, explored Belongas Bay, had a quick trip to UK Dive Show, and toured some of Bali’s other dive places. Read on below!
Two Fish Tech Base in Amed
Teaching and guiding technical divers rarely becomes routine, but the past few weeks have made our life even more interesting than normal and posed a few challenges with Mount Agung, one of Bali’s volcanoes, being rather active.
While our main base in Amed has always been in a safe zone, we have been affected by flight cancellations and the like. Two Fish Tech therefore spent the last few weeks taking Two Fish Tech on tour – some of it planned, some of it less so. And whilst travelling with tech equipment really makes me wish for ‘weightless diving equipment’, it’s been a fantastic opportunity to check out parts of Bali underwater where we don’t often dive and explore the tech diving potential of some of our other Two Fish locations.
Belongas Bay Exploration
In June 2017 we ran an initial exploration trip to South Lombok to check if there was potential for technical diving in Sekotong or Belongas Bay. Long story short, we figured we were on to something and organised a Belongas Bay technical exploration trip in late October / early November. It was one of the highlights of the last few months, so much so that we are going back in March 2018.
The bay – and especially its most famous divesite, The Magnet – is famous for schooling, scalloped hammerheads which are usually around from May / June until October. With the hammerheads, however, come diving conditions that more or less rule out technical diving due to up and down currents. However, the water settles down right before and right after the season giving us a unique window of opportunity to tech dive here.
And that’s what we did: with a mixed group of open circuit and rebreather divers we explored reefs, overhangs and pinnacles around The Magnet and neighbouring reefs. Due to the water temperature, the hammerheads were gone, but we had great encounters with large whitetip reef sharks, eagle rays and even an oceanic manta came by. What’s most remarkable about tech diving this area at this time, though, is that water conditions are calm and predictable enough to risk decompression diving.
That’s not possible in hammerhead season, therefore the reefs remain largely unexplored. Our ‘biggest find’ of this trip was a large swim-through under one of the main dive sites and we did think for a bit that there might be an actual cave system, but so far that seems not to be the case.
However, the plan is to go back to Belongas at the end of March for another look. If you’re keen to come along then complete the form below.
UK Dive Show
Two Fish Tech’s travels weren’t restricted to Asia. In October, it was time to brave the autumnal weather in England and head to Birmingham for the UK Dive Show. For two days, we not only talked to British divers about technical diving in Indonesia and how to get started with that, but also had a chance to catch up with old friends.
There are more reasons to head to the show if you’re into tech diving, including the presentations on the TekDeck stage which range from exploration to equipment choices and maintenance. Luckily, we were placed close to the stage so it was easy to catch snippets or even a whole presentation here and there.
And, lastly, shows are always a great place for a spot of equipment shopping. With that done, a whirlwind week in the UK finished, it was time to head back to Bali – this time to the East.
Touring in Bali – Padang Bai and Candidasa
Next on our Two Fish Tech on Tour itinerary were Padang Bai and Candidasa. Both have the advantage of being located just over an hour north of Bali airport and are easily reached.
In Padang Bai, we teamed up with Geko Dive to finish PADI TecRec courses for a group of divers from Singapore as well as start training some of Geko’s Balinese DMs and instructors as tech divers. Once more experienced, they will be able to guide technical divers in this area that is better known for its muck diving. Padang Bai (deep) diving can be challenging as it’s tidal and currents can wreak havoc with dive plans. However, beautiful drift dives are the reward for that.
Candidasa diving is best known for the islands off the east coast here – Gili Mimpang, Tepekong and Biaha. Situated in the Lombok Strait, all three are prone to currents and changing conditions, making them only suitable for experienced technical divers. However, the reefs are pristine, Mola-Mola can be seen here, large white tips, schooling reef fish, barracuda, to name just a few. Due to the islands’ unique shape and exposed location, the underwater topography here is breathtaking, too. It’s certainly a place we’re keeping on the list, especially for our CCR diving guests.
Two Fish Tech on Tour in Pemuteran
Next on our list and still in Bali was the far north west of the island – Pemuteran and Menjangan Island. On our first dive off the Pemuteran coast we descended into a school of several hundred trevallies, which turned out to be an auspicious beginning to our exploration. At the end of the same dive, in shallow water we spotted no less than nine baby white tips hiding under table corals. Who says deco stops are tedious?
Pemuteran itself is a small town with a relaxed vibe that has been home to dive centres for more than 20 years. It’s never quite built the same reputation as Amed and Tulamben, but has quite a few things stacked in its favour. From a technical diving teaching and guiding point of view the area is almost undiscovered. Few dive shops offer (recreational) Nitrox, so we are bringing in our own oxygen supply and gas blending equipment to facilitate deeper decompression dives. However, this area is known for having relatively gentle currents and predictable conditions, making it an ideal training ground for decompression diving.
We’ll be back there for more exploration dives later this month and are considering having a second base for Two Fish Tech in the town, giving us and our divers an alternative location to Amed.
And so much more
Sounds busy? There was more! Technical guiding, Sidemount and Solo Diver courses in Gili Air and Padang Bai, an instructor exam in Jakarta and much more. We’re slowly but surely getting very good at packing equipment as well as setting up impromptu tech rooms and blending stations where needed.
At the moment, we are in Amed for a few days and have even done a bit of exploration from here, so there are plenty of things to look forward to in the new year!