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Raja Ampat 2014

underwater Indonesia Raja Ampat Alex Mustard Indo-Siren marine landscapes

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#1 tdpriest

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 07:02 AM

The last two weeks have seen me aboard World-wide Dive and Sail's Indo-Siren, with Alex Mustard's latest workshop and Alex Tattersall's latest demonstration of Nauticam widgetry...

 

tim15.jpg

 

Flying into Sorong, the scenery grows more and more dramatic as the amenities of civilisation become a little frayed at the edges. How a boat like the Indo-Siren maintains such a high quality is something of a mystery, and one made harder by the pervasive humid heat and bureaucracy that has to be propitiated in order to leave port. An even greater mystery: having eventually encountered the elusive manta ray and the reclusive whale shark (at least they were elusive and reclusive on my dives), would I wonder at the wary wobbegong?

 

tim01.jpg

 

Wobbegongs would have to wait: Daram, south and east of Misool, was our first destination and "Andiamo" our first dive and a taste of the dramatic colours, corals, fish and topography that makes Raja Ampat so special.

 

tim03.jpg

 

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Sunshine, calm seas and surprisingly gentle currents held us entranced around Misool for several days. "Andiamo" rewarded us with shoals of fish, dancing around shoals of other fish, and wasn't by any means the only site blessed by abundance. The chaotic profusion of life in this sea is a reminder of what so much of the ocean was like, once upon a time.

 

tim05.jpg

 

Eventually we moved north, into wetter weather and seas a little rougher, and into the haunt of the wobbegong, the tropical forest, the mangrove and the Passage, where all three are tangled together and Alfred Russel Wallace, a singularly unfortunate natural historian, was once shipwrecked.

 

tim09.jpg

 

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The weather detracted something from Aerborek jetty, the site of so many prize-winning photographs and one of the noisiest dive sites (thanks to a chorus of toadfish) I've visited.

 

tim07.jpg

 

Nonetheless, there were fish, more fish, very small fish (Hippocampus pontohi is not best seen by ageing eyes)...

 

... and wobbegongs.

 

tim12.jpg

 

I would like to say that everything was marvellous and, as far as Alex's workshop and Indo-Siren were concerned, so it was. Mark and Dince, the other guides, the chef, the other crew were without equal and no praise is too much. Indonesian air travel, however...

 

tim13.jpg

 

... was not so great: booked onto a flight without seats, half of our party left early to arrive late, flew east to travel west and made three hops for the price of one. I can't say if the problem was with British travel agency Blue-O-Two or with the vagaries of several competing but apparently interchangeable Indonesia airlines, but I can say that it added a lot to the frustrations inherent in returning from what is still, in many ways, a wild place.

 

tim14.jpg


Edited by tdpriest, 09 December 2014 - 07:07 AM.


#2 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 08:26 AM

Nice collection, Tim. 

 

Sorry to hear that your flights across Indonesia were an adventure. We never got a straight answer to the problems - and they continued when the rest of us got to the airport (we weren't all initially given boarding passes). My best guess is that the cancelling of half the group's tickets had something to do with a  big group of local politicians and hangers-on, who were on the flight and came straight to the door of the plane in their cars. Not sure why they picked on our group to cancel tickets, though. 

 

Here is a photo of my workshop group (lit with twin Inons!):

Raja_Nov_14_003.jpg

 

I agree it was a mighty fine trip.

 

Alex


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#3 tdpriest

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 02:25 AM

Thanks, again, for your advice, encouragement and hard work (even if supplies of Diet Coke ran a little low)...

 

 

tim08.jpg

 

 

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tim06.jpg

 

 

tim16.jpg



#4 Steve Williams

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 04:22 AM

So many amazing images Tim. Congratulations! From all appearances it was well worth some travel hassles.

Cheers!
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#5 goose

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 10:46 AM

Top draw stuff Tim.

 

Such a shame that this has all come to an end, but what an end.

 

Top stuff Tim you are and always will be an inspiration to me and a cracking photographer.

 

 

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#6 tdpriest

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 01:41 AM

 

Such a shame that this has all come to an end, but what an end.

 

It's not that apocalyptic! I'm getting a bit creaky, my money is supporting two young adults and the British public sector is a bit fraught at the moment...

 

... I'll be putting together (eventually) a show from this trip, and a "Best Of", before finally saying "So long, and thanks for all the fish!"

 

There might be a D800 housing for sale, too...



#7 MikeVeitch

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 04:50 AM

great set Tim


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#8 Alex_Tattersall

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 12:54 AM

I love the bait fish schools, but then I’m partial to that kind of thing!

 

Glad you made it home, sounds ‘epic’.


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#9 tdpriest

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 04:21 AM

I love the bait fish schools, but then I’m partial to that kind of thing!

 

 

They're missing something. I can't quite put my finger on it...

 

 

Sinai 2014 020 Alternatives Lionish.jpg

 

 

:evilgrin:


Edited by tdpriest, 20 December 2014 - 04:22 AM.


#10 coinee

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Posted 24 December 2014 - 04:55 AM

Nice collection, Tim. 

 

Sorry to hear that your flights across Indonesia were an adventure. We never got a straight answer to the problems - and they continued when the rest of us got to the airport (we weren't all initially given boarding passes). My best guess is that the cancelling of half the group's tickets had something to do with a  big group of local politicians and hangers-on, who were on the flight and came straight to the door of the plane in their cars. Not sure why they picked on our group to cancel tickets, though. 

 

Here is a photo of my workshop group (lit with twin Inons!):

attachicon.gifRaja_Nov_14_003.jpg

 

I agree it was a mighty fine trip.

 

Alex

Wow. Drunk as I am (hey, it's after 12pm, don't judge me!) this gave me vertigo. I like it.

 

Tim, I love the Wobbegong!


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#11 JackConnick

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 11:19 AM

Nice shots and story Tim! I'm heading there early in January, hope our flights aren't messed up...


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#12 tdpriest

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 06:33 AM

There's now a slideshow, at last.



#13 tdpriest

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 01:34 AM

But if you want something truly amazing, look at this. One of the best short videos that I've ever seen...







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: underwater, Indonesia, Raja Ampat, Alex Mustard, Indo-Siren, marine landscapes