Backpacking again.

By | February 11, 2012

Pulau Weh: I had gone here with the intention to stay just 4 days. I ended up staying 4 months. I had started diving here. I had finished my Dive master course here. I had “worked” as a guide here afterwards (free diving and nasi but no payment). I fell in love with diving here. but by now, I was starting to grow a little weary. I missed my friends from Siantar and wanted to see them again.
So I said goodbye and left the island. Originally I had planned to go backpacking back through the center of Sumatera, and I decided to do it by visiting a bunch of couch surfers. What is couch surfing? It’s like a social network for people who travel. You can find out about it here.
The first couch surfer I met was in Bandah Atjeh. Her name was Ria. She and her friends showed me around the city, and because I had already seen a bunch of attractions in Bandah Atjeh when I first went there, they took me out of the city to visit a series of waterworks. We all swam there and just had a good time.
They gave me contacts from other couch surfers who resided in the next place I was going to and went with me to the bus counter to get a bus ticket. I said goodbye and the next morning I left for Takengon.
Takengon was the only place so far I actually spend the night at a couch surfer’s home. The man was called Win Rudi, and he lived in a small house together with his family. There was a table/plateau which doubled as my bed. Occasionally he had some couch surfers visit him. He was also a journalist/photographer and the proud owner of a small coffeeshop. Even though I don’t drink usually coffee, he made me a gajo cappucino coffee which made any other coffee I ever tasted seem even more like ehmmm…. something quite untasty :P.

Win and his family/

Turned out he had a friend who was a diving instructor who lived there as well. He asked if I wanted to see him and try a dive there in lake Tawar (Danau Tawar). Sure! Sounds like fun. So he brought me to the edge of the lake, a small boat picked me up and brought me to a fish farm they were working on and I met his friend. After some talking, an other boat came with a single scuba unit. I only had my dive computer and my fins with me, as I didn’t have any other gear yet. The scuba unit consisted of a single tank which was half full, a first stage with only the primary regulator for the second stage, and an old mares BCD. The instructor only had one set, and trouble with his sinuses (which means he can’t equalize his airspaces/ears, which means he can’t dive). So I went down alone, in a “dive-site” I did not know, for the first time at altitude, in the worst visibility I ever had, with half a tank of air, and only one regulator. That breaks about every rule in the book!

It wasn’t as bad as I make it sound though. It did break about every rule, but I didn’t go very deep (10 m), there was one guy snorkeling above me just in case (even though I doubt he could see me down there) and I only stayed for 15 minutes. After the initial anxiety of “fuck it, I can’t see anything, where the hell am I? How deep am I?” It turned into a rather boring dive. Still, you don’t know that before you try it, so I am really happy I tried it.
Turned out there is actually a much nicer divesite there with wrecks from the war, at about 12 m deep, but the visibility was too bad to go there now or they didn’t have time or something… Maybe next time.

In Takengon.

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