Tag Archives: Indonesia

A Magical Nighttime Scuba Dive

Gili Trawangan

We boated to Halik, a dive site Emma and I had not visited, just as the sun was setting. The water was calm, the air was warm, and the sky entertained us with bright pinks and oranges as the sun disappeared behind the horizon. By the time we arrived to the sight, the sun was gone, and the sky was dark. We had already completed the taxonomy dive, and the photography dive (where the photos in this post are from), and this was the third dive in our Advanced Dive course, the night dive. Emma and I were beside ourselves with excitement!


The night dive

We set up our BCs, did our buddy checks, each chose a flashlight, and did our backwards roll off the side of the boat, into the water. Our descent was eerie, with only our flashlights illuminating our surroundings. We were told to point the lights down, so we could see where we were going. We reached our diving depth and I looked around; it was pitch black. Without the flashlights, you’d have absolutely no idea where you were in regards to the ocean bottom, or even the surface!


Sea life

We each carried our own flashlight, six in total, and the lights brought the coral to life. Some divers couldn’t contain their excitement and flung their lights all over the place. I held up the rear, and scanned my light slowly and steadily over the reef below so I wouldn’t miss anything. Big sea slugs, a colossal sea cucumber, a blue and yellow moray eel, a huge lobster, even a sea turtle hanging out in a little cavern. We were instructed to not shine our lights on the sea life for too long, as to not blind them and lower their defences.


Up ahead, I saw our dive instructor’s light waving excitedly up into the open water. I looked up to where his torch was shining, and there was a shark! A nurse shark with white tips on its fin, maybe two metres long, swam over the reef, and as quickly as it arrived, disappeared into the black water. COOL! We continued along the reef. With my light in front, illuminating the way, I looked behind me into the total pitch blackness. Whoa. The ocean is a big place. Who knows what’s out there? I brought my light around to look behind me and illuminate the black. There, following curiously behind the group, a few metres away, the nurse shark! I jumped and screamed into my mask! I was startled. Being followed by a shark would do that to anyone!  

The magic underwater

We settled down on a huge field of broken torches and our instructor had us turn our torches off. I deflated my BC completely and came to rest on my stomach. Emma effortlessly came down to rest next to me. All the lights were out, and you couldn’t see a darn thing — not even your own hand in front of your face! Then, next to me a burst of colour and light. Our instructor waved his hand in front of us, and tiny phosphorescent organisms illuminated the field. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. We waved our hands, kicked our legs, and were enthralled by the explosions of light. I lay on my back to look up at my flippers, kicking up the colours. I laughed, and a big bubble came out of my mask. The air moved quick enough that it stirred the water. I breathed out again, colour and light, sparkles and magic. I was euphoric. Tears filled my eyes as I kicked and danced in the water, surrounding myself with the splendour.


We arrived back at the boat, I passed my BC up to the team aboard, and climbed up to the deck. I lay down on the roof of the boat, next to Emma, staring up at a sky chalk-full of stars, and cried.


Read about some of the Indonesian adventures I had on dry land! Check this out!


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Searching for the Red Beer Fridge on Gili Air

February 2014

All week, I’ve seen a Canadian hat bobbing amongst the hatless heads every so often. It’s like a beacon of patriotism. I finally had to say something to the guy wearing it. I walked up to him, “I just had to say hello. You have this Canadian hat, and I love it.” We became fast friends. His name is James. His friend is Morgan, from America, who actually looks like Fabio. They were fun and friendly— just my type of people. I asked James if he has seen the red beer fridge commercial by Molson Canadian. He shook his head no. I used his phone to show him the most amazing Olympics Ad I’ve seen in a long while. (Watch it here). We watched the video at the bar, and watched when the guys point to an island on the map— Gili Air! The neighbouring island to the one we are on. Oh my gosh! We should go find this guy! James was SO excited. Fabio was up for an adventure too, and they both agreed to meet me at 11am tomorrow morning at the pier. I am so excited!!

Zarina and I went down to the pier at 11am. I saw the beacon. James’ red hat bobbing around the harbour. I jumped up and ran over. We found a boat to take us to Gili Air! We showed the captain the Molson Ad and he smiled. “This your friend?” We all nodded. “This is our Canadian friend.” And just like that, we were on a boat, sailing the waves. We all agreed that we would treat ourselves to an awesome fish lunch or something. Absolutely.

Zarina, the happy adventurer.

We arrived in Gili Air and jumped off the boat. We immediately began asking people if they knew Morgan from Canada. We went to Ocean 5 to eat some Nasi Goreng and take a quick dip in their pool. We showed a few fellow Canadians the commercial and they wished us luck on our quest. After lunch, we chose a direction and began to walk it. Fabio brought some portable speakers and some really funky music. He played it as we walked down the path. We all danced. It was so fun. I love dancing down the street of a remote tropical island. Locals were sitting along the path, in berogaks, and other various huts, and would smile, laugh, point, and some would even get up and join us! It was brilliant. We were quite the sight. We decided to put the dance party on hold and ask again about the red fridge. We went into Safari’s bar.

img_9479We asked the bartenders about Morgan from Canada, and they told us to walk back the way we came and to the other side of the harbour. Ok! I took a quick swim in the ocean, because I am in paradise, and the ocean was literally calling my name with each wave that gently crashed against the coral, “betttthhhh, betttthhhh….” Fabio and James bought to go cocktails, and we were back on our dancing path.

Morgan, AKA Fabio, right at home at the bar.

Some kids ran up to us to see where the music was coming from. We stopped walking, but kept dancing and they just thought it was the funniest thing. Then Fabio pulled out balloons from his vest! The man carries balloons with him to give to children! He blew one up, and then let it go so it would spin and fly around the little boy. They all shrieked with laughter. We showed them how to play keep up, basically you don’t let the balloon touch the ground- you keep it up- and were back on our merry way.


We walked passed the harbour, and passed Ocean 5. We continued to miander along the path, smiling and waving at the locals. I suggested we go into another bar to ask again. Paradisio’s or something. James asked a table of local guys all sitting around a table if they knew Morgan from Canada. One Indonesian man stands up and turns around to face us. “I am Dean,” he said, “and Morgan is a good friend of mine.” No way! Dean is kind of the main Gili Air guy. He controls all of the investments that are made on the island and has a lot of control with the development. He was also in the Molson Ad… They invited us to sit with them while they finished lunch. We each ordered a Bintang, and took a seat. Then they pushed their food towards us. Steamed rice, grilled fish, spicy vegetables, oh boy. Everything we hoped for today was coming to fruition! The boys passed around a big ol’, Gili air sized joint after the meal, and offered to us. What hospitality!

Dean, the main man.

Dean told us that Morgan actually isn’t here, but he is actually flying back today from Canada. We just missed him. But you know what is here? The big red fridge is here! Dean walked us through the back alleys of Gili Air, past bungalows and new buildings. I said, “Gili Air is growing fast, and Dean said, “not if I can help it.” He doesn’t want Air to turn into another Trawangan and is doing everything to stop it- petitions, invoking certain laws and bylaws to ensure no roads are put in, no horns are to be installed on horse carts, etc. He also leads a group in which every Sunday, the children are taken along the beach and help clean up the garbage.

We turned a corner and there was Morgan’s office. Dean unlocked, and slid the door open. There it was! The big, red fridge! James and I looked at each other with the silliest grins on your faces. Fabio and Zarina decided to sit outside and let the Canadians have a minute of patriotism. James and I took some photos and rejoiced in the happiness we were feeling as a result of the perfect day we were having. We wrote Morgan a note to thank him and his friends for inspiring our beautiful day. We took some more photos and left.


We walked back to the harbour with Dean, and found our boat man. Just like that. It was the most perfect day. Everything just worked. The timing, the manifestations of our dreams, the big red fridge. I stood on the bow of the boat the whole way back, wind in my hair, surfing the waves. I felt like I was on top of the world. Entirely flying. Today will always remind me that when you are open to beautiful and wonderful things happening, you meet people who will spontaneously join you on epic adventures across water and land.

Later, I met a man named Gamons on the balcony of the bar. He was a lovely little Indonesian man who asked me, “do you enjoy?” “Do I enjoy what?” I asked. He just said, “do you enjoy?” I nodded. I said my life is a sequence of beautiful moments that has connected into a never ending stream of them. He smiled, high-fived me, said, “enjoy your beautiful moments”, and walked away.