Accessible Vacationing - and SCUBA Diving - in Bali

10.22.2017
a woman smiling
Curated by
Denile Doyle
Content via Disability Horizons
Source: 
Disability Horizons
Curated by
Denile Doyle

Srin is a world traveler who recently visited Singapore and Bali with his friend Andrew, and scuba-dived in the Bali Sea. Singapore was the final leg of his trip, before he went back to work.

Srin booked his flights through Singapore Airlines, and was impressed with their outstanding service. He spent three days in Singapore before heading to Bali. Srin describes Singapore as highly accessible, and says, “the facilities for wheelchair users are as good (or even better) as anything you could find in Europe or the U.S.”

Srin had no difficulty finding accessible transport or accommodations. He easily found a hotel room with a roll-in shower, and discovered that public transportation in Singapore was wheelchair accessible. He saved money by using public transport instead of booking taxis for every outing.

After Singapore, Srin headed to Bali, where accessible transport and accommodations are less readily available. Fortunately, Bali Access Travel (BAT) provided a wheelchair accessible van, and directed them to hotels with adapted rooms. When they weren’t relaxing at the beach, Srin and Andrew explored Bali’s mountains, and visited the Kintanami Volcano and Mount Agung. They arranged an adapted diving session with BAT, who connected them with Bali International Diving Professionals (BIDP).

scuba diver

When diving day finally arrived, the men headed to a small-town resort in Tulamben, a diving site popular for its shipwreck. The dive site was on the other side of Bali, so BAT recommended an accessible rental where Srin and Andrew spent their two nights in Tulamben.

“When we arranged the dive, in all honesty we had no idea what to expect!”

BIDP provided Srin and Andrew with assistants, who helped them navigate large stairways at the resort with portable ramps. Upon reaching the beach, Srin and Andrew received tutorials and safety procedures. Srin found this information particularly useful, and adds, “This tutorial also included learning some all important key hand gestures to indicate if there was something wrong!”

With the help of his aids, Srin changed into his wetsuit – which took some getting used to – then a team of six Balinese men and his PA, Jozef, moved him to the water. His two diving instructors were already in the water waiting to outfit him with oxygen tanks. His team handed him safely over to his instructors, who attached his oxygen tanks, before leading him underwater.

“We then slowly went underwater with one of the instructors holding on to me, and the other always in front of me to check I was ok and able to equalise the pressure in my ears.”

scuba divers surrounded by fish

Srin describes the initial experience as exhilarating and exciting. At the onset, Srin’s instructors maintained shallow dives, and when they sensed he was comfortable, they descended further. At five metres below sea level, Srin describes the serenity he felt while surrounded by oceanlife, “The sea life was so colourful and beautiful, and I felt the most bizarre sense of tranquillity just watching shoals of fish swim past me.”

Srin appreciated the weightlessness under water, which allowed him to move his arms and legs.

“Apart from when I am asleep, I am always in my wheelchair, so it was a great feeling to escape the confines of my wheelchair and have the freedom to move my body.”

Srin’s dive culminated in a view of the shipwreck, which he calls “an unbelievable sight as it was teeming with coral and sea life.” When he returned to the surface, Srin’s helpers lifted him out of the water and onto dry land, where he returned to his wheelchair.

Srin plans to earn basic diver certification and he looks forward to diving again. He encourages other wheelchair users, who meet the medical requirements, to give scuba-diving a try, and promises you’re in for a thrilling and exciting experience!

What adventures have you engaged in while vacationing? Share your story, and you may be featured on AbleThrive!

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