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Komodo with E-M1 MKII

08 February 2017 - 04:16 AM

We're on our way back from Komodo. We had a good trip but the weather was pretty bad and instead of ending at Maumere, we came back here due to very high winds. But although we're tired, everyone's disks are full of great photos and the DIVE Damai crew helped make the most of all our opportunities. Much more soon, here's a few photos to get started. All were taken with the new Olympus E-M1 MK2 in the Oly housing, with the 8mm FE, 60mm Macro and 12mm lenses. I used the new Saga Dive Trio diopter system for macro as well.


My initial thoughts are that the OM-D E-M1 MK2 is a great imager and a big improvement over the earlier MK1. AF in low-light is much better, and the performance is really good for macro. Battery easily lasts 3 dives, probably 4. I had some weird issues with TTL on macro with the YS-D1 strobes I was shooting - exposure would be great for 4-5 frames and them be totally over exposed for a frame. Never quite figured out what was going on.


Much more soon.

















Beyond Here There Be Dragons! Komodo Island on Damai 1 - Jan-Feb 2017

12 July 2016 - 10:55 AM

Beyond Here There be Dragons! Komodo Island, Indonesia (Laboanbajo to Maumere)
Underwater Photo Expedition on the Damai I Liveaboard.
January 28 - February 8th, 2017

Komodo National Park, located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores, is composed of three major islands (Rinca, Komodo, and Padar) and numerous smaller ones, all of them of volcanic origin. Located at the meeting of two continental plates, this national park constitutes the “shatter belt” within the Wallacea Biogeographical Region, between the Australian and Sunda ecosystems. The park is identified as a global conservation priority area, comprising unparalleled terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The dry climate has triggered specific evolutionary adaptation within the terrestrial flora that range from open grass-woodland savanna to tropical deciduous (monsoon) forest and quasi cloud forest. The rugged hillsides and dry vegetation highly contrast with the sandy beaches and the blue coral-rich waters.
The park is best known for the Komodo “dragon” monitor, the world's largest living lizard, measuring up to 8’ long!
Upwelling of nutrient-rich water from deeper areas of the archipelago is responsible for the rich reef ecosystem. Because of the strong currents formed by the tides going in and out of the north, the reefs off  Komodo have incredible species diversity.
The variety of marine life that you can see in Komodo rivals any of the world's best dive destinations. From sunfish, mantas, dolphins and eagle rays to pygmy seahorses, ornate ghost pipefish, clown frogfish, nudibranchs and blue-ringed octopus, all are at home amongst a spectacular range of colorful sponges, sea squirts, tunicates and corals; Komodo is a macro enthusiast's heaven. For wide angle photographers there are lots of great walls, sea mounts, huge sponges and opportunities for larger animals like sharks, mantas, tuna and rays. It is also home to dugongs and other mammals.
In Jan/February, when we are going, there are generally less than ideal conditions up north, but good conditions in the south. Horseshoe Bay a favorite spot, is cold in the summer - in the 60's at times. But in the winter, it's bluer, clearer, and warmer, getting into the 80's, but still with incredible marine life. The other benefit of going to Komodo during the winter is that almost all other liveaboards have moved east to Raja Ampat, so it tends to be way more "exclusive", with very little competition for dive sites.
This charter is a re-positioning cruise, as the boat leaves the Komodo area and goes to Flores Island. Although 11 days in length, we are only being charged for 10! Access is good from both ports; easy non-stop flights from Bali.
Our schedule in Komodo itself for the first 6 days mostly focuses on the southern parts of the area. Horseshoe Bay (Nusa Kode) includes world class dive sites Cannibal Rock, Yellow Wall, Torpedo Alley, Pelican Head, and Rodeo Rock (amongst others). One could easily spend a full week diving just this area, and be very happy and productive.
After day 6, we will head east from Komodo, crossing the N. coast of Flores, diving along the way. There will still be good diving, but more motoring than the previous week (there may not be night dives on the days with long crossings).  There are more macro opportunities in these few days, but also some decent walls, and a very interesting visit to Komba volcano for a dive and evening "fireworks" show (Vulcan willing).
MV Damai I
This beautifully designed wooden boat been designed to offer a personal luxury service that only a vessel of this size that is dedicated to small groups can provide.
With an overall length of 40 meters (130 feet) and a beam of over 8 meters (26 feet) the vessel has 7 staterooms with a choice of single cabins, twins, doubles or two spacious master cabins. All cabins are furnished with queen or king sized beds, and ensuite heads.
The vessel has been designed with three large deck areas for relaxing in both the sun or shade and for enjoying relaxing massage and spa treatments.
Specifically designed for divers, the vessel offers large dive stations with individual rinse tanks and a camera room with separate camera work stations with integrated 110v and 220v charging station for each photographer. The vessel offers a divemaster/guide to customer ratio of 4 to 1, ensuring the best service underwater as well as onboard.
More on the Damai 1 Liveaboard Here.
Take a 360° Photo Tour Here.
Sign-up Here, or Call 800-359-1295 or Email us for more information!
Download a trip flyer Here.
Your trip leader Jack Connick from Optical Ocean Sales will be available to help you with presentation on subjects ranging from strobe positioning to Photoshop Lightroom. He is also available to help you with equipment issues. Take part in as much, or as little, as you like.
Twin Share Cabin (1 cabin - 2 spaces available): $5600
Single Cabin: $7350
Note: The boat is more than half full and cabins (1, 2, 5, 6, 7) are booked. The remaining cabins are large and comfortable for either one couple or a single. We do have the flexibility to take either female or male singles at this time.
50% deposit upon booking, final payment due Sept 2016.
All deposits are non-refundable, but transferable to another person for the same trip.
Included in your Package:
• 12 Days/11 Nights on board the Damai I Liveaboard
• 4 dives a day offered
• Photo presentations & assistance
• All meals served in a fine dining environment
• Beer, drinks and 1 glass of wine each night onboard
• Airport transfers to/from boat
Not Included: Airfare, $110 for Nitrox, Equipment rentals, Park & Port Fees. $42/day all-inclusive rate available.