The Captain's Tale
Captain & Son
My story really starts in the North East of England towards the end of the Thatcher years. A time of recession and hardship for a young lad fresh out of college clutching diploma's in design, photography & video in his hands. Three years of dole queues and volunteer work later my path crossed that of a crusty sea dog named Ernest and his wayward wench Kath. They showed me the ways beneath the sea, filling my heart and imagination with tall tales of distant lands and wondrous reefs.
But the day came when they could skipper their own ship once again and they left for distant lands.
Bereft of guidance I drifted in the doldrums of depression till word came "Come out and join our crew, we have a bunk awaiting you in Lombok." So with nothing to hold me back I set forth on a quest for adventure and new hope.
My apprenticeship on the gili's as a divemaster, gave me a thorough grounding in the art of skippering a divebase. I learnt the importance of professionalism, safety and above all having fun.
Inspired by my time in the Gili's I returned to the UK determined to chart my own course and one day captain a base of my own.
Many years and thousands of dives have past since that time. I've crewed divebases in the Mediterranean and over the past ten years I've captained and crewed divecentres for a mixed bag of merchants, rogues and adventurers in Pemuteran, NW Bali.
But I never lost sight of the star that guided my dreams, I've just patiently worked, learned and awaited my own tall ship.
Towards the end of 2005 I met Kerry and his wife Sue, a kindred spirit and patron to the cause. Kerry understood the dream of 'a tall ship and a star to sail her by.' And thus a partnership was born.
It's taken a long time to reach this point in the journey, with many adventures, trials and misfortunes along the way. To say I've lived through interesting times would be an understatement. But now the voyage continues and we captain a vessel of our own making.
Sea Rovers Divecentre is our tall ship and the star that guides us is the desire to build a dive business that we ourselves would want to dive with. Where safety is taken care of and we don't need to worry. A dive boat that is more space than divers with small groups and personal service. A place that cares about the environment I dive in as the norm and not just as a publicity gimmick. But above all this, a fun friendly atmosphere with people who enjoy what they are doing and it's not just a job.
Paul M Turley, a Sea Rover and British diver in Bali.
As a young lad Made Parma waited tables in 'Labuan Lalang' A seedy port where dive safari's barter passage to one of the Jewels of North West Bali's diving 'Menjangan Island. Yearning for the sea he became a skipper for one of the numerous ferries for hire.
At the end of the 90's he move to a more illustrious locale and became skipper for the now defunct 'David's Dive Sport' at Matahari Beach Resort and Spa, which is where our paths crossed for the first time. When I moved in to manage the dive base Made had already worked his way through the ranks and was a dive guide. We worked together for almost five years before the base was sold out from underneath us to the notorious 'Werner Lau' dive chain.
Not being compatible with the mentality of new owners I moved on to calmer seas, but Made stayed.
But like with all my old crew we remained friends and when after a couple of years the opportunity came for him to jump ship and rejoin his Captain in his new venture. Well the rest is history.
Made has been guiding groups in this area for the last 8yrs, he has a keen eye and a love for the environment. When asked what he likes about diving he answer in his usual calm manner "Good fun and the environment beneath the sea."
Wayan Subratha moved to Pemuteran for work back in 95, working tables and reception for Pondok Sari Resort, Wayan dreamed of better things.
In 97 I came to Pemuteran for the first time and opened the now also defunct Archipelago dive (note that the defunct bit always comes after I leave. Strange that? The Captain.) Wayan joined the crew as receptionist and soon became an invaluable asset and firm friend.
At that time however Wayan could not swim let alone dive. But his abilities in handling guests and personality made me think this was a future divemaster. Now if I could just get rid of that look of terror when entering the water, we'd be quids in.
A couple of years later I couldn't get him out of the water for love nor money. Since that day Wayan has been a keen diver and has become a very experienced Divemaster.
When asked what he likes about diving he said "Diving is fun, finding new stuff and meeting new people".
Nakhoda (or Captain) Abdul Rohim A salty sea lover since day one. In his own words "Since small child has drank sea water." Father a fisherman and his fathers before him, born on the beach with sea air in his lung on his first breathe. Do I need to say anymore?
From the age of 11yrs Abdul was out fishing with his father. From 2001-05 Abdul crewed on one of the large fishing vessels trawling the length and breath of Indonesia. He's sailed up to Sulawasi, through the Kangeans and across to Flores. But in 2005, which is when our paths first crossed, he looked for something better paid and closer to home in order to help his family.
I met him when I was doing the training for the 'Pemuteran, Reef Gardeners'. Fifteen fishermen from the for local Nelayan (fishing associations) were trained to dive with funding from Aus Aid and initiated by local dive entrepreneur and good friend Chris Brown. Idea being to teach the local fishermen a new way of looking at the environment by teaching them about its protection. Which turned into a full time job for six of the trainees.
Unfortunately Abdul dropped out after doing his PADI open water diver certification. He'd been offered a land based job at a local shrimp farm. But the love of the sea that flows through his veins won out and when I asked the local Nelayan to send candidates for the post of skipper for the 'Vicious Guppy' he applied. When asked why he wanted to be a Sea Rover he answered "I love the sea and am not happy working on land, plus I want to learn a new career."
Good enough and welcome aboard lad!
Compressor Boy Botac
Mr Botac, or Wayan Budiarta is the junior of the bunch. Like Abdul a fisherman born, he grew up on the beach in Pemuteran and fished with his family.
Sea Rovers is his first real job and he's doing it well. He's been told the choice is his, Divemaster, Ships Captain or Compressor Boy up to him, the opportunity is there to learn.
Still practicing his English, so please help him and encourage him into the conversations.
Watch this space to see how his career develops ;-)
Reception Wench Ditta
Aah... the pretty young Miss Nyoman Noviaditta Krishna Dewi, or Ditta to the family and Aunty to my son. Yep, Nepotism, this is Bali after all.
Ditta has worked as a waitress in Kuta, Ubud, shop assistant, nanny to expat brats and any number of tourist related jobs a young lass can have down the south of Bali.
But Sea Rovers needed a receptionist, someone whose smile could woo the guests better than the crusty seadog's that make up me and the crew. Never short of that smile or friendliness, Ditta has become indispensible in keeping us shipshape and organised.
Rest of the crews tales coming as new crew arrive.