Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pulau Sepa Shenanigans

Tim decided to take scuba diving lessons here in Jakarta since we find ourselves in the midst of some of the best dive sites in the world.  He took classes three nights per week for the past two weeks at Bubbles Dive Center (which has a seven-meter deep mini-pool in the middle of Jakarta).  To cap off his training and complete the four open water dives required for certification, he was scheduled for a weekend in Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands), a group of not-quite-thousands-but-still-a-lot of islands not too far from Jakarta.  Ben, Erin and I decided to join him (me after a quick scuba refresher course, also at Bubbles).
Ben and Erin making their way onto Palau Sepa.
Tim and Bubbles Dive Master Yewan walking the pier.
Front desk at the resort.

After a jarring one and a half hour boat ride north from Jakarta's port, we arrived at Pulau Sepa, a sunny little island with some cabins, a dive center and a main eating area/bandstand.  Kinda like the setting for Dirty Dancing, but in the middle of Indonesia and with more giant lizards and bad (laughably terrible) cover songs sung by a live band during meals.

Our cabin. 
Island views.
 Ben, Erin and I almost immediately took off on our first of four dives, right off the pier, while Tim practiced some skills with his "buddy" on a separate dive.  We saw a blue spotted stingray, a flounder, a variety of cool corals, some nudibranches (which are apparently all the rage in this area),  a zillion sea urchins, some clownfish (aka the Nemo fish) and anenome, along with lots and lots of little fishies that I can't immediately identify.

Our second dive was off the boat, at a reef just off nearby Pulau Matahari (Sun Island), which housed a bankrupt/abandoned resort not dissimilar from the one where we stayed.  Or as Ben called it, a Scooby Doo island.  Lots of cool purple anenome and coral on this dive.

Sittin' on the dock of the bay.
After our dives, we grabbed some beers and sat on a pier to watch the sunset.  This quickly devolved into a front flip/back flip contest for Mr. Ben and Mr. Tim, as evidenced below:

Cool clouds. Thousands of tiny islands.
Storm in the distance.
After the sun set, we did some night snorkeling off the dock, searching for seahorses and crabs, but mostly finding fluorescent coral and a couple crabs.  Night snorkeling is very trippy... dark and mysterious.

Eh?  What's that there?
I wish we hadn't had that 4th beer before snorkeling... Snorkel? More like horkel!

The next day was much sunnier.  We headed out early for dives three and four while Tim completed his skills testing.  During dive three, at Tongkeng, we saw about 6 starfish right off the bat... electric blue, blue spotted, and near the end of the dive, a giant crown of thorns starfish (spikey, blue, a zillion legs).  Dive four was a relaxing jaunt off the pier back at Sepa, but we also got to tool around under the pier a little bit, which was cool, as the reef was basically taking over the pier's pillars under water- they were covered in coral and clams.
Sunny day for a dive!
Cool clouds.
Our pier and dive jump-off point.
Please excuse the post-dive mask marks and the giant mosquito bite on my forehead (although forehead bugbites seem to be my M.O. on tropical trips [see Costa Rica, October 2010]).


  1. Mr. Tim must love scuba-ing because I think I see the edges of a smile on his face. Did the staff put on a recital before you all left? Maybe you should always wear a mosquito net over your head.

  2. I think Mr. Tim does enjoy the scuba-ing. Although he would not stop complaining about his "buddy" (aka the other woman taking the training with him. She was a bit panicky). No recital, but they did let a 4 year old take the mic for a few minutes, and she kicked the band's ass. Do you think one of those bee-keeper outfits would serve to dissuade mosquitoes from biting my head? I could borrow my brother's.


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