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Mixed bag of 2013 indonesian dives


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#1 Luko

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 01:27 PM

Still a few months before 2013 ends though I can already pretend it was quite an exciting Indonesian diving year for me.
Here's a photo summary so far.

 

Part 1 : December -January 13 - Ambon and Maluku
New year in Ambon and Lease islands in Maluku, diving with Blue Rose dive center, I'm a regular Ambon diver, my third
trip but I was expecting much diving Nusa Laut on a short safari. i wasn't disappointed.

 

Even though Twilight zonein Ambon  had been quite damaged with the summer floods, the South side of the bay was very promising, espcially rich with hairy frogfish, orange or white, and lots of Ghostpipefish.

ticked my first reptilian snake eel off my list as well.

 

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but to be honest the highlight of my trip was the safari to Haruku, Molana and Nusa Laut where I suddenly forgot all the posts I had read talking about the lack of fish in certain parts of indonesia.

Nusa Laut :

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Haruku cristaine waters :

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Akoon Arch :

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A wall of red tooth Triggerfish on Nusa Laut :

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Fishlife in Molana :

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I had one of my best new year's eve ever on Molana island, sharing the island with two other friends, on a private beach with our private chartered boat and a private grilled fish/grilled lobster dinner.

 

 

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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.

#2 Luko

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 01:39 PM

Part 2 : Raja Ampat - March /April

 

April was another highlight as I dived Dampier straits and RajaAmpat for the first time with RADL, two private guides and a speedboat just for myself.
Such flexibility allowed me to dive most of the dive sites with no other liveaboard diver around me. the two young guides were almost fighting to get as a model into the wide angle pictures;

 

With no current, I had to wipe the gassfish off my dome to get a frame of the sweetlips.

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hence Fadly and gustin the 2 guides found me a clener sweetlip hump to shoot at Cape Kri :

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Everywhere like at Sardines th ereef was teeming with fishlife

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But the coral color wasn't too bad either in Mayhem

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Some blue water images at Blue Magc :

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A BRO was another first for me on RADL housereef at night

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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.

#3 Luko

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 02:04 PM

Part 3 : Bangka and Manado Bay - April 2013

 

A week later Raja Ampat I flew to one of my favrorite destination in Indonesia , Bangka to dive fort the third year in a row with one of my favorite dive guides : Azwar from Murex.

It was time to focus on macro for a break as well as CFWA, Pygmies, Giant frogfih and Ghostpipefish were aplenty. That said I discovered probably one of the best wide angle sites of NorthSulawesi which is seldom dived : Batu Pendita that might be as challenging as a Komodo site.

In a week time I also managed to slip a day in Lembeh and 2 days on Mainland Manado bay for a total change and pure muck dive 

 

Bangka Black frogfish CFWA

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4 Bangka horsemen in CFWA

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the mighty Batu Pendeta

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Bangka Pompom band :

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Lembeh :

 

Flamboyant closeup :

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another First time for me, a pygmy squid;, quite a challenge to get in focus!

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Candycolor Bargibanti :

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Edited by Luko, 03 October 2013 - 02:05 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.

#4 Luko

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 02:10 PM

Part 3 (ctd) : Manado Bay

 

Manado bay wasn't as exciting as the two previous destinations, I wated to dive the place because I had jeard about Rhinopias (more to come later on...), they didn't show up. however one of the sites called "city extra" was very good, located 20 minutes from Murex just off a seafood restaurant. A cornucopia of crustacea and ghostpipefish.

 

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<To be continued with Alor , Padang Bai, Tulamben and Nusa Penida>

 


 

 

 

 


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.

#5 Alison Perkins

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 04:20 AM

Wow! Thanks for sharing. Liking the "to be continued". :-)

Edited by Alison Perkins, 04 October 2013 - 04:20 AM.


#6 Luko

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 05:23 AM

Part 3 : Alor – August 2013 :

 

For three years in a row I had been  lurking to Alor : Alor Eco divers sounded like the perfect getaway for me, sufficiently comfy and remote.... but each time out of luck, room availabilities failed to meet my fixed dates.

It’s a possibility that the worldwide economic crisis helped me book a firm week stay on Pantar island for this year.

 

Gilles, Alor Eco divers’ owner, had advised me to come and stay out of the full moon period, I still can say the wild currents in Alor don’t make photography that easy.  Oppositely, there  are so many great  benefits in the area it should certainly be elected as a prime UW photo location :  gin clear water with outstanding surface visibility, local fishermen, amazingly colorful coral and…  Rhinopias. Yaay!  

 

Gilles, my buddy on Bama Wall

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Anemone city : more than just anemone fields.

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Spearfishing around Pura island

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Anthias shallows :

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Alor is also great for macro :

Solar Powered Nudi :

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Allied cowrie shell :

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Paddleflap Rhinopias
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Edited by Luko, 04 October 2013 - 07:07 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.

#7 MikeVeitch

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 06:07 AM

Great set Luko! Love that schooling sweetlips shot and Nusa Laut is always a favoured location when i am in that area.

 

I have also noticed there are a lot more fish in the Banda area, big schools of the red tooth triggers and others all around those islands.  While its great for photography, I can't help but think there are "too many" of them.. which of course means there are not enough predators around such as trevally, grouper etc to keep the population under control.  At least that was my observation.


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#8 Luko

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 07:13 AM

Great set Luko! Love that schooling sweetlips shot and Nusa Laut is always a favoured location when i am in that area.

 

I have also noticed there are a lot more fish in the Banda area, big schools of the red tooth triggers and others all around those islands.  While its great for photography, I can't help but think there are "too many" of them.. which of course means there are not enough predators around such as trevally, grouper etc to keep the population under control.  At least that was my observation.

Thanks Mike.

I also agree with your comment, as I felt there was little balance in the fishlife I encountered in most parts of central Maluku, either devoid of any midsized fish (south of Ambon) or too much fish of a single specie without the variety factor, which shoudln't be very good I guess.

That said, there are small local areas where I felt the diversity and density was good : Ameth or South Molana impressed me for instance, still lots of trevallies, all sorts of groupers and often a few napoleons.  


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.

#9 Luko

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 05:22 AM

Part 4.1 : Bali - Rhinopias safari in Padang Bai – august 2013

 

Coming back from Alor and Maumere, I then had Bali on my dive schedule. I usually dive Tulamben and Nusa Penida areas, but I slipped in Padang Bai for a change.

I had various heated discussions on many forums with Cedric from GekoDive Padangbai. He challenged me to come and witness how Padang Bai was a rich critter ground : I guess he found the right words to attract me in his lair. The word Rhinopias jumped immediately at me. I then asked him to arrange me a few Rhinopias aimed dive with one of his senior guides, something he did very well on a short notice.

 

Can’t say he wasn’t right about Padang Bai macro, I had a ball with rhinopias (3 specimens in 4 dives), frogfish or the odd stargazer : Jetty is an especially rich divespot, Jepun is not bad either.

It was also for me worth a try at a new lens/dome configuration I haven't seen any reports on. I was using a EFS60mm macro lens with a Zen minidome. I can now clearly state it is a perfect combo for midsized macro portraits like rhinopias, leaffish or bigger frogfish, even cuttlefish and GPF are doing fine with this combo easier to manage than my 100mm. The benefit is that the dome retains the original 60mm angle and also seems less frightening for the critter than the protruding flatport.

 

I simply regretted I couldn’t have an additional dive using a real wide angle lens on Jetty, the site is amazing on morning light on a day of good visibility. Lovely sunrays, lots of colorful gorgonians clinging to the pillars, plenty of interesting stuff like frogfish, sometimes small schools of various fish. 

 

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Edited by Luko, 05 October 2013 - 05:32 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.

#10 MikeVeitch

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 05:35 AM

Yes, the jetty is a great dive isn't it? But it can be COLD!  Really like your Rhino shots


Join us for our Lembeh and Bunaken Photo Workshop 12-19 May 2014
Blog and Photo Archive/Portfolio Site www.mikeveitchblog.com
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#11 edpdiver

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 04:22 PM

Incredible shots. It is hard to pick favorites because they are all so impressive. Great job!

 

Erwin


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#12 gee13

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 05:06 PM

Great shots Luko, Sante!

#13 Luko

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 02:06 PM

Thanks everyone!

So now continuing to ...

 

Part 4.2 : Bali - Tulamben supermacro. august 2013

Tulamben is always a favorite each year, especially with Liberty Dive centre and Uji, another of my favorite dive guides. I didn't realize how bad were the waves that struck Tulamben around april/may until I had my first dive : Some of the best macro spots had their usual macro suspects completely gone and replaced with completely different critters on a supermacro scale, apart from the very common GPF;

One year ago a 1:1 magnification ratio was the norm, while it seems today you're better off with a larger than 2*size magnification tool ! everything has shrunk down to smaller, it seems. That said I still love the Liberty slope or Melasti for amazing finds.

 

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Algae shrimp, a first one for me :
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some kind of doto for a change to the now usual "donut doto" :
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Elysia ornata on Melasti, there was a place in Melasti where in less than 1 sq. meter a thecacera, 2 elysia and probably 5 or 6 blue and yellow nudis were hanging around while being watched by a couple of GPF. That was a hard time especially when Uji called me for a tozeuma shrimp. 
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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.

#14 MATT S

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 03:29 PM

Fantastic images, well done.  So many fish :) 


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#15 Julian D

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 11:08 PM

Wow! Fantastic photos.  Thanks for sharing.



#16 Luko

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:48 AM

Part 4.3 : Bali - Nusa Penida, cold blue water diving. August 2013

 

Lembongan and Nusa penida was my last stop in Indonesia, wishing I'd tick one more critter off my list : the Mola Mola. During our 4 days stay on Lembongan at TwoFish, manta rays were seen often, coral was as spectacular as we expected, , anthias were going crazy with the cold currents raging around colorful bommies, carrying incredible visibility with that stunning ice blue surface color that seems specific to Nusa Penida and especially Toyapakeh. What could we ask more?    

I eluded the mola mola for a while but lastly, I guess you know when it's a good dive. Imagine on my last dive I bet a BIntang against a boatload of divers we wouldn't see any manta on Manta Bay (tip : if you see a dolphin pod around there is a good chance all manta rays already fled). Nevertheless, we all decided than going for the dive was still better than staying on the boat, after a brief look we sank  deeper expecting the mantas coming from the blue but since the water temperature was dropping down to 21C, we stumbled on 3 Mola Mola. 

Unfortunately the photo opportunity was so obvious  that we managed to scare the most junior of the three fish and the party clumsily swam away before anyone could shoot a decent fisheye shot. No manta rays though : ultimately the score was 3 molamola plus beer for me. Ain't life great?

 


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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.

#17 gee13

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 08:28 AM

So you deliberately are planning your diving to avoid me Luko! I must have been in Lembongan just a few weeks after you.

#18 wobby

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 03:05 PM

Great images and looked like a great year of diving around Indonesia.


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#19 tdpriest

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:09 AM

I love your wide-angle scenes, but the Rhinopias is pretty exciting, too...

 

... thanks for sharing, and for reminding those of us who were in Lembeh last week (with the Wetpixel Workshop) that there are other places with cool critters!


Edited by tdpriest, 01 November 2013 - 02:10 AM.


#20 Luko

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:45 AM

So you deliberately are planning your diving to avoid me Luko! I must have been in Lembongan just a few weeks after you.

 

True, Gavin! We've been diving the same waters in a few weeks span : maybe if you would forward a week your holidays, I 'll try to stretch mine one week, then manage to buddy up for a couple of days. I will be in Anilao at Xmas time then Alona afterwards, just in case...

 

 

I love your wide-angle scenes, but the Rhinopias is pretty exciting, too...

 

... thanks for sharing, and for reminding those of us who were in Lembeh last week (with the Wetpixel Workshop) that there are other places with cool critters!

 

Thanks for your comments, Tim.

I also had a great time last year at Lembeh Resort though I wanted to have a Rhinopias year for a change in 2013 (hence Ambon, Alor and Padang Bai), if I knew the Rhinos were back in Lembeh Strait I would have certainly put it on my "to dive" list. 


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.