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N. Sulawesi: Bunaken or Gangga??? (following 10 days at Lembeh)

Gangga Bunaken Lembeh

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#21 holloways

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 02:32 PM

Found 5 dive resorts on Bangka Island, the one near Lembeh - (thanks Diver Pam).

 

Any info or experience with these resorts (such as how well are they run, do they have air conditioning, electricity, hot water, camera facilities, etc.)?

  • Nomad Divers
  • Mimpi Indah
  • Coral Eye
  • Bangka Lagoon
  • Murex (already booked)


#22 Luko

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 10:20 PM

Nomad divers are a newish brit dive centre. Not sure they have sufficient experience on the area from what I read from a friends report who missed most of the good sites. they've probably improved since last April.

Mimpi Indah surely doesn't have aircon and no beach, they're dutch I think and been there for a while, somehow basic though.

Coral eye is italian, they are marine biologist on the island loated in the area for a while, i've read good reports about them, but they dont have hot water

Never heard about Bangka Lagoon they must be the new kids in town...

You forgot german run Blue Bay on Sahaung island, which would be my second choice after Murex, good boats but no aircon.   


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#23 Kelpfish

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 04:16 AM

Hi Luko,

 

Do you have any opinion on Weda dive resort (who also owns Divers Lodge Lembeh)? Very rustic, no nitrox at Weda and remote, but good Trip Adviser ratings from the few who have been there.  No AC either.  Lack of creature comforts is my kind of place:)

 

Appreciate any opinions on this place.

 

Joe


Edited by Kelpfish, 02 July 2013 - 04:17 AM.

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#24 Luko

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 04:28 AM

Hi Luko,

 

Do you have any opinion on Weda dive resort (who also owns Divers Lodge Lembeh)? Very rustic, no nitrox at Weda and remote, but good Trip Adviser ratings from the few who have been there.  No AC either.  Lack of creature comforts is my kind of place:)

 

Appreciate any opinions on this place.

 

Joe

Sorry Joe, I haven't been to Weda resort yet, I don't usually stay at DL when I'm diving Lembeh (I like Lembeh resort). Halmahera was on my shortlist but that was West coast (Ternate,Guraici) and further North (Tobelo, Morotai), I dealt with a local guide for a trip last year but it appeared -once I already had booked my plane tickets- that the guy wasn't reliable at all and asked me for huge sum of money a few days before coming.

 

That said (which had nothing to do with Weda and Rob Sinke), if you can read french you may be interested in this report from a very reliable french girl blogging about her divetrips. I am quite sure if you contact Corinne she'll be happy to reply all your questions in proper english. You will also find hints about Bangka.


Edited by Luko, 02 July 2013 - 04:29 AM.

Pls have a look at my Flickr photo gallery and leave a comment.
Galleries in Pbase : Ambon & Maluku, Bangka & Bali, Komodo & Maumere, Moalboal, Mabul & Sipadan.
Vanuatu incl.SS Pres.Coolidge wreck.

#25 Kelpfish

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 05:00 AM

Did a Google translation.  She speaks very highly of the operation, especially the diving. Varied visibility.  Rob emailed me and was honest.  When it rains the viz can be zero on the house reef, and just okay on the reefs.  But is commonly over 100 feet.  Mostly wide angle according to Corinne.


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#26 holloways

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 07:26 AM

Someone voiced interest in WEDA resort -

This is what I learned about getting there and their rates.

 

 

To get to Weda Reef & Rainforest Resort at Halmahera you need to fly from Manado to the city of Ternate at Halmahera. From there it takes approx. 4 hours. 45 Minutes speedboat, 3 hours by car.  Although Weda is  famous for diving it also boasts excellent birdwatching. 

 

  • Transportation costs from Manado to Ternate and on to WEDA ~ $220 Euros per person. Flights seem to line up with Silk Air flights from Singapore to Manado.
  • Accommodations:  full board in a two-room bungalow @ 75 Euro per night per person. Including: all meals, water, tea, coffee, laundry service. Two-rooms bungalows have a bathroom 2.00 x 3.00 m, two rooms of each 4.00 x 5.00 m, terrace 4.00 x 5.00 m. Rooms are connected but each has its own entry and a door to shared bathroom).
  • Diving via guided boat dives. 1 dive per day: 49 Euro / 2 dives per day : 70 Euro / 3 dives per day: 100 Euro / Night dive: 40 Euro / Surcharge

 

http://www.wedaresort.com

 

 



#27 holloways

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 07:38 AM

So far I've found 6 dive resorts on Bangka Island.  Given this list - which would you select?  Two of the 6 are already booked. 

 

Ideally the resorts would have air conditioning, electricity, hot water, camera facilities, nitrox and be well run.  I'm not looking for an ultra fancy resort - I'm not interested in their pool (only the their diving) but I don't want to be living in a hut either :mocking:

 

Gangga Island looks like a great option too - but the one resort I've found looks quite expensive.  Open to suggestions there too.

 

  • Nomad Divers
  • Mimpi Indah
  • Coral Eye
  • Bangka Lagoon
  • Murex (already booked)
  • Blue Bay (also booked) - thanks for the tip Luko.

The goal is not muck (since I will have spent 10 days in Lembeh) - but pretty fish and lots of them!



#28 Kelpfish

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 06:14 AM

 

Found 5 dive resorts on Bangka Island, the one near Lembeh - (thanks Diver Pam).

 

Any info or experience with these resorts (such as how well are they run, do they have air conditioning, electricity, hot water, camera facilities, etc.)?

  • Nomad Divers
  • Mimpi Indah
  • Coral Eye
  • Bangka Lagoon
  • Murex (already booked)

 

I just got an email from Murex who states that they only have electricity from 5-7pm.  That is an awful small window when you have a pile of batteries to charge from strobes, video lights, laptops, cameras, etc. I am not sure I would want to have to manage the charging limitations.  I did reply back to them to ask about charging conveniences for camera gear. If anyone can speak to their experience with this it would bring a lot of clarity.  I was ready to book with them but now have backed off.

 

Joe


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#29 ChristianG

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 12:46 AM

So when are you planning to go there, since no-one seems to have mentioned this?

 

Indonesia (and northern Australia) has "The Big Wet" (Oz) and the monsoon season (Indonesia) during the northern winter, our summer. I suggest that you don't want to be in either location between, say, December and April/May for fear of suffering from this. In addition, during that time you could well shake hands with a Cyclone or two (called a Hurricane in northern climes) and you definitely don't want to know about one of those puppies at all.

 

The best time to visit these parts is in our winter, the northern summer.


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#30 Luko

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 04:42 PM

So when are you planning to go there, since no-one seems to have mentioned this?

 

Indonesia (and northern Australia) has "The Big Wet" (Oz) and the monsoon season (Indonesia) during the northern winter, our summer. I suggest that you don't want to be in either location between, say, December and April/May for fear of suffering from this. In addition, during that time you could well shake hands with a Cyclone or two (called a Hurricane in northern climes) and you definitely don't want to know about one of those puppies at all.

 

The best time to visit these parts is in our winter, the northern summer.

Christian, you don't seem very familiar with this part of Indonesia :

- since Northern Sulawesi is equatorial, it is outside the typhoon belt,

- however there are two monsoons one of which wetter than the other from december to february while the other one is blowing north (the monsoon is a wind) from june to august bringing waves in Bangka. 

therefore the best season should be march to may and also october-november. That said as a general  rule March to November is the a diveable period in Bangka. I couldn't say so for december, for instance, although there's is always a sheltered place where to dive

 

Joe/kelpfish, I didn't have any problems charging all my batteries and laptop at Murex. Although it is true electricity is running only  from 5PM to 7AM, I had enough time for charging all the batteries I ever wanted. I'm always bringing a multiplug so that I can charge everything at the same time. I think they also have limited power at the kitchen you could probably ask them to charge your battery in the mid-day if that is really needed.

Apart from Gangga island, I'm afraid no resort offers more comfort than Murex around Bangka.  


Edited by Luko, 12 July 2013 - 04:44 PM.

Pls have a look at my Flickr photo gallery and leave a comment.
Galleries in Pbase : Ambon & Maluku, Bangka & Bali, Komodo & Maumere, Moalboal, Mabul & Sipadan.
Vanuatu incl.SS Pres.Coolidge wreck.

#31 holloways

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 06:47 PM

Thank you so much for the reply.  I'm going to Lembeh in mid October for 10 days (as part of a wet pixel macro class) and looking for 5 additional days elsewhere (non muck).  I'm still not sure where to go.



#32 ChristianG

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 01:54 AM

From Wikipedia:

 

"Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea."

 

I'm not, in the least, claiming that Wikipedia is the final arbiter of these things, it is merely a convenient arbiter. Where I grew up (called "Ceylon" in those days and, no, I'm neither Ceylonese nor Sri Lankan) monsoon meant rain, lots of rain and that was all I (then) understood by the term.

 

My comments were just a tad more general than where, for example, North Sulawesi, is located. I fully accept that your more detailed knowledge of the area is greater, probably by far, than mine but, in general, I feel that my comments still stand.


Edited by ChristianG, 14 July 2013 - 12:30 AM.

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#33 Kelpfish

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 03:56 AM

I got a reply back from Murex stating that they had made a mistake and electricity is on from 5pm to 7am, not 5pm to 7pm.  That is quite a relief.  I have been doing A LOT of research and almost chose Weda resort but due to them backing off of some promises I have scratched them off my list.  Murex Bangka is now No. one on the list and I have had some back and forth with them.  Their pricing did not even come close to what I had calculated so we are in that stage of discussion.  They charge for house reef unguided dives and their nitrox is $12 a tank. You cannot just go by their diving and room rates.  Either way I will probably end up there.  I have asked them to be more descriptive of their house reef as I would be leveraging that a lot for video and stills.  But for $10 a dive times two people plus $12 a tank for nitrox times two ($24), that will cost me an additional chunk of change ($44 per shore dive) on top of the published diving rates, and I will be making roughly 50 shore dives.

 

Luko may be able to chime in here, but just to be clear I am not complaining more than I am letting peeps know that you have to look at the totality of the costs.

 

Joe


Edited by Kelpfish, 13 July 2013 - 03:58 AM.

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#34 Interceptor121

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 10:49 PM

I posted a clip of my dives to bunaken here but was moved to the sharing section
http://wetpixel.com/...trip-to-Bunaken
Looking at the trip there was plenty of fish however you needed to choose the right sites with the best ones not on bunaken island
Anyway judge for yourself

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#35 holloways

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 03:06 PM

Interceptor 121 - What a treat to see your Bunaken video shot.  Great job.  I was humming along with the music.  Thank you for sharing.

:dancing:  



#36 Interceptor121

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 08:59 AM

Thanks holloway
The key in bunaken is to go to the right sites that are not close so you will need to persuade the resort to take you there

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#37 Kelpfish

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 11:36 AM

Luko,

 

At Murex do you have to dive with the group or are they cool with you going off on your own with your buddy? I was reading, for example, at Mimpi they want you to dive as a group and get pissy if you venture away.

 

Joe


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#38 Luko

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 01:11 PM

Joe,

I don't know what a group is at Murex, since I am paying my friend Aswar to be my private guide for the trip.

Honestly I haven't seen more than 4 divers per diveguide when i dived there, I never stayed when full house tho.

Knowing the guides there, I would say that except for a few dive sites that may be quite tricky with fast current like Batu Pendita, or Sahaung at rising tide, they will be happy to leave you diving around, away from the other divers and just keep an eye on you from afar.

That said these guys have hawkeyes and know all the critters' nickname, you'd be better off diving not far away from your guide if you want a Pontohi galore for instance. 

 

Re-house reef dive, i think you'd also benefit from arranging with them to boatride you and your buddy 5 minutes away from their house reef, even if you're diving on your own. Just behind the right handside corner of the resort there is a fantastic reef called Demak and that you can dive both macro (never seen so many Pontohi and Severnsi) and wide angle (GREAT glassfish bommies). unfortunately currents won't allow you accessing this reef from the resort beach although you may come back on a beach exit with favorable currents. The Murex housereef is one step below Demak. 


Edited by Luko, 22 July 2013 - 01:19 PM.

Pls have a look at my Flickr photo gallery and leave a comment.
Galleries in Pbase : Ambon & Maluku, Bangka & Bali, Komodo & Maumere, Moalboal, Mabul & Sipadan.
Vanuatu incl.SS Pres.Coolidge wreck.