I'm now headed towards the airport for my flight to the island of Manado. It's a 3 hour flight from Bali and it's a bittersweet goodbye I must admit. I absolutely love balinese culture. The best way I can describe it would be a fusion of traditional Hindu beliefs intertwined with modern day technology and a closely knit community. With a lively, westernized, Southern side and serene Sawas (rice fields) up North, it's strange to find a more culturally and naturally diverse place.
We started off our stay in Northern Bali exploring numerous Balinese temples and shrines along with my father and I's seemingly endless search for picturesque sawas. 3 days into our stay, our first scheduled dive of the trip had finally arrived and it was, well, an experience. My day began with the sound of my dad banging on my villa door telling to grab my camera and filter's in a hurry to shoot the sunrise. You don't really ever see sights like that back home. Local fisherman up before dawn to cast their nets into the depths in hope of making their daily catch to sell, things just move at a slower pace here. We had a light breakfast of fried rice (which is pretty much all I've eaten every morning for the last 9 days) and headed for the dive center where we would take a 45 minute boat ride to Menjangang Island where we had 2 dives planned. Our boat was newer looking and quite large which was initially quite the relief. The four of us, along with 12 others, now headed for the first dive site had little idea of what was in store for us in the next few hours.
Diving in Indonesia is always quite the experience. You can't find color and ocean life like that at home that's for sure. The first dive went well and we docked on the island for the required break between dives to prevent the dreaded NITROGEN NARCOSIS (cue omnious music) which is basically caused by nitrogen bubbles boiling out of your blood and blocking veins resulting in a handfull of bad things to happen, along with a light meal of, you guessed it, fried rice FML. We boarded the boat following the break and meal then headed for our second dive location. We got our suits back on and changed our air cylinders since we were about 5 minutes away until the unimaginable happened. Ok, what I'm about to write about is going to sound really farfetched but bear with me as its all factual. Going back to the story, just as I got one leg in my suit I noticed the water level rising along the boats sides but didn't really think anything of it. Continueing on the divemasters asked us all to move the front of the ship to possibly alleviate the overburdened rear. The problem ony got worse. The boat took in more water and the inevitable order to abandon ship was called. I thought it was a joke until I saw my brother jump as well. Luckily we were only about 75 to 100 meters from shore and the swim wasn't too bad save for my panicking mother who I had to return for after swimming 3/4ths of the way to shore. The captain stayed with the ship and steered it to shore where its engines fully flooded and hull rested on the coral below. We now raced to move the 30 or so air cylinders and assortment of other equipment to traditional fishing boats who came to our aid. We were then split into smaller groups and were ferried to mainland Bali where our adventure ended for the day. What an experience.
The following day, failing to learn our lesson, my father, brother, and myself decided to go ahead with the planned dives. These dive's luckily didn't include the unplanned "wreck dive" that we experienced the day prior.