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just got back from Palau


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#1 ssra30

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 05:27 AM

Just got back from liveaboard in Palau on the Pacific Explorer. The trip unfortunately started rather shakily. Since Palau airport is under repair/construction during the daytime, all flights to and from are only at night time. I departed Manila at 10.30pm and arrived in Korror after 1 am, got to the boat and finally went to sleep after 3am. Our first dive was at 10.30 am ;)
I discovered my domeport sunshade broken right before the trip so I just used duct tape to keep it in place.
The first dive, I tried the 17-55mm for the first time. I guess it was a bad mistake because I was so tired and with the domeport sunshade holding by duct tape, I did not really have a good grip on the port so 5 minutes into the dive, I noticed some water inside the dome ;)
Luckily it was a minor flood and nothing was damage. On 2nd dive, I found out that my trustworthy sync cord was broken. Initially I could not get a strobe to fire, after fidgetting with it for awhile with a help of a helicopter engineer friend, we managed to get it to fire non stop :)
So basically I took all of my shots with available light only and no strobe.
I used 60mm lens on one dive for shark portrait then the rest of the dive with 12-24mm. I wish I have one of the magic filter. Oh well....
At least the dives were incredible. Lots of sharks, big fish (I saw a few tunas were bigger than sharks!), turtle everywhere, pilot whales on the surface (wish I have tghe 80-400mm or 200-400mm, 12-24mm did not help). Mike V will be pleased that my continual manta repellent curse continue to work. I saw a couple from a distance. The closest manta I saw was at night when one was circling our boat. Almost jumped into the water then until I remembered that my strobes weren't working. All in all, a very nice trip but now I have a reason to go back with functioning strobes :)

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I have a few more pictures on my website and I will add more pictures over the next several days.

Edited by ssra30, 14 April 2007 - 05:31 AM.


#2 Lionfish43

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 06:42 AM

That barracuda shot is extraordinary. You never would have got it if your strobes were working.
Hope I don't come off as a "know it all" because I don't but I always carry backup sync cords.

Edited by Lionfish43, 14 April 2007 - 06:43 AM.

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#3 ssra30

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 05:17 PM

I do have back up sync cord unfortunately my sync cord was in another bag that I did not take with me! There are a couple of other spare sync cords on the boat, nikonos and Ikelite, however i needed a sync cord with nikonos at one end and Ikelite at another end! I think it is the way the universe is telling me that I don't need no stinky strobethis trip :)

Here are a couple more:

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#4 pakman

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 07:39 PM

Boi, sorry to hear about your equipment problems. That must have been frustrating not having the strobes.

BTW, how did you like the Pacific Explorer... We were on it for Chinese New Yr...

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#5 MikeVeitch

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 07:47 PM

Boi!!! that shot of the shark and schooling fish!!!!

Hot damn that is sweet!!

Where did you shoot that? What fish are those?

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#6 whitehead

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 07:57 PM

Boi,

Ouch! Bueatiful shot though so it was worth it! The barracuda is stunning.

Pop the lens into Niks next week for a check, strip and clean, its under extended warranty because it had to be rebuilt after I dropped it off the Khao Chamao hill.

See if you can get me a "rakha pisset" on the 1.4 teleconvertor for me while you are there.

#7 pakman

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 08:00 PM

Boi!!! that shot of the shark and schooling fish!!!!

Hot damn that is sweet!!

Where did you shoot that? What fish are those?


I'm guessing at the end of Ulong Channel... we just missed a similiar scene but our DM who was pushing us to get to the end of the channel caught in on tape. :)

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#8 ssra30

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 08:28 PM

Whitehead, will do that. I will definitely have to take my camera in for some service etc. No fear, there were about a table spoon of water inside the dome and that was about it when I found out so I think your 17-55mm should be fine :)

Mike, the site, as Pakman mentioned was at the end of Ulong Channel dive.
It was baby mackerel baitball. There were about 20-30 grey reef and white tips, whole bunch of tuna, jacks around. Unfortunately when the tunas and sharks attacked the baitball, I was just too surprise and froze so I did not get any shot ;)
Ulong Channel was by far the best dive on my trip. I think video is much better than wide angle lens for camera for that particular scenario since I could not get close to the baitball without scaring the sharks away. The DM who took the video managed to shoot a couple of passes made by the sharks within decent zoom range.

Pakman, I really like the Pacific Explorer overall. I guess the facility was not all that great and the common area was not all that comfortable and camera working area is rather poor but the whole experience was so good because of Richard and Sean, the two dive guides/DM. Very professional and friendly. It also has the most comfortable chaseboat I ever been on.

The food was ok. Luckily, many of my dive buddies brought lots of food.

#9 pakman

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 08:33 PM

Whitehead, will do that. I will definitely have to take my camera in for some service etc. No fear, there were about a table spoon of water inside the dome and that was about it when I found out so I think your 17-55mm should be fine ;)

Mike, the site, as Pakman mentioned was at the end of Ulong Channel dive.
It was baby mackerel baitball. There were about 20-30 grey reef and white tips, whole bunch of tuna, jacks around. Unfortunately when the tunas and sharks attacked the baitball, I was just too surprise and froze so I did not get any shot :)
Ulong Channel was by far the best dive on my trip. I think video is much better than wide angle lens for camera for that particular scenario since I could not get close to the baitball without scaring the sharks away. The DM who took the video managed to shoot a couple of passes made by the sharks within decent zoom range.

Pakman, I really like the Pacific Explorer overall. I guess the facility was not all that great and the common area was not all that comfortable and camera working area is rather poor but the whole experience was so good because of Richard and Sean, the two dive guides/DM. Very professional and friendly. It also has the most comfortable chaseboat I ever been on.

The food was ok. Luckily, many of my dive buddies brought lots of food.


Haha... Richard (aka Jr.) and Sean... yeah great guys... We were having a blast with all the subjects IN the channel and taking our time. Richard was trying to push us along faster to get to the mackeral bait ball. He did get some amazing video following a shark into the baitball.

Yes the sunfish chaseboat was great wasn't it? :)

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#10 ssra30

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 08:46 PM

Haha... Richard (aka Jr.) and Sean... yeah great guys... We were having a blast with all the subjects IN the channel and taking our time. Richard was trying to push us along faster to get to the mackeral bait ball. He did get some amazing video following a shark into the baitball.

Yes the sunfish chaseboat was great wasn't it? :)


After we hooked to the mouth of Ulong Chanel for awhile, we drifted into the channel. Richard was behind, herding everyone. Sean was at the head of the group. Since i did not have a strobe, I did not stop along the channel for the macro stuffs like other people. I ended up about a couple of minutes ahead of Sean and probably a good 7-8 minutes before Richard and half of the group got there so for awhile mI was alone. Forgot to mention that there were so many big triggerfish around and a couple was trying to charge me as well. Luckily they were not as persistant as triggerfish in Thailand. ;)

#11 marinedomain

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 12:38 AM

Great pics, I agree with mike, that shark and schooling fish shot is great.

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#12 fish foto

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 03:07 AM

Great pics, I agree with mike, that shark and schooling fish shot is great



Agreed!

Ambient light shots can be pretty dramatic!!


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#13 ssra30

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 03:36 AM

I added a few more pictures today. Here is one.
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