Monthly Archives: October 2013

Back In Sydney …

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So I am back in Sydney and there is a bit of mixed feelings to be back. I miss Indonesia, my family, my friends and just the general atmosphere of the people BUT I am happy there is no more traffic, almost no pollution and I am just minutes away from the beach. I am also happy that the Sydney summer is to be upon us very soon. I feel like I have three hometowns, Jakarta, Bandung and Sydney and they are all special in their own way.

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I flew back to Sydney at 10:45pm but got to the airport at about 8 and was at the gate by 8:30 so it was a long wait until the flight and as usual, I get there early, sit nice and comfortably by the gate and it changes in the last 45 mins :( bit of a walk to the new gate but whatever, this always happens and im used to it so … all cool :)

Flight was nice and easy because I slept most of the way and was really looking forward to going straight to the beach that morning. When the plane landed I had a quick checkout, no customs checked my luggage, because I had nothing to declare and it took all of about 20 mins.

I called up my mate Damir and he was already waiting near by. First thing we did was to go straight to the beach. I wanted that cold water on my skin, i wanted to get wet with the ocean water and feel that cool refreshing feeling that is at least a two hour boat ride in Indonesia. I didn’t have a towel but I had everything else. I took my clothes of in the car park and put on my shorts and and was ready to go. No wetsuit … need to get used to the cold water climate again !

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IMG_1091I started by doing some warmups by the rocks next to the water and then went straight in once I was done ! The water was 19 degrees ! Warmer by our standards here in Australia but freezing by Indonesian standards. I thought it would take some time to get used to it again but once the water hit my skin, i remembered the feeling and was in the water for 4hrs with only small breaks in between.

After the dives I was freezing, the wind was strong and my legs were sore because I couldn’t get back into shore from the normal diving ramp which was closer, I had to swim all the way to the beach because the seas were rough and trying to get out from the ramp would definitely mean cuts and bruises as you got banged onto the wall by the heavy waves. It’s quite dangerous at times and this ramp is probably lacking some hand rails to keep it safe for people getting in and out.

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After our swim Damir prepared the best meal ! Roast chicken marinated in soy sauce and apple vinegar over night, with the freshest salad. So filling and very healthy (nice tasting too).

As i stared out onto the water and smelt the sand and salt in my nose whilst getting hit by ocean spray it occured to me … Ahh yes, this is why I also love sydney :) And why I can call Sydney home too.

After the beach I went to darling harbour and just layed down on the road like a BUM at the warf. People were looking at me but who cares :) I was comfortable and the weather was nice. If they thought I was weird for lying on the road like a bum thats just fine with me :P

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I’ll be going back to Indonesia soon to continue working on our business, but for now, whilst I am here, I am going to make the best of Sydney’s summer and remind myself about why I love sydney and why i felt lucky to be brought up here

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The sun, surf, beaches, water and weather, so close to where I am …. yep thats why I love sydney also.

Explorers Event “Temu Pejalan Bandung” @ Bandung – Hosted By Eiger Adventure

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So I had to travel to Bandung to do a few things with my family just prior to going back to Australia this Thursday and it so happens that at the same time I am supposed to be in Bandung there was an event for backpackers, Adventurers and travellers hosted by Eiger. Eiger is a retail outlet that basically has all the outdoor gear any backpacker, hiker, Adventurer or traveller could need from shoes, to bags, watches and other utilities and essentials. They sponsored the event so it was located in their Bandung outlet.

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I was told about this event by the top guys from Bandung Freediving whom I have trained, travelled and joined up with here in Indonesia. I thought whilst I am in Bandung I should go and see what the larger travelling and adventure community was all about and in attendance were groups from

Each of the groups gave a really good background of what their focus was and what they set out to achieve within their communities. The Bandung freedivers created a cool video that nicely represents what freediving encompasses in terms of equipment and disciplines but away from all the seriousness the video also showed the kind of fun that happens during the training sessions and when everyone is out on the open water.

Found the Way from Backpacker Bandung on Vimeo.

What I enjoyed most about the talk sessions were the videos that were created as the culmination of a months travel by members from backpackers & Bandung freediving that clearly shows the rich and beautiful landscape that Indonesia has to offer. Scenes from high mountain tops viewing the clouds in the cool air, to Free diver’s hovering above shipwrecks deep within the indonesian seas through to walking amongst the trees really shows the diversity of the indonesian landscape when you decide to travel a bit out of town.

The phrase from the video by Christian Morgenstern “Home is not where you live but where they understand you” is what I have also felt to be true since I was very small, hence living in Australia for over 20 years should make it home and it is in many ways, though there is something just not quite right and I always need to be back in Indonesia to feel completely at home … yes traffic sucks, yes there is a lot of pollution etc etc & bla bla bla but it still feels like home to me because of the people that I know :)

Credits to this video go to : Desah, Rida for editing & backpackers Indonesia (Bandung Region) for filming !

Adventures, travellers and divers all usually have one thing in common and that is, they want to spread the love and share their experiences travelling with their friends and family. Sometimes friends and family may have difficulties travelling the unbeaten path as a result of health issues or maybe want to know what is out there but would rather experience the unbeaten path from the comfort of a couch viewed all on a computer screen (which is fine also, not everyone can travel :) ).

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So that we travellers are able to share our experiences with others who would much rather see the world from a screen (whether in the form of images, videos or writing) there were also talks on how to write more effectively which for me really helps as from time to time I like to write and hopefully not bore the readers :)

There was also talks about how to take those special pictures that are prize winning and capture that special moment that tells a story from just a single shot. Finally, there was an interesting talk about how to create documentaries and WHY we create documentaries. I have always had an interest in creating documentaries and actually have a few amateur ones myself on this blog, so taking tips from professionals was a nice surprise addition to cap of the nights presentations.

Presentations were done by :

It was a great session and since my indonesian isn’t perfect I had to really listen and pay attention to understand what was said but I understood all of it and will try to implement what I learnt in my writing, videos and pictures when I can :)  The night really showed me a different side of what I am used to here in Indonesia as I have been more a part of the city scene. If only I knew about this side of things when I was stationed in Indonesia as an expat 4 years ago, how things might have been different ;) .

Invitation to event temu pejalan bandung

Also got a great little phone pouch out of it from eiger so this will definitely come in handy. Great job on all the organisers from Eiger & Backpackers Indonesia Bandung Region” and hopefully will see meet on the unbeaten path on land or in the WATER !

Documentary – Pulau Harapan (Free Diving Trip)

So last weekend I went away again on a nice trip to Pulau Seribu. This time however I decided to plan my trip exactly as I wanted it. By this I knew that what we wanted to do was go to all the different islands in the area. We didn’t want to do any banana boating, or sight seeing on the island its self. The main goal was to jump in the water and dive !

The way I arranged the trip was I told our organiser Pak Wawai that all I needed was accommodation, food for the two days and boat rental that could take us to anywhere we wanted within the area. Usually the packets they have include many other activities but we were not really interested because wanted to spend +8 hours in the water.

Pak Wawai was a great host and organised everything for us with a really nice boat driver who did a bit of free diving with us also. So in total this is what the packet included

  • Ferry ride from Muara Angke to Pulau Harapan (via Pulau Pramuka)
  • Accommodation at a pretty decent place in Pulau Harapan (decent as in it had showers, AC and bed :P ) if your expecting 5 star accommodation you will be disappointed :)
  • All the food and water for breakfast lunch dinner for the first day and then breakfast and lunch again for the second day. Dinner also included normal dinner and a BBQ with fresh fish.
  • Boat hire for 2 whole days to go where ever we wanted

For two people 2 days 1 night this whole arrangement cost $59 AUD which would be about $57 or so USD and Rp600,000. This however was for only two people and the price radically decreases as you add people to the trip. With a group of 4 it could be around Rp450,000 – Rp500,000 depending on what you do.

Day 1 of the trip 

The trip as usual started in Muara Angke and stopped of at Pulau Pramuka before docking in Pulau Harapan. We then didn’t waste any time through our gear into our cabin and jumped straight onto the boats.

Pulau Seribu Fish

From there we just went island hopping and went diving around the whole area. The water was really nice in comparison to Pulau Pramuka and was really much cleaner, bluer and had much better wild life. We managed to capture big schools of fish, turtles and other wild life all around.

After all the diving was completed we went to an Island called Pulau Pasir which is basically just a sand island right in the middle of the ocean ! It was beautiful, we made it there just in time for the sunset and was watching the sun go down whilst sitting in warm clear waters waist deep ! It was magical and awesome and freaking cheap too ! In the middle of the island there was a small stall where we could get some snacks and drinks :)

At night we were toasted because we were at a dance party on the Friday (Dj Tiesto party) and just danced the night away till 4 and headed straight for the island at 6 (yeah insane) diving like this is dangerous BTW so we didn’t force ourselves to much. So that night we crashed really early. At about 10 Pak Wawai woke us up to tell us that our BBQ dinner was ready. We ate it half asleep and zombie like then headed straight for the sack right after and slept nicely from about 11pm – 5am. Best sleep ever !

Day 2 of the trip 

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Day 2 of the trip was simple ! We got our gear at 6:30 jumped on the boat again and spent the whole day in Pulau Perak. We stayed there for about 4-5 hrs and then had to leave to go back to Jakarta.

One of the highlights is on the way back to our ferries there are lots of little kids swimming in the beach and they ask for coins, so we throw them coins and they dive down to get the coins. Maybe there are so future freedivers being cultivated here :)

We finally arrived back in jakarta and had to use the usual tuktuk vehicle which is a motorbike front end connected to a passenger cabin at the back. We where the only two passengers and all the people who knew the driver was giving him a hard time because of it LOL :) It was a great trip and I learnt that up north the islands are so much nicer and much better for diving.

I will probably explore Pulau seribu a few more times to get to know more of the remote areas and do some camping but once I have done that, it will be time to explore other parts of Indonesia’s great diving sites.

Catch you guys till then :)

Free Diving – Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands) – (Kayu Angin, Gentang, Macan, Tongkeng and Belintang)

So we had more freediving fun in Pulau seribu. Not much else around jakarta when you want a quick get away from the hustle and bustle !

Even though Pulau seribu is close to get to from Jakarta its not to say its not an awesome place to go and do some free diving and to just generally relax. This time Mark and I headed of to Pulau Harapan as our main island. From Pulau Harapan we threw all our gear into our cabin and rented a boat for two days just dedicated to taking us to all the different islands within the Vicinity so we could have a diving buffet !

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Boy was that the right choice. We just went from Island to island,enjoyed all the different coral in each of the areas and swam with fishes, turtles and other marine life. In comparison to say Pulau Pramuka, Pulau Harapan was much cleaner much nicer and the accommodation was slightly better. What I also liked more was the food so good job to Pak Wawai and team :)

Pulau seribu - Pulau Perak - Fish

The boat that we hired was dedicated just for us and took us between Kayu Angin, Gentang, Macan, Tong Keng and Belintang. There were so many beautiful islands next to each other and unique in their own way, specially in how the ridges fell into the deep, the fish and the coral.

I would have to say that first day diving was alot better because we were there past 10 and the sun started to angle better into the water so it was much more clearer then the second day. On the second day we were at the dive site by 6 because we had to leave much earlier for Jakarta so we left by about 10:30 just as the sun was getting better.

We also visited an island called Pulau Pasir or sand island which I have to say is rightly named so. This island is just a sand island right in the middle of the ocean, its a picture perfect image of paradise on what I would call a super tight budget. You can view more about that in the documentary of the trip i created that should be posted in the “ocean” section of my blog.

Again, another weekend well spent away from the traffic jam, malls and the hustle and bustle of Jakarta’s normal lifestyle. Thank heavens for Pulau Seribu .. enabling us a way to get away to paradise for a weekend to do some diving on a super tight budget !

Love Indonesia … I hope they take care of these islands and ensure they stay beautiful and affordable for future generations.

Free diving Pulau Seribu

Stig Severinsen’s Awesome new Guiness record – 250 feet under the ice in speedo’s !

Stig just achieved the impossible again ! He just swam 250 feet in speedos under the ice ! He is an absolute legend. What I really like about Stig is he is not just about free diving but about relating free diving and the benefits grained from the training to deal with everyday life.

It may seem like holding your breathe for minutes at a time couldn’t be further from what our everyday life entails but in reality there is so much to be learnt and gained from understanding what goes behind a breath hold that everyone should at least understand the principles and give the basics a go, specially the relaxation and mind calming exercises :)

I initially found Stig’s material online by accident when I was trying to learn how to breathe better for my normal morning swims. Watching his videos on Ted TV, reading his Breathology Academy material, then eventually purchasing the Breathology e-book really opened my eyes to the possibilities of the human body. From that point on I was hooked on free diving and was consistently trying to understand what Stig was doing to achieve his results. Stig said he could train anyone to achieve great results and I was excited to learn …

So on top of producing great learning material that everyone can benefit from, not just people who want to freedive, Stig is still cracking records and doing the impossible. I can’t say much more then congratulations on smashing another impossible feat and showing its actually possible, thanks for introducing free diving to so many people including myself.

Keep up the good work Stig and keep doing the impossible :)

About One year since Free Diving …

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Freediving in Pulau Pramuka

So its been about one year since I have been free diving actively and it has been one hell of a journey and an eye opening experience for me ! I am so happy that I discovered the sport and will continue to enjoy the water through free diving for many years to come :)

I have always loved the water and being a sydney sider, summer for as long as I can remember always involved going onto the beach. Whether in that particular year it was just to swim, body surf or to body board, we always had fun at the beach, summer was always something to look forward too. We would enter summer all white and pasty and come out of summer all dark and tanned. Every year was the same and it was awesome.

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Beautiful sunrise at shelly beach – Sydney Australia

When I started running BlipADeal & HotDiskon I was able to arrange my own time and spent every morning before work swimming laps at shelly beach rock pools in sydney’s Cronulla beach, which is about 20-30 mins drive from where I live. After swimming for about 8 months in the pools I wanted to find ways to optimise breathing and after some research Damir (my friend who every morning would also join me for the swim) and I discovered free diving.

After watching one of Stig Severinsons talks on ted TV I was totally astounded by what he could do and how he could enjoy the water in such a spectacular way. It seemed impossible but he was doing it and he said he was able to train people to do it also ! I was hooked. The morning swims became all about breathe holding, swimming underwater and just getting more comfortable. Since then I have learnt and experienced many things that I think have really changed how I feel both mentally and physically.

My Fat Ass & my cute little sis on her birthday :)

My Fat Ass & my cute little sis on her birthday :)

The most noticeable of all the changes has been my weight ! Before I started swimming and free diving I was one heavy dude ! I was about 87 kilos of fat and my height is only about 5’7 :) I had a bit of muscle but I was a big boy. After I started to dive and do the various different training techniques required to get better at the sport I lost about 20+ kilos to date. The main thing isn’t the weight but its the fact that I feel better then I did when I was in my very early 20′s and in my very early 20′s I was one fit guy doing lots of sports. Now 10 years later, as a result of this weight loss my wardrobe just got bigger by 20 pairs of jeans that I have collected over the last 10 years (which when I look at their size was getting bigger each year) :P wooohoooo how awesome is that ! No more bandung factory outlet shopping for me anymore LOL …

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Veges, Seafood, Meats

I have learnt a lot about the body. Reading about what happens to the body during apnea, to understanding how our body uses oxygen, what the effects of pressure are on our bodies and what happens during blackouts, its all been a great learning experience. Above all that I also learnt about how to eat right so the body is more efficient and more healthy. Im sure as I do more formal free diving education and more reading about the sport I will again learn more about human physiology & for me learning is always fun !

Now I am also more calm in stressful situations and currently with running a business getting stressed about all sorts of things is a common event. By remembering what its like to be under the water and staying calm and relaxed when your 60+ feet below the surface of the ocean, some of that calmness can be brought into daily life and can help ease some of the stress by bringing up glimpses of the same frame of mind.

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Pulau Harapan sunrise

I have managed to see so many new parts of the world that I never even thought about visiting before I started free diving. When your free diving you do what you can to get close to the water and this usually leads you to look at new and wonderful places to get a new underwater experience and explore nature at its finest. This leads you to camping and going on trips you never thought about before and it gets you closer to nature.

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Finally but surely not the least, I have met so many new friends along the way :) From other free divers that you meet at dive sites and share a dive with on a given day, to the teachers who show you how to be safe to groups and communities of free divers that you hang with its been a great way to get to know people who also love the water as much as you do.

It’s been a really positive change and being a complete geek who sits in front of the computer all day working with code, math and logic its been a really nice way to contrast the day. Open air, fresh sea water in the morning followed by a quiet time in front of the computer from the afternoon to the evening :) In the next few months I plan on getting the next level certification if I get the chance so hopefully it will allow me to understand more about the body, more about how to go deeper, be safer and enjoy the ocean in a whole new different way.1384211_722836544399354_788054513_nSo stay safe & have fun in the water everyone !

Free Diving – Pulau Perak in Pulau Seribu – (Silver island @ thousand islands) – Indonesia

I am reaching my last few days here in Indonesia and managed to get one last new visit to the thousand islands. My good mate Mark had a free weekend which got opened up due to relatives not being able to visit on their planned date. When this happens and you have a free weekend what do you do ? Naturally where else would you go other then Pulau Seribu :P It’s perfect , its cheap and its fun !

I will describe the actual trip, the logistics of how to get there and the location we were at in a later post when I create a mini documentary about the whole trip but in this specific entry I will just talk about Pulau Perak or (Silver island) and the free diving experience there :)

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There are many ways to reach Pulau Perak depending on which island you reside on. In this particular trip I stayed at Pulau Harapan or (Hope Island) and would boat to all the different islands in the location. Pulau Perak looks to be an uninhabited island accept for a small hut right on the shore. I asked our boat driver if we were able to camp on the island and he said it was possible. In the future when I come to the thousand islands I might bring my camping gear just to spice it up. This way we can catch our own food and cook it on the open fire in a beautiful oceanic, natural island setting.

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The diving site was just of the coast of the island. We boated a little past the island and continued on into a sandy patch right in the middle of Pulau Perak and another island. Along side the sandy patch there was lots of great coral and the wildlife was alive and busy. Whats sad is because it was morning the angle of the sun didn’t penetrate the water as it would during the day so the pictures (accept those taken right on the surface) don’t do the underwater scenery justice.

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We basically started in the middle of the sand bank and made our way to the steep ridge drop offs which seemed to have the most life and best looking coral. As a customary dive I usually try to dive to the bottom just to gauge the depth. On the first dive I went all the way to the bottom of the ridge and it seemed to be about 17m – 20m in depth. The water had about 10m visibility so it wasn’t great but it wasn’t terrible either. For camera work though, it doesn’t turn out to great at anything past 10m.

As usual the water was above 26 degrees Celsius and just completely warm for my standards. I was thinking about putting my wetsuit on but when the guide told us its not jelly fish season yet I didn’t bother. Having the water on your skin just feels so great and without a wetsuit you just feel more free to move. We did however get stung a couple of times by some tiny jelly fish but whatever … it wasn’t to bad so we just ignored it and kept diving throughout the day.

This was the second day of our trip so we could not stay to long as the boat was about to depart from the docks at the main Harapan island were we stayed at 1:00pm. We got up at about 5:30 that morning to check out the sunrise and arrived on the Pulau Perak at about 6:30 after having something small to eat and packing our gear. This allowed us about a good solid 4hrs so we were happy.

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Mark had done some training and was looking to try to get to some depths this time and managed to get to what looked like about 5-6 meters. Not to bad and it seemed most of the things people have issues with such as kicking down (and not floating up all the time) and equalisation was not a problem. I think a bit of breathe hold training (Not in the water on your own mate) is enough to get some good depth :) After this we can do some real exploration down the depths :P

Freaking great weekend and the weather was perfect ! Next time I visit these islands might bring camping gear. It will reduce the cost of the weekend dramatically from $60 AUD to probably $15 AUD ! A whole weekend of fun in an sunny island setting, with white sands, blue waters and perfect weather for $15 – $60 AUD ? Where else but Indonesia !

Love my country, love the people and I hope you enjoy the video !

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