Back in 2010, I got to be the plus one on a doctor-friend’s pimped-out group holiday with her other doctor-friends, both from Australia and the UK, to Bali.

Now, I hadn’t really heard a lot about Bali at that stage – unlike for Australians, it wasn’t really a tourist destination for New Zealanders like me. But, the promise of sun, fun, and adventure was enough for me, so off I toddled.

The male contingent of our group had the sole goal of surfing the breaks at Canggu, while us girls had relaxing and sight seeing in mind. But most importantly of all for me, my particular doctor-friend also had ‘learning to dive to impress my boyfriend’ in mind.

So after a couple of days sitting by the pool at our villa, cruising into Kuta and surrounds and visiting Tanah Lot, we took a side trip to do our Open Water certification, with PRO DIVE Bali.

We started with a day in a dive pool just getting familiar with breathing underwater, and then headed across the island to Tulamben, in the north east of Bali. Why Tulamben? Well, just off the shore is the USAT Liberty, which, in addition to being an amazingly fish-inhabited wreck, is also conveniently only just below the surface – perfect for first-timers!

Right from the moment we got in the water, there were fish everywhere at Tulamben. Silver fish, yellow fish, blue fish – fish fish fish fish! And divers, but at that point in my dive life, I wasn’t bothered. If anything, I was, like ‘Look, I’m here too, aren’t we all so cool?’, ‘You’re not freaking out, so I shouldn’t be either, right?’, ‘Oh, that’s the angle I should be floating at?’, ‘Maybe I should hold my opposite elbows also’, and so on….

Skills test - mask off underwater

Mask on / mask OFF

The wreck is pretty well taken over by the sea – the structure’s absolutely covered in corals, and as I said, fish everywhere. My dive instructor, Putu, was an avid underwater photographer, so he also documented the dives – and my skills exercises (mask on / mask off, floating in lotus position) which you can view here.

Stepping back for just a second – my friend, as it turned out, isn’t actually a fan of swimming, or being in the ocean, so right from the first pool immersion, it was clear diving wasn’t going to be her bag. But I was loving it!

We did two days there, including a couple of dives on the wreck, and a couple of dives at the opposite end of the bay, and the drop off / wall. There were also a lot of people doing night dives, which, while I wasn’t game for it just then, was a great spectacle from shore, as the blue lights from torches glowed up from the sea as if a UFO was about to ascend from the sea.

I’ll have to go back there again some day – I don’t really trust my memory of the dives, given there was so much of the excitement of first time underwater going on. But with Bali being such a convenient location, I’m sure I’ll get there!

p.s. I’m sure you’ll be happy to know: my friend’s lack of diving affinity didn’t damage her relationship – they’re still together, 4 years on 🙂