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Member Since 28 May 2008
Offline Last Active Apr 08 2009 06:08 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Da Junk on The Junk

07 July 2008 - 11:01 AM

A couple of general comments:

- The Junk is definitely a mid-priced (& mid-quality) liveaboard. I'm glad you enjoyed it - I know lots of people that got very tired (like by day 2) of climbing down the ladder to get into the zodiac to go diving... the boat was never designed to be a dive boat, and for many the atmosphere (and style) doesn't make up for this over a week.

Well, I've been on more than a few liveaboards, and other than diving off a dedicated rear dive deck (Turks & Caicos Explorer, California Truth Boats and Nekton Rorqual - and the trade-off there is you have to find the freaking boat as it is on a fixed mooring :lol: ), we've been required to somehow transfer from the mother ship to the tenders. A few steps down, with willing and able assistance from Junk crew, was seriously no big deal, and nothing near as difficult as stepping off the Galapagos Aggressor, fully kitted up, onto a bucking panga in six foot seas. Ymmv. The Junk is no Archipelago Adventurer, but in our opinion is a fun, modest budget option, although not particularly well set up if there were several photogs with large vid or dslr rigs on board.

- Someone may be able to correct me, but I don't think they've seen a whale shark at Richelieu for a couple of years. Mark Strickland (then photopro/cruise director on the Ocean Rover) said they stopped showing up a while ago (very unfortunate).

Whalesharks were reported as been seen in the week previous to our visit (December 2007).

- Last: the west coast of Thailand is still a great place to dive, but (unfortunately) it's nothing like it was even 10-15 years ago (true for many destinations, I know...). For those of us who have lived in Thailand it's just a little sad (and frustrating) to see such a beautiful natural environment suffer because of the pressure put on by the ever-growing tourist population, and the lack of foresight by those responsible in managing the resource responsibly.

How fortunate for you that you were able to dive Thailand before it became a diving mecca.

I consider myself quite well-traveled and have seen alot of healthy reefs - Fiji (Bligh Waters/east coast Viti Levu) , far northeastern Australia (Raine Island, detached reefs), Banda Sea, etc - no doubt that most if not all reefs are under at least some pressure from development, global warming, imbalances due to over-fishing and harvesting, but I thought that most of the reefs we visited in Thailand were in good condition (in fact, as I wrote in my report, in better condition than I would have expected for an area so heavily touristed) - I did not see evidence of coral disease or bleaching, and other than the areas I mentioned that appeared to be affected by dynamite fishing (a few sections on the Surin reefs) and tsunami damage (Koh Bon), the reefs looked very healthy and there was prolific fish life. Any less than stellar dives we did in Thailand were still (in our opinion) better than the best of the Caribbean that we've done - Cozumel, Bahamas (various locations), Roatan, Bonaire, Curacao, Cuba, Antigua, Turks & Caicos. I would be happy to dive in Thailand again, although I would not revisit during peak tourist season as there are not enough sites available to accomodate the current armada of dive boats and gaggles of bubbling, reef-whacking newbies.

Thanks for your comments.


In Topic: Aboard the M/V Jazz

04 July 2008 - 10:12 AM

Thanks so much for an excellent report and images. We dove the same area Christmas 2007 on The Junk and my takeaway on the diving was similar to yours - would have hoped for better viz (was a bit milky everywhere we dove - all the way up to the Surins), but generally greatly enjoyed the diving, most especially at Richelieu Rock and a couple of sites in the Similans. We did see mantas at Koh Bon, but between droves of reef-whacking newbie manta chasers and sploogey viz there were no decent photo ops to be had there.

The leopard shark mating dance shots are great captures!


In Topic: Mabul

04 July 2008 - 10:02 AM

Wow - what a heartwarming and beautifully produced video. I too love spending time with and photographing local kids when traveling overseas and have had some great encounters with some, including Fiji, Ecuador and on Banda in Indo.

Thank you for sharing your work, and for reminding us that money is not always a prerequisite for happiness.


In Topic: Homeland Security tightening up again.

08 June 2008 - 09:28 AM


I know airports have lounges .. i was talking about TRANSIT lounges.

remember the days when you arrived in a country youwere just passing through and you had say 2 hours between flights.
You didn't have to check out and in .. you stayed on the checked in side and went to a transit lounge hence staying in international territory.

I don't understand why the major coastal hubs in the US like Miami, Atlanta, NYC, LAX etc etc all make you check out and then check in take ur bags back through security and then get on the plane when you could just stay in a transit lounge never entering the country. This would take a huge workload off the airport and make travelling a lot easier and in no way is a risk as everyone was checked at originating airport.

This is a beef with me too. Many major airports worldwide offer secure, in-transit facilities to travelers, including Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Frankfurt, Tokyo Narita, Singapore, to name a few. There is, to my recollection, always a security check somewhere before you can go to the connecting departure gate, but these are smaller security stations as they are not receiving the masses streaming through the check in and departures halls, and although they are thorough, they do not have they typical half hour ++ line ups.

I have stood in line up to 2.5 hours in Miami and in Houston, whilst in transit to Canada. In Miami, I timed the processing of passengers in front of me in the "Foreigners" line on a recent trip - the average time to process a passenger was 10 minutes. For in transit passengers who are not entering the country they are transiting, this is ridiculous waste of time and human resources, not to mention the added inconvenience of picking up in transit bags, clearing them through customs, and then resubmitting them into the baggage handling system.

If not technically entering the US, just transiting through, why does one need to subject oneself to the US Customs & Immigrations boondoggle?


In Topic: Howdo from Vancouver, Canada

28 May 2008 - 07:29 PM

Thank you for the warm welcomes!