Saturday, November 30, 2013

Diving the Liberty Wreck

After our jungle adventures on Sumatra, Tim headed back to Bangkok, while Chuck and I made the journey to beautiful Bali.  Our destination was on Bali's east coast, Amed, a spot to which I had previously traveled with Tim, the EPA girls and Martha. Specifically, we headed to Amed because a) it is very close to the Liberty wreck dive site, which I thought would be a good refresher dive for Chuck, b) it has lovely snorkeling and views on Lipah beach and c) it is the jumping off point to the Gilis.

Tim and I did this dive over a year ago for my birthday and really enjoyed it... it's a relaxing shore dive: a cool, historically interesting wreck (check out my previous post for background) that is now coated in coral and teeming with fish.  And this time I had my camera so you can see just that!

I split the video into 3 parts. Check out this map to get a sense of the wreck and the route we took.

Part 1: Descending and approaching the wreck on the south side, at the stern, then swimming around the far side, with the deck on our left.  A big titan triggerfish (watch out, they're bitey!) at 1:09.  Sweet, giant barrel sponges all over the wreck.  Moorish idols and other fishies.

Part 2: Swimming through the wreck through the part of the ship that is broken in half, into the hold.  A freediver passes us in the hold... lots and lots of coral covering broken ship parts:

Part 3: our ascent over the sandy bottom between the wreck and the beach.  Chuck pointing at another titan triggerfish. A cool anemone with a couple Nemos in it.  Some fish trawling the sandy sea bed (Chuck and I decided that if they could talk, they would be saying "Hashtag om nom nom nom."). And the piece de resistance, at 0:42, a cuttlefish hanging out and then ultimately expressing his displeasure at how close I got by changing colors: he goes from sand color to bright yellow with distinct black spots right around 0:54.  Then more Nemos, a goatfish sniffing around with his weird little barbs, then some cute electric blue fish.

The dive was quite lovely, but the whole time there were some some shenanigans going on inside of Chuck's mask.  You can start to see it below a bit... Chuck's eyes look a big buggy/squinty, no?

That would be because she was in the midst of a mean case of "mask squeeze," which is an affliction experience by newbie divers once (and usually never again).  When you fail to breathe a little bit of air into your mask to equalize it as you descend and the pressure increases, putting major pressure on the blood vessels in your face around your eyes.  

When we surfaced, Chuck's eyes were almost swollen shut, her eyeballs were bloodied, and there was bruising all around her eyes (she looks a little weird in this shot because I took it with the underwater camera, which has a bit of a fisheye lens thing going on).  Scary!   

Thankfully the swelling went down within a few hours and she was left with two black and bloodied eyes, but no permanent or really even painful symptoms.  Phew.  But she did have a lot of people staring at her over the next few weeks, as her face looked a bit zombie-esque:

Friday, November 29, 2013

Waterfalls and Jungle Facepaint

Breakfast with our jungle friends was soon followed by a trip to the local waterfall.  There, Chuck got the royal spa treatment to turn her into the jungle queen:

Jakka delicately crowns her "Queen Tomatoface of the Jungle" and declares his intention to marry her some day:

Jakka admires his work:

Then, after the jungle facial treatment comes a massage, care of the waterfall:


Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Circle of Life

(this photo is only minimally relevant to the blog post because Chuck is eating breakfast in it, but I just had to post it because her face is priceless)

Here we were, enjoying breakfast by the river after a night of camping, when...

This fellow joined us from upstream:

He sauntered out of the water:

And hung out for a bit:

Then we noticed these guys approaching from all sides, determined to get some of our delicious breakfast:

Then, to complete the jungle scene/circle of life/what have you, Jackie (remember her? she likes holding hands?) and baby took up a riverside seat:

We were kinda hoping for some sort of 3-way, interspecies fight club to commence, but things remained peaceful:

Aw, how cute are Jackie and baby?

The only shenanigans occurred when Jackie decided to make a move on our kitchen tent (although her plans were quickly foiled by Simon):

All the while, Tim ate fruit from this, the most magnificent fruit plate to ever be consumed:


At the end of our hike through the jungle, we arrived at the river's edge, sweaty and hot:


Ready for glamping (ok, not glamping, really.  just regular camping), we were greeted by this guy, our excellent chef de cuisine (whose name I cannot remember, because I am terrible person):

We were also by this lady and child, Jackie and baby-who-has-yet-to-be-named-by-the-authorities:

Jackie was just prepping our tent for us, we think.  However, we were informed that Jackie "likes to hold hands" but "doesn't smell very good," and thus we were to exercise caution in her presence:

Jackie and baby ultimately did not  bother us that evening, but instead chose to head to bed while we bathed in the river and got ready for this delicious dinner, which included chicken curry and tempeh, among other things:

After dinner we started with the "black magic," as our chef called it... card tricks, brain teasers, you name it:

Good times were had by all... we particularly enjoyed the La Dee Da cup game as well as a rousing game of "Jonny Woop," a game which can only be explained in person.

Jakka took these photos, proud of his campfire handiwork:

Our hiking clothes, dutifully hung out to dry, would never do so:

As I said, good times:

Why does Tim look like an old man in this photo?

Our awesome chef, cracking himself up by explaining that the more Jakka, ahem, partakes of the herbal remedy, the more he looks like "Japanese Bob Marley":

A portrait of the artist as a young man:

Simon, who loves the "La Dee Da" cup game despite his complete inability to play it without descending into the giggles:

The flames, the flames:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jungle Joys

More fun jungle stuff...  in addition to all the monkeys and orangutans and sweating and giant trees, we also got to try cinnamon and quinine in the wild, see rubber being harvested, and catch a glimpse of this super cool wild peacock:

When they first pointed him out to me, I thought to myself, "Oh, he's sitting on a log."  Then I realized that what I thought was a log was really his massive tail feathers:

He, in turn, was thinking, "What are you looking at, tomatoface?!"

Video, complete with Tim's hand flapping in frame for perspective on how close we got:

Jakka took the camera to document just how sweaty and red-faced ("tomato-faced," as he put it) we were:

He also captured this (massive, like the size of a small dog) ant carrying a big load.  Then he ate an ant in front of us, claiming it tastes like lemon.  He also ate termites while on the trail.  We declined a taste.

Disappearing into the jungle:

Oh, there's his little tomatoface!

Termite mound on a tree trunk:

Twisty vines strangling a tree:

Tim, chilling:

Chuck, trying not to strangle Jakka for taking so many photos of her:

Simon leads the way:

"Seriously, dude. Stop."

We ate a snack with this guy up in our business the whole time:

Simon's glamor shots:

Jungle view:

Winding our way through the steep, muddy, vine-covered paths: