September Ceria 2004

The trip started out a bit haphazardly on Saturday as plans were changed to accomodate the desires of the divers, but soon we were off, heading caravan style to our first destination, Scuba Seraya. Just three kilometers before Tulamben, Scuba Seraya is macro heaven.

We split the 15 of us into three groups of five divers each and set off to explore. I was astounded to find a pair of harlequin shrimp on the artificial reef at just 9 meters, and as the dive continued we were wowed by rare and unusual nudibranchs, a decorator crab, crabs hiding in spiderferns, scorpionfish, baby stonefish, eels galore and many other interesting critters.

The surface interval was relaxing as the weather was gorgeous and new friends became better acquainted with some of the KSDC veterans. Mugi had her staff at the resort prepare a nice lunch of chicken, rice and vegetables and then we hit the water again, each group heading out to look for what the others had encountered on the first dive. All agreed that the harlequin shrimp were a real treat and the photographers among us happily clicked away!

After emerging from the second dive, we packed up all the gear and tanks and left for Paradise Hotel in Tulamben. Once everyone was checked in, we quickly assembled our gear for the third dive of the day, this time a dusk dive at the Drop-Off. Hengky and I split off from the group for our usual deep shenanigans, so I can't say for sure what everyone saw, but the fading light was beautiful and most managed to surface before the sun had set completely.

Saturday night found us all starving in the restaurant at Paradise. The hotel was unfortunately nearly full and Jean was left waiting for her food for nearly an hour and a half, not the best introduction to KSDC, but hardly our fault. Still it was a good opportunity to work on all of our patience skills. Most everyone hit the sheets fairly early. After Lillie shared a bottle of wine with the girls and Brata, I found myself nearly comatose and happily headed to bed way before 9:30.

Sunday morning Lala was busy knocking on all of our doors and getting us up for a dawn dive at Alam Anda. We had a great sunrise before setting off in five jukung to reach the site. Unfortunately I hadn't been there in a while and swam in the wrong direction for a few minutes before realizing my mistake and locating the right fan. The beautiful pygmies were still there and ready for the photographers to descend upon them after the rest of us got our fill. (See photo below).

Back at the hotel we quickly ate breakfast, packed, checked out and loaded up the cars with all the tanks and gear to set off for Amed. The first dive was at Underwater Island, then there was a nice surface interval at the Diver's Cafe restaurant before we motored off for our last dive of the day at Eel Garden. The visibility on this last dive was fairly poor, and the group had a hard time always sticking together, but most reported a nice dive, with a honeycomb moray eel as one of the highlights.

Sunday night ended at Bali Scuba with everyone dropping off their gear for the next day's dives at Nusa Penida. I was exhausted from all the diving and driving, but those with more energy went for crabs in Sanur.

Monday we all met in Sanur Bay to set off in three boats for Nusa Penida. We lost Brata and Hengky, but gained Lillie. Our mission was to find mola mola, the elusive sunfish. Alas, due to poor visibility as an effect of plankton booming, we did not achieve our goal. We did get to experience the chilly waters of Nusa Penida and drift along Batu Nunngul, Batu Tugu and Toyapakeh, all wonderful dive sites with amazing hard and soft corals. These sites are more appropriate for passive drift diving, absorbing the panorama as you float along than the dig and discover nature of Seraya, Tulamben and Amed.

The diving done, it was time to party in true Kapal Selam fashion. We had a catered dinner on the beach in Sanur and were joined by friends from Bali Scuba, Air Diving Academy and BIDP. As the night wore on and the beers ran out, a stash of vodka was unearthed, leaving most of us a little worse for wear.

Thanks to Lala for doing such an amazing job at organizing the trip and to all the participants for bringing along their good attitudes (and a touch of patience).