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Where to go next...?


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#1 marktol

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 02:34 AM

Hi All,

Im looking for some suggestions of where to go for my next trip. Probably looking around this sort of time next year but keen to start planning and get something booked in. So far ive been to Greneda and Tobago in the Carribean and will have done Egypt twice. Looking to go for a week to 10 days.

The 2 main deciding factors are the price and simplicity of travel from the UK - I dont travel well.... Im keen to see critters more than anything else. Ive short listed the places that im keen to visit, if someone could recommend where would be good place to stay thats simple travel wise that would be great. The places in no particular order (I know ive got some specific places that are in an area already listed):-

Maldives - Direct flight from UK but expensive
Bali
Phillipines
Indonesia
Manado
Lembeh
Bonaire - 2 flights from UK - direct from Amsterdam

Any recommendations would be greatfully appreciated, and if you think of missed somewhere then that would also be great!

Cheers,
Mark
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#2 diver dave1

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 04:22 PM

I can only speak to one of your locations, Bonaire. There are many options for staying there, one simple one is Buddy's. Your place includes a truck rental. The shore diving right in front of their place is quite nice. Bonaire is all about shore diving so you have many options, all at a very low price...none extra! The tank replacement station is by the parking lot so no tanks to lug around - drive up, empties out, full in, head out. There are books about dive spots and the sites are marked by the road with painted rocks for easy finding.
You can have your pkg include boat dives as well which can take you to the island nearby.

A website good for learning about Bonaire is Bonairetalk.com. There are many locals that support that site, similar to the support here. Its a wealth of info there and I found all accurate when I was planning our trip there.
The restaurants are quite good, much better than the ave carib. fare and prices were similar to what I pay in central US a few yrs ago when I was there.

There are other good options besides Buddy's and I would think a Bonaire search here would turn some up as will research on Bonairetalk.

We stayed at the Plaza resort so the wife could have a beach. That worked well for us but its higher priced and I would only select it if you needed a beach for someone. Other places mostly have concrete ocean frontage with some sand dumped in the barricade. But hey, we go for the diving, not the beach.

Not saying Bonaire is better than your other choices, just giving you info to help your selection.

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#3 frisco

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 12:33 AM

Dear Mark, see comments to your suggested destinations below:

Maldives - Direct flight from UK but expensive - overcrowded and expensive, liveaboard might be worthwile if you manage to dive Felidhoo Atoll - mostly wide-angle
Bali - Tulamben is the perfect destination for critters - I deeply recommend Villa Markisa resort ( www.villamarkisa.com )
Phillipines - Anilao is the place to go for critters - the less expensive within the suggested destinations
Indonesia - A liveaboard to Komodo is a great experience, though expensive - I can recommend Peter Hughes and Kararu Dive Voyages
Manado - critters andwide-angle opportunities - I can recommend Tasik Ria and Eco Divers
Lembeh - Lembeh is the critter heaven - I can recommend either Eco Divers or Lembeh Resort
Bonaire - 2 flights from UK - direct from Amsterdam - never been

Any recommendations would be greatfully appreciated, and if you think of missed somewhere then that would also be great!

If you are UK based conatct www.divequest.co.uk for detailed information and price quotes.

Cheers,
Mark
[/quote]

All the Best ..... Francesco
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#4 marktol

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 03:32 AM

@Diver Dave

Thanks for the information on Boniaire, I love the idea of slef service shore diving. Such a relaxed way to go.

@Francesco

Interesting comments on the Maldives as I was kind of considering that the 'cream of the crop'. Thanks for the details, that pretty well matches what I had decided myself based on the pictures and reports other people have posted on here. Ive not come across divequest yet so will check them out.

The only other place ive not mentioned that may be worth considering would be Thailand?

Many thanks,
Mark
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#5 eyu

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 05:42 AM

Mark,

In my opinion, the "cream of the crop" is Indonesian diving. For critters Lembeh Straits and Bali are second to none.

I get to Bonaire yearly since it is convenient for me as I live on the East Coast of the States. It is the shore diving capital and great Caribbean diving. If you go with a "local/Bonaireian" divemaster you will see sea horses and frog fish.

But, if I was choosing between Indonesia and Bonaire......it would be a Indonesia trip. My 2 cents :)

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#6 frisco

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 05:43 AM

Mark,

never been in Thailand, but the liveaboards going to the Similan Island and Richelieu Rock should be good, both wide-angle (if the viz is OK) and macro .... I would skip land based operations .... Another destination you could consider is Oman, liveaboard out of the Musandam peninsula, should be good both for wide angle and macro and is only 6 hrs flight (you fly direct to Dubai and then drive to the Oman border and the port).

All the Best ..... Francesco
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#7 ChrigelKarrer

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 08:08 PM

After long, long years of fishing with bombs and poison,
the Phillipines recovered very quick and has very much to offer.
The APO Reef is certainly a "must see" and around the Phillipines you will find a lot of
beautiful and intresting WWII (not only) wrecks so see and photograph.

As Francesco wrote, the Arabian Emirate of Oman is in Europ considered as the
Red Sea 20 years ago and there must be innumerous pristine and virgin dive spots in
very big marine parks. There are not so much dive shops, but some beautiful live aboards
bringing you to the best dive spots in Oman.

Still to consider is some parts of the Red Sea, especially if you choose carefully a good, specialized live aboard.

Chris

Edited by ChrigelKarrer, 29 May 2010 - 08:12 PM.

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#8 marktol

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 08:00 AM

Thanks for the suggestion,

Oman in an interesting thought. Whats the diversity like is it similar to what I would see in the Red Sea? A trip to Oman can be done for only 200 ish more than Egypt so might make a nice change - plus its only a 7 hour flight..! Is Muscat a worthy destination as well as there seems to be an airport that you can fly direct to from the UK?

Cheers,
Mark
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#9 ChrigelKarrer

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 10:48 AM

Mark,
yes, diversity is like in the Red Sea but you will find it in pristine conditions,
what the Red Sea is unfortunatly not anymore.

The "near" distance and virtually no time lag makes travelling there quite
confy while the Arabian Emirates are political stable and considered as safe
countries to travel to.

Yes Muscat is a good destination and there is a dive shop:
http://www.omandiving.com/ Land based diving and live aborard
They got very good quotations in the German Dive Forum Tauchernet: http://www.taucher.n...scat_b2247.html
Other Dive Shops are:
http://www.omandivec...com/EN_Home.php
http://www.scubaoman.com/
http://godiveoman.com/
http://www.regal-div...t...s&destid=44
http://www.gulfleisu...scubadiving.htm

Chris

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#10 marktol

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 12:26 AM

Thanks for all the details Chris,

I will take a look at them all.

Many thanks,
Mark
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#11 scuba_suzy

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 08:11 AM

Hi Mark,


I don't know if you've chosen yet but here is my 2ps worth on the places you've listed and my experiences of them. I've listed when I've been because these places change so much and people rave about somewhere and it turns out they went 10 years ago when the place was pristine and you get there and its poop, or they say somewhere isn't so great but then you get there and its recovered/got better. Some of the photos are not as good as others because they are much older and on compact cameras (at least I know I'm getting better!)

Maldives - Direct flight from UK but expensive


Not been.


Bali


I think I should give Bali another chance. We spent some time there in 2008 and I couldn't really get into it. The liberty wreck was nice but i was disappointed with the macro. I think it had been over hyped to me and I was expecting Lembeh style critters. Even the dive guide at scuba serya where we stayed said it used to be better. He said the divers & guides had chased away the life. We still saw loads, just less than I expected. Very easy to get to though. Booked through divequest (who are great btw). We went in October time.

http://www.pbase.com...alker/bali_2008


Philippines

The only place I've been in the Philippines is Cebu. It was nice but the viz wasn't as good as I was expecting.

http://www.pbase.com...cebu_underwater

http://www.pbase.com/suzy_walker/cebu


Indonesia

The only other place in Indonesia we've been apart from Bali, Manado & Lembeh which you listed separately is Raja Ampat. We went on an amazing liveaboard. I'd go back but its expensive so I'll have to save up. We stopped at Lembeh on the way to break up the journey a bit.

http://www.pbase.com...ampat_mangroves

http://www.pbase.com..._indonesia_2009


Manado

I flooded my camera in Lembeh and we had two days in Tasik Ria with only a disposable compact, I didn't miss much. We could see the fishermen next door loading up all the fish but I didn't see many underwater! This was in 2007. I was told by another guest that 5 years previously the place was excellent but not sadly not since they'd over fished. Its not on my list to rush back to.

http://www.pbase.com...alker/indonesia


Lembeh love it! love it! love it! We've stayed at Lembeh resort twice now. Amazing critters & great food & dive guides. It is a bit of a trek to get there though. Flight to Singapore them a flight to Manado then a car then a small boat across the strait. Worth it though. We went Feb & March time. We'll be going back again I'm sure.

http://www.pbase.com...r/lembeh_strait

http://www.pbase.com..._indonesia_2009


Bonaire - 2 flights from UK - direct from Amsterdam

I personally didn't rate Bonaire, but I know many ppl who love it. I found the colours very bland compared to the red sea. However, I might be bias and I've seen some amazing photos from there from the people who went on boat dives. I don't particularly like shore diving (you get your legs bashed by rocks and there are always urchins, why are there always urchins?) but the driving around in a truck was cool and the kitting up on the road and wading into the harbour by the boats with people giving you odd looks were cool. We didn't do as many dives as I'd have liked (because we could not seem to self motivate between us). We didn't dive with a guide but still managed to find a seahorse. This was five years ago so it may have changed. We stayed at buddy dive which was nice enough, but you had to go next door to capt dons for dinner though. We went November time. I might give it another chance one day but there are many more places to get to first.

http://www.pbase.com..._walker/bonaire



Thailand:

We went to Koh Tao in April 2006. It was a nice place and I enjoyed the diving but the viz was very poor. My bf got so bored with the viz that we did a rescue course! But it was good fun and the people in the dive shop were great. We stayed at the Koh Tao Cabana (which was more expensive that other places buy very nice) and dived with Scuba Junction.

http://www.pbase.com...land_underwater

http://www.pbase.com...hailand_koh_tao



Another place you might want to consider is Cayman...

http://www.pbase.com...lker/cayman2010

We went this yeah for Alex Mustards trip in Jan and it was lots of fun. The food was very expensive though.



I'm actually hunting for places to go this year and next happy shopping.

Suzy
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