It’s been a while since our last blog post. There are plenty of good reasons for that, but even more silly excuses. So, let’s get down to it. 2019 was besides, two nice holidays also a stressful year with important, but good, decisions and a lot of changes personally and professionally. Becoming self-employed after being on the pay roll for almost 20 years, was not an easy decision, but so far it was the only right one. Although it’s a little scary to have to take care of everything yourself, it’s also one of the most liberating and satisfying feelings in the world to be in charge of your own life again. In 2019 we also got the GO to continue a leather craft course in ‘Lokeren’ and to seriously boost our bag making skills. We are delighted to have the opportunity to still learn so much new stuff.
COMING HOME IN BALI
We really enjoyed our trip in South-East Asia in 2018 and especially loved our last two relaxing weeks in Bali at the time, so it was an easy decision to return there in April/May for two more weeks of good weather, chilling and diving. We like new adventures but sometimes it’s good to just return to nice spots you have been before and visit ‘friends’, both old and new. It felt exactly like that, it felt like coming home. Besides the long journey, it was like we didn’t leave from Amed at all. We arrived quite late in the evening, had a quick dinner and went to bed straight away. The next day we were in the Bali rhythm, unpacking our stuff, gearing up for diving the day after. Relaxing. We had booked a room at Adventure Divers like we did last time, it all felt very familiar. We took some goodies with us, Easter eggs for the staff, some ham, sausage and cheese for the owners and dive instructors.
This time we rented a scooter for almost the entire trip, which gave us even more freedom. Have dinner in the evening a little further away, taking long and relaxing Balinese massages, and on an occasional non diving day we just drove along and saw what crossed our path. Exquisite views, fresh fish and chips at the Japanese shipwreck, breakfast and swimming at an infinity pool with a breath-taking view on the ocean.
Besides all of that we of course went diving for a day or ten or eleven. Amazing macro stuff, dived the Liberty wreck again, had the same dive guide, Komang – the one with the Deus cap 😉 every day. The groups were as usual small we were diving by the tree or maximum five of us. We made some great pictures and movies. We really enjoy the underwater macro life in Indonesia.
Besides all the fun stuff we also had some serious conversations.
By the end of our trip the decision was made, Leen would quit her job and become self-employed. Simple as that.
EGYPT: WRECKS & REEFS OF THE NORTH & EL GOUNA
We really hate to return from a holiday without having plans for a next one, so even before we went to Bali, we had decided to go on a liveaboard with some of the dive buddies we met along previous trips. The ‘fantastic 4 (which became MI6) and nemo’ were going to meet Dory in Hurghada. So, we ended the really hot summer in Belgium with a check mark on Leen’s bucket list, a liveaboard in the Red Sea. Since matching five agendas is quite challenging we started planning for the trip already at Duikvaker in February. The more since liveaboards have the nasty habit of departing at pre-set times J We finally choose a trip called wrecks and reefs of the north with Emperor divers which went from Hurghada starting on the 30th of August and went all the way to Sharm and back. The rest of our buddies being Dutch (Wim, Leo, Michel and Stan), we flew in on different flights, but some of us still ended up on the same airport transfer bus. It’s a small world we live in. We got an upper deck cabin with a double bed, a bathroom and a well-functioning aircon. Not everyone likes a liveaboard, it’s not like you can go out for a walk or anything, it’s diving, eating, sleeping and beers and banter, most of the time. Twenty-one dives in seven days, can actually be quite exhausting, but relaxing in the same time. You don’t have to worry about food, about what to wear for dinner, heck you don’t even have Internet connection most of the journey. It’s this mixture of underwater adventure, exiting stuff to see, friends, food, laughter that made it to a very nice experience. Before we knew it, the week was over, luckily, we booked an extra week in El Gouna to chill down some more and go some dayboat diving. Honestly, we were a little afraid that diving in Hurghada would be disappointing because we went to Port Ghalib before, but on the contrary, Hurghada really surprised us in a pleasant way. Although the dive spots were sometimes further away than in Port Ghalib the underwater life and the quality of the coral was good! We saw dolphins, although filmed with a blurry spot in the middle.
After these two weeks, we stayed at Luke’s & Tracy’s place for two more nights.
Ghalib, their Jack Russell, was absolutely happy we kept on throwing him his ball over and over again. Luke kept up to his two-year-old promise to learn to drink whiskey. That happens when you challenge Leen J She was so afraid to learn to dive, but even more stubborn to let that get in the way.
Before we knew it, we were back home and life as a ‘fully self-employed couple’ started :-).
Having said this, in a week’s time our next adventure starts. Heading for Borneo, rainforest, Mabul, Sipadan and visiting Stina after four years. Good times ahead!