From Kuta to. Uluwatu, Pedang Pedang, Canggu, Tanah Lot, Jatiluwih, Danu Bratan, Git Git Waterfalls, Lovina, Tigawasa, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, Mount Batur, Ubud, Nusa Lembongan and then to Gili Trawagan- again. Why- you probably ask? It might not sound like the most logical route..
I had booked my trip to meet friends along the way and since they had all planned their trip independently I would have to travel a lot back and fourth to meet them all. In Gili Trawangan and Gili Air there were friends waiting for me and I had booked some nights of diving courses for my stays there.
At Gili T I did my rescue diver course and Nitrox speciality course, which was both fun and rewarding. Every day we learned new skills and then went out for a couple of dives to practise those skills.
Photographing a lightshowperformer with long shuttertime
At Gili Air I just went fundiving for a couple of days. All the dive sites were the same as the ones I had already been diving for a week at Gili T, due to how close the two islands are.
My favorite spots were by far shark point and thr Meno Wall where we saw lots of sharks, turtles and stingrays. Going out at night was also quite rewarding as there were other animals such as octopuses and eels that came out to hunt then.
Nusa Lembongan was the Theo island where I knew least what to expect as it is often surpassed by backpackers going between Bali, Lombok and the Gilis. All I knew was that it was famous for its Manta Rays, which I happily can say that I saw lots of.
I had two dives with Big Fish; one at Manta Bay, the second at Chrystal Bay. Two completely different dive sites.
At Manta Bay, as its name insinuits, was full of mantas. We saw maybe fifteen of them, circling over us at the surface and ducking down and swimming beside us, nearly for half of our 50 minute dive.
Other than that there was not much to see, but at Chrystal Bay there was a healthy coral reef with turtles, sea snakes, bamboo sharks, eels and lots of fish. The diving in Lembongan is something I would never want to be without.
On land I had a scooter rented for my three days there and drove around with a french girl I had met on the ferry. We visited an outdoor cinema, stopped at Devils Tear to see cliffs that shot out water every time a wave hit them, visited the beautiful dream beach and drove back and forth over a yellow bridge blinking with disco lights at night.
At secret garden where I lived there was also a pool, slackline, juggling equipment, some great yoga sessions and a bamboo shack cinema that kept me entertained and relaxed for my days here. The perfect break before heading back to Gili Trawangan.
When it comes to driving, Malta is a mess. Luckily my dive master from Dive Systems was used to it and drove me through the one was streets, through hills, curves andog traffic until we got to the port of the Il Hnejja Grotto (Blue cave) where we got out of the car and into our scuba gear.
We didn’t have to swim more than a.few minutes before being at 30 meters depth and by the Um el Faroud, a Libyan ten thousand tonne oil tanker that had an explosion and sunk together with nine of its crewmembers in 1995.
Diving through the wreck was great, but the best was looking up when we were halfway across where the tanker had broken in the middle. There must have been hundreds of Barracudas swimminh in a school above us!
On the second day of diving I went with this Russian dive instructor called Sergey. He took me to the north of the island to dive around a tugboat called P29 and a giant shipwreck called MV Rozi. Sergey was like a non stop guide, telling me all there was to know about Malta on the way- a great lad!
The dive sites at the North were a lot like the ones in the south. The ships and underground landscape were fantastic, but there was not much to see in terms of underwater life. We saw a few mooray eels, some barracudas and tunas, but Sergey explained to me that due to overfishing all the squid, that there used to be so many of, were gone.
The wreck MV Rozi with a canon on the front!
My main purpose of going to Malta was to dove, which I would reccommend everyone to do, but I also had a rental car and got to see some more of what the island had to offer. Together with people from my hostel I got to see forts, churches, the Mdina and the nightlife that Malta is so famous for. I had a blast and I will have to come back, especially to see Gozo which is a neigbor island more like how Malta used to be back in the days.
When I got to Aqaba, a tax free town in the South of Jordan I met up with my couchsurfing host Omar, who was a dive master instructor and was on his way out to do some diving. Knowing that the red sea is famous for having some of the World’s clearest waters I was quick to ask if I could come with and just a few minutes after we were on his friends boat on out way out to a dive site with a swim through grotto that few people went to. I was excited.
Going down the water my mask started filling up with a thick green liquid and at twenty meters dept my mask was almost full of it so I had to shoot to the surface. When I got up I saw that the color was actually red, but had just been looking green underwater because of the breaking of the light, making colors look different there. It was just a common nosebleed and I was bummed that it had ruined my first dive in the Red Sea.
For the second dive I was finished bleeding so I went down again to see that the visibility still was not as good as I had hoped, but this time it was not because of blood but because the wind and choppy weather in the surface had made conditions bad.
We still managed to see a couple of pinnacles with some impressing corals, lots of lionfish and a huge stonefish. At the end of the dive we got to a tank that had been sunk and was quite interesting to swim around and inspect.
What made our dive really good was that we also went with a German film crew and underwater magazine photographers who took some footage of me and our dive that I am very much looking forward to seeing. I was also happy that they wanted to take my contact details to inform me about their next diving trips that they welcomed me to join them for.
Having snorkeled at the Great Barrier Reef at the Whitsundays, but had really bad visibility and seen very little I was ready to get a better experience when doing a day trip from Cairns that would take me to the outer reef for a few dives.
After about a ninety minute boat ride we were at Norman Reef, with the first divesite being Plate Top. Here we got in and swam around for about half an hour without seeing much more than coral and small fish before we finally spotted something worth seeing. It was a sleeping black tip reef shark, with its front facing away from us allowing us to get really close. After that we had another fifteen minutes of swimming around without seeing anything impressing.
Our second divesite, still at Norman Reef was at Turtle Bay where it was almost a repitition of our first dive. We managed to spot a reef shark and a turtle at a distance and then a giant maori fish swimming above us at the surface, but other than that it was probably the most boring diving I have ever done in my life.
The Great Barrier Reef is the Worlds biggest reef which also has the reputation of being one of the Worlds best places to dive. For me it did not live up to its expectarions at all, but then I might also have been very unlucky with the visibility and colors of the reef due to rain and choppy wqves on the surface.