After I got certified, I heard rumors that being a volunteer police diver meant that I could get called anytime to retrieve dead bodies and we freaked out! As soon as I had saved enough money, I re-certified myself with a Japanese dive agency ADS International. Phew…
1. How you started
Back in 1995, I went with a group of students from my university to Semak Daun Island (off the coast of Jakarta, the Indonesian capital city) to attend a turtle conservation program. One of the lecturers for the program was a diver and I had never seen scuba equipment before in my life so I was very intrigued! When he asked “Now who wants to try scuba diving?”, my best friend and I were first in the queue. I spent only 10 minutes at 5m but what a wonderful 10 minutes it was! I remember vividly kneeling on the sand, not knowing where to look as there were so many colourful fish swimming past. After we left the island, we tried to find an instructor but at the time, most dive centers offered courses in US dollars, out of our student pocket reach. We were then introduced to a senior police diver who was willing to certify us as “volunteer police diver” for a small fee, so that's how I became a diver.
PS. After I got certified, I heard rumors that being a volunteer police diver meant that I could get called anytime to retrieve dead bodies and I freaked out! As soon as I had saved enough money, I re-certified myself with a Japanese dive agency ADS International. Phew…
2. Top dive/s
Jackson Reef (Strait of Tiran) in the Red Sea, Egypt in Oct 2003. We were dropped in the middle of the blue ocean and were immediately surrounded by hammerhead sharks (my dive buddy counted 26).
3. Top wreck dive/s
I'm not an overly big fan of wrecks but of the very few wrecks I've been I like Liberty in Tulamben, Bali the best. Thistlegorm in the Red Sea is a close second.
4. Night dive/s
I'm not a big fan of night dive either but mostly because I get really cold. Even in tropical Indonesia I still get cold in a 5mm wetsuit! But night diving Mandarin Point in Pemuteran, Bali was very memorable as I got to see the mandarin fish mating ritual.
5. Most scary dive/s
When I drowned! I lived in Norway for 3 years but never actually dived there (too cold!). Towards the end of my stay there a couple of my good friends thought I should not leave the country without diving its water. So they put me in a drysuit (it was November so the water was about 7 degrees celcius) and we dived the fjord. To keep long story short, I got air in my foot pocket, got upside down, lost my regulator, rolling around uncontrollably in the water so I couldn't relocate my regulator and I thought that's it I'm gone. Just as I was about to lose consciousness I saw the blue inflator button on my BCD in the corner of my eye. I don't remember actually pressing it but I obviously did because I came about on the surface with an inflated BCD. I stopped diving for 10 years afterwards but here I am now, back underwater! 🙂
6. Weirdest buddy
Luckily I have never dived with a weird buddy!
7. Favourite piece of equipment
Not a standard dive equipment but I never dive without either a marine radio or a PLB. Yes, even at Shelly Beach and Clifton Garden haha…
8. Favourite buddy
My best friend, Mimi Damwyk. We did our first dive together, we did our certification together and we always dived together until I moved to Australia.
9. The best days diving ever!
When the water is warmer than 25 degrees Celsius.