• delayed surface marker buoy

    Myth Busting Drift Diving in Bali

    How much do you really know about Drift Diving in Bali? Have you heard some of these misconceptions about diving in currents?

    Here we dispel and bust the most common myths about drift diving!

    1. Drift diving is only for experienced divers

    Myth Busted!  There are currents in all bodies of water everywhere on earth, so actually a huge percentage of divers learn to dive as beginners in drifts! Drift diving isn’t a more ‘difficult’ type of diving, it’s just a different type of diving. Just as you need to plan any dive, and follow basic principles, the same applies to drift diving. Plan your dive and dive your plan!

    If you haven’t dived in drifts before and are exploring a new area with currents, you should be given a briefing before the dive in which any special procedures are explained. Listen carefully to briefings and if you are not sure about anything, ASK!!

    If you are planning to go drift diving we recommend that you brush up on your buoyancy skills if it’s been a while since your last dives. Buoyancy control is extremely important so you can avoid making contact with the reef and stay close to your buddies during your drift dives.

     

    drift diving bali
    All bodies of water are affected by currents, and drift diving can be enjoyed by divers of all experience levels.
    1. Drift Diving is Physically Challenging

    Not True!! Drift diving is the opposite – it’s actually the lazy way to dive because very little swimming is involved! Drift diving literally means diving with the drift or going with the flow.

    The main technique in drift diving is to establish neutral buoyancy and then allow the current to move you along while you simply relax and enjoy the show!

    1. Drift diving means you have to swim into the current

    No, absolutely not true. In drift diving, we dive with the current (see above) which means that we do not try to return to our entry point at the end of the dive. Drift diving opens up opportunities to explore new dives sites which are only possible to dive as drifts because swimming back into the current is not practical. On Nusa Lembongan, we dive from boats so that you can go with the drift and the boat will collect you from where you finish your dive.

     

    Jukung Balinese World Diving
    Drift diving is as easy as going with the flow and our experienced boat crew collect divers at the end of their dives
    1. Drift diving is scary

    Not with a proper briefing! If a diver is not familiar with currents and they are not given a briefing then yes, drift diving could be a scary experience – the same as any situation which you were not expecting. A thorough briefing and instructions equip divers with what they need to know, what to expect, and reduces anxiety.

    1. You can’t drift dive from a boat

    Drift diving from a boat is the best way to drift dive! Our team of boat captains and crew are trained in drift diving boat procedures which include tracking divers’ bubbles underwater and looking out for delayed surface marker buoys. These procedures enable the boat crew to maneuver the boat to the divers’ exact pickup point.

    It is also possible to make drift dives from shore in some areas but you will need adequate supervision on land to track your dive and meet you at your entry point.

     

    drift diving DSMB
    A deployed delayed surface marker buoy enables our boat crew to spot divers before they even surface
    1. You need special equipment to drift dive

    False! Drift diving requires standard dive equipment plus a Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (DSMB). A DSMB allows you to deploy your surface marker buoy prior to surfacing because it is attached to a reel or cord. For most divers, a signaling device is part of their standard equipment. All World Diving Divemasters and Instructors carry all essential items and additional spare gear so you do not need to have your own when diving here.

    1. You have to make a negative entry and fast descent when drift diving

    Myth Busted! When diving along the north coast of Nusa Penida we have kilometers of stunning coastline and reef to drift dive. There is no need to make a negative entry and a fast descent because you will not miss the dive site. In some areas,  when diving on a small submerged site or when trying to reach an exact point, a negative entry may be required but this is usually not the case around Bali.

     

    Diving Nusa Penida
    Diving in Nusa Penida from Big Boat – kilometers of reef to drift dive
    1. You don’t see as much when you are drift diving.

    Not True! When you are drift diving you see even more! Imagine riding a bicycle uphill for an hour versus going downhill. You will cover much more distance when going downhill because you don’t get tired – and this is exactly the same as diving in drift! The current moves you along rather than you expending energy which means you cover a greater distance and you don’t have to turn around at halfway and swim back – you continue in the same direction for the duration of your dive. If you want to see as much as possible, then drift diving is the way to do it!

    1. All diving around Bali and Lembongan is drift diving

    False! There are two factors that affect if a dive is a drift dive or not: the location and geography of a site, and the tides and phases of the moon.

    Not all sites are drift sites:

    Several of our sites are not drift sites because of their geographical location, some examples of these include Lembongan Bay and our House Reef, Manta Point, and Manta Bay. These sites are positioned in coves which are unaffected by the main current flow due to the shape of the reef and positioning of nearby landmasses.

    Not all drift sites always have currents:

    Our main drift sites have variable currents from no current at all through to faster drifts. The moon phase affects the tidal differences which affect currents. Around the time of full moon, there is the biggest difference between high tide and low tide which means between these two times a large body of water is moving a greater distance, so it moves faster. During neap tides, there is very little difference between high tide and low tide so the tidal exchange is very low meaning much less, to no current.

    Diving on or around high tide and low tide at any time during the lunar phase will result in much less current as the tidal exchange is mostly static. This gives us the ability to time our dive trips according to when conditions are best, unlike operators on Bali who are limited by their trip logistics and need to dive at the same time each day regardless of tides.

     

    diving bali
    Manta Bay and Manta Point are located in coves along the south coast of Nusa Penida

    Diving Techniques for Currents

    Here are a few tips to help you on your next dives:

    1. Stay behind your group leader, if you find yourself in front, wait and allow the leader to catch up and take the lead again
    2. Stay close to the reef where the currents are not as strong
    3. Try not to kick. Establish neutral buoyancy and allow the current to do the work!
    4. Stay close to your buddy
    5. Plan your dives carefully or request a thorough briefing if the planning is being handled for you
    6. Shallow up as you progress through the dive
    7. Check your air frequently and head to your safety stop at 70 bar.
    8. Surface using a delayed surface marker buoy.
    9. Have fun and enjoy the ride!!

     

    drift diving bali
    Enjoy going with the flow around Nusa Lembongan!

    Takeaway Drift Tip…

    If you are diving in an area that is known to have currents you have the opportunity to experience some phenomenal diving. To ensure you get the maximum enjoyment from your dives, choose a reputable operator, and insist on a briefing before each dive. We have over 20 years of diving experience in this region and our team has made thousands of dives at our dive sites. This local knowledge and experience allow us to plan our dives and optimize comfort and safety.

    You can also get prepared for your dives in advance by working on your buoyancy skills or taking the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Course. If you want to fully understand and master drift diving, take the PADI Drift Diver Specialty Course, or, if you are an Open Water diver, sign up for your PADI Advanced Open Water Course.

    If you plan on taking the Advanced Open Water Course here in Nusa Lembongan, we recommend taking drift diving and peak performance buoyancy as two of the optional dives included in your course.

    If you have any questions about diving around Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, contact us or send us an email! We would love to hear from you and our team is on hand to help!

    We hope to welcome you soon to diving in Nusa Lembongan!

     

     

  • Post COVID – Diving into a New Normal

     

    Although we are still on lockdown right now on Nusa Lembongan, we are getting ready for ‘life after COVID’ – or as it is becoming known in Indonesia ‘the new normal’.

    Our primary goal when we reopen is to ensure the safety of all of our staff and guest divers, so we’ve been busy putting together new procedures to do just that! We hope that every diver who joins us enjoys the phenomenal marine life which we see around the island and does so in comfort and safety. These are the measures that you can expect to find in place on your next dive trip with us…

    Staff Procedures

    Every morning when our staff arrive at the dive center they will wash their hands before entering the facilities, they’ll also have their temperature taken and logged.

    All staff will be hand washing at regular intervals as well as using hand sanitizer and our cashier will be using hand sanitizer between each guest transaction when you come to pay your bill.

     

    post covid scuba diving

     

    Guest Arrivals

    As well as receiving our usual warm, friendly welcome when you arrive, we’ll quickly take your temperature with a scanner and we’ll ask you to wash your hands before signing in. While you’re filling in your paperwork you’ll have a place to sit, overlooking the ocean, with your own allocated pen, and a safe distance away from other guests. If you are diving with a partner or as part of a group, you’ll be able to sit together. We plan to stagger our boat departure times so that the dive center will never become crowded and you’ll have plenty of personal space.

    Dive Boats

    After COVID you’ll have even more space! We plan to reduce the capacity on Big Boat from 12 to just 8 guest divers and our speedboat will continue to take groups of 4 (if you are in a group), or just buddy pairs if you are diving alone.

     

    dive boat nusa lembongan

     

    Dive Equipment

    We want all guests to feel confident in the hygiene of their equipment so if you are opting to use our rental gear, your regulator will be fitted with a freshly disinfected mouthpiece and you’ll receive a disinfected mask and snorkel too. If you would prefer to buy your own mask, snorkel and mouthpiece we have a stock of these items available for sale. To ensure you feel confident in your gear, every diver will be supplied with their own bottle of disinfectant to use to disinfect mouthpieces after diving. Prior to rental gear being allocated to another diver, we will disinfect the entire regulator system including the second stage, the BCD oral inflators, and the internal BCD bladder will also be disinfected.

    Our staff will continue to carry your dive gear bags on and off the boats – unless you would prefer to carry your own – just let us know!

     

    Dive equipment covid

     

    Surface Intervals

    We will continue to supply our famous rice parcels (nasi bungkus) during surface intervals and these will be packed into individual lunch boxes which will also contain your own cup for complimentary tea, coffee and drinking water.

    Facemasks in Indonesia

    It is now required by the Indonesian Government to wear a facemask when outdoors. You’ll find that our staff are wearing masks and you’ll need to wear one too. If you forget your facemask in your hotel room, we will also have a supply of masks available for purchase in the dive center.

     

    diving nusa lembongan

     

    Dive Conditions Post COVID

    It’s been three months since we locked down on Nusa Lembongan and we are excited to see if and how our reefs have changed in the absence of boat traffic! We hope that you’ll be able to join us in re-discovering our amazing underwater world!

    Special Offers and Contact Us

    If you have any questions or would like to make a booking we are still offering special prices on PADI Courses and fun diving up until the end of September 2020 (30% discount and free accommodation for those taking courses).

    Fill in our contact form below or email us at [email protected]

     

     

     

  • PADI Advanced Open Water in Nusa Lembongan, Bali

     

    Advanced Open Water Lembongan

     

    The PADI Advanced Open Water Course is your chance to develop your dive skills and experiment with new types of diving. It’s exciting, fun, and there are a lot of awesome dives to choose from when you are diving in Bali.

    Imagine diving to 30 meters, swimming with manta rays, or even mastering the art of underwater photography. It’s all possible when you are diving Nusa Lembongan and our surrounding area of Nusa Penida. During your Advanced Course, you’ll make 5 incredible dives in Nusa Lembongan, which include some of the most famous dive sites in the Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area.

     

    Diving Nusa Penida
    Diving in Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area from Big Boat

     

    There are two required dives – a deep dive and an underwater navigation dive – and another three dives which you can choose from the following options –Drift diving, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Night diving, Underwater Naturalist, Fish ID, Boat Diving, Search and Recovery, Underwater Photography and Multilevel & Computer diving.

    Start your Advanced Open Water online now with PADI eLearning from home! Click HERE to sign up with PADI.

    In this Blog we will take a more in-depth look at the two mandatory dives and some of the options which we offer when you are diving Lembongan with us!

     

    Deep dive advanced
    Your PADI Advanced certification will certify you to dive to 30 metres

     

    Deep Dive: (Mandatory)

    Once you are certified as an Advanced Open Water Diver, you’ll be able to dive to a maximum depth of 30 meters, so it’s essential that you practise deep diving procedures during your course. In the theory section, you’ll look at depth and decompression issues as well as nitrogen narcosis. You’ll also learn how to plan dives before making one for yourself and discovering the amazing depths of scuba diving in Nusa Penida!

     

    Underwater Navigation: (Mandatory)

    Remember the compass skills from your open water course dives? The Underwater Navigation Adventure Dive refines your compass navigation skills, helps you better navigate using kick-cycles, visual landmarks and time. You’ll also discover some of the pitfalls of navigating underwater due to conditions and currents.

     

    Peak performance buoyancy
    Perfect your buoyancy skills in the Peak Performance Buoyancy dive

     

    Peak Performance Buoyancy Diving: (Optional)

    Are you still going up and down more than you’d like to? Do you use your air faster than your buddies? Do you have trouble staying still underwater? In the peak performance buoyancy dive, you’ll perfect your buoyancy skills. You’ll learn how to gauge the weights you need for diving, how to use breath control to fine tune your positioning, how to kick efficiently, and ultimately how to be more streamlined, comfortable and efficient underwater.

     

    Drift Diving: (Optional)

    There is no better place to learn drift diving than along Nusa Penida’s north coast. Drift diving is easy when you know how and it opens up a range of new dive sites. You’ll learn how to plan a drift dive and how to (literally) go with the flow. After making a drift diving entry and descent you’ll explore one of our favourite Nusa Penida dive sites and learn how to ‘read’ the currents along the way. At the end of the dive you’ll make a controlled ascent before being picked up by the boat.

     

    advanced open water
    From manta rays and turtles to Nemo, Nusa Lembongan has it all!

     

    Fish Identification: (Optional)

    Finding ‘that silver fish’ in marine life books is never easy so during the fish identification dive you’ll learn how to identify various families of fish by sight. You’ll learn how to record sightings including which features are most important to take note of in order to be able to identify the species later. You’ll find that the fish books which used to seem overwhelming suddenly make sense! With over 75% of the world’s tropical fish found at our dive sites, you’ll have plenty to learn!

    Night Diving: (Optional)

    Why limit yourself to seeing only the marine life that’s active during the day? As the sun goes down so many of Bali’s most cryptic critters come to life! You’ll learn how to plan a night dive, communicate with your buddy during a night dive, as well as mastering navigation at night. Be aware though… night diving can become strangely addictive! (Availability of night dives is subject to sea conditions and tides.)

     

    Advanced Open Water Lembongan
    Clownfish live in symbiosis with anemones. In the naturalist dive you’ll learn more about marine ecosystems

     

    Underwater Naturalist: (Optional)

    Many divers know the names of fish and various species found when scuba diving in Bali, but few divers know about the entire marine ecosystem, what it includes and how it all co-exists. During the underwater naturalist program you’ll extend your knowledge beyond fish to plants, corals, and the symbiotic relationships which hold the pieces of the puzzle together. This is a great dive for anyone interested in nature and eco-systems.

     

    Underwater Photography: (Optional)

    It’s hard to think of a better Instagram moment than when you are diving with manta rays or encounter a mola mola – which is definitely possible when you are diving in Nusa Penida. Say goodbye to blurry and blue images and say hello to crisper focus and colour! In this optional dive you’ll put into practice the SEA method (shoot, evaluate, adjust) and you’ll learn camera and housing preparation for dives, how to use underwater lights, camera settings, how to read histograms and invaluable underwater shooting techniques for capturing even the flightiest of fish!

     

    advanced open water lembongan
    Capture stunning images in the underwater photography dive

     

    Search and Recovery Diving: (Optional)

    In this adventure dive you’ll learn a variety of underwater search patterns and when to use each one and you’ll learn techniques for using a lift bag for lifting negatively buoyant objects off the bottom. During your dive you’ll put these techniques into practice – which is a rewarding challenge and a lot of fun! This is a great choice for anyone who plans to make underwater cleanup dives, or enter the diving industry on a professional or commercial level.

    Boat Diving: (Optional)

    Do you know your stern from your starboard? Learn to identify the parts of dive boats, boat diving entries and exits, signaling for boats on the surface – and the best bit of this option? Dives from our luxurious, traditional Big Boat or one of our speedy speedboats!

     

    world diving lembongan
    Learn more about diving from either big boat or one of our speed boats in the boat diving option

     

    Multilevel and Computer Diving: (Optional)

    When diving Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida we are most often diving on sloping reefs which are ideal for practising multilevel diving. A multilevel dive allows you to explore more of a dive site and have longer and safer dives than staying at depth. You’ll plan your multilevel dive then you’ll lead your instructor from level to level according to your plan! You’ll also learn how to read your dive computer (we will provide one if you do not have your own),  how to use it for dive planning, and how to retrieve dive information for your logbook after diving.

     

    Advanced Open Water
    Lembongan sunsets are the perfect way to end a day of diving in Nusa Lembongan

     

    Advanced Open Water Schedule with World Diving

    Remember the reading and theory from the open water course? The good news is that the Advanced has far less and we usually complete the course in 2 days.

    If you opt for eLearning there is a quick review (quiz) on your first day and you may need to read additional sections in the manual according to your dive choices.

    For divers taking the complete Advanced Open Water in Lembongan, there are 5 chapters to read (one for each dive) and some theory questions to review with your instructor. There is no exam for the Advanced Open Water course and reading can be done in afternoons or evenings when you are not diving.

     

    Advanced Open Water
    2 days of incredible diving, developing your dive skills, and a lot of fun!

     

    Our *2 day schedule includes a morning boat trip each day and one afternoon dive. During your 2 dive morning trips you’ll head over to Nusa Penida and dive Bali’s most vibrant and healthy coral reefs – if conditions are good you might even explore the most famous sites of Manta Point and Crystal Bay!

    You’ll dive from either our spacious traditional Big Boat or one of our smaller, speedier speedboats. A light lunch is provided during the surface interval on all boats in between dives.

    (*Scheduling is flexible to account for sea conditions, whether you opt for eLearning or theory in Lembongan, your arrival time on the first day, and your chosen dive options. To be safe, you should allow 2.5 days to complete your program)


    advanced elearning lembongan

    SPECIAL OFFER!

    Start your Advanced Open Water online now with PADI eLearning: Click HERE to sign up with PADI now.

    Book your course with us before the end of July (and pay your deposit) and we’ll give you a 30% discount in Lembongan PLUS free accommodation during your course!

    (If you can’t travel due to COVID19 we will also change your dates at no extra cost).


    Are you ready to take the plunge and become a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver? For more information or to make a reservation click here or send us an email to [email protected]  and we’ll get right back to you.

    We look forward to scuba diving in Lembongan with you soon!

     

     

  • Keep Being a Lembongan Scuba Diver on Lockdown with eLearning

    Diving Penida

     

    We are currently on lockdown on Nusa Lembongan but we are surrounded by beautiful views of the ocean and the island – so life isn’t too bad! We are blessed with the beautiful Balinese sunshine, crystal clear waters and friendly locals to occupy our days.

    All of our staff are working on personal projects from studying Google courses through to making handmade guitars! If you are looking for an activity to keep you occupied, keep you connected to diving AND to save some money on getting your next level of diving certification, PADI are currently holding their biggest sale on PADI eLearning.

    PADI eLearning takes care of the knowledge development component of your PADI course and by taking it at home, you can work through it at your own pace. Completing the course in Nusa Lembongan (or ANYWHERE else in the world) is easy and just involves making the dives.

     

    PADI eLearning

     

    So here’s the Deal…..

    1. Save 25% with PADI eLearning

    2. Complete Your Course with us and we’ll give you:

    – 30% discount on your course completion
    – Free accommodation

    Huge savings for booking now! Must book your course with us by May 31st May 2020, if you cannot travel on your chosen dates due to COVID19 you can reschedule your stay free of charge for any dates up to 31st May 2021. 50% deposit payable on booking. Free accommodation does not apply to PADI Divemaster programs.

    Here are some of our favourites that are included in the PADI eLearning sale and what dives you’ll do to complete the course when you are next diving in Nusa Lembongan:

    Advanced Open Water:

    This is your next step if you are an Open Water Diver. The PADI Advanced course will certify you to dive to 30 meters – which means even more of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida’s awesome dive sites to explore! You’ll also learn how to navigate underwater as well as looking at 3 other types of diving!

    Diving in Lembongan: We usually dive Lembongan House Reef or another flat sandy site for the navigation dive. This is a lot of fun and you’ll soon discover how much attention you pay underwater! The deep dive can be done at any of Nusa Penida’s north coast dive sites, or Crystal Bay or even Manta Point! Drift diving is perfect for north coast Nusa Penida diving – you’ll master flying over the reefs through schools of fish and who knows? Maybe even a passing mola! In total, you’ll make 5 dives with your instructor (Navigation, Deep plus 3 of your choosing). Nusa Lembongan is ideal for a host of other possibilities including Underwater Naturalist, Underwater Photography, Search and Recovery, Boat Diving, Fish identification and when the tides are right we also have amazing night diving in the Bay!

     

    rescue diver lembongan
    Take the PADI Rescue Diver – the most rewarding dive course you’ll ever take

     

    Rescue Diver:

    Professional divers will often cite this as being the most rewarding course they ever took. You’ll be learning lifesaving skills and techniques as well as learning how to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place. If you are thinking about joining us for your PADI Divemaster Course or would like to become a PADI Instructor in the future then the Rescue Diver Course is essential.

    Diving in Lembongan: During your Rescue Diver Course in Lembongan you’ll start in our purpose built pool, practicing self-rescue techniques before looking at assisting others. You’ll learn how to deal with tired and panicking divers at the surface as well as divers in distress, or unresponsive underwater. You’ll also learn different types of search techniques and practice these underwater. Your pool training will come together in 4 open water sessions at different sites from the house reef in Lembongan to making a two dive trip with fun divers to Nusa Penida!

     

    Divemaster lembongan
    Become part of our team during your PADI Divemaster training in Lembongan

     

    PADI Divemaster:

    Yes!! You can now start your journey to becoming a PADI Professional at home! If you are thinking of the diving industry as a future career path, get started now with the PADI Divemaster online!

    Diving in Lembongan: Yes – but there is so much more!! You’ll become a part of our team and learn how we operate behind the scenes too. You’ll learn how to assist our instructors when teaching PADI Courses and you’ll learn how to guide our guests safely at Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan’s incredible dive sites.

    You’ll also learn which PADI Courses you can conduct independently, how to organise dive trips, knot tying, dive site mapping, deep diving to 40 meters, refresh your rescue diver and EFR skills, watermanship skills and fitness tests, you’ll learn how to perform demonstration quality skills like an instructor and you’ll even have an underwater stress test! Challenging? Yes. Worth every minute? Absolutely!!!

    To complete your PADI Divemaster training in Nusa Lembongan with us, we recommend staying for 4 weeks to get the most of your time and to really experience life as a Divemaster on a tropical island!

     

    elearning photography course
    Learn how to capture stunning images of Lembongan’s marine life

     

    Digital Underwater Photography Specialty:

    You might not be able to go diving right now but the skills and techniques you learn in the PADI Digital Underwater Photography specialty can be practiced at home – which means hours of entertainment with your camera when you can’t go out!

    Diving in Lembongan: One thing is for sure, we have no shortage of amazing underwater scenery and fish to take pictures of! You’ll join us for a two dive trip and you’ll come back with colourful masterpieces to wow your land-loving friends with!

     

    Enjoy longer bottom times with enriched air nitrox

     

    Enriched Air Diver (Nitrox):

    Have you ever wished you could stay deeper for longer? Diving with Enriched Air (Nitrox) increases your allowable bottom time meaning you can admire the depths of your favourite Lembongan dive sites for longer!

    Diving in Lembongan: The PADI Enriched Air Nitrox Diver Specialty is one of PADI’s non-diving courses, but where’s the fun in that? There is a practical component to complete which includes calibrating a nitrox analyzer, preparing your tanks, analyzing your tank, setting your dive computer accordingly and recording your data. We also include 2 dives into your course so you can experience longer allowable bottom times and a faster surface interval offload on your dive computer with your instructor.

    Don’t want to study alone? Buy a PADI gift pass for your buddy and study together!

     

    World diving
    Stop dreaming and start eLearning your way to your next dive certification!

     

    What Next?

    Sign up for your PADI eLearning course and discount HERE. Then make your booking for your course completion with us to claim your savings in Lembongan. For reservations and more information, email us on [email protected]

    So dive in and put your lockdown time to good use and start eLearning today! We can’t wait to be able to welcome you back to Nusa Lembongan!

  • Gotong Royong gets Big Boat to the Beach

    Boat in the Jungle Puzzle

    All the way through the build, there was one nagging thought that kept running through my mind.   “How the hell do you move a five tonne boat from the jungle Boat Yard to the sea?”

    Pak Nyoman just kept on smiling every time we asked the question and murmured,  “Gotong Royong…..gotong royong. It will be all right.”

    I was rather hoping that Gotong Royong was the name of a large vehicle that would lift Big Boat out of the canopy and carry here safely to the water.  Boy was I wrong.

    Gotong Royong gets it Done

    So the day of the launch arrived, rather inauspiciously the 1st of April, and on a damp drizzly morning we gathered at the boat yard. Ibu Ketut made the last blessing, Pak Lombang and the divemasters wandered along and we waited. And waited…. Then the villagers started to arrive. First of all in dribs and drabs. Then all of a sudden in a great rush we had nearly a hundred and fifty hardy souls ready to lift, haul, rock and roll!

    That is Gotong Royong, all the villagers doing a favour with the guarantee that at some stage, the favour will be returned. Especially if you include a nasi bungkus and sprite to sweeten the deal.

    Riding the Beast

    The next thing we knew, there was Made D’Licks riding on the roof of Big Boat like some ancient Egyptian slave master, directing the pushing and pulling to get the boat out of the trees.  Huts were picked up whole and moved to clear the way.  Coconut logs were laid down as rollers and ropes lashed to the mooring posts and foot by foot our jukung crept from her lair and lurched off down the road.

    The final hurdle was getting her from the road and down the beach.  At that stage, so many people had joined in that they just slid her down the slope and into the water she went with barely a ripple.

    Bobbing and Blessing

    Finally Big Boat was in her element.  The outriggers were re-attached which got rid of an alarming list to port, the engines were mounted and the only thing left was the blessing the next day.

  • Slap on Some Paint!

    Slap on the Paint.

    The building work was completed, ladders fixed and the toilet door hung.  Now came the crucial part.  Protecting all that beautiful wood.  What to do?  A clear epoxy finish so the craftsmanship could be seen?  Very appealing for a piece of furniture but this was to be a working boat with roughy toughy divers, tanks, weights, anchors and lots of things that go bump, so we needed something tough and durable.

    Bring on the Experts

    Once again we turned to the experts.  And here was the shopping list. Cans of paint, white, blue, yellow and grey. Epoxy glue, the first coat for pre-treating the timber.  And talcum powder! Sacks of it.  If you have ever seen World Diving’s Big Boat, you will notice how smooth the paint work is. Not a hint of grain or any of the wood that is underneath.  That is due to coat number two.  This is a blend of paint, epoxy and talc.  It’s applied like thin plaster and literally sticks like the proverbial to a blanket!

    Grin Ders, Cigarettes and Thinners

    The other thing they needed were grin ders.  “What,” I asked “is a Grin Der?” Apperently they are made by Bosch, Matika or Kenmaster and we use them for grinding.  These angle grinders are the only thing that can be used to sand down the incredibly hard undercoat.  That and an awful lot of sand paper.  I was pleased to note that full safety equipment was being used to offset the danger of dust inhalation and eye damage.  The standard wool balaclava and sunglasses seemed to do the trick! Though I was slightly dismayed with the cavalier attitude used to thin the paint.  A vast amount of highly flammable cellulose thinners being sloshed into the paint tin and mixed, with a burning cigarette firmly clenched in the painter’s lips!

    Finally the last coat of high gloss was applied. And there she stood, a thing of beauty, gleaming in the sunlight. The ladders were bolted on.  The World Diving signs applied and the toilet seat fitted.

    We now faced the final hurdle, getting a five tonne boat out of the jungle and two hundred metres d own the main road to the sea…….Easy!

     

  • Our Out Rigger Big Boat Taking Shape.

    Taking Shape.

    So here is an interesting fact that came up from building Big Boat.  The trees on Nusa Lembongan have long been used by the local islanders for making their boats and the traditional design for the area is the out rigger.  This is a boat that has a very shallow draught but is kept stable by two bamboo floats held in place on curved wooden arms.

    They Grow Them!

    These curved wooden arms are specifically grown.  They get a young tree or new branch and weigh it down so that it starts to grow in a curve.  Once the wood has set to that shape, the weight is removed and the branch or tree curves back up again. These trees can still be seen as you ride around the island. Llook out for them as you go around the mangrove road.

    It takes about eight years for a outrigger to fully mature.  It is then cut and shaped to suit the boat being built.  Our Big Boat has six of these scarfed onto end of each arm. They were by far the most expensive pieces of wood on our boat!

    Bollards!

    The other major pieces of wood on our boat are the mooring bollards. Again, these are from specific trees that the local use just for this purpose.  They are hard wearing and tough enough to take the day to day strain of keeping the boat secure on its moorings.  Ours are now over thirteen years old and the ropes have carved deep grooves into their surface.

    Re-cycle, Re-claim, Re-use!

    We also did a lot of recycling for our boat.  There were many parts of the old boat which were still in good repair.  We simply adapted them for the new boat.  There are still some parts of the roof on our boat that date all the way back to our original Big Boat!

    In the next thrilling instalment, we slap on the paint…and talcum powder!

  • Magic, Wooden Nails and a Very Large Hammer!

    Wooden Nails

    Building Big Boat was labour intensive, to say the least.  We had an industrious group of nail makers consisting of anyone who dropped by to have a chat. The rule of the shed  was that if you popped in, you were given a block of iron wood and an axe.  It seemed that everyone in the village just loved whittling! I was the only exception to this rule.  The thought of me wielding one of the axes made the crew a tad anxious!

    Magic Uri Geller Style!

    In another corner of the boat yard, Pak Gandy had started his magic.  He had lashed two boards together to a tree and anointed them with his magic potion, water and palm oil. A a smoldering fire was lit  in a pit beneath them. At the other end of the boards were palm logs providing the weight to gently twist the boards through ninety degrees.  The fire was kept going 24 hours and each day the planks would twist a little more. Our Pak Gandi was a regular Uri Geller!

    Screwing and Gluing

    Meanwhile the main crew were now fastening the hull planking to the keel, transom and main rib.  The edges of the boards were drilled at regular intervals, a generous dollop of epoxy was rammed in the holes followed by hand crafted nails. Corresponding holes were drilled and filled with glue.  Then the two parts were gently introduced to each other with the assistance of an incredibly large hammer!

    Noah’s Tool Box!

    The bit that floored me the most though was the tool box.  With the exception of an electric drill and a chain saw, they had the same tools that could have come from my great grandad’s shed! I think there may have been a tape measure somewhere, but I never saw it.

    Big Boat was starting to take shape.  The twisted boards were cut to shape and fitted up against the prow and all of a sudden, a mad collection of hewn trees and telegraph poles started to look seaworthy.

    Next time – “They Grow Them Like that!”

     

  • Boat Building in the Jungle

    Pak Gandy sketching in the sand.

    Meet Pak Gandy, The Boat Building Guru!

    Welcome to the third installment of boat building Balinese style!

    The wood had been cut, prime binkarai planks had been delivered, plans had been drawn and approved and the boat yard in the jungle constructed……Enter the boat builders with three lengths of old telegraph pole, gallons of epoxy resin and a tool box donated by Noah!

    The question had to be asked.  What were the telegraph poles for?

    Re-claim, Re-cycle, Re-use!

    I should have known.  These were to be the backbone of our boat, the keel and prow.  Why telegraph poles? Because they are old seasoned iron wood and nigh on indestructible.  Having explained these salient points to me, our magnificent boat builder then squatted down with a pointy stick in hand and drew a large semicircle in the dirt.  He then looked me right in the eye and said assertively,

    “Like This!”

    What does one say? It turns out that he had just drawn the profile for the main rib of Big Boat, right where the central outriggers are. This was the piece around which all the planking would be bent.  I just nodded my head and let him get on with what he did best.

    Handy With His Chopper!

    The next thing I knew, he had a great baulk of timber propped up and was wielding a razor sharp axe, forming perfect joints which when completed went snugly together like pieces of an incredible three dimensional jigsaw.  I had heard of craftsmen like Pak Gandy, but to watch him and his team in action was a pure pleasure.

    As we were about to leave the boatyard, I noticed a rather large hole in the ground just next to a tree stump.  Pak Gandy’s merry men were dumping all the wood chips in there.  Pak Gandy grinned at me, pointed to the pit and whispered,

    “That’s for the magic!”

    It seems that boat builders come from Hogwarts!

    Next time – Magic, deadly potions, wooden nails and a very large hammer.

  • Come Up With A Plan! Designing Big Boat.

    Come up with a plans
    Come up with a plans

    Grand Designs.

    Made the Mad Axeman and the Timber Haulers had done their thing so the next step was to come up with a plan! Some serious designing was required. Suggestions came thick and fast. A stronger, longer ladder. A loo with a view. A captain’s chair. Even a water slide! You name it, it was suggested.

    So after scrapping some of the less practical suggestions, out came the set squares, protractors and sharp 2H pencils and the drawing commenced. Now I may have mentioned that my knowledge of boat building was limited to something you could fold from paper and float in the bath, as a result, the task of designing a sodding great 15 metre wooden boat was somewhat daunting.  Nevertheless, after a couple of weeks and much head scratching, a reasonable facsimile of a set of plans were produced.

    Construction Crew Consultation.

    Meanwhile, Pak Nyoman had found our trusty boat builder, the incredible Pak Gandy.  We were formally introduced and I humbly submitted my design.  The boat captains, led by Pak Lombang, boat builders and various hangers on all peered at the plans and there was a long silence. The suspense was killing me. Cigarettes were passed round, cups of coffee consumed, various aspects of the design were pontificated over and, after what seemed an eternity there was a mass nodding of heads. At last the verdict was pronounced.

    “Bagus!”

    Then the plans were neatly folded and …….never, ever looked at again!

    Boatyard in the Jungle.

    There just remained the question of where the boat would be built.  For some unfathomable reason, the location for our boatyard was in the jungle, nearly 200 meters from the sea!  I did question this choice but was reassured that this was a very fortuitous site, approved of by the deities of boat builders.

    There was one other slight problem.  Because rainy season was in full force,  workers, timbers and tools would soon end up soaking wet and like my wet suit, ever so slightly mouldy! So a suitable tent had to be built.  Therefore the greenery was cut back, bamboo sacrificed to the cause and a spidery structure was erected, covered in canvas and lashed to nearby trees. Finally the finishing touch was the installation of the temple and that was it, we were ready to go!

    In our next thrilling instalment, “Pak Gandy scribbles in the sand!”