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:

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