My stay in Irian Jaya had been phenomonal. Not even in my wildest dreams I could have thought about an adventure I had experienced during the last two weeks. But it had also been an exhausting experience and I definitely needed some time to relax and built up my energy levels again. Having qualified as a Scuba Diver a couple of months before I could not resist the temptation to do some dives as well on this trip and after some research I decided to fly to Manado in the North of Sulawesi to do just that. Relax and dive at Bunaken. It took me a complete day and 4 flights to get there. Wamena – Jayapura – Biak – Ujung Padang – Manado. When I finally arrived I was picked up by the staff from NDC Diving Resort and brought to my Bungalow. Not much later I met my fellow divers at the Nusantara restaurant for dinner and it did not take long before I was fully enjoying myself, still not being able to believe I arrived in such a different world from where I left earlier that day.
The next morning I gathered my dive gear together and once that was taken care of I was ready for my first dive. It was a very relaxing way of diving as we, the divers, did not have to do anything and all the gear was brought onto the boats by the staff. The only thing we had to to was to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings during the short boat ride to the dive site.
I could not have chosen for a better place to relax than here. Diving was absolutely superb, the atmosphere was fantastic, friendly staff and wonderful guests at the resort. In the evenings, after dinner a disco started for an evening of fun and dancing. One of the tracks that was repeated numerous times every evening was White Dove from The Scorpions. It resulted that everyone was humming the catchy melody whilst getting ready for diving in the morning.
That year it was my birthday whilst at the resort. Although I had not told anyone and kept that a secret during the day the staff at the resort had noted it on my passport during check-in so after dinner there was a surprise cake for me and some dancing by all the staff. I was really touched by this unexpected surprise.
Days were wonderful, starting with a dive in the morning, picnic somewhere at the beach of a small island. Then another another dive in the afternoon and relax and enjoy the sun. A nice group of people was formed and we were enjoying the diving and each other’s company. Dinner was great but our absolute favorite was the Mongolian BBQ. Every evening we were hoping for that again. Especially after a day of diving all of us got a good appetite.
It was a relaxing time indeed but still I had not recovered from the strenuous treks in Irian Jaya so after a couple of days of diving on one afternoon when we returned from diving I fainted twice and had a strong cramp in my neck and upper back. First I was afraid for the bends, an infamous diving related disorder but checking my dive tables and logbook that certainly could not have been the case. I was brought to hospital where I was diagnosed with dehydration and exhaustion. I was given muscle relaxers and sleeping tablets to ease things up a bit but as the English of the doctor wasn’t that good I misunderstood the instructions and instead of taking the muscle relaxers 4 times a day I took the sleeping tablets… Oh joy, I had a pretty good and long sleep the day after but it did me well. Obviously diving was over for me so the last two days I enjoyed the beach and the good weather before saying goodbye to everyone and flying to my last destination on that trip. In spite of the incident I had thoroughly enjoyed myself and the diving at Bunaken was definitely world class.
No trip to Indonesia can be complete without visiting my friends Ulli, Nyoman and their son Daniel who live in Bali. This trip was no exception so as the finishing touch I made one final stop at the island of the Gods where after arrival I took a taxi to Ubud. Needles to say I was extremely excited when the taxi dropped me off and I walked the final steps towards Guci Guesthouses.
One evening Nyoman cooked a special meal for us for us and I can still remember the wonderful taste of the banana-flower curry he made that evening.
As I only had a couple of days in Bali and having the hospitalization in Sulawesi in mind I, for a change, decided to listen to my body and not do extensive sightseeing. With having been to bali already on several occasions I did not feel like I missed out on something so I did the odd walking tour to the center of Ubud and enjoyed the company of Ulli, Nyoman and Daniel. After all they were the reason for my repeated visit to Bali.
Time flew by far to quick for my liking but it was time to go home. According to tradition I invited my friends out for dinner on the last evening of my stay. We went to Nomad, an all time favorite restaurant of ours. It was the perfect way to finish of a more than perfect trip.
One more night before the long flight home. What an adventure this had been. The last five weeks had been beyond imagination. Thinking back to my adventures just made me realize how vast and diverse Indonesia is. On the flight home I had already made my mind up, this had not been my last trip to Indonesia!