After lying sick in bed for over a week, we finally booked five dives with Bali Reef Divers. A friend of ours knows the guy who runs the place (a fellow Belgian!), so we paid his dive shop a visit. We felt comfortable during our first visit and the material looked well maintained, so we decided we would be diving with Bali Reef Divers in Amed.
We chose a package of five (fun) dives spread over two days for which we paid 1,750,000 IDR each (excluding the 3% surcharge for paying with Visa). All dive equipment (except for a dive computer), transportation to the dive sites, and a (local) guide to show you around underwater are included in this price. You even get a towel, a thoughtful extra in our opinion. As these were our first fun dives (we only took lessons on Koh Tao) we don’t know what the common practices are, but we were pleasantly surprised they prepare and set up all the equipment for you. You just have to put it on and do your buddy check.
On Koh Tao we did all our dives from a boat, by taking a giant stride from the edge of the boat into the water. In Amed however, we did all our dives from the shore. Luckily we got booties, as most beaches in Amed are pebbles, not sand. Quite the challenge to get in and out of the water without losing your balance, with that heavy equipment on your back!
On our first day of diving we went to the USS Liberty Wreck, a 120 meter cargo ship torpedoed by Japan, and the Tulamben Drop Off, a coral covered wall. At the shipwreck we saw our first turtle (excited!) and a tiny seahorse. We even followed Komang (our guide) through the machine room. It had been almost four months since we last (and first) went diving, so the breathing and moving under water needed a little getting used to again.
During the second dive at the Tulamben Drop Off, my mask fogged up, so my visibility got real bad. You can simply solve it by letting some water in your mask and clear it again. I’m not that comfortable doing it however, so I practiced it in the pool later that day. Spencer, a friendly American and experienced diver who was joining us on our dives, was glad to share his mask cleaning soap after that. He even let me keep it as a goodbye gift, so no more foggy mask problems in the future!
On our second day of diving we would do three dives on sites closer to Amed: the Japanese Wreck, the Pyramids, and the Jemeluk Wall. We already went snorkeling at the Japanese Wreck, but when diving we focused more on the ocean life than the wreck, as that is not that big or stunning anyway. We saw some clown fish (you know, Nemo’s!) hiding away and popping up again from their anemone house. When heading back to shore we experienced some strong current for the first time. It seemed like we were swimming against the current for an eternity! We came out of the water feeling exhausted, so reenergized with a curry and some nasi goreng.
The other two dive sites were without a doubt our favourites! But it’s possible this being our fourth and fifth dive, after having some practice again, played a role in that as well. At the Pyramids we saw a lot of beautiful fish playing at the pyramid constructions at the bottom of the sea. Some of the most special ones were the blue spotted stingray and the yellow boxfish. The Jemeluk Wall (or just the wall) was covered in beautiful coral, it was stunning! We took a lot of pictures with our GoPro during the dives to share with you guys, but I guarantee you it all looks much more impressive under water!
We were happy to be diving again. I almost forgot how beautiful the underwater world is! Diving with Bali Reef Divers in Amed was a great experience. Komang showed us a lot of beautiful sea creatures we would have missed if he hadn’t pointed them out. He checked how we were doing on air and made sure we would be back at the shore before we were too close to running out of air. We felt comfortable all the way through. They give dive lessons as well, so if you haven’t started yet, don’t wait! A whole new world will open up for you!