After the ‘Lombok Fiasco’ I was very happy to arrive back on Bali at Padang Bay on the East Coast, again we got hassled as we got off the boat but me and 2 German girls kept walking and I found a guesthouse that I had seen recommended online- Marcos inn and the room was nice for 100,000 rupiah including breakfast which I was happy to pay.
I had a walk round and initially couldn’t find the restaurants and where everything was so I was getting annoyed again and had thoughts of leaving soon but I thought they have to be close by so got back online and got speaking to a couple in the guesthouse who pointed me in the right direction and as I turned the corner to where the line of restaurants and dive shops were I suddenly realised I had been here before as it was where we had waited for the boat to Gilli T and had lunch!
After visiting one of the beaches and seeing the sun go down over the harbour I had a sudden change of heart and thought I may actually really like it here! It’s a small traditional Balinese fishing village and mostly the only reason tourists go there is to get to the Gilli island’s as I had a week before and I read online that if you just give it a chance you’ll realise it’s a real gem and you will want to stay longer and within a few hours I also thought that.
While in Gili T I decided that I was going to do my open water dive course. Earlier in the trip in Koh Tao I wasn’t so interested and was happy just to do some fun dives here and there but without being certified every fun dive costs you so much more and i thought I might as well do it in South East Asia as it’s the cheapest place in the world and once you have it it never expries.
I had looked up diving in Padang Bay and it had some good reviews and I was happy staying there for a few days, there’s a row of about 5 dive shops on one of the main streets and they all charge roughly the same price and generally run by westerns. A few that I went in to start with said I would be the only person starting which would have been fine when I was in the water but I thought it would be a bit boring going through all the videos and tests on my own so I went with ‘Go Dive’ who already had 2 people signed up for the course and turned out to be a nice English couple on their honeymoon.
While staying in the guesthouse I got talking to my neighbour and she wanted to go to some of the smaller villages around where we were staying but didn’t want to take an ‘organised tour’, we went out for dinner and started talking to a girl that worked in the restaurant and she told us her and her friend could take us out on their mopeds which was great so the next day we met them and then went to some really nice places that I wouldn’t of been if they hadn’t of taken us and going round on the back of their mopeds was great too and I felt very safe, they start driving mopeds at about 12 around here and even age 8 in the villages so they’re just brought up with them and know how to dodge the traffic!
Later that day I went to the dive shop and started my course by watching a few videos which was pretty boring but it needed to be done and then we got in the pool and went over some safety things like clearing the mask, taking it off and back on again, learning how to signal that you are out of air and how to then use your buddies air and afterwards I felt really confident in getting in the water.
Over the next 2 days we did 2 dives each morning and watched some videos in the afternoon and the course ended with a big test. The dives were good and the visibility was the best ive seen. I think that I did get some questions wrong in the final test but as long as we could explain why we answered with that and understood why we were wrong it was ok and I passed!!