Our story began in 2008.
I moved to Amed in February of that year, after having spent most of my twenties in the music industry, both as a touring/recording musician and working for an underground music label, with the intention to dive as much as possible as well as managing the Puri Wirata resort. It was a new step for me, new things to learn, new environment, new everything.
Puri Wirata, owned by Pak Ketut was going through some changes with the addition of 5 villas (15 rooms) which would double the capacity of the resort and make it what it is today, so money was tight. Times were very different back then, there was barely any internet, booking.com and other online platforms only came to this area years and years later, so the only customers we would get back then was through word of mouth, some local agents and through our old school website. Access to email still happened with dial in line. I’m sure you all remember the sound of dialling in to make that connection. There was already a dive center at the resort, but besides a car, 13 tanks and a few sets of gear, it wasn’t much. But with soon to be 30 rooms and potentially a lot more guests at the resort, this wasn’t going to cut it. Long story short, money was short so a deal was made between Pak Ketut and myself. I still had some money saved and had an Amplifier back home I could sell and all that went into buying more equipment and upgrading the dive center in general.
Our team back then was just 3 people. Gede was doing equipment, Alit was the divemaster and me as Instructor. It was all very DIY and small scaled.
All our profits the first year, if there were any, went into upgrading equipment, getting additional tanks, we got our Nitrox blending panel, got a new car, added Siong for equipment while Gede also becomes DM. And then in 2009, PADI upgraded us to a PADI 5 star resort. First one in Amed, reward for a year of hard work and constant improvements.
In 2010 Tom came on board as our instructor and later moved to dive center manager and this is also the time when we changed the name of the dive center from Puri Wirata dive to Bali Reef Divers. So 2010 is when Bali Reef Divers officially came to be. This was a big change for us and when things started to kick off. Tom designed and upgraded the logo, we upgraded our standards, learned from our initial mistakes and gradually tried to improve and become better at what we do.
Since 2010, we’ve gone from strength to strength, added new people to our team, sometimes people left for new challenges but most have stayed with us for a long time now. Siong, Benny, Komang Tulamben, Komang .Com, Gede Tulamben and Darta have all been with us for many years now. Some have taken up new roles, have become instructor or dive guide, after starting off as equipment crew or driver. In the recent years, our current team took shape when Anna came on board as manager in Amed in 2006 and then there’s Sari, Gentong, Rudox, Ary, Dharma, Wayan and Botol who all complete our 15 man permanent team.
In 2012 we opened up a branch of the Dive Center in Tulamben, at one of Pak Ketut’s other accommodations. When that got sold, we moved to our current location in Tulamben in 2014.
Now in 2020, we will also open our brand-new Kura Kura Divers Lodge in Amed, another big step forward for us, allowing us to expand again and providing more jobs for local Balinese.
Our aim has never been to be the biggest Dive Center. We always focussed on offering quality at correct, affordable prices. Whether that is diving, our resorts/accommodation or restaurant. Our teams are mainly Balinese with some expat instructors thrown in the mix to accommodate different language requests and bring in some outside views.
We first listen to what you wish to do and will advice you for the dives/courses based on our knowledge, local factors and your wishes. We aim to give you the best possible experience and sometimes the best experience is not just what you read online or in guide books. Also we would never sell you a course you don’t need or one that we don’t feel like we are the qualified people to teach it or if the conditions aren’t the best for specific courses. Honesty goes a long way.
Thank you for reading! We hope to welcome you to dive with us at Bali Reef Divers, meet the team, have some awesome dives and get to know you!
Birger - June 2020