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August 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 29, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Geko Dive, Bali, Indonesia

five-star muck and reef diving for all budgets

from the August, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver:

After an intensive dive trip on the Bilikiki for 10 days (for a full review of the Solomon Island vessel, see Undercurrent's May 2012 issue), my dive buddy and I planned a couple's retreat to Bali to wallow in tasteful luxury, dive a bit and relax before heading home. In fact, if you dive anywhere in Indonesia, Bali is a must stop.

Our hotel of choice was Amankila. Its location on the east coast, near the town of Manggis, places it near choice diving, and the hilly terrain, gorgeous three-tier infinity pool, scrumptious food, warm service and personal spa services provide the ultimate antidote to the rigors of liveaboard living, no matter how terrific. (Indeed, I love the Bilikiki. This was my third trip, and Daniela and Csaba, the new cruise leaders, are probably the vessel's best ever.) At the Denpasar airport, a delegate from Amankila whisked us through immigration and customs (an expedited visa is US$25 a person). Ninety minutes later, we arrived at our digs (some celebrities, I understand, take a helicopter to avoid the drive), and two beautiful young girls in elegant local garb offered floral blessings as the English-speaking staff welcomed us.

Geko Dive's Sea StarDiving in east Bali, particularly at nearby sites like Nusa Penida, Amed, Seraya, Tulamben, Manta Point and Padang Bai, is part of the draw of Amankila. Unlike the hotels in touristy Nusa Dua or Kuta, this location puts you within 15 minutes of many dive sites -- and it's an hour to the revered diving at Tulamben. In the past, I always used the excellent Aquamarine Diving, but this time I let Amankila arrange our diving with Geko Dive, the oldest shop on the east coast. It's owned by European expats Cedric Saveuse, Olivia Harding and James Rees, and they offer diving from the Nusa Penida area to Tulamben. It's a serious operation that even offers tech diving courses. I asked James for pure muck diving because we had done so much pelagic diving in the Solomons, so he selected a partially built and abandoned jetty in Padang Bai, less than 10 minutes by boat from the dive shop. A treasure trove for muck divers. I could easily spend three dives a day for two weeks at this site alone....

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