I'm not entirely convinced this is a good thing, but I have access to the internet while I'm in Lembeh.
I used to relish being away from it all, with no phone, no fax, no TV, no radio and definitely no internet...but alas, modern civilisation(?) has reached this once remote corner of the planet.
Given the fact that I have net access, I'm going to try something new. I'm going to post updates while I'm here, instead of uploading a single, long post after I get back.
On the one hand, regular posts from location will be briefer and easier to read. Also, with periodic posts, I'm less likely to accidentally forget or mis-remember something.
On the other hand, I'll be in somewhat of a nitrogen-saturated daze as the days go by, so my writing may not be as organised as normal (I can hear the snide remarks, so there's no need to send them). Moreover, whatever I write from day to day won't reflect the perspective of thinking through a trip after the entire adventure is finished.
And finally, there's also a reasonable chance that increasing fatigue will result in fewer and more sporadic posts toward the end of my stay at Kasawari.
For better or for worse, here goes...
The first day or two of any dive trip is always a period of transition, especially after a hiatus of couple of months out of the water like I've just had.
First up...given all the camera junk I carry around, I usually borrow dive gear these days, even though I'd much prefer using my own regulator and BCD. Getting accustomed to new gear takes a couple of dives, as I find myself fumbling around, looking for phantom cords and buttons.
The BCD I'm using here doesn't have a dump valve where I'm used to having one, so on the first dive, it took a bit of ungainly flopping around and wild gesticulating to figure out how to descend...the mark of a truly experienced diver.
Once that problem was settled, I had to move my weights around to adjust trim, and then de-fog my mask a few times. No matter how many times I wash my mask or apply whatever solution that's guaranteed to prevent mask fogging...it fogs.
Next, one of my cameras indicated there the battery was flat, even though I checked it before packing, after landing, before inserting into the camera, after putting the camera into the housing, and right after I got into the water. Next time, I'll have to remember to check once more...though I'm sure it won't make the slightest bit of difference.
If there's one sure thing in life, it's that camera equipment will always malfunction. It's only a question of when, how often, for how long and how severe the problem is.
When I switched the battery out after the dive and put a new, fully charged battery, the problem disappeared, so it wasn't a big deal. Or so I thought, until the second dive, when the same thing happened again...just to piss me off. Aiyah.
By the third dive, I had fixed the problem (which is quite an achievement, considering that I never actually figured out what the problem was), and I had pretty much settled into the "groove", with all equipment functioning perfectly, and my familiarity with the borrowed BCD and regulator approaching an acceptable level.
Because I typically go through some version of what I described above at the beginning of every dive trip, I figure that the first day or two is a wash photographically.
I concentrate on testing the equipment...making sure strobes flash, cameras work, nothing leaks, etc...while not worrying too much about the actual pictures I take.
Tomorrow is still officially a "get back in the groove" day too, so I'm not too fussed about the how my photos turn out.
I shared my first few dives with a group of very nice people from the US, who are just winding up their trip. They're from an area near Seattle, where the water is cold and the octopuses are large.
I've been fortunate in my travels to meet incredibly nice people from all over the world. There've been a few strange ones here and there, but for the most part, divers are a pretty cool bunch of people.
...time to sleep and get ready for another day