Tuesday, 14 January 2014

It’s water Lindy: A swim in Kupang

Don’t worry Borut Strel, DiveKupangDive is not your next swim tour competitor! I’m in Kupang, in West Timor Indonesia for work. I’m here for ten days staying at  T-More Hotel (T-Less I called it) working at the nearby university. I only move between the hotel and the University. At every moment in the near distance  I can see the turquoise tropical sea without the means to get there. It was not possible to walk, there are no taxis and the psychotic bemos manned by crackers teenagers are not an option. The hotel advertises a company that runs diving and snorkelling day trips. Salvation at hand! I’d been in Kupang over a week and no swimming.  By this stage water was the priority and concerns I usually have about boat trips (toilets) disappeared from my head.  I booked in for Sunday and I started to get excited.

The organiser, Donavan,  an Australian turned Kupangese picked me up at 7:30 on Sunday morning  fag in mouth. We drove to a small street stall where I had gave him the trip fee (cash) so he could then go and buy breakfast takeaways for the skipper. Hmm… is this normal practice? It’s water Lindy, forget it. Arriving at the jetty we waited for the two other trippers to turn up, a lovely Javanese  couple who had learned to dive a few months ago. I stood on the shore trying to guess which of the boats would be ours. Yes, it was the scabby one that looked like an asylum seeker vessel that plies these waters between Indonesia and Australia. No seats, and certainly no toilet! It’s water Lindy, it’s water.

Aside from us three trippers there was Donovan, his ten year old son and two boatmen. There was no waiver to sign, no insurance, no warnings about the dangers of ocean swimming. It’s still water Lindy. We headed off towards the nearest island, Monkey Island and anchored off the reef. Sadly we passed swathes of floating rubbish as we chugged along.  The three divers kitted up, leaving me and the ten year old. Hmm.. ‘If I get into trouble……?’ ‘The boatmen they can’t swim but the boy can’ replied Donovan.  Right. It’s water.  I jumped it. Oh did it feel good! It was wonderful! Said son followed me, a lovely lad but a poor swimmer and a crap snorkeler. He needed help a couple of times. I lent him my magic floating flippers which helped a bit. I wasn’t charged any extra for babysitting. services. But the snorkelling was very pretty. I saw lots of fish normally found in a heated aquarium. Certainly not seen in Sydney or, dare I say it, British waters. I saw sea cucumbers, beautiful blue starfish, clown fish, flying fish and some lovely coral. I got rid of the voluminous wetsuit given to me and spent an hour snorkelling and swimming. I then went for two more snorkelling swims and I have to say although not awe inspiring it was lovely.

On the divers second dive I watched and waited for the divers to come up, they were 15 minutes late and a storm was brewing. It was at this point I reviewed the wisdom of my decision to do this trip and I started to woryy about what if…. But up they came, the storm did not happen for a couple of hours and we reached port safely.  I really enjoyed the snorkelling but I don’t think DiveKupangDive is not quite ready for exacting German tourists.


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