Friday, February 17, 2023

Muck Diving in Lembeh

 When I first heard of Muck diving I wondered why anyone would want to dive in the muck? Well, now I know, but I'm still not a fan. The Sulawesi area of Indonesia is known for it's biodiversity. There are more different kinds of critters here than just about anywhere in the world, and many of them are underwater. Also, many of them are tiny. They are sought after by people who like taking macro photography. You might find them in the corals, or sea fans, but you also find them in the black sand and the 'muck.' 

I was so excited to see a seahorse!! It is one of those critters that are often found in the "muck." I'd only seen one other in my entire 40 year diving career. On the next dive, we saw 3 of them! To see some of the macro photography from others in our group, check out Anna's shared photo album. - some amazing photography. Keep in mind most of the critters you see there are less than 1 inch in size.

We stayed at the Lembeh dive resort, which was heaven.

Lembeh Dive Resort - dive shop, camera shed, gear shed, right next to the dive boats waiting to take us Muck Diving.

Our room, down the garden path, up on the second floor

Inside our room at Lembeh Dive Resort

To give you some idea of where we are

It was a beautiful resort with delicious food. We each got a stall in the dive gear shed where we stored our gear in between dives. The staff would see to it that our tanks were set up and on the boat so all we had to do was put on our wetsuits and show up. The water is a wonderful 83 degrees. I was a little worried about climbing back up the ladder on these boats, but it turns out that they would let you take off your BC and tank in the water and they would haul that on board, so all you had to do was get yourself back on. Easy peasy.

Apres dive relaxation

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Your health is everything

You've heard it before,  you'll hear it again, and I'm here to add my two cents.  "Without your health, you have nothing"
We had a good sleep in the hotel in Bali, then grabbed our bags and headed back towards the airport to catch the 7 am flight to Manado. On the way we were walking on a shiny tiled corridor and trying to figure out which way to go. I was looking ahead, trying to read the sign by the next doorway and I didn't see the puddle of water.  I stepped right in it.  My feet instantly flew up and my butt crashed down. 
This is the second time I've fallen this year! And it's only February! 

I could get up and walk.  I was OK. But the fall definitely aggravated my already fragile knee, and it added a bruised hip. I determined to wear the knee brace I brought for an extra precaution.  
Our flight had an unscheduled change of planes in Makassar. While limping thru the terminal, you can bet that I scoured the floor ahead of me looking for any sign of slipperiness. And, I made Jim carry my little back pack for me.  
We made it to Manado in due time, as did our luggage, and a driver was there to meet us and take us to Thalassa resort. We were greeted with hearty smiles and escorted directly to a dining room because they figured we would be hungry.  Jim took one sip of water and had a strange look on his face.  There was nothing wrong with the water, but there seemed to be something wrong with him.  

The porch at our room in the jungle - Thalassa Dive Resort

We came here because Mom dove with Thalassa divers a couple times and made a video about her favorite tree in the world. That tree is no longer there, so I picked another and left some of her ashes there.
Mom's (new) Tree

We ate a little of the delicious food they offered but we actually weren't very hungry even though it had been more than 12 hours since we had eaten.  
Our room was down the hill.  I took it very, very slowly. I made it. As soon as we settled into our room,  Jim took over the bathroom and I heard all sorts of nasty sounds.  For the next 12 hours he was quite violently sick.  
So there we were, in the middle of the Indonesian jungle,  I could barely walk and he couldn't get far away from a toilet.  Why are we doing this? Why didn't we just stay in our comfortable home? What if he is really sick? What if I really can't walk? What will we do? 

Well, we made it thru the night. Jim still didn't feel well but the time between toilet visits was getting longer. I still couldn't walk well but, with the aid of the brace, and taking it slow, I could make it back up the hill to the dining room and had a little breakfast.  Jim didn't eat, and we went back to bed. 
I'm sure glad we had this extra day in advance to recuperate. By the time our ride showed up to take us to the dive resort, we were feeling nearly human. 

That was scary. It hit hard how important staying healthy is when you're traveling. Also I felt really bad that we didn't show up much because the resort staff and management were sooo nice. They wanted us to have a good time even though we were only there for one night. 

If you want luxury in the jungle - this is your place

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

To sleep, perchance to dream

We're getting ready to land in Bali after 2 long flights and one long layover.
Miami to Istanbul 11 hrs
Layover in Istanbul 9 hrs
Istanbul to Bali 12 hours.

I have no idea what time it is anywhere. I think it's Saturday
We choose to go with the flow rather than try to control our schedule. Shortly after the plane takes off they serve a full dinner meal and wine (regardless of what time it is). Then there are movies to watch and sleep to catch. They serve breakfast an hour or so before landing.
There was a time that I could sleep on a plane. That was many years ago. Last year we did three trips with long flights, Italy, UK and Maldives. We tried taking Tylenol PM, but it just didn't help. We also wandered around Dubai airport, thinking we could find a comfy lounge chair to catch some zzz's 😴. But that didn't happen. You don't want to start your vacation in a sleep deprived state. For Maldives I ended up catching cold that I mainly blame on the 15 hours in the airport. Lesson: it's worth getting a hotel room fort the night. I've seen info on 'sleeping pods' but they're rented by the hour but within certain ranges that have never made sense to me. 
Catching that cold meant that I stayed in bed for the first 3 days on the dive boat, missing at least 4 dives.
As we get older, I believe that sleep is more important than ever. Sleep is when your body heals itself. You can compensate for bad behavior, 🍷? With sufficient sleep. At home both Jim and I have become obsessed with our sleep stats provided by our watches. It's not just hours asleep, it's your heart rate, your blood oxygen rate, and something called ,'readiness'. I was hoping to get perfect scores for the two nights before travel but that didn't happen. Because of the problems with our tickets, we were a bit stressed and especially the night before. We could check in as of 10pm the night before. So we were up for 2-3 hours trying to get out worked out. We finally went back to sleep with Jim succeeding in getting a boarding pass. I had a certified ticket but still no seat. My watch told readiness was poor .
All this is to explain that this time we asked our doctor to prescribe some real sleeping pills. And I can now report, they worked! We're about to land after the second long flight. We took one pill each for both flights. We took it after the meal was served and we each got somewhere between 4 and 7 hours of real sleep YAY! 

My watch says my readiness is pretty good, I feel relaxed and clear headed. 

After landing in Bali, we do have a hotel room because our next, and last flight, is 12 hours away. It is just a 3 hour flight to our final destination, Manado.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

What a difference a space makes

On our passports, I am Christine L Guld and Jim's is James F Guld Jr.
Somewhere between our booking agent at Chase Travel and the airline records at Turkish Air, typos turned me into ChristineL Guld and Jim is James GuldJR

The lack of a space, apparently, makes us different people so that when we tried to check in, Turkish Airlines could not find any reservations. After a couple hours on the phone, Case Travel "fixed it" by cancelling our reservations and booking new ones. Two new ones, one for me and one for Jim. So now they are trying to seat us in distant areas of the plane. We were willing to pay more to choose seats next to each other, but the system would not process our credit card. "Try again later" it said. 
The flight leaves today, how much "later" should we wait?
And, this space issue is probably the reason why our frequent flyer numbers also don't match our travels. We flew Turkish air last year to Italy and we have no credit for that or the current trip. I'm afraid this will make us ineligible to use the Turkish air lounge in Istanbul during our 9 hour layover. 😞
My one remaining hope is that the sleeping pills we got will work and allow us to sleep on the plane. A good night's sleep πŸ’€πŸ›Œmakes everything ok.

Other than that, we’re all packed and ready to go. A kiss for luck and we’re on our way.

Blessed be the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.

First photo of 2023

All the beautiful places we've been, all the gorgeous photos we've taken. I saw a message on Twitter saying, post your first photo taken in 2023. Cool idea, let’s see what I have …

a photo of a swollen ankle!

We spent the New Year's weekend in Bimini with Sue and Nobert. We had a great time. Diving, drinking, walking on the beach, playing Catch Phrase, laughing, laughing, laughing. Solving the problems of the world, comparing notes on world travels. More diving, diving with Hammerhead sharks - really quite remarkable.


They're 20-25 years younger than us, they got up earlier and went to bed later. We let them alone on New Year's eve and had dinner on our own at the resort restaurant. We just had one glass of wine, so it wasn't the alcohol that pushed me down the stairs - it was just a simple trip - I missed the last step thinking it was the landing. Twisted my ankle and crunched my knee, ending up in a puddle on the deck. I was able to make it across the pool area and up the stairs to our room, took some aspirin and packed ice on  as I watched my ankle swell. I sat out the last day of diving and rested.
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?
It was an Epic weekend, I really had a great time.