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Manado, Indonesia 25th Dec-12th Jan 2010


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#1 Scubysnaps

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 04:23 AM

We got back from Manado on Tuesday 12th January to the snow shock and while our body clocks have been slowly adjusting back to normal, I've wittled my 2500 photos down to 78, here is a lttle report on my take from our trip if you are interested.
Manado, North Sulawesi is predominantly a Christian province, in my opinion it isnt much of a tourist town, the only shops catered for tourists in any way are the megamall, KFC and a handful of seafood restaurants dotted around the coast nestled in between all the native homes . Even though we booked room only, the majority of our stay was at Tasik Ria, who I can say catered for our every need. It had a somewhat rustic charm to it, they have a couple of pools and bars with a good averagely priced food and drinks menu, (the wine over there is a minimum of $35 a bottle no matter where you go, even the supermarket, in most other restaurants it was $70). We opted for the bungalow which had a very comfortable bed and was close to the sea, handy for getting up last minute for the dive boat . Unfortunately there is no tropical beach to lounge on, and I would also say this isnt the best resort for someone who isnt so good on their feet, the crazy paving around the main pool has a few trip hazards, and the sun beds weigh a ton!

One day a guest who was more familiar with the area, took us to a local "bar" to taste the local nectar. Everyone was so friendly, alas, we didnt stay too long as their local tasty rocket fuel would have launched us a lot sooner than required to oblivion.

On a dive free day we took the opportunity to go on a trip to the jungle to see the black crested Macaque primates, it was amazing how close I could get to these guys, and how comfortable they are with humans, it was a wonder to see 2 young ones nearly starting a fight with each other, and seeing how human like their behaviour is. We also saw the Tarsier monkey which, at only a cute 4 inches tall, is the smallest primate in the world. It lives inside a huge tree, there are about 5 groups like this around the jungle. It was a great trip and one I'd thoroughly recommend to anyone going this way. Just remember to wear full length cotton clothing and plenty of insect repellent.

This was my first trip with my new SLR set up, I chose the Nikon D90 with Aquatica housing & viewfinder, and Inon Z240 strobes, as the best compromise considering size perfomanace and cost. I also got some pinch clip lanyards made up recently from Simon at Bowstone to hold my indie twin regs and camera altogether in one go off my tekwing, which I must say, all worked in sync and did a great job.

I managed to do 30 dives in 15 diveable days of our 17 night stay, 2 of these involved a day trip to Lembeh straits , about a 2 hour drive, both days I saw the similar species to what I saw the previous, a bit disappointing to be fair, it may be just dependant on what season you dive in Lembeh, or maybe this was the dive guide's fault? Tasik Ria's local dives were surprisingly pretty much on par with Lembeh, such a huge plethora of macro subjects.

Once I tried my set up with my Nikon 60mm macro and my Tokina 10-17 fisheye with 8" dome port locally, I went on a few day trips to Bunaken to do some wall dives with my fisheye, The boat was a good size, with a large sun deck, it was aptly named "Aquatica". As all the guides seemed insistant on setting your gear up, seeing as I had indie twins, I tried my best to keep with the same guide all the time, Irwan, as soon as he was out the water, he was changing my bottles as they were coming off my back, it didnt take long for him to become familiar with the way I set it up. Large fish seemed to be few and far between at Bunaken and Manado Tua, but the variety of fish and coral here is so diverse and colourful, so different from what I have ever seen before, after a few day trips here I had taken my fair share of wide angle scenic photos and moved onto improving my macro shots, macro is very new to me so I was very excited to continue the rest of my dives with the 60mm. Local muck dives off Tasik Ria suited me best for this; variety within a max of half an hour from the resort was so diverse, its so under rated considering the amount of talk there is about Lembeh Straits. I also did 2 shore dives from Tasik Ria's jetty, they have a small shipwreck about 100 yards away and tried my fisheye again here for my last dive. The largest fish I saw on all the dives was a great barracuda on a local dive at 5m, and the best was a mantis shrimp carrying her eggs, they are such funny creatures, reminding me of the film I saw on the flight over, District 9. I also did a mandarin dive, waiting in one spot for over an hour at dusk waiting for them to mate, sad to say they must have been arguing that night :-(

After this macro predominant trip, I feel I have a redundant potfull of adrenalin left inside me, so much, that I cannot wait to take photos of Mantas and Whalesharks in the Maldives in August, sharks will also be next!

The weather for us was mostly 30 degree sunshine with a couple of days rain, I think I only did about 2 dives in the rain, of which I'm glad for as I dont like getting wet, or do I!?


Full underwater pics soon to be on www.scubysnaps.com and surface shots on www.paulwoodburn.co.uk this weekend



Thanks for reading this



Paul
Cheers
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#2 tdpriest

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 05:45 AM

I also did a mandarin dive, waiting in one spot for over an hour at dusk waiting for them to mate, sad to say they must have been arguing that night :-(


Yup! That's a mandarin fish dive all right!

Sad to hear that Lembeh was disappointing, as it was amazing last year:

http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=29557

Can you let me know when your images are up on your gallery?

Tim

:)

Edited by tdpriest, 22 January 2010 - 05:53 AM.


#3 Scubysnaps

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 12:26 PM

Yup! That's a mandarin fish dive all right!

Sad to hear that Lembeh was disappointing, as it was amazing last year:

http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=29557

Can you let me know when your images are up on your gallery?

Tim

:)

Hi Tim, Lembeh wasnt that disappointing, as someone else said on another forum, you have really gotta be there all the time, and be settled in, and you never know what might pop up, and I also think a guide who dives there daily would have been best. My fault for trying to cut on costs!
will let everyone know here when my piccies are on my site, should be tomorrow
At the moment I'm going on your recommendation on my next unplanned trip of Palau, if you know of any good money saving ways to do it, please PM me :D ppr seems to break the budget a bit, but we need to be on the beach for Lisa's satisfaction, think I might have to wait until the end of 2011 for that one, or do it on a liveaboard on my tod

PS your link just goes to your site , and isnt lembeh specific

Edited by Scubysnaps, 22 January 2010 - 12:30 PM.

Cheers
Paul

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www.scubysnaps.com >)))>

#4 Scubysnaps

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 10:59 AM

piccies now live :island:
www.scubysnaps.com
Cheers
Paul

*Nikon D90 with Tokina 10-17 & Nikon 60mm, 105mm, Sigma 17-70, Kenko1.4 * 2 x Z240 & 2 x 12 litres...global! *

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#5 marktol

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 01:07 PM

Some great shots there Paul,

Looks like you soon got the hang of the new kit. Fav shots have got to be the pygmy sea horses and the mandarin fish..!

Really gonna have to get out there some time!

Thanks for sharing
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#6 Scubysnaps

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 06:02 AM

Thanks Mark :island:
Cheers
Paul

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#7 stewsmith

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 11:03 AM

Thats pretty good going for your first trip with the new rig. Some of the lighing is really nice, in particular the frogfish. One of the OGPF shots is also very good.

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#8 Scubysnaps

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 11:31 AM

Thanks Stew, really appreciate your comments. That frogfish was HUGE! about the size of my head...bigger! (I know thats pretty hard :)) I couldn't fit him all in and be focussed with my 60mm. The portrait of the OGPF was my favourite one of them, the closer one was just a crop so people could see the detail closer up, so fascinated that I could capture stuff that small in focus.


...eta, thats it! I'm a Manta Ray, I'm not posting anymore :yahoo:

Edited by Scubysnaps, 31 January 2010 - 11:32 AM.

Cheers
Paul

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#9 Steve Williams

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 11:35 AM

Agree with Stew Paul. You really had the lighting on the macro stuff dialed in.

Thanks for putting them up!
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#10 Scubysnaps

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 12:49 PM

Thanks Steve, Yeah I lost the plot at the beginning of my hols and couldn't remember if my strobes should be on Auto, M, or full, but once a couple of guys helped me out on here I was more or less sorted :)
thanks guys :yahoo:
Cheers
Paul

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#11 Robographer

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 11:30 PM

Great photos!!
Don't be afraid of perfection... we will never reach it.

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