Jojo Dive Bali

On 30 May 2003, Yonatan Hermanto, our members from KSDC Jakarta was in Bali for a seminar, for his visit, we prepared a scuba diving trip to introduce him to some of the premiere dive sites around Bali. We decided to take him diving to Gili Biaha and Gili Tepekong. These are the two notoriously difficult dive sites in Bali. The current here is often unpredictable, the down current is infamously named toilet for its well-known down suction swirl, just like flushing a toilet. It was a coincident, that day was the start of new moon; that the current is usually extremely strong at those two places. We wanted to show our hospitality by introducing this dive sites to our special guest, Yonatan.

Day 1

Six o'clock on a peaceful Friday morning, Hengky Dotulong, Yonatan Hermanto and Robert Ottilie were already in the car cruising to Padang Bai, the beach east of Bali where we would start our adventure for that day. After 2 hours of cruising, we had our breakfast and set up the gear on the beautiful white sand beach of Padang Bai. There we met other divers from Germany, who would have a trip with us.

For the first dive, our initial plan was to dive at Gili Biaha, but since the current was noticeably harsh and unpredictable combined with big waves, we decided to abort this dive and move to Gili Tepekong a slightly further northeast dive site. It seemed from the surface that Gili Tepekong was quite calm that day. Without saying much, we plunged into the blue water and lucky us, we encountered a 45-centimeters frogfish (giant angler fish) camouflaged on the top of a yellow sponge. The current was not too wild, however, as we predicted before, it was still erratic. Maximum depth for that dive was 30 meters. This first dive was a very good one and became a warming-up diving session for Yonatan who had to abort his dive after 45 minutes after running out of air.

For the second dive we dove Gili Mimpang, started at 12:15 noon. As soon as we plunged, the current hit us erratically. We drifted up and down just like riding on a roller coaster, and ended up like diving in a washing machine (I mean toilet). Yonatan had to abort the dive after 30 minutes because of the strong current. On the surface he had nausea so unbearable that he was so seasick and threw up all his breakfast. At least it was good for the fish there to get free lunch. After 10 excruciating minutes for him, we headed back to Padang Bai beach.

In the afternoon, we continued our trip to Tulamben, and directly went Roy and Ayu's villa on the beach, which has now become an informal Kapal Selam Diving Club base at Tulamben. There we met other members of Kapal Selam Diving Club, our host, Rolf Suter and Ni Nyoman Ayuni, Dave Van Rooy and a friend from the States, Rick Barros. When we get there Dave greeted us, "Hi guys, good, you are finally survived Tepekong". We said "Yah barely" In that evening, we spent our time relaxing and while Ayu preparing the dinner for all of us. We also booked the jukung (wooden traditional boat) for our first dive in the morning.

Day 2

Saturday morning, on May 31st, we were on board the jukung at 8:30. We had 2 jukung boats heading southeast off to Batu Kelebit, one of the premiere dive sites at Tulamben. Unfortunately, the visibility was not so good, it was only 7-10 meters. After a bumpy dive on the previous day, Yonatan could gallantly manage this dive easily; in fact he went down to 51 meters and ascended very slowly while enjoying the coral. Due to this dive, he is now the deepest record holder among Kapal Selam Diving Club members from Jakarta.

At the depth of 46 meters, one of our senior members, Robert Ottilie, who is also known as "The Sinker" experienced equipment breakdown. The left lens of his mask fell off. At first he thought "What the '., how come the visibility suddenly dropped to near zero, that I could not even see my own gauge?" He nervously tapped the left lens of his mask and his finger directly poked his eye, ouch. He tensely had to leave the rest of the group and slowly ascended to the surface, while we continued descending to 51 meters.

We did our second dive in the USS Liberty Shipwreck. Again, the visibility was not that friendly to us. This time only 5 meters! However, the good thing about this dive was the two leaf-scorpionfishes we encountered. The color is yellow, it is about the same shape with the one we saw in Alung Banoa, Bunaken and the other was stripped brown like a grouper. Other than that nothing special. We decided not to dive again since the diving condition in Tulamben was not too pleasant. It was better to hang around at Roy and Ayu's villa and had some beers while waiting for the fresh fish barbeque prepared by Ayu for our lunch.

In the late afternoon, Rolf Suter, Ni Nyoman Ayuni, Dave Van Rooy and Rick Barros stayed in Tulamben for one more day while Hengky Dotulong, Robert Ottilie and Yonatan Hermanto went back to Hengky's house, the central command of Kapal Selam Diving Club, at Kerobokan.

This trip was awesome for all of us, we managed to dived together in Bali after our last trip to Bunaken. We were happy to see our guest, Yonatan, "enjoyed" his trip with us. We are sure that on the upcoming dives, he would become more experienced diving in the strong current and not being panic anymore.