Diving with Buddha

Before getting married, John and I got Open Water certified (NISD). We love scuba diving when we travel and tend to scope out the different dive sites available when we visit somewhere new. Besides Lebanon, we have so far dived in Mauritius, Naxos and Bali.

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During our trip to Bali in April, we signed up with Adventure Scuba Diving Bali to dive at Padang Bai. Padang Bai is located on the East Coast of Bali and you take short boat ride from the small port town there. Abundant in marine life, you get to swim with an array of reef fish (and even larger marine life like sting rays or small sharks, if you are lucky).

Our dive master was Prashanti “The Boss” Pyke who had abandoned her life in Australia for a life of adventure and diving. She was very friendly and we enjoyed our dive with her.

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For the first time during a dive, I braved to take my camera underwater (enclosed in its underwater case, of course). Underwater photography is more challenging than I’d expected. Your white balance is off and you encounter plenty of motion blur. I wish I had been able to take more good photographs from this dive, but hopefully next time I’ll be better prepared. If you have any tips on underwater photography to share, please do!

Watch the video we filmed during the dive here.
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The highlight of this dive (for me at least) was coming across the Buddha statue in the middle of the ocean. If it wasn’t for John frantically waving his hands at me as we got close to it, I would have completely missed it. So random, yet so cool (and soothing). Even underwater, Buddha is present in Bali.

Another was the submarines making underwater tours by the dive site. When we were told on the boat that there would be submarines around, we had no idea how close they would actually get. The submarines were full of tourists snapping away as a diver fed fish by their windows. These submarines were an eerie presence as you don’t really hear or see them until they’re right above you. It was the first time we encountered something like that on a dive.

Once we had completed two dives, we went back to the shore where a hearty dish of Nasi Goreng was waiting for us at the scuba diver-friendly warung where we got to shower and hang out before heading back to our hotel in Legian. I took a small stroll around the bay, coming across a few rather unique sculptures with exaggerated features.

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The three other main dive sites on the island are Nusa Penida, the famed Liberty Wreck and Amed. If we’d had more time on the island, we would have loved to do more dives. The Padang Bai site was ok, but definitely not as worthwhile as we had hoped and at some point we got caught in a drift which left us struggling to stay on the original dive path. I would recommend doing one of the other dive sites instead, especially if you are experienced enough for it.

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