september has been really fun for me. first i 'celebrated' my 21st birthday on a boat in the middle of the sea between Indramayu and Biawak island, and it only gets better: right now i'm in Labuan Bajo, NTT, doing an internship with MantaWatch and supported by the Guy's Trust Foundation. both of them are based in UK. and as you can see by the name of the organization, yes, they are specialized in manta rays. and yes, i will be (well hopefully) diving with mantas a lot. from the second i applied for this internship i knew that i would be having a blast. no kidding. my first day with them, we spend a night in Bali and i got the chance to go to a shark sanctuary in Serangan Island, and actually swam with them! never i my teenage life that i thought i would ever swam with a shark! well i know they're only reef sharks, but hey, shark's a shark.
of course the excitement didn't end there. by the time i got to Labuan Bajo, i went straight into the water after a day break exploring the town and settling in. the first dive that i did here was to refresh some underwater techniques such as mask clearing and regulator recovery and just to be comfortable in the water. second dive that i did was the following day, the same spot which is in Bidadari Island. but this second dive is to know how well we are to take a picture underwater (of course i got my own camera, lend by MantaWatch) and to experiment and to get familiar with the camere we're using.
my third and fourth dive were probably the most exciting dive i've ever done because i saw 4 mantas in total with one that was really huge and swimming just a few feet from me! if only i could swim away with it, i probably would and turn myself to a mermaid. but that wasn't just the reason though. i encountered some animals that i've never seen before such as cuttlefish and leaf scorpion fish. last but not least, and may i say, the cherry on top, was the drift diving. i'm not a fan of strong underwater current, but after i just let the current take me, i started to feel more relaxed.
by the way, if you're wondering about the 'we' i mentioned above, that's because for the next four weeks i'm going to be accompanied by Andy and Laura (MantaWatch staff) and my fellow intern, Ichsan who happens to be my classmate from marine science.