Lady Porter of Tulamben

The Lady Porter of Tulamben

by Mardia, AMD-B’s 2023 Divemaster Internship

In the 1980s, Tulamben beach was a tranquil haven that had yet to be discovered by tourists. At the time, hotels, restaurants, dive shops, and other facilities were scarce. However, the calm atmosphere changed when a vehicle carrying divers showed up. Several locals ran to meet the parked car, resulting in a commotion between the helpers, who were aiding in moving the diving equipment to the dive site.

Around 1983, a group of female helpers decided to organise themselves to prevent any more commotion. This group became known as the Lady Porters of Tulamben. These lady porters offer a unique service that makes it easier for divers to transport their scuba tanks and other diving equipment weighing up to 15 kg to the dive site. Since Tulamben’s beach is rocky, having this service available is incredibly convenient.


Lady Porter Organization

The lady porters of Tulamben became the unsung heroes of diving in Bali, and the diving community appreciated their service very much. They established a very successful system that included cooperative cash management in their community. For instance, the coop provided money during holidays to assist in paying for religious ceremony supplies, and they also succeeded in providing jobs for the villagers. Many female porters were able to provide their families with a better life by allowing their kids to attend school. In the 1990s, the women porters were officially organised as the Sekar Baruna Cooperative. The word ‘Sekar Baruna’ means either flowers from the sea or fortune from the sea.

Tulamben’s lady porters are renowned for their incredible strength and endurance. They are hard working, enthusiastic about their jobs, and always smiling. They take pride in their work and are always willing to go above and beyond to ensure divers have an enjoyable diving experience. One thing that distinguishes the lady porters is their sense of community. They work as a team, and this makes the lady porters a vital part of the Tulamben diving community.


Bali Topside Activities

Bali Topside Activities with AquaMarine

It is difficult to know where to start when listing Bali’s topside activities as they range from bird-watching walks and Balinese cookery courses to downhill cycling tours through Bali’s heartland and the ever-popular surfing as well as world-renowned golf courses. You can study puppetry or make your own batik sarong, learn the Balinese gamelan (xylophone) or try Balinese dancing.


Whitewater rafting is available and you can horseride on the beach or through the rice fields. Several companies offer Daytime and Dinner cruises. Watersports abound: fishing, wind-surfing, para-sailing, banana-boating.

These days Bali is the spa capital of Southeast Asia with many hotels boasting their own spas and many independent spas throughout the island. Holidays are the perfect time to indulge yourself: treatments for jetlag and sunburn are usually available!


Shopping and therefore bargaining (hard) is a way of life here, whether it’s for handicrafts, furniture, paintings, stone and wood carvings, fabric and soft furnishings, clothing, jewellery; whatever you need, it’s here in Bali. There are many cargo companies, too…

But perhaps the most enjoyable and educational activity of all is to learn about and experience Balinese culture. Deeply rooted in daily activities, ceremonies (such as tooth-filing) to mark each stage of this life can be witnessed all over the island. Visits to beautiful and spectacularly located temples are within 1-2 hours of most hotels in Bali.

Come and experience
The Island of the Gods for yourself
– you’ll find it hard to leave!

Silent Day Nyepi in Bali

Silent Day (a.k.a Nyepi) in Bali

We’ve all heard of Earth Day on 22 April but did you know Bali has its own ‘Earth Day’? It’s called Nyepi and always falls in March.
Exactly when in March? Well, Balinese Hinduism uses four different calendars … one is the Saka calendar which follows the lunar cycles. Nyepi is the day after the 9th new moon on the Saka calendar!

For Balinese Hindus, Nyepi is the start of a New Year. It is the day to leave behind last year’s misdoings and bad omens, and start a pure and positive year ahead. Offerings and prayers are made to ask for peace and tranquillity in the natural world.

From 06:00 on the day of Nyepi to 06:00 the following day, no-one goes outside. No work is done (yes, even AquaMarine Diving – Bali is closed!). No lights are allowed – meaning the night sky is stunning! – no energy is used at all. All ports and the airport are closed; flights rerouted so they don’t fly overhead. Even satellite television is off. It is a day for introspection.

3-4 days before Nyepi is the purification ceremony ‘Melasti’ which is dedicated to Sanghyang Widhi Wasa, the Supreme God of Balinese Hinduism. Thousands of people – all dressed in white – form a spectacular procession towards the ocean. They carry sacred objects from temples to be cleansed and purified, and collect holy seawater.


On the night before Nyepi is Pengerupukan, a ritual based on Balinese mythology. The goal is to scare away all evil spirits that have taken up residence in Bali in the past year.

In a relatively new ‘tradition’*, huge, very fearsome papiermache monsters called Ogoh-Ogoh are paraded through every village. These are accompanied by surging crowds with drums and firecrackers. Ogoh-Ogoh take weeks to design and build, and are a stunning sight!

The next day, Nyepi itself, with everyone staying quietly indoors, any evil spirits passing overhead believe Bali is deserted and continue on elsewhere.

*In the past, evil spirits were simply scared away by shouting, loud gamelan (Balinese music), and sticks holding burning coconuts.

I personally enjoy Nyepi. I don’t spend the day meditating, but I do read, take time to review my past, present and future. I often make pesto! Every year I notice the birdsong and buzzing insects. In the evening, before having an early night, I’ll use headphones to watch films on my tablet 🙂

In case you’re wondering: Village security (on foot and bicycle) ensure only emergency services are on the streets.

A stone megalith in the village of Trunyan shows Nyepi has been celebrated in Bali since 8th century AD.