I went to Lombok a few days ago with Matias, one of the Blue Marlin DMT's to do some errands including; filing a police report about my stolen Visa, Bank card, and Iphone (for insurance purposes), to get photos and fingerprints done to extend my tourist Visa, to see the "city" of Mataram, to get Matias and his infected foot wounds to a proper doctor, and to get my passport back which I had been without since late July when I sent it to Mataram to apply for a visa extension. We took the local boat ($1.30) for the 15min ride to Lombok and then hired a car and driver at a vastly inflated priceof $25 to drive us to immigration, wait for us, then take us to a clinic, then to pick us up at the mall and drive us to a police station then back to catch a local boat back to Gili Trawangan. Matias counted 57 people on the tiny local boat and it seemed very rickety. I'm glad the seas were calm because Matias told me that he was warned that "sometimes thelocal boats don't make it" eep!
Our driver was ridiculous. He was pumping dance music so loud that I couldn't get into his car until Matias turned it down. He then let Matias choose some music...he went with Bob Marley... At which point our cabbie lit up a joint and offered it around. We drove through the monkey forest which was beautiful and loaded with monkeys who hung out on the side of the road. Adi pulled over to let us take some photos. He told us that someone had given E (ecstasy) to one of the monkeys and that it was "probably dead now because that's for people, not monkeys".
This monkey wishes he had some E
I was pretty worried this monkey was going to jump off this sign and onto me...
Check out all these motorcycles lined up for fuel
The trip to immigration, the clinic, and the mall went relatively smoothly. Then we went to the police station, via Adi's house so he could drop off fireworks for his son ;). The English was very limited at the police station and it took the police a looking time to fill out my police report. At one point the asked me to type in some of the information in English onto the report. I got behind the computer and typed up a list of what was stolen. I should have looked closer at the form and corrected the rest of the errors and omissions that it was riddled with but I was slightly uncomfortable at this point and we had a boat to catch. I hope that insurance understands the challenges I faced and the extraordinary lengths I went to in order to get this police report written up and they excuse the errors!
The day after we returned from Lombok, Matiasand I started our Advanced Nitros and Decompression Theory course. This is my first introduction to what they call "technical diving" as opposed to the "recreational diving" I have done up to this point. The main advantages to taking the course as I see it are that I will be certified to dive to 45m, to dive with enriched air blends up to 100% oxygen, to learn to plan dives that require a decompression stop, and I get to try out new equipment configurations. The equipment includes; two tanks ("twin" tanks) on my back, an inflatable wing and harness with an aluminum backplate rather than a jacket-style BCD (buoyancy compensation device) as well as a stage bottle attached by clips to my side. It feels like driving a schoolbus underwater compared with diving with only 1 tank but I can go deeper and stay longer because I can carry more gas to breath. There are a few calculations to do to determine how much gas we breath in a minute at different depths and how much gas we will need in total for the dive but, despite the math, I am really enjoying he challenge and the opportunity to learn all about the theory and physiology of diving.... I am hooked!
School in summertime... But nerd-tastically fun!
Twin tanks connected by a manifold. 2 sets of regulators in case of failure, harness and wing. Intimidating at first for sure... Getting used to it is the point of the course.
Sadly, I'm in dry dock again due to an ear and throat infection. The doctor gave me an arsenal of ear drops, decongestants, antibiotics, and anti inflamitories, and as soon as I feel better I hope to do some more diving on the twin tanks so I can complete my course.