My alarm went off just before 6 am. I ask myself again, 'what are you doing? It's a holiday, sleep in.' I lay in bed for a few more moments, trying to decided what to do. Then I roll over, pull on my bikini, rash vest and shorts and tip-toe out the door. I'm going surfing!
I arrived in Bali the night before and finally got to our accommodation, Rapture Surfcamp at Padang Padang, just before midnight. Getting up before dawn wasn't ideal - but the idea of surfing was. I am nervous but excited. I'd been dreaming about this for months.
I meet the other surfers in my group, grab a board from the 'cupboard' and let the surf guides tie it up on the roof of the van. We then all pile in and head off on our reccie. I love seeing the countryside that was a blur of black the night before - we are far removed from the concrete city of Kuta.
After a squizz at Padang and Thomas, we head down to Jimbaran. Swell is big which means there are clean and small waves (perhaps 2 foot) over the reef. It's the perfect intro to my Bali surf trip. I laugh at the tourists pulling suitcases along the beach, a Japanese couple prancing through the shore break while making a home video, and an older gentleman trying hard to lift weights but looking like he was swatting flies. I'm sure I also give someone a laugh or two when crashing about in the waves. But hey, I have fun. And finally, I'm catching green, unbroken waves - something that has scared me before.
We surf til late morning then head back to camp. I'm buzzing. I love being out in the water and feel energised.
The following day we head out around 9 am. Swell is still big, and we struggle to find somewhere for beginners. We look at Padang, Thomas, Balangan, Nusa Dua 1 and Nusa Dua 2 before heading back to Thomas for lunch and wait for the high tide. Finally, we get in the waves at 2 pm and have a blast. I catch some good waves, and get slammed by some ultra good ones that I was silly enough to try for. The reef, which we had been told would not be a problem, was suddenly best mates with me.
When not surfing I laze by the pool - swimming, practicing duck dives on a board, reading and chatting to new friends (plus my friends from home). I'm sure I gave some guests another laugh too. Diving into the pool one afternoon, my bikini bottoms slipped right down. I was quick to get them back up but, embarrassing. I pop up at the other end of the pool with a squeal, spinning around to see a few smirks on faces looking my way.
As the sun lowers, we head out to Uluwatu's Single Fin or nearby bar for a few sundowners while watching the surfers in the big swell. Who said eleven people couldn't fit in one eight seater van?
One night, on a whim, after everyone else had gone out, my friend and I decide to meet them at Single Fin - touted as 'the place' to go on the Bukit. Arriving, I'm intrigued by the sight of a multi-level nightclub jam packed with (mainly) young tourists wanting to pick up. I haven't been in this environment for a long time - being wife and mum to two children. It doesn't keep me still for long, though. Two songs in, and I'm dancing away. We then find some others from camp and join jiggy-bopping forces. Shame it shuts at 1 am and we only arrive about 11.30pm. The bartender laughed at me when I asked if there was anywhere else to go.
Next morning, I get to have a look at the photos taken while we were out surfing. I have never laughed so hard at myself! There is a large stack of images of me - and nearly all of them have me in a pose that looks like I'm hovering over a toilet while holding my nose. I should get copies of them and make a 'funny board' for when I need a pick me up.
It'd also make an awesome reminder of surf, sun and fun at Rapture Surfcamps Padang.