Brata Perdana got really bored in Jakarta and decided to just fly to Bali on 1 March 2003, expecting some of the KSDC members in Bali would kindly take him to dive. I picked him up at the airport late at night and he stayed at KSDC HQ for the night.
In the next early morning of Sunday 2 March 2003, myself and Brata were on the road to Padang Bai, eastern part of Bali. We were planning to dive at Amuk Bay. At the same time my other friends from Jakarta, Ari, his girlfriend and Indra were also in town. So we decided to dive together. Another Ari's friend who is from Bali is also joining. We met him at the By Pass Road Sanur before continuing to Padang Bai.
Padang Bai, for you who is not very familiar with this place, has few dive sites: Pura Jepun, Blue Lagoon, Tanjung Sari and Bias Tugel. This place is also konown as the ferry terminal for those who want to cross to Lombok island.
Padang Bai is also the most convenient place to sail across to other well-known dive sites like Gili Selang, Gili Biaha, Gili Tepekong, Gili Mimpang, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. At this place (Padang Bai) we can rent a boat to go to those places. The type of the boat ranges from wooden boats to fiberglass boat. The price of renting it varies from Rp 500,000 to Rp 1,200,000. This price is usually for 2 dives. One boat can usually accommodate about 6 to 10 divers.
Gili Selang, Gili Biaha, Gili Tepekong and Gili Mimpang are located at Amuk Bay. The name speak for itself that the dive areas at Amuk Bay are very unpredictable. Strong down, up and straight current are common in this area. One of the most famous current in Gili Tepekong is called the 'Toilet'. Novice divers are not recommended to dive in this area. Thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies fall in love with this dive sites for obvious reason.
The most convenient way to enjoy diving in this area is using one of the dive operators on site. KSDC has a preferred dive operator there: WaterWorx Diving Center.
Therefore, after a short 1.5 hours of driving, we arrived at Padang Bai and we went straight to WaterWorx Diving Center to prepare our diving excursion. After uploading all our equipment to the boat, all six of us left white sandy Padang Bay beach heading to Gili Biaha. We are accompanied by one of the instructor of WaterWorx. Once the boat was on its way al of us start preparing our dive gear knowing that the boat ride would only be a short 30 minutes.
At around 8:45, we were ready to do our first dive. We went straight down to around 10 meters, the surge and current were mild and the visibility is good, around 15 to 20 meters. We dived steadily to the direction of the cave. The entrance of the cave located at 12 meters under, the cave is big enough to accommodate all divers. Inside the cave there are many white tip sharks. We counted around 8 of them. It is recommended to bring your dive light, because inside the cave is quite dark to see clearly.
Inside the cave sharks as big as 2.5 meter swam freely. When we went deeper into the cave, on the right wall of the cave we could see many lobsters, unfortunately this area is a protected sanctuary and we are not allowed to take some lobsters home.
We went outside the cave and continued diving to the north of the island. The maximum depth of this dive site is around 50 meter. It has sandy bottom, so no reason to go that deep. Soft corral and small critters are abundant in this area. Strange looking sea slugs and nudibranch are very common sight.
After only 30 minutes of diving, one of the divers, Ari's friend, gave signal to the instructor signaling that he was running out air. The instructor had to accompany him to the surface. We continued our dive enjoying the serenity of the site. Few minutes later, we saw and feel that current was picking up. We saw strong current underneath us going to the direction of open sea. We decided to turn around and to end our dive shortly. We prepare for safety stop after 55 minutes of diving. We resurface right next to the boat that was waiting for us.
During our SI we realized that the current and the surge were picking up. We decided to go to Gili Mimpang and rest there for our SI.
After 1:55 minutes of SI, we were ready to dive again, this time we followed the slopes of Gili Mimpang going down to around 30 meters at this depth Brata realized that his dive light was flooded. He probably thought oh well time to buy a new one, so he just carried away with his diving without doing anything to his dive light. But later this flooded dive lights gave us a surprise.
After some minutes of no eventful dive, we realized that the current was really picking up. Some small fishes seemed to be trying to avoid the current and went closer to the rocks. The direction of the current was mostly to the open sea. Soon I realized that I have to do a deco stop. All other divers had resurfaced, myself, Brata and Indra were holding to a rock at 8 meters while I did my deco stops. While holding on the rock, we heard a very loud bang. We did not know what it was. I looked at Brata, he looked back at me. It was confusing. Soon Brata realized that his dive light had just blown up. Luckily nobody got hurt. Later our friend told us that mixing salt water and alkaline battery will create a reaction which produces gas. It exploded because of the battery compartment of a dive light is water and air tight, so when the pressure is extremely big, it just blow up.
We waited for good 5 minutes, the current was getting stronger and after my deco stop, three of us gave signal to let go our holding. We were thinking to do our safety stop at 5 meters on the open sea, however the up current was so strong that we were pushed up without us able to fight it. Once we resurfaced, we could not see the boat, it was apparently anchored on the other side of the island, we blew up our sausage and sounded our dive alert to attract the boat. Soon they boat man saw us. They picked us up and we cruised back to Padang Bai. After a good meal and resting we decided to go back to Kuta.