This week I have been mostly wallowing in the post-holiday blues. Getting back to reality is no fun is it?! Well actually, life is pretty good, but you know, holidays are better! Especially when, as in this case, holiday equals the first opportunity for a very long time to go scuba diving. 17 months out of the water, all told. A bad combination of me being pregnant and then being on a very short leash whilst breastfeeding, and Ratty breaking his foot and then needing months of recovery and rehabilitation time. We were definitely ready to get wet again!
Having been to Kubu Indah dive resort and spa previously (12 months earlier for our babymoon in fact!) we knew the dive set up was good. Or perhaps I should say that Ratty knew, as I’d been sitting watching from the sidelines, drinking mocktails in the shade by the pool and trying not to be jealous when he went off diving every day! Ian had assured me that the house reef was fantastic, and even better, available for residents to dive independently from dawn ’til dark for up to two hours at a time. A walk-in entry gently sloping down, with 30 metres visibility and healthy reef alive with fish and marine life. Perfect.
To be honest, even if the house reef had been less incredible I think we would have happily dived it every day. Having dived repeatedly in UK inland dive sites where the visibility is atrocious, the water is frigid and the aquatic life is absent or uninspiring at best, you learn to appreciate the small things. Usually just relishing being under water for the experience of stepping away from your on-land worries and being at one with the water for an hour. Or in the UK winter months, maybe twenty minutes….if your willpower and frozen fingers last that long….
So imagine my delight when we toddled off for our first dive, leaving baby girl with her pleased-as-punch grandparents for some quality time together. A dive, at long last. We’d actually managed it! And not only did the dive site location make it quick and easy to abandon parental responsibility for a couple of hours of me-time, it was also every bit as good as Ian had lead me to hope. When you see something as big as a (herd of!) bumphead parrotfish, having looked up from a patch of tiny garden eels hiding in the sand, and then you look over and see a fluttering cloud of moorish idols and bannerfish over the reef you know that you have found somewhere pretty special. Where do you look first on a dive that good?!
Better still, because most visitors to Bali don’t want to miss out on the iconic dive sites like the USS Liberty Wreck, Seraya Secrets and Manta Point, the house reef was practically our own private playground every time we dived. I do understand the ‘dive site hit-list’ mentality. If you have travelled half way around the world for a once-in-a-lifetime trip somewhere you want to see the best it has to offer. I’ve been there myself on many a dive trip. But having been to Bali a few times now and dived a lot of the well known favourites, this time it was lovely to take advantage of the convenience of just re-diving the incredible house reef and seeing what surprises it had to offer up each time.
Getting back in the water has definitely reawaken my dive passion. Before Bali we were umming and ahhing about going on another big dive trip at Christmas and whether the effort was really worth it. With a baby in tow as well as the usual dive and underwater photography paraphenalia the logistics and luggage requirements are quite phenomenal! But now, here we are researching locations and travel options. We fancy a change from Bali and are trying to find the holy grail for diving with a family in tow….affordable, quick and easy to get to, safe and health-risk free, with un-crowded awesome dive sites. It may take some time! But at least it eases the post-holiday blues a little to be thinking about the next one!