Turtle Heaven

Wow! What an advenure! On May 7th Jamie and I left Ubud to catch a ferry to an Island just north of Bali called Gili Air. The ride itself was about an hour and a half, but the wait to get onto the fast boat was two hours…in the hot sun. We made the best of it, however, and by dinner time we made it to the Island!

We were staying just three minutes walking distance from the harbor in a hotel. Now please understand. My friend and I are backpacking. We also have felt very blessed that we have come across some amazing people and beautiful places to stay, some in which we were not expecting by any means. That being said, the next couple incidences that happened to us were also (oddly enough) another crazy story that we did not expect. 

We got to our hotel and the moment we got into our room, there was garbage from the previous guests on the deck and room. Everything we touched was filthy. And then…Jamie spotted a little critter on the ground…At first she thought a butterfly had landed to take a rest. Then the bug started to crawl quickly towards the wall…COCKROACHES! 
Listen…I know how to rough it. I’ve camped in the middle of the woods in Siberia multiple times. But being that this Island was our little vacation spot, we decided immediately to find another place to stay. We really didn’t have many options to choose from. The only place that we found that would be a possibility was a villa inland. A twenty minute walk from the harbor. We were taking a gamble since we didn’t know a whole lot about the place, aside it being run by a Romanin woman named Julie. But that’s the fun part about traveling right? 🙂

We got to the villa and it was definitely not what we had conjured up in our heads. It was better! Beautiful stone walkway leading up to our villa, along with a lovely wooden kitchen and our room looking out into a pool. We felt like we had hit the jackpot. 

The next day was filled with biking around the 3 mile island, eating delicious food, and exploring the little shops along the beach. 

Yesterday, however, was a wild ride! On my list of things to do while I was in the Gili’s was to go scuba diving. I had gotten my scuba license when I was 16 years old, and it honestly has been about that long since I have dived. We were at the perfect spot to do it too because the Gili Islands are known for the best scuba diving, especially for seeing some amazing aquatic life. So I made the suggestion to Jamie, and even though she was a little hesitant due to never diving in her life, was a rockstar once again and said she would definitely try it. So we got up early and both showed up to the diving center called Blue Marine Dive at 9am. Jamie was to take the beginners course and I was going to take the refresher course, but fortunately we were able to take it at the same time with one instructor. Our guide was named Florian (Flow for short). He was a very nice guy from Austria who was only planning on being on the island for three days to dive…and that was over a year ago.

The first portion of our course was going over the basics of diving and the terminology. Next was taking what we had learned from “class” and applying it in the pool. I was surprised at how much I still remembered! But don’t get me wrong, I definitely learned new things that I had completely forgot from my scuba diving lessons ten years ago. 
The third and final portion was going out into the ocean! Flow took us out to a diving spot called Turtle Heaven. When we found the split Flow ordered the boat to stop so we could start our dive. We put on all of our gear and on Flows command we flung ourselves backwards into the ocean

The only thing that I deeply regret was that I did not take my GoPro with me. EVERYTHING down there was bustling with life!!! I saw beautiful turtles, schools of fish I have only seen in documentaries. And (this is for my sister Olivia) clown fish cleaning themselves in sea anemone! #FoundNemo

Diving is something so hard for me to explain. With all the electronics and noise in the world and life bombarding us all the time with obligations, in the ocean none of that exists. All that matters is your breathe, keeping calm, and God’s beauty in nature. That’s it! There is no sound. Just the acknowledgment of your breathe. Balancing your breathing in and out of your regulator. Scuba diving is the definition of peace.

After what seemed like maybe 10 minutes, Flow looked at me and gave me the signal that asks me how much air was left in my tank. I looked down with surprise…It was at 50! My tank was going into the red zone. I needed to end my journey through Turtle Heaven. 

Once we got back to shore all three of us had a short debrief meeting and went over our dive. He asked us both how long we were diving. I guess around 30 minutes, but honestly it felt only like 10 or 15 minutes. He said we were down there for almost an hour! WHAT!? Time does stop down there! It did not feel like we had dived for that long…

Our dive was over. But seriously a grand success! And Flow was an amazing guide! Both Jamie and myself felt so safe and confident with him as our diving instructor. Right before we left I asked him how old he was. He looked at me, smiled and said, “I’m 20.” I was shocked! He reminds me so much of my brother Daniel. Not only do they both look way older than their actual age, but both my brother and Flow our natural leaders. People gravitate towards their personalities and naturally want to follow. It was so cool to meet Flow, I wish him and Blue Marine the best! And they’ll be seeing me tomorrow because I’m going back for a fun-dive (and this time I won’t forget my GoPro)!

Today Jamie and I are not feeling 100%, so we are taking today and just relaxing. We both got massages earlier and then laid out in the Gili sunshine. Now we are about to go find some food. Stay tuned to see some gnarly photos of my dive tomorrow!


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