Posts Tagged ‘Diving’

Patience, Prayer and Penicillin heal all wounds…

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

… even tropical ulcers.

I had a visit from my cousin ages ago, and we had a brilliant time together. It was magnificent to finally be able to show someone from home what I’m always nagging about… Since then, I have also been able to show my sister Anne Malene and her boyfriend Øyvin, and two of my classmates from primary school and junior high, Gunn Ragnhild and Valdis. I went scuba diving with all of them,  but Anne Malene and Øyvin had to wait for my heel to heal before I could teach them to dive.

I got a tiny little scratch on the back of my right heel about a month ago, so small that I didn’t notice it before it started to get red. It soon started hurting, and then my foot swelled up like a balloon. The assumption when I got to the clinic in the fishermen’s village on Perhentian was that I had contracted a tropical ulcer, and I was put on broad spectrum antibiotics. It still took a good week and a half before I was off the crutches and back in the water, and it still has not healed completely, although it looks very nice.

Seeing my friends from way back when was also really cool. We reminisced about the olden days (about 20 to 14 years ago), and caught up on more current events. I got to refresh old diving skills with Gunn Ragnhild, while Valdis got her first taste of scuba diving.

Days of sun, sea and salt water still have not gotten old, I enjoy every bit of it. I even have one more friend lined up to come here soon, to finally finish a diving course, after having started it several times with several people who for one reason or another had to back out. 😀 If anyone else wants to come and learn to dive, just give me a holler, and I’ll set you up! 🙂

In other news, I have crossed over to SDI, and now teach divers through that organization as well as PADI.  My SDI certification cards and teaching material arrived today, but my PADI cards that were supposed to be sent to Blue Season Bali, where I finished my course in the beginning of April still haven’t showed up… The course director there is now on the case, and is trying to get PADI to send me the cards here.

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First diving course, lunch in Thailand, visitor from Norway

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

I am currently sitting on a bus on the way to the airport in Kota Bharu. I’ve spent most of the day in buses, going to Thailand for lunch, and then back into Malaysia with another 90 day visa period. My cousin Gaute is arriving soon, and together we will race to Kuala Besut to see if we can make it in time for the last boat to the Perhentians!
In the last few days, I’ve been teaching my first courses, an Open Water course, an Emergency First Responder course, and started a Rescue course. My OW students were two sweet and laidback Danish girls, maybe even a little too laidback, as the course took 5 days to complete instead of 3 and a half… 😛
I am currently carrying too much cash for comfort, as I have withdrawn cash from six different cards, to bring back to people on the island. Fingers crossed that I don’t get mugged before I’ve handed off the cash, 7500 RM is a lot of money!
I’ve worked long days and had little sleep for a bit too long now, so today was a nice change, a dry day spent snoozing on various buses. When I say dry, I mean that only in the sense that I haven’t been diving, though, ‘cuz on the boat to Kuala Besut this morning I got so soaked with sea spray that I might as well have been… I dried off soon enough, of course, in this heat that’s just a matter of minutes, but I’ve spent the rest of the day caked with sea salt. 😉
Now I am really psyched to recieve my first visitor from the old country, can’t wait to finally show somebody from home how I live!

(Aargh, why is this bus half an hour late, at this rate we won’t make it in time for the last boat!)

Uncle Travelling Gjerulf to become uncle again!

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

The days roll by here in the Perhentians, and the FIFA World Championship is on. For about a week I’ve been coughing and coughing to empty my lungs of the stubborn phlegm that just won’t go away.  was really cold one night, and the resulting chest cold is as stubborn as is to be expected in a tropical climate.

Most of my days are spent sitting around the shop, or out chatting to people to see if I can recruit some divers.  It’s quiet here, so I’m not diving quite as much as I’d like to. I guess it’s a combination of the economic recession going on the third year, people’s irrational fear that all of South East Asia is unsafe due to the unrest in Thailand, and perhaps some apprehension about buying expensive air tickets to Asia and then getting stuck in an airport due to volcanic ash from Iceland…  Now that the volcano has calmed down, I have high hopes for July and August, the high season here in the Perhentians!

This is an interesting place for watching international football, because there are almost always someone that has some  connection to one of both of the countries playing. As you probably know, I’m not exactly a big football fan, to put it mildly, but I have actually watched a couple of games, and that says a lot about the mood surrounding the matches! It also makes for some rather bizarre experiences, like one night in the beginning of the group play when I got up in the night to go to the bathroom, and saw two grown men and a lifesize inflatable kangaroo in Australian supporter get-up in front of the TV in the lounge…

In more important news, the oldest of my little sisters is pregnant with her second, and I will get a niece in November!! 😀 Congratulations to Jenny and Tom!

I am also really looking forward to my first visitor from home, my cousin Gaute, who I’ll go to meet after my visa run to Thailand on 6 July!

We’re open for business!

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

It’s been waaaay too long since my last update, but we’re now finally up and running. Most of my time in the weeks since I wrote last were spent getting things ready, but it has now all paid off.  🙂 The new deck is beautiful, compressor works, we’ve got the staff we need, and we’re ready to go in the water! Our webpage is also up and running, although it needs a bit more work. Check it out at sunlightdivers.com!

Whenever I’ve not been working, I’ve been hanging around not doing much of anything… We got one more employee a couple of weeks ago, Becky from England, and yesterday Mike came over from the Perhentian Besar to be our manager, like last year. As I’ve been writing this we also got our first customer. 🙂 Now I’m REALLY looking forward to finally getting in the water and start teaching.

I don’t know how often I’ll be writing while I’m here, because after the novelty wears off, it’s limited how interesting it will be to hear about my days: get up, eat, dive,  dive, eat, dive, dive, eat, socialize, sleep,  get up, and so forth and so on… However, I’ll go a little bit more in detail about the place here.

I live just upstairs, above the dive shop, so it’s not really a long commute to the office, in fact the office is closer than the toilet and shower… The toilets are the western “chair” type, not squatters, but they have no flush, instead you flush them with a scoop that’s placed in a bucket of water next to it. The showers have quite limited water pressure, and only cold water. Hot water is not something I really need, as the climate here is warm enough that only modesty and social norms create the need to wear anything at all. It is nice to have a hot shower every once in a while, though, because you feel a lot cleaner after a hot shower than a cold one. Thus, when I met a couple of girls from Bryne (near Stavanger in Norway) a few weeks ago and found out they were staying in the fancy Bubu Hotel, I made sure to borrow their shower before they left…

My meals are normally taken in Moonlight restaurant, which is just next to the shop, in the same building. The food is good, but I miss not being able to cook my own food. What I miss the most in the way of food, however, is Sørlandschips, the bes potato crisps ever… If anyone from Sørlandschips or their owners, Valora Trade Norway reads this, please send me a crate of Sørlandschips with sea salt! 😀

I work from 8am to 6pm, and we have a rotation between us deciding who gets up to open up shop at 7:30, and who closes up at 8pm. After a late dinner, I sometimes head up the beach to the shops for necessities, or the bars for a beer and socializing. Last night I spent some time with a cool group of people, a girl from Arizona travelling with her roommates gay lover, two girls from Brighton, two Swedish brothers and a couple from Norway, one of whom used to live across the street from my old house in Misjonsvegen, the other one in Våland! Small world…

My room above the shop is quite simple, but I have what I need: a bed, a fan, a mosquito net, a bookshelf and some pegs to hang my clothes from.

The climate here feels like what I was made for: temperatures during the day normally peak out between 32 an 35 degrees, and sink to 28-29 during the night, while the water is a constant 30 degrees. Most days are sunny with a bit of haze because of evaporation from the sea, and every once in a while we have a day or two of strong winds, torrential downpour and thunder and lightning. The greatest hazard around here are falling coconuts, but we also have some monkeys that can bite if teased (never even saw one) scorpions (never saw any of those either) and the occasional python. The mosquitoes here don’t carry malaria, but they are quite annoying around dawn and dusk.

Okay, now you know a bit about my life here. The everyday life sets in here too after a while, but then I look out at the white beach and the blue sea, consider the fact that I COULD be spending my days in some dreary office, and I’m fine again.  😉

Island Life

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Life on the island is running it’s course, people come and go, the beach is white and the jungle is green, the sea is dark blue and sky is a lighter blue, the sun rises and the sun sets, the moon and stars spin their course above all of us. The past few days I’ve been in the good company of Mike, Briony, Jim, Sally and Terry. Mike has moved to the big island to work for Arwana, the others have continued their respective journeys, that will take them to Dubai, Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur, Thailand and other places near and far.

Today I went to Arwana because they’ve been servicing and storing our scuba tanks over the monsoon, and I got to see Mikey in the bargain. When I got back, Ramli, father of Sunlight’s founder and owner, Sunny, was here. We had lunch together, I got the keys, we sorted out the building of the new deck and discussed the arrival of our boat, scuba equipment and compressors. One of the compressors still needs servicing, and the boat needs to have the second of it’s twin outboard engines mounted, but now things are moving!

img_0170I sketched an outline for the new deck with the necessities we need to have on it, like basins for equipment washing, water supply and shower, tank racks, and drying racks for BCDs, wetsuits, fins, masks and snorkels. Carleed, the manager and co-owner of Moonlight will make a sketch of his vision, then we’ll review them and make the decision. He’s still vying for a solid concrete structure, while I’m more inclined to have a concrete base and wooden deck, for a more esthetic look. 🙂 The solid concrete could work, as long as sufficient drainage is added, to counteract underwash and subsequent erosion, but it will break with the general look of the existing building mass. It might also be more susceptible to break under heavy wave action during monsoon, but Carleed doesn’t seem to think this will be a problem, and I guess he knows the effect of monsoon waves on the beach. At least we seem to agree that it should have as few levels as possible, to avoid people tripping on steps with their dive gear on and such.

Precious precipitation pouring over Pulau Perhentian

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Deserted beachI’ve been in the Perhentians almost two weeks,  and I’m still hanging around waiting for equipment, boat, compressor and stuff. It’s been mostly lazy days, beach time, socializing and chilling, but we’ve also had some longed-for rain! The fresh water supply was dwindling, and for a few days we were almost without water for showers and washing. The downpour this week was therefore very welcome, at least for those of us who have more than a few days here!

Rumours are running wild up and down the beach about what’s happening with Sunlight Divers this year, so it’ll be good to get back in business, and settle all the speculation. 🙂 As for the diving, I’ve reached the point where I’m about ready  to go and pay to get in the water…  Luckily Moonlight has this year invested in wifi, so I don’t have to go anywhere to get online. The drawback is that the ISP is a bit unstable, so while I sometimes get a near perfect connection, at other times it switches on and off like the old fashioned flickering disco lights in the beach bars. Someone told me today that they’ll be doing maintainance on the underwater cable in mid May, and that they’re hoping that’ll sort everything out, but mid May on Malaysian time I’d say is probably closer to September… 😛

Anyway, as my days are pretty much divided between eating, trying to go online and socializing, any more regularity in my updates would get rather repetitive. Mike is back on the island, and is trying to get a job at Spice divers, but has a job with Arwana on the big island lined up if that doesn’t work out.

Coconut 2On a final note, here’s me with a coconut and a straw. Recipe: take one coconut that falls out of a tree, hack it open, drink a little of the juice, fill up with ice, stick a straw in it, then sit down and enjoy a cold refreshing drink. 🙂

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.

God påske, Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Today is Easter Sunday and I googled church in Sanur, and found  the Gateway Community Church, where they celebrate Sunday Service at 10am every Sunday.  I hailed a bemo and got there at 9:35, and was perplexed that there were no cars outside. When I came up to the door, it said that the congregation celebrated Easter Sunday at another church at 7am this morning…

As some of you will remember, I did my Divemaster course in the Perhentian Islands last year, and one of my friends down there, Richard, headed out to the Philippines to build a boat. The boat is now as good as done, and he’ll be sailing it down to the Perhentians.  I’ll be meeting him there, and I’ll be one of three instructors working with him and his sister in their new company South Sea Nomads. Those interested can read about the build and the people on the Lonely Planet Travel Blog, and follow them on twitter.

I am hanging around Bali for another week, then on the 11th I’ll do the night dive for my Night Diving Specialty Instructor course. We were supposed to do that dive a couple of days ago, but when we got down to Sanur beach around sunset, the boat we were supposed to go out on was beached like 150 meters from the sea, because somebody had forgotten to bring it out to deeper water before the tide went out… Jonathan Cross, the instructor trainer, then went on his easter holiday, so we’ll be doing the dive when he returns.

On April 13 I fly out to Kuala Lumpur, where I’ll arrive after midnight. Rich will be sending me some info by email tomorrow, so then I’ll know more about the logistics of starting up the business in the Perhentians. I’ll be there before the boat gets there, to prepare things, but that’s about as much as I know right now, so I guess this post will be a “to be continued” type cliffhanger…

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!