Read the first part of Ann’s cruise in Indonesia here: Like a long awaited kiss…

 

The morning of their first full day onboard was filled with intense emotions. Adelaar’s guests have finally got back into the water. And what a water it was! The unequalled clear-blue-full-of-fish-and-colorful-coral reefs’ waters of Indonesia!

Every dive went by the book and surpassed their highest expectations. Chatting and laughing on the nice wooden deck of their beloved schooner, Adelaar, Ann and her friends live their best life.

The ultimate dining experience at sea

Now that hearts are full, it is time for stomachs to follow the same path with lunchtime! Wayan and Made – Adelaar’s kitchen legends – prepared a fresh crunchy Mediterranean salad, followed by some gourmet fish filet covered with a raw vegetables Julienne, accompanied by “nasi uduk”, a tasty Indonesian coconut rice. Presentation and savors are a delight to the eye and taste buds.

While relishing their meal, the happy group discuss the program of the afternoon. They all agree to take some rest first. Some tend towards napping on deck, while others can’t wait to check their underwater footage straight away. They decide to resume activities mid-afternoon and actually go on an on-water adventure – kayaking around the nearby island. “Does it mean no more diving for the day?” Ann asks. The cruise director said yesterday that the area is especially good for night diving. So after the promenade: night dive it is!

Relaxation & mind wandering

Gently bouncing on anchor, Adelaar rocks her still lightly jet-lagged guests to sleep. A couple of Brahmini kites fly over the boat. Ann observes them for a while, then dives again back into the fish identification bible she found in the boat’s library. Taking notes in her logbook, she wants to keep track of every new critter she encounters during the trip, describes their funny behavior, their looks and dances she loves to observe. Sometimes she finds them so weird and funny that she laughs in her regulator. She likes to interpret the scenes she observes as a sort of representation of a shy and stressed circus where “ to hunt or not to be hunted” would be the most popular play. She would like to remember these moments of pure Nature comedy or “underwater slapsticks” as she likes to call them.

Someone calls her from the indoor lounge area. She has to come and watch the best of the morning footage. It is indeed excellent. They cannot believe how stable the image is and how high the definition is nowadays. It’s been a long way since their first underwater images. They’re used to making a trip movie every time they travel together. “This one will definitely be BBC Nature material.” They laugh.

Kayak stroll for the surface interval

Their cruise director joins them with a map of the area. She calculated the circumference of the tiny looking island and their kayak ramble will actually be of about 3.2 kilometers. She says it will probably take a little less than 2 hours if they keep a good rhythm. The challenge sounds appealing. “Ok let’s do that. We’ll have stronger arms tomorrow, like Popeye”. They laugh again. Their laughter bursts pull the “nappers” away from Morpheus’ arms.

Time to get ready on deck. The crew brings the light embarkations. The dinghy will follow the troop from afar, carrying snorkel gear, cold water and first aid kit.

cruise Indonesia

On kayak and SUP the four friends start paddling away. They need to find the right rhythm. The captain follows them from the wheelhouse with the binoculars. A lot of laughs shatter in the distance. They follow the coastline composed of cliffs, mangroves and white sandy beaches. The scenery seems out of this World. The island looks lush, covered with coconut trees. They want to stop on the next beach and see if one of them is able to climb up one of these and pick up a coconut. This new goal triggers their competition flame and they sprint paddle to the beach. Adelaar’s chief engineer gives them some very useful tips. However they all joyfully fail not even getting higher than a meter and a half.

Then the chief demonstrates the skill. “It looks so easy!” They exclaim. The coconut tree is actually pretty high and they hold their breath until the acrobat has his two feet back on the soft sand. Reward: two coconuts! They decide to bow in front of the master coconut tree climber and go back to their initial circumnavigation project. Another fifty minutes of cadenced meditation and they are back to the boat. Cold towels and their infamous fresh coconuts (that’s Adelaar’s magic!) welcome them back home. And as they wouldn’t think it could get better: Nyoman, Adelaar’s steward, brings them a warm chocolate smelling tray of freshly baked crispy donuts. It’s snack time! Now they definitely feel like kids back from the playground. They take a few chocolate face selfies before heading to a warm shower.

Night dive in Indonesia

After the late afternoon break we count two divers up for the night dive. The other ones announced they would enjoy the sunset with a few drinks and wait for the brave ones to come back for dinner together.

Torches fully charged, tanks ready. The briefing says the site has to be dived like a treasure hunt, following carefully the dive guide in a triangle formation, eyes wide open, the first one who spots the little shinny eyes calls the other ones with a few light signals.

night dive

On the spot not even one minute after reaching the sandy slope, bang! a bobtail squid hovering next to a piece of sea grass. It’s the first time for the divers to meet one of these shiny colorful fellows. They stay mesmerized by the 2-centimeter critter. Little did they know it was just the beginning of an extraordinary sequence of unknown beings’ appearances. Here, there, everywhere is something special to look at. “ Hello weirdo! What are you?”

Back on the dinghy, dozens of questions are rushing: “What is this white fish with the big eyes looking up? What was this jellyfish-looking critter? Oh, and what was the one with the wings and the blue dot? And the black thing with the tentacles?” Enthusiasm at its highest. After dinner will be the time when our underwater Sherlocks go through the books, compare their fresh impressions with the pictures and investigate about their new findings.

The end of a perfect day

Warm towels and hot chocolate are part of the welcoming package on deck for the valiant night divers. What a delight! Highlights of the mesmerizing dive fuse under the stars. The other dry and already suited-up guests share the happy vibe while sipping their gin and tonics and enjoying the cool evening breeze.

A little while later dinner is served. Tonight our chefs treat our adventurers with Ribeye steak, steamed green beans, tiny sweet garden carrots and some homemade crispy French fries. Low-key soul music is in the air. Souvenirs of the day mixed together with good old time stories. The atmosphere is warm, the jokes crack between guests and crew, time seems suspended in the universe, Ann and her buddies philosophize about marine life somewhere maybe on an other planet where Epicurus must have been a diver or maybe a shark?

The exhilarating feeling of freedom slowly fades into that comforting urge to sleep after an eventful day at Sea. One after the other the friends rejoin their homey cabins. For sure tomorrow will be another one of those unbeatable days.

 

Lorine, underwater dream technician