I recently stayed at Holiday Resort, Lombok and took the opportunity to dive with the Blue Marlin Dive Sengiggi team who have an office at the resort. I managed to squeeze in 5 days diving with them - all around the Gili Islands. I was very spoilt in that they just have Sengiggi guests on their boat, so it was small groups each day. As I was already certified, doing dives for fun not training I was very spoilt in that three of the days I was lucky enough to have a guide to myself, and the other two days I only had to share the guide with 1-2 other experienced divers.
As my brother was travelling with me, and was contemplating doing a Discover Scuba if his previously strained ankle came right, I was watching carefully each day how the team handled themselves (I didnt want to encourage my bro to do his first dive with them if I didnt have confidence in the team as my own 'Discover Scuba' experience with another crew was awful and had it not been for an awesome first experience a year earlier I would never have continued to become certified). I have seen them with the open water students and discover scuba guests and was very impressed with the attentiveness of Stuart and Paul in their interactions with these new divers. Dive sites were carefully explained, the days plan outlined to everyone. It was also the first time I have been on a trip catering for divers and snorkellers, but it was managed very well, and the snorkellers had their own guide and options were clearly given for when the boat had to collect divers. I also spoke to each of the OW students, discover scuba and snorkelling guests at the end of the day about their experience, and they all raved about how safe they felt and how much they enjoyed the experience. Unfortunately, the bro's ankle didnt get strong enough so he didnt do the DSD, but he was keen to do it with this team, having seen them in action himself doing briefings etc on the ride over to Gili Trawangan.
In the 10 dives, there were only two sites I went to twice, but with different currents, they were different dive experiences anyway. I was a little disappointed in the lack of colour of the corals after viewing photos online on various websites, but the marine life more than made up for it. I particularly enjoyed seeing my first school of feeding humphead parrotfish, loads of turtles and a couple of sharks. I also really enjoyed the dive out the front of the beach where the various dive operators have created structures to grow corals on - can see it will be amazing and is already teeming with life and corals taking off.
My many thanks to Stuart, Paul and Dave for making every trip an awesome experience with their friendliness and professionalism. Thanks also to the boat men who assisted us in and out of the water, making the whole experience hassle free and easy.
If there was one slight negative it was the lunch break - and this is a BMD Gili Trawangan issue really. While each day it was made clear to us by Stuart we were under no obligation at all to eat at the BMD restaurant I chose to do so. The food was awesome and well priced, but the service was slow. We were on a 1-1.5hr lunch break and a couple of times it was a good 15-20 mins before someone took our order (I eventually worked out we are better to just order at the bar on arrival) and the food didnt come out fast. While we had always finished (sometimes just) in time for the boat leaving for the afternoon dive (and I know they would have waited anyway), I would prefer to have had lunch and time for it to settle before going on another dive. Perhaps Stuart, the Gili T waiter team could be made specifically aware of our arrival if we have chosen to eat there, so that our orders are underway promptly? It really was the only thing that bugged me in the 5 days.
Overall, an awesome team I will recommend to anyone coming your way.
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