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Excerpt from the Journal of Olds – Day 169-173 – Bali – Sanur

Our host Liam in Padangbai had advised us against Sanur nicknaming the place “snore” and remarking that it was just where the animals that frequented Kuta went when they got too old / had children. With scant few days before our departure for Oz all we were looking for was somewhere half-decent to hole-up for a last bit of luxury before the Aussie dollar destroyed us. Word on the wind was that Rob & Gilly were en route to Bali and a crossover was viable. Sanur would suit us just fine.

As always seems to happen when we do it our decision to roll into town with nowhere booked backfired and left us hunting for some time for something like what we’d hoped for. After a lot of walking and a research lunch Fi took a long walk to find Swastika Bungalows. The place had three pools and glorious air-conditioned rooms. It didn’t take much convincing.

We settled in and took a dip before mooching out later for some average cuisine and hitting the sack.

The next day I settled into journal writing and photo work while Fi spent the day by the pool. While there she got chatting with Tom & Erin from Port Douglas in Australia. Tom is originally from Brighton [like another, also legendary, Tom we met on these travels] but the two of them now reside an hour north of Cairns working on the dive boats that cover the finer parts of the Great Barrier Reef. Fi arranged to meet them later for a beer after dinner.

That evening I lined up the local delicacy – Baby Guling – for dinner which is basically stuffed baby pig. The restaurant we found serving it unfortunately managed to royally screw it up  – a shame as it should have been a sure-fire hit.

We met Tom & Erin in a cool sports bar later and played a couple games of doubles at pool [one game all and to date a tiebreaker has yet to be played] sank a few Bintangs and had a great time of it. The highlight was Tom’s Katy Perry karaoke as he blasted firework out for the audience – he’s a natural.

Rob & Gilly were due to arrive the following evening so I did a bit of recon and found that they could stay at the place next door and still have access to the facilities at Swastika. I then enjoyed some time by the pool and we organised a couple of dives for the next day – our first with Rob & Gilly.

As always it was fantastic when they finally arrived and after they’d settled in we met up with Tom & Erin and all made our way to the local night market for grub before Tom & Erin clocked off and the four Miltonians grabbed some beers, rolled back to ours, and had a good old fashioned watch of comedy TV on the laptop.

The next day we dived the USS Liberty wreck with Atlantis Divers. It was a shore dive which was a first for all of us and made for much comedy waddling as we struggled into the sea fully-laden with our gear. While the wreck was an impressive site to behold the first dive of the day was the worst I’d ever done – I made every single mistake it’s possible to make without actually dying. Gilly must’ve thought I had it in for her the number of times I either got in her way or outright kicked her in the face, I followed Fi to closely through a section of the wreck and ended up crashing when she stopped suddenly, and I almost ran out of air. Few things frustrate me more than my own incompetence and by the time we surfaced I was all but ready to pack diving in.

I resolved that things couldn’t get any worse and indeed the second dive was more pleasant. I had my teeth cleaned by cleaner shrimp and Rob stroked a Moray Eel before we spotted my first shark – a 3-foot and fairly small in general fella of a species I can’t remember who’s appearance was so fleeting Fi managed to miss it.

I was evening by the time we returned to Swastika but that didn’t stop us making a bee-line for the pool where beers flowed and acrobatics ensued. For dinner we hiked for what felt like an age until we found a great curry house where we stuffed ourselves silly.

The next day marked our last in Bali with an evening flight to Darwin lined up. We said our goodbyes to Tom & Erin, enjoyed some final pool time, failed to get a haircut and parted once again with Rob & Gilly. Australia awaits…