Scuba Diving in Gili

Scuba diving in Gili Air was incredible. I had heard that it would be incomparable in Indonesia and I was not let down. I saw more sea life than I could process, from tiny coral-bound organisms to huge sea turtles to families of Nemos, it was everything I wanted and more, and one of the highlights of my trip. I am hooked. I want to go back and get certified. I want to see the wonder of that world every single day.

I was the only person signed up to do the Discover Scuba Diving so I had a private lesson with my instructor Gareth. DSD starts out in the pool learning how to breathe. I had already done this in Colombia, which Gareth was thrilled to hear. We flew through the pool stuff. He even taught me some more advanced things like how to control my buoyancy with my breathing. I still finished 45 minutes ahead of schedule and had a break before it was time to go out in the boat.

We did a quick “here’s what we might see today” lesson before getting into the boat with everyone else. Gareth and I were first in the water – sit on the edge, hold on your mask and breathing apparatus, fall backwards in to the water – and I promptly smacked my head on a metal bar. Fucking A. It hurt but no matter. We swam a little away from the boat and descended.

Just like last time, I had some initial issues equalizing, but he just lifted me up a little and my ears figured it out, and I didn’t have any more problems the rest of the dive. In fact, Gareth was such a good teacher at telling me to slow down my breathing, that I didn’t even come close to running out of air. The dive ends one of two ways: your air tank gets to 50, or you hit 60 minutes underwater. Gareth has never had a DSD stay under for 60 minutes. Until me. When 60 minutes had passed Gareth made me go to the surface. I would’ve kept going, my tank was still at 80. He was stunned. When we got back he told other people at the dive center. He said I really should get certified, I would be so easy to teach.

I was just enjoying it way too much to want to come up. I did figure out how to control my breathing, but I’m also just not nervous underwater. I’m too busy looking at everything around me. It’s an alternate universe in the ocean and I’m fascinated by it.

We started at a sunken pier that has turned into a reef. Coral stick to tires and fish have made this their home. We swam away from the wreck and a reef extended out further than I could tell, and visibility was perfect. Gareth would point things out from the book and I would try to get pictures on my GoPro. Twice we saw sea turtles, big ones, right next to me, and both times it took him pointing it out three times for me to finally see it. Once he even grabbed me and turned me around so I was looking right at it. I didn’t think it’d be possible to not see such a large animal but apparently it was. When I finally realized what I was looking at I would excitedly give him the ok symbol, eyes wide. He laughed. I reacted the same way with the Nemos. We saw an octopus but it was hiding inside some coral so I couldn’t really tell what it was. Too bad. The colors, the creatures, the life down there, everything about it was incredible.

I will get certified one day. I didn’t have the time in the Gilis, nor do I think it’s something I’ll spend my money on right now, but one day I’ll do it. Then I’ll go back to dive in Indonesia, and Malaysia, Belize and the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Borneo; you name a good diving spot, I want to go there.


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