The Liveaboard Life

Sunset from the dive deck.

Sunset from the dive deck.

This week I thought I had nothing to say; we are resting up after a trip. By all accounts it was another routine week of diving on the boat, albeit a pretty busy trip. But pouring over the photos I quickly remembered that being on a live aboard means there is no such thing as an ordinary day. The diving is nonstop and every day presents new challenges and adventures.

The handful of photos I managed to take between diving, filling tanks, and organizing the dive schedule remind me how lucky we are to be leading such an exciting and unusual life. Some days we wake up at sea with our first dive scheduled for 5am and the fourth and last dive getting in the water at 4pm, and other days we are anchored in port waiting for the next group to arrive, anticipating the fun and insanity that will ensue.

This past trip was filled with beautiful sunsets off the dive deck, coconuts on the dock, deliriously fun dives, and divers that kept us laughing and partying late into the night.

Can you spot the crab?

Can you spot the crab?

Feeding the local goats on Havelock. They are serious coconut fiends.

Feeding the local goats on Havelock. They are serious coconut fiends.

Fishermen heading to market in Havelock.

Fishermen heading to market in Havelock.

Lovely little shrimps at 'Vivek's Wreck,' just outside Port Blair

Lovely little shrimps at ‘Vivek’s Wreck,’ just outside Port Blair

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On the ferry out to Neil Island to find some new dive sites.

On the ferry out to Neil Island to find some new dive sites.

A beautiful pufferfish with some big ole chompers.

A beautiful pufferfish with some big ole chompers.

Sunset dive at Vivek's Wreck, Port Blair.

Sunset dive at Vivek’s Wreck, Port Blair.

Many hours were spent filling tanks on the dive deck.

Many hours were spent filling tanks on the dive deck.

I’m on a Boat, Andamans Edition

North Bay near Port Blair, Andaman Islands. We went looking for new divesites near the capital and were pleasantly surprised to find some nice easy reef diving.

North Bay near Port Blair, Andaman Islands. We went looking for new divesites near the capital and were pleasantly surprised to find some nice easy reef diving.

Castaways on Sir Hugh Rose Island, Andamans.

Castaways on Sir Hugh Rose Island, Andamans.

As you read this, we are cruising in the Indian Ocean around the Andaman Islands on a diving liveaboard. We’re on an enormous boat with a lovely sundeck and a great diving platform. I promise we aren’t suffering too much on this portion of our trip 🙂 We’ll be on the boat until December, diving and assisting with PADI courses.

It’s difficult to describe the Andamans without falling into the usual tropical island trap of ’emerald,’ ‘turquoise,’ and other hyperbolic gemological adjectives that never really suffice. But let me make my own feeble attempt. These islands are tiny, lush spits of land surrounded by cruise-commercial white sand beaches and electric blue waters.

In 2004 the tsunami came through and damaged many of the coral reefs that circle the 500 plus islands. Zev and I keep reminding ourselves that unlike most coral damage we’re used to seeing, this is the result of a natural disaster and not man made destruction (dynamite fishing, boats anchoring on reefs, global warming). The reefs are staging an aggressive recovery; soft and hard coral has begun to regrow and there are some really vibrant patches of reef.

The diving here is good and we are looking forward to visiting the more remote islands where the diving is supposed to be truly spectacular.

A tiny tiny nudibranch or 'sea slug.'

A tiny tiny nudibranch or ‘sea slug.’

Another nudi, great colors.

Another ‘nudi,’ great colors.

One of my favorite sea creatures, the octopus! Found at the Wall dive site, Havelock.

One of my favorite sea creatures, the octopus! Found at the Wall dive site, Havelock.

A weekend of scuba diving and epic scooter rides

Back at home, viciously hacking at coconuts. Both hands on the knife, don't worry!

At home in Ubud, viciously hacking at coconuts. Both hands on the knife, don’t worry!

This past weekend we had a few extra days off, so we fired up our little scooter and headed off to the most Northwestern point on the island of Bali for a bit of scuba diving.

So proud of our progress...3 hours in.

So proud of our progress…3 hours in.

Up and over the mountains!

Up and over the mountains!

After stopping for lunch (twice) and six hours of bouncing along on the back of our scooter, we rolled into the town of Pemuteran around 5pm. We immediately headed to the dive shop to plan out the diving for the next few days. The remainder of the evening was spent healing our sore bums.

Our lovely dive shop, so professional, so friendly.

Our lovely dive shop, so professional, so friendly.

Orange juice with chocolate sauce? Why not!

Orange juice with chocolate sauce? Of course!

Friday morning found us at the dive shop, getting outfitted with wetsuits, masks, fins, etc. After fantastic PADI Scuba Refresher coursework and a skills dive with our delightful instructor, Adrian at Reef Seen, we were prepared to dive Menjangan Island the next day. We were both so glad we took the full refresher course, it was great to get back in the water, practice some buoyancy skills, and get our confidence back for a full day of diving on Saturday.

Breakfast view from our hotel in Pemuteran.

View from our hotel room in Pemuteran.

Menjangan Island is beautiful. It’s status as a national park ensures that the coral is thriving, we were both really taken aback by the different colors of hard and soft coral. Unfortunately don’t have an underwater camera, but thanks to a very generous guest on the boat, we have some photos of us getting ready to start our second dive. Yay!!

Almost ready.

Checking all my equipment.

I'm always the slow poke when it comes to getting ready.

I’m always the slow poke when it comes to getting ready.

Zev & I all geared up!

All geared up!

Swimming off through the jellyfish, ouch.

Swimming off through the jellyfish, ouch.

The diving was lovely, and although we didn’t see any big fish the different varieties of coral wafting in the current was really breathtaking and all of the tiny reef fish were so colorful flitting about in the clear water.

The ride back to Ubud was surprisingly painless, there was so much to see along the roadside, including fruit bats, Babi Guling (roast suckling pig), and overloaded scooters. We even stopped by a local community center to catch a children’s dance competition.

The sounds of gamelan drew us towards this adorable scene.

The sounds of gamelan drew us towards this adorable scene.

You know, transportation in Indonesia.

You know, transportation in Indonesia.

Another local delicacy, crocodile shaped cheese puffs.

Another local delicacy, crocodile shaped cheese puffs.

Fruit bats

Fruit bats.

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For the low price of $3, tourists can put the fruit bat on their crotch, we refrained. We’re on a budget, folks.

Roast sucking pick, which becomes the famous dish 'babi guling.'

Roast sucking pick, part of the famous dish ‘babi guling.’

Babi Guling

Babi guling, can’t get enough of this.