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March 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 30, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Life and Death on the Reef

the tale of an Indonesia dive gone wrong in so many ways

from the March, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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After his stay at the Komodo Resort Diving Club -- which he reviewed in the previous article -- our correspondent, S.D., moved on to the next part of his dive trip, Lombok Island, right next door. But his experience there was like night and day, with a fatal turn at the end, as he explains below.

* * * * *

I will confess that I did less than stellar research on the island of Lombok prior to my arrival. I knew the southern part held diving treasures, but I thought it was too far from the airport -- it wasn't. I was looking at the wrong airport, the one that isn't used anymore. I thought that because the Living Asia Resort on the northwest side of Lombok, just north of Senggigi, had a satellite office for DSM Dive on its property that this was a selling point -- it wasn't. That it took me four separate attempts over several weeks to get an email confirmation for the days I wanted to dive should have been an indicator. That said, the Living Asia Resort facilities were nice, and their staff very attentive. However, I didn't research closely where we would be diving, the Gili Islands. Had I done so, I would have seen the warnings and steered clear.

Locals say that the reefs were in good shape 25 years ago. Today, the Gilis are a disaster area, at least the spots we dived. The reefs are fished out, dynamited to near death. The bones of dead coral lay everywhere, with pockets of living coral fighting for life. A few reef fish were scattered about here and there.

While there is much more to my story than the diving, to come from Komodo Island to this . . . well, I was shell shocked. I had four dives scheduled with DSM and seriously considered cancelling the second day. But then I saw my first ever blue ribbon eel. I started finding slugs, then mantis shrimp. A small eagle ray hovered in the currents. If I turned to muck diving, it wouldn't be a total 11 waste of time. I would just have to be patient. Then again, if I was planning a muck diving trip in Indonesia, I wouldn't come here. There are better places....

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