Spearfishing in Bali

I’m writing this blog because I’m in the hotel, and I’m in the hotel (rather than spearfishing) because I lost my gun yesterday.

There’s not too much info about spear fishing here, and not too much I can add. Having asked lots of people here, nobody seems to know whether it’s legal or not. One dive centre I went to in benoa:

‘hi, do you take people spearfishing?’
‘spear guns? Yes I have! I have!’
(he shows me two 4ft very home made spear guns)
‘great, can we go?’
(speaks to his mate, who is playing bubble breaker)
‘no it’s illegal; I take you scuba banana boat special price?!’

But balidives.com maintain it’s legal with no restrictions except marine parks, and i think it’s obscure enough (although locals do it) that it’s far from the cops’ radar.

Anyway it’s not cheap to go with the lovely mr Toron and his friends, who took me out around sanur as I didn’t have all day free (apparently spearfishing on honeymoon = faux pas). It was fun, and much as I extoll the virtues of smaller guns, it was cool to use a six foot long triple banded bazooka.
The gun was attached to a float (bodyboard) and the water warm enough to not wear a wetsuit. We went to about five sites around sanur, never more than about half a mile out, with depths of between 15 and 40 feet.

I barely saw any big fish, anything over about 20cm. Took a couple of shots at the biggest of the small fish and disintegrated them with the rocket launcher, and my guide (mr torons brother) got one small fish. Bit disappointing, but you get used to expensive failed missions in sports like hunting and fishing, and I was only out for about 2 and a half hours.

Just as we were about to go in, we did a drift dive and I made the mistake of taking my own 55cm pneumatic (given the small fish) which wasn’t attached to a bodyboard. A deep shot pinned a fish to a coral, and the gun was stuck. As I tried to dive back down to get it, the current was so strong I could only helplessly see it disappear from view as I drifted away from it. We took a couple more passes at it but only saw it once more and same thing happened; the currents in Bali are really powerful in places, like a fast flowing river.

Sucks! But oh well, lesson learned; attach the gun to the float, especially when its deep or strong currents.

I might have gone back to nusa dua where I saw loads of big unicorn fish not far from the beach, which are good to eat apparently. Although having witnessed the force of the sea here I’d be wary of diving alone, even near the shore.

So I’m not really any wiser about spear fishing here, only that it costs a fortune. I’m really amazed balidives charges 175 US dollars for a day on a traditional fishing boat, when you consider the cost of living here is low (to put it into perspective, the average wage in Bali


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