The weeks leading up to an impulsively booked trip to Bali for Advanced and Rescue/Recovery Diving passed in an anxious blur of respiratory specialist visits, spirometry testing, frights over difficulty breathing and a steady stream of decongestant medication.
And all of that for a doctor’s signature on the PADI diving medical form.
I packed my bags with trepidation a few days ago and headed off after several sleepless nights and was pleasantly surprised to be the first at a sleepy immigration corner upon arrival. Even the hastily-arranged driver from Putu’s gang of merry men actually turned up a few minutes late – his arrival finally caused the rest of the taxi hustlers to drop away like salt on leeches.
Monday arrived too quickly and those cold feet returned when Joe’s Gone Diving’s driver whisked me off to the office to meet my instructor Ezra, who said that he would be supervising the entire course for two days. Joe’s Gone Diving is run by 2 Dutch expats and attracts people from all over the world, meaning, a motley crew of hedonistic expats, serious Indons and everyone else in between seeking some sort of deep-sea gratification can be found here.
I was made to study in the van on the way to Padang Bay and to Tulamben, covering topics like Wreck diving, Deep Diving, Peak Performance Buoyancy and Navigation (not my favourite at all). So far out of my comfort zone, I’ve managed to: Tumble head first into the water after some weak protesting, doing a forward somersault with the damned BCD and tank, stabbed my toe hard against the rocks on Tulamben beach, hit the knee even hard and get quite sunburned.
Not too bad for someone who hasn’t dived in years.
Buoyed by the high of actually completing the course, I ditched the rescue one and chose to do a fun dive instead at Manta Point in 2 days.