Posts Tagged ‘Bali’

Return to Paradise

Friday, April 16th, 2010

I’ve been nagging about this in my last three posts, but just to confirm it: I’m back in the PERHENTIANS! I came on the first boat this morning, and I’ve settled in above the dive shop, in one of the three rooms upstairs. Three of the people who were here with Sunlight last year were already living there when I arrived, Wan, his brother and another fellow I haven’t met before are sharing one room, Emma and Bob are sharing another.

On my way here from Bali, I had two nights  (or rather one and a half) in Kuala Lumpur. My plane landed at twenty past midnight, and by the time I found a guest house, Reggae, it was 2 am. On the first floor of Reggae Guest House was Reggae night club, but luckily they turned off the music by the time I turned in a little before 3. It was a little expensive (and a lot loud…) so I moved the next morning, down the street and out of earshot, to Wheelers guest house. The price was about half, but it was definately not worth it, as it turned out the place had bed bugs. 🙁 My suggestion: never ever stay in Wheelers guest house in KL.  I had a nice day before, though, as I met up with Ali and Sundar again, same as last time I was in KL. We spent the day around Bukit Bintang where Ali lives, and went out to eat at an Irish pub.  (the Beef and Guinness Pie at Finnegan’s is brilliant!)

Yesterday my flight from KL to Kota Bharu was delayed, so I didn’t make it to Kuala Besut in time for the last boat and had to spend the night.

I went over to Panorama today, where Emma is working as a divemaster this season. She was out diving, so I was just hangin’ around until she came back. When she arrived, I was sitting with my back turned, behind a one of the pillars supporting the deck above, and one of the other Swedish girls there told Emma in a serious voice that some very weird guy had been asking for her. Her expression of utter bewilderment turning to recognition as I peeked around the pillar was priceless!

There seems to be a little challenge to overcome before I can get started in setting up here, but I hope it’s nothing big. Sunlight has three years left on the lease of the place, but there are some details of the agreement we need to go over with the owners of Moonlight and the owners of Sunlight divers, and then the real work sets in. 🙂 I am itching to get started, so I hope it won’t take too long. I’m waiting to hear from Richard before I start contacting the people that need to be involved, don’t want to step on any toes and blow up possible deals in my first days here… 😉 It feels good to be back, though, and I do hope the good feeling about working out a nice deal here will prove to be right!

Luxury in Tulamben

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Yesterday afternoon, Jon and I arrived in Tulamben around half past four. The others were there already, lounging lazily in the lovely open livingroom of our huge villa. We had a nice little pool, a fantastic lawn, and the sea just beyond. We joined them in the good life until we were picked up for the dive at six. We entered the water right after sundown, and had a wonderful dive on the Liberty. At first sight of the wreck, there was a group of massive bumphead parrotfish, and the dive was filled with life from end to end. Before we went up, the last skill we had to demonstrate, was a 3 minute lights out while kneeling on the sand. The amount of luminescent algae was impressive, and being the total geek that I am, I was gesticulating and casting “fireballs” the whole time…

After dinner, we were driven back to the villa, where we emptied the minibars, joked and laughed. This morning there was breakfast next door, and then I had a long HOT shower in the classy roofless bathroom… 😀

We did two dives today as well, just for fun. The first dive was on the wreck, and the second one in Coral Garden. Now we are on our way back to Blue Season, and I’ll spend my last night in Bali at Leo’s.

Bye bye Bali

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Since I finished my diving specialties, I haven’t really been doing much… My days have been spent on the beach, walking around Sanur, surfing the net and watching movies and tv series.

I’ve had excellent company in my days of laziness, though. I managed to get in touch with Leonid, a couchsurfer I met in Irkutsk in Siberia, november 2008! He was hitchhiking back then, and his goal was Bali. A year ago, five months after I last saw him, he reached Bali, and he’s since set himself up with a job in a real estate office right here in Sanur! This week he had two couchsurfers staying at his place, Gosia from Poland and Houda from Morocco, and I spent a lot of time with them. Gosia is a backpacker who came here from New Zealand and Australia, heading up north, basically going back to Europe overland, the same way I came here a year ago. Houda lives in Malaysia, and was here on a visa run, to get another 90 days’ stay.

Yesterday my copy of winXP refused to start up, saying it needed activation. I couldn’t activate it, because it was an oem version from another machine, so I headed off to Denpasar to find a place where I could get hold of an external DVD-player to run the recovery DVD off of. I was told there was an electronics mall called Rimo, where I could get a good deal. The deal I got when I found the place was indeed good. I had a good time talking to a young Indonesian guy, while I borrowed the store’s external DVD-player, and it was completely free! The only drawback is that it just ghosted the standard installation, and that one is full of Microsoft’s crappy little programs that take up storage space and processing power for no intelligent reason…

I have now checked out of Little Pond, where I’ve been staying since got here. My luggage is stored in Blue Season, and in about an hour I head up north to Tulamben with Jon, my course director, for the Night Diving Specialy Instructor course dive that was postponed. We’re staying in Tulamben tonight, and head back here tomorrow. My last night in Bali, I couchsurf with Leo, and late Tuesday night I have a flight to Kuala Lumpur.

Uncle Travelling Scuba Instructor!

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Passed my I.E. today, I am now an Open Water Scuba Instructor! Will be in teaching status as soon as the paperwork goes through! 😀

The result wasn’t as good as I was hoping/expecting, but a 4.2 and a 4.0 on the two Open Water Teaching presententations are still well on the safe side. 🙂

I do believe a celebration is in order!

Examinations going well

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Really happy about my results today:

Knowledge Development Teaching Presentation: 5.0
Confined Water Teaching Presentation: 5.0
Skill Circuit: 5 x 5.0

Grades go from 1.0, which is a fail, to 5.0.

😀 Happy Uncle Travelling Gjerulf!

IE – Instructor Examinations

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Since my last post, I’ve been a busy little bee…

iphone-031As you know, I’ve been working hard on becoming a scuba instructor. A definite highlight was this Sunday, when we went to Nusa Penida for an Adventure Diving Workshop. The first of our two dives was a dive to 39 meters, practicing teaching deep diving. We all had different tasks, like showing the difference in colours at that depth, showing the effect of pressure on a closed plastic bottle of air and a tennis ball, having people perform a timed task at depth and on the surface, and breathing from a pony bottle. My timed task, pointing at randomized numbers from 1 to 25 in the right order on a slate, took me 36 seconds at depth, and 24 seconds on the surface. I didn’t feel like the nitrogen was affecting me, but the numbers speak clearly of increased problem-solving time due to nitrogen narcosis! Our second dive was a shallow one, max depth a little under 12 meters, but really beautiful, drifting over a gorgeous coral reef. On that dive we practiced leading Discover Scuba Diving customers, people with no training in diving whatsoever, which means I as the instructor have to do everything for them.

Tuesday and Wednesday we did our Mock  IE, and Wednesday was the last day of my IDC, Instructor Development  course. After finishing off our presentations, we went to a restaurant on the beach for dinner and beers, compliments of Jonathan Cross, our Course Director.

Yesterday was my second day off since I came to Bali. This time there was no enforced rest, so I headed out to find a rash vest. Eeva from Finland also needed to do some shopping, so off we went to do a round of some factory outlets outside Kuta. I was disappointed with the selection, even in the Billabong factory outlet, but I found a decent one that wasn’t too expensive. We also padded around in Kuta for a bit, had lunch, and went down to the beautiful crescent beach there to have a look. I rounded off the day with an hour of relaxing traditional Balinese massage, priced at a friendly NOK 33, or about 4 Euros.

Today was the first day of our Instructor Examinations. We met up at Blue Season Bali around ten a.m. to go through some paperwork, and a little past one we went to Hotel Parigata here in Sanur for the theoretical part of our examinations. It started with a briefing on the logistics of the three days of examinations, and then we dove right into the written exams, first 5×12 questions on general dive theory with no reference materials in an hour and a half, and then 50 questions on PADI Standards and Procedures, open book exam in another hour and a half. My results ended up being:
Physics 11/12
Physiology 12/12
Recreational Dive Planner 12/12
Skills and Environment 12/12
Equipment 11/12
and
Standards and Procedures 49/50

The lowest passing grades are 9/12 and 38/50, so I was in the safe end of the spectrum. I’ve generally not had problems getting passing grades, although in the Physiology part of my Mock Exam I had four mistakes. Still, I’m happy with my results, but curious about what the three questions I missed were…

After the written exams, we went back to Blue Season, to prepare our Knowledge Development Presentations for tomorrow morning. I’ll be “teaching” the rest of the crew, who’ll be posing as Open Water students, about how to find minimum surface intervals, using the eRDPML (electronic Recreational Dive Planner, Multi Level)

After those presentations, we’ll head back to Blue Season again, to prepare for our next presentations, and tomorrow afternoon we’ll be in a pool in a hotel here in Sanur, where we’ll do our Confined Water Teaching presentations. My assignment is to once again “teach” four of the candidates, once again posing as Open Water students, how to establish neutral buoyancy, using the low pressure inflator.
After a skill circuit in the pool, demonstrating Regulator Recovery and Clearing, Breathing From a Free Flowing Regulator, Alternate Air Source Use (stationary), Neutral Buoyancy, and Controlled Emergeny Swimming Ascent (CESA) it’s back to home base at Blue Season to prepare the last set of presentations, which will take place in open water on Sunday.
Early Sunday morning we’ll  head out to sea, and my presentation to my “students” will be Alternate Air Source Use (stationary) and CESA. The final task for the examinations will take place immediately after our Open Water Teaching presentations, when we’ll all do a rescue presentation, towing an unresponsive nonbreathing diver to safety, while removing scuba gear and giving rescue breaths.

And VOILÁ, I’ll be an Open Water Scuba Instructor!

IDC part 2

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Balinese New Year Nyepi

In the week since my last post, I’ve mostly been studying, but there’s also been a rather special day here in Bali… Not much interesting to say about the studies, other than list what I’ve done. We finished the Assistant Instructor part of the course, and then we did an Emergency First Response Instructor course, which makes me qualified to teach CPR and first aid. We’ve started the Open Water Scuba Instructor part, which culminates in the Instructor Examinations a week from now. It’s all going quite well, although I had to cut our pool session short today due to a cold that plugged up my ears so I had some difficulty equalizing, and even greater difficulty when ascending from the  bottom. The reverse squeeze was never bad enough to be painful, but made me a bit dizzy, so I hope it’s improved by tomorrow morning, when we’re doing our second set of Open Water presentations in the sea.

After the IE, we’ll be doing five Specialty Instructor Courses, and then my 30 day on-arrival visa for Indonesia runs out. I haven’t bought my plane ticket yet, so I’m considering staying on for a few more weeks, maybe do an internship so I can get some teaching experience, or maybe just kick around and explore some of the dive sites around here. It would feel a bit wasted to not have done the Liberty wreck, for example…

So, for the special day here in Bali last week… It’s called Nyepi, and it’s the Balinese New Year! On the evening of March 15 there was a big parade, with some awesome statues made from papier maché or something. The night ended with a balcony party at some of my fellow instructor candidates’ homestay (guest house), and then I had to get home to my own place before they closed the streets. On the first day off the new year, the Balinese Hindus have an enforced day of rest, so the traffic is stopped, and if you’re caught out on the streets between 6am on the 16th and 6am on the 17th, you’ll get fined, or even put in jail! Lights or fire of any kind (that can be seen from the outside) is prohibited, and a few more things I can’t remember… All in all, it was a wonderful day, when I went from my bed to my porch, to the pool (a meter and a half from my porch), and back… And there was nothing to be done about it! 😀

Liftoff

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

When I returned to Norway in October, I stayed for a while on my friend Hallgeir’s couch in the basement, and then on a camping bed in my friend Oddi’s living room. Since then I’ve lived cheaply (for Stavanger) in a loft, paying NOK 3500 per month, wi-fi included.

I temped as a kindergarten assistant for three weeks, until I managed to land a job as administrative director in Varden church in Stavanger. It was demanding and challenging, as I’ve never had the responsibility of being anyone’s boss before, but rewarding as well, when I got things done.

On Wednesday I managed to gather a surprisingly large group of friends at The Irishman to say “screw you guys, I’m outta here.” Thursday I packed the rest of my stuff and headed to my parents’ place in Vanse, and Friday morning we drove to Arendal, where I’ve spent the weekend with them, my two youngest sisters, my grandparents and my aunt, uncle and cousin. My oldest sister took her husband and son to Paris this weekend, and tried to robb us of a 1-year birthday party, which we still celebrated, without the guest of honour! 🙂

Right now I’m on a bus on my way to Torp airport, where RyanAir is hopefully flying me out to London Stansted at 13:55. I’m supposed to be there at 14:50 local time, and my AirAsia flight to Kuala Lumpur is scheduled for 23:20. I arrive in KL tomorrow night at 20:20 local time, spend the night, and leave again Thursday morning at 10:25. Arrival at my final destination, Bali, will be at 13:25 local time. My Instrucor Development Course (IDC) starts on Friday. Wish me luck!

This is posted from my iPhone, because I’ve managed to mess up my eeePC so it’s stopped working, in my attempt to reinstall XP. 🙁 In the desperate attempt to fix it in my sleep deprived state in the wee hours of this morning, I just made matters worse, by fumbling a format of the thumb drive I was trying to install from, and instead accidentally formatting my external hard drive… I saw that I’d entered the wrong drive letter a fraction of a second after I’d pressed OK, and would’ve wept a river if my eyes hadn’t been all dried up after hours of futile labour…

Nevertheless, I greet all those who remain in the frozen, snowy hell that is Norway with a wide grin and a hearty “SO LONG, SUCKERS!” 😀