Have you ever heard that Eagles song, ‘Hotel California’ – it has a line it. It goes ‘you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave’? Well I think that song was written about Blue Corner Dive in Lembongan. OK yes, I know it was actually written about a mental hospital in the States, but there are definitely some similarities, seriously, stick with me here, I’m going somewhere with this…
After travelling around as much as I have, and in the disorganized, unplanned manner that has become my life, you come to learn that everything happens for a reason. And that’s why, after a series of unexpected events and random
advice, my partner and I ended up on a boat to Lembongan, an island neither of us had ever heard of before a few days previous. We had a flight booked to Australia for the following week and decided on a friend’s recommendation to spend the interim time doing a few fun dives with BCD. We hadn’t dived since our advanced course in Thailand earlier in the year and were excited to get back into the water. That afternoon was spent in the pool drinking Bintangs and thinking what a sweet setup they had here – an infinity pool right on the beach, a fully stocked equipment shed, some lovely authentic bungalows, and most importantly, a bar filled with ice cold beers! But it wasn’t just the surroundings that were blowing us away, it was the people too. The dive shop is run by two Canadian boys and staffed mostly by locals from either the island itself or other parts of Indonesia, as well as this core group there was also a group of guys from all over the world doing various courses, some long term, some just there for the week. All in all they were really welcoming and made the place feel like home.
The next four days fulfilled everything we could have hoped. We went out bright and early every morning, steadily making our way through some of the beautiful dive sites Lembongan and its neighbouring island Penida had to offer. I thought I’d enjoyed my diving in Thailand, but after just a few dives off Lembongan they had pretty much been wiped from my memory to make room for all the fantastic things we saw in that first week. I won’t lie to you a lot of it was as foreign to me as if aliens had landed in the Ocean that day. But it didn’t matter that I had no idea what i was looking at, that i didn’t know what the difference between a moray eel and a ribbon eel was, that when i was pointed out a scorpion fish i was blindly looking around for something that actually resembled a scorpion (silly!) or that i had no clue what this fabled Mola Mola was. None of that mattered because it was all pointed out for me by the fantastic guides, no one mocked my ignorance of the marine world or made me feel silly for asking about a million questions once we got back on the boat. Instead They made the effort to show me the fish ID book when we got back to land, reminding me what it was we’d just seen and inadvertently fuelling a love for diving and the underwater world that I never knew I had.
But we didn’t just dive. We drank Bintangs in the pool, we watched sunsets, we went out for some delicious island grub and we scooted about on our hired moped. In short, we were in heaven. But, as is life, all good things must come to an end; our flight to Australia, to the real world, was looming fast and ominous like a storm cloud on the horizon. To cheers us up some of our new found friends took us to the larger island attached to Lembongan for lunch. Over Nasi Goreng we reminisced about the last few days and soaked in the panoramic view of the ocean; with the sun shining overhead and the seaweed farms laid out below us like underwater allotments i swear to god i could have cried at the thought of leaving.
Now I feel I should sidebar here to let you know that I’m not an emotional wreck who has a breakdown every time i leave a place I’ve enjoyed, I just can’t explain how much like home Lembongan had started to feel like in just a few short days. And who could blame me, who would want to leave an island paradise, where there’s some of the world’s best diving, where the people are super friendly and your day can be filled with anything from stand up paddle boarding, to surfing, to cliff jumping, or maybe just sitting on a bean bag with a good book! (Guess which one i partook in!?)
So it was here, in this tiny warung that I was given then best bit of advice I’d ever received whilst travelling (apart from the obvious, toilet related gems of course!) ‘So, if you love it so much, why are you leaving? Why don’t you just stay and do your Dive Master?’ Why not indeed? I think it was said as a joke. It was definitely taken as a joke at first. But then…why not? We could afford it – just about. We didn’t want to leave, so what was stopping us? Money…that’s never a good enough reason. Flights….they were dirt cheap anyway. Sticking to the Plan….nah! So off we went to speak to the boys about what the Dive Master course entailed, how much longer we could drag out this paradise existence and what sort of damage it would do to our bank account.
And the rest, as they say, is history. We spent the next few months learning all there is to know about the world of professional diving. We went on some of the most awe-inspiring dives, we studied, we played, we taught, and most importantly we put off that mythical beast, ‘the real world’ for as long as physically possible!
And that’s my story of Blue Corner Dive. A bit cheesy, perhaps, but a damn good time was had by all, and it definately won’t be my last visit!