Hello my name is Ockey Bentall, and I am doing my Divemaster Internship in Indonesia at TWO FISH Lembongan.
I started Scuba diving at the age of 15 so I have had the pleasure of diving for nearly 27 years. Diving has taken me all over the world; it has been a consistent love, a relationship of myself the ocean, coral reefs, fish, critters and the most remarkable set of people that I have ever been fortunate enough to meet. I have had many encounters with strangers, who because we were diving, have become life long friends. The places that I have been, the memories and friends I have experienced, those journeys have made me the person that I am today.
I can no longer imagine a life when diving was not a part of the person that I am. It’s my place of happiness, where I feel like I become the most privileged person alive. To be immersed in a world where you can breath underwater, visually wowed by shapes, forms, colors, patterns, and wildlife that can send all you’re senses up in the air to a perfect state of contentment is incredible. Scuba Diving really is that awesome!
Let’s start with those fish – yep I’ve seen the patterns on fish that could make you chuckle – its like the most amazing artist has painted some psychedelic pictures and then dropped them in the ocean and they came alive! I encountered a fish the other day, which looked like a cartoon. It had massive lips, with a big head with a squiggle dot dot design. It was all goggle-eyed, they projected out of his head and as it eyed me up, the eyes rotated in a 360 kind of projection. This fish known as a Napoleon Wrasse or Humphed Wrasse was pretty big, may be 1.25m wide by 50cm. On it’s back it had perfect whirly pattern with stunning green and blue colors.
I have favorite sayings such as ‘fish soup’, which totally describes a wall of fish so thick in concentration that it blows your socks off to swim through such a cloud. It is not only the fish though; it is all the fascinating small macro stuff like the critters. If you’re not already a scuba diver you may think this is all made up but seeing is believing. It is all happening right now in our oceans and our seas. Don’t delay, go diving, and see first hand the incredible encounters with nature.
Back in 2006 after a dive holiday in Asia , I returned to my home country of England. It was then that in the cold of an English winter I decided to follow my desire to see more of the underwater world. I took a 3-month break away from work to do some dive conservation work and teach English. I dropped into the heart of the Indonesian coral triangle. Three months later I was no longer the same person. Everything had changed. I was doing exactly what I loved – I was living the dream.
After a short return to the UK I then set off on a 9 month dive trip. I covered the coast in Dubai, Koh Lanta in Thailand, Philippines Bohol, Boracay, Malapascua, Dumaguete, Oslob, Micronesia – Palau, Sudan ,Galapagos, Tanzania – Zanzibar, Mafia Island and finally the Indonesian islands of Raja Ampat, Komodo, Alor, Menjangan, Bunaken, Lembeh and found TWO FISH .
TWO FISH’s culture is pretty much translated as instant family, ‘You arrived as a stranger and leave as a friend’. The hospitality is always warm, friendly, knowledgeable and personable. Memories are made; friendships formed and incredible diving is available at your fingertips. The diving is undoubtedly some of the best I have experienced in the world and the dive to guest ratios are small, 1:4 at the max and often I end up with a guide with less than that. TWO FISH have seven dive centres placed across Indonesia; I have visited Lembongan, Amed and Bunaken.
The time came when I had to return to England and get a job to fund my travels. But somehow everything had changed. How could I return to normal life? I knew two things firstly I just wanted to dive and secondly I loved Indonesia. Maybe I could become a Divemaster and then an Instructor and make this my life? Perhaps I could travel The World and get paid to do it!
(Keep Tuned!! In a few days… Part 2! 🙂 )