Having grown up by the sea in Cornwall, and almost always being able to (just about) see the sea from my bedroom window, I’m quite the water baby. My homes-away-from-home – the summers I spent visiting cousins in Cranfield, Northern Ireland, and the biennial trips to my parents’ place in Florida – were a la mer as well; so whether at home or on holiday, I was just used to the waves. Alas alack, I’ve not made-it-rain quite enough to afford my own super yacht just yet, so for now* I’m using GetMyBoat; a global service akin to the AirBnb set-up.
*and probably for all time, as I doubt I’d be arsed to de-barnacle my own vessel or pay the extortionate mooring fees – did you know a five day docking fee during the Monaco Grand Prix costs £65,000? So crass. And yes, I may have researched that just… out of interest…
A couple of times, I’ve mentioned that it was a friend’s pictures of turtles that were the tipping point away from London employment and towards worldwide vegetating. ‘Swim with turtles’ earned itself a firm place on my bucket list thereafter, so when I landed in Bali, one of my first orders of business was to get myself on a boat and under the water by any means necessary.
Call me a flashpacker, but the convenience of the internet has come greatly to my aid in the one week of travelling I’ve done so far (with the exception of one ludicrous Uber driver) – hence my choice to use GetMyBoat. While it seems to be traditionally used for offering up dormant boats for those who fancy a day trip at a relatively affordable cost (although this can run up into the thousands if you’re going for something special), there is an increasing presence of small watersports businesses on there. Although I’d seen lots of vendors lining the streets of Kuta, I wanted to go with a company I could trust, as this would be my first ever scuba diving trip. After a browse that took me to 10pm, I settled upon scuba diving on a semi-private trip (with three others, all with our own instructors) with the kind folk at Bali Aqua, and was picked up by 7:30am the following morning.
After a bouncy forty minutes on our boat from Kuta to Nusa Penida, an island known for its solid dive spots, it was time to jump in. Perhaps I should rephrase that: it was time for me to don a belt of weights and clumsily fall backwards off the side of the boat, and somehow try to not sink.
As it turned out, floating was the easy part; getting the hang of the breathing apparatus was a little easier said than done. Have you ever tried it?! Breathing through your mouth sounds so simple, but it feels hideously unnatural while you’re strapped to an air tank with a man you’ve known for five minutes plunging you below the surface for only a few seconds at a time. After a panicky ten minutes or so, I got my proverbial shit together and managed to stay under and breath properly. Yay me!
As soon as we were down there, I felt calmer, even, than when I was in my natural environment. God, that sounds awfully cheesy; but there’s something soothing about floating along in a beautiful world you’ve known only by theory. Without further ado, here’s a visual walkthrough of my time beneath the Balinese waves.
I was invited to the ocean floor by the kind folk at GetMyBoat (their invitation was far more cordial and less Mafiosi than I just made it sound); and it certainly won’t be my last experience with them. They operate all over the world, so I’ll hopefully get to board another of their boats on my trip around Asia over the next few months. If you’d like to do the same, visit their website here.