Underwater in Bali

I learnt swimming when I was 4 - actually at 3 but I don't remember any of my experiences so I stick to 4. I could swim underwater for a whole lap, and then I would resurface - almost out of breath - and look at my dad and mom for some appreciation and applause. I loved swimming for as long as I can remember. I dreamt of scuba diving ever since I knew what it is.

When I went to Langkawi, I could not help but feel the excitement of my first ever dive. This was in October 2013. But for some reason, we could not do scuba diving. I was so bummed. Langkawi is famous for its pristine beaches, but at the time we went, scuba diving had not yet fully developed and the reviews on TripAdvisor told us as much.

When Navin and I decided to go to Bali, the first thing I told him was that I would definitely want to go Scuba Diving. "I don't care how expensive it is and even if we are going to be there only for 2 days, I want to do this. Also, you have to do it with me." Okay, the last part freaked him out - but the sweetheart that he is, he did not ditch me on the day of the dive.

  • If you're not a swimmer, honestly, it's fine, but just don't stop breathing and panic like we did. Breathe slowly and be calm.
  • Tie your hair properly. There was this one strand of my hair that kept coming into my eye and it can be very annoying.
The first time you jump in is quite scary ! Here I am just contemplating the last few seconds before I dive.

After a lot of reading, we decided to go to Tulamben for the dive - that's in the north east of Bali. But we ran short of time and the traffic in Bali really put us off. We decided to settle for Nusa Dua which is in the South east of Bali. We paid 150 US $ for the 2 of us ! Oh, the ladies there were extremely friendly, one of them came and told me in her broken English, "I feel bad for Salman Khan, he go to jail no?" I was surprised she had such sympathy for him. (Surprised that she even knew him and was updated about him)

We were each given a small packet of 2 slices of bread to be fed to the fish. I was very excited, Navin was excited and nervous. He almost said his last words! We were taken on a boat to the middle of nowhere where the friendly boat guide helped us with oxygen cylinders - and oh gosh, they were very heavy. He also taught us basic hand signs like the 'I am doing okay, I want to go up' etc.
I jumped in first. I had so many thoughts going through my head. What will I see inside? Will it be dark, will I be able to swim? Will breathing be easy? I have swum under water innumerable number of times, but this was open water.

Sea anemone and the Nemo :)
The current was quite strong and for a few seconds, I was completely disoriented, there was a moment of panic because of which I forgot to breathe. Then I panicked thinking I had faulty equipment. The divers with us were quite kind and patient. One of them reminded me to breathe. Once I got the hang of it, I started getting accustomed to my surroundings. One of the startling things is the silence underwater. The darkness and the silence. The water was not too clear - was a little murky, and it greatly reduced the visibility. One of the divers held my hand and took me to the sea bed where we could swim a little and walk around too. Swimming was much harder than I thought. Almost impossible, sadly. It felt like you have no control over your body. I had dreamt and day dreamt a million times I'd be able to slice though water like how I did in a swimming pool.

Out of nowhere, we saw small colourful fish. They were so pretty. The first we spotted were the yellow and black striped fish. We also saw the corals, sea anemone and lots of clown fish. And some tiny black fish. It's a whole different world underneath. Both of us were so amazed - I remember I had to nudge him once in a while to not stray away chasing some fish. We started feeding the bread to the fish and quite quickly, we were swarmed with a whole bunch of them. It was overwhelming. It's a weird feeling to not be able to make any noise underwater :)

We had also signed up for snorkeling. Snorkeling was a piece of cake compared to scuba diving. Since you're near the surface of the water, the visibility is much higher, and I was finally able to swim. Ah, the joy in being able to wade through water at one's own will. Breathing while snorkeling is tougher, then again, I was a little paranoid about my equipment.

A small video ( silent video ) where all we did was wave at the photographer ! because we could not scream a yaaaay !!

The experience was beyond surreal. Notice my hair - was all over my face !
  • If you plan to do a dive, I strongly recommend you go by this map - the best dive sites are highlighted in orange. Also - read this.

I wish I had known that the place we went to was not even in
 the Top 10 for diving sites in Bali, ah next time :)

  • A plus of going to Nusa Dua for our dive was a visit to the Turtle Island - relatively clean and you get to hold baby turtles ! ( they're so adorable!) - but there's no need to club scuba diving for that. 
Also, Father's day is coming up ! Have you bought something for him yet ? Do read this for a few ideas.

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  1. Amazing pics Shruti.. Hope I will also get chance to explore under water world :)


    1. I am sure you will ! It's an amazing experience Anjali :)

  2. Yes when it comes water sports Bali is heaven. But it is quite expensive. I can see you had a nice time there :)

    1. Thank you for reading Deepak, it's not cut throat expensive but yes, it's not cheap :) we did have a great time.

  3. What an experience. I didn't know it would be disorienting for swimmers underwater too!

    1. Actually, it depends on the water, where we did diving, the current was a little on the stronger side and the water was unclear too, so it was disorienting. I think it may be different if the water is still and clear :)