Just after midnight I wake up and rush to the bathroom to find that my ass has discovered how to piss. This neat trick combined with an odd pain in my upper abdomen keep me awake until almost 4AM. Clearly I have caught a strain of super-malaria that is overpowering my hallucinogenic anti-malaria meds. I will die soon. This angers me b/c I'd very much been looking forward to diving. I finally pass out.
Alarm goes off at 6. I feel a bit better. I hope the stomach will be appeased with an offering of scrambled eggs and coffee. It grudgingly accepts. I am non optimistic about the day.
We head to the lobby to get a ride to the dive shop and meet a Swiss family that tells us they are also on our dive trip. We all pile into a van and get dropped off at a dock. It turns out the Swiss are sabotuers. We are not diving with them and we have been led to the wrong place by their vile lies. Fortunately, we are able to find the boat we're supposed to be on and they radio to the dive shop.
We get delayed a while before leaving the dock. Apparently the harbor master has decided today would be a good day to inspect this dive boat. Apparently he also decided to do this on his own leisurely schedule. After about an hour, the dive operators are able to postpone the inspection and we're off.
I don't have pictures from the dives and I don't think I can really do them just with words, but all 3 dives were great. The first one was in a current where manta rays swim upstream to feed. As soon as we jumped off the boat we looked down to see 2 mantas hanging out. We descended and watched them and for the next hour we probably went no more than 5 minutes w/o at least 1 manta swimming within view. The divemaster said afterward that it was probably the best manta dive he'd seen.
The 2nd dive was along a rock face between two strong currents. The narrow calm patch afforded by the rock was home to coral and a ridiculous number of bright colored fish. It seemed fake. Like swimming in a screen saver. Also there were some giant sea turtles searching for food amongst the coral.
Dive 3 was in a really strong current. We used hooks to attach ourselves to the rocks on the bottom to avoid being dragged away or burning all our oxygen fighting the stream. Securely attached to the bottom, we just watched schools of larger fish swim by. The spot reminded me of a highway for fish, with tons of them just passing through. Much bigger stuff hung out here- there were at least 3 sharks visible at one time.
When we came up after the third dive, two of the divemasters immediately dove back in. While getting out of our gear we learned that the propeller had fallen off and the divemasters were hoping to find it. They did not find it. So now we were stuck a few hours from harbor without a prop on the main motor. There was a secondary motor, so we weren't quite marooned, but the 'few' hours on the main motor suddenly became more like '8' hours on the back up.
Fortunately, our diving was already done for the day so no one was very upset. Really, hanging out on a boat in the tropics isn't exactly the worst fate. So we puttered along toward the harbor while the captain radioed in and tried to arrange a tow or shuttle. Finally a little while after dark a speed boat arrived to take the divers in ahead of the boat and crew.
At first it was kind of amusing riding in the small speed boat like shipwreck survivors or something. But after a while, sitting in cramped quarters in the dark with cold ocean water continuously splattering your face stops being adventurous and just becomes uncomfortable. Still, it did get us back to Labuan Bajo hours ahead of dive boat.
The dive shop had ordered food for us and after the trip, drying off and getting a hot meal definitely hit the spot.