So here I am at last at the ‘Two Fish’ dive school in the Lembeh Straits, Sulawesi. This has been a long-awaited and excitedly-anticipated leg of my journey because I’m here to learn how to scuba dive and (hopefully) pass my Open Water PADI course, something I’ve wanted to achieve for years now.
I’ve only been here a couple of days, but already it feels like home and I have my own little dive family at this beautiful location. There are stunning views over the water, with lush green forests of palm trees everywhere and hazy volcanoes disappearing into the clouds. It’s back-to-basics in the ‘budget’ room where I’m staying but I’ve come to really like my little wooden room where I can wake to the sound of the waves lapping at the shore outside.
The people here are friendly and I have the luxury of having my own one-to-one English instructor (Helen) who is good fun, very patient and clear and likes a good gossip between dives.
We’re completely in the middle of nowhere (we had to take a boat over from the mainland to the dive school when I arrived) which is proving to be blissful. I’m starting to feel cut-off from the ‘real world’, which is pretty damned nice actually!!
Learning to dive has been so exciting and rewarding so far. Two days into the course and I’m through the ‘confined water’ and ‘open water 1 and 2’ elements without hitches (except for my first time breathing with a regulator, where I had a brief stress-out and found it hard to get air). Ten minutes later I’d calmed down and went on to breeze through the other tasks. I feel like I’ve learned quite a bit in a short space of time and am still buzzing from my first ‘real’ dives this morning off the boat (the first site was a coral reef – ‘Nudi Retreat’ and the second was ‘muck diving’ – dark volcanic sand at ‘Jahir’). I spotted all sorts of great little creatures, but the highlight at Jahir was seeing an Eagle Ray cruise gracefully past. This was an amazing piece of beginner’s luck as they are rarely sighted here. Helen was practically screaming with excitement and clapping her hands. I also saw a ‘flambouyant cuttlefish’ who put on a colourful display for us, along with dozens of other weird and wonderful critters. Very cool.
I’m now considering doing my Advanced Course while I’m here too!! I feel myself becoming slowly addicted to diving and am enjoying the experience so much!
More news soon.