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Posts posted by frogfish

  1. I'll accept the word of jcclink and others who have left o-rings in for storage for a long time, but removing and cleaning the main o-ring, port o-rings and strobe battery compartment o-rings isn't that difficult. I stow the o-rings in labelled zip-log bags, which fit under the foam covering in the lid of the Pelican box that the housing travels in. (The o-rings can lie flat, and h ziploc bags with o-rings are sandwiched between the foam layer and a single foam dinner place setting which can double as a padded work surface on an under-equipped boat.



  2. Well that you should *sigh". Bali's rainy season this past six months was much wetter, hotter and less comfortable than usual. But the southeastern monsoon has finally kicked in, sending wonderful onshore breezes to this side of the island, lowered temperature and humidity, beautfiul deep blue skies with lots of puffy white cumulus clouds. From now through October is the real reason to be here. Not, in my view, the food, though I recognize that your ayam panggang could be to you what those madelaines were to Proust.



  3. Congrats. Most important, I think, is relax and have a good time with your new camera. I agree with the suggestions to shoot RAW from the beginning, but I don't concur that you should start with a mid-range lens like the 50 mm. I'd suggest starting with the 60 mm macro lens (if you have one). In the early days, you'll get more pictures you're happy with shooting macro then wide-angle.


    But you should start experimenting with wide-angle as soon as possible. Just don't be disapointed if the first results aren't all that you hoped for. WA is more difficult. Most WA shots require balancing strobe illumination and ambient light, which will take some experimentation. Alternatively, consider shooting WA with a magic filter and no strobes.


    Some say no cotton buds in o-ring grooves. I think they're the best thing for removing water. Also cleaning - put a few drops of lens cleaning solution on the bud.) Clean the o-ring by passing it through folds of a lint-free cloth, then lubricate lightly with grease. Check the o-ring carefuly before replacing the back or port, and then look again. Don't store the housing or travel/fly with o-rings in place.


    Pressure testing the housing: Make sure the synch cord plugs are in the ports (and that there are o-rings properly positioned on the plugs, port, and back). Without the camera, the housing will be positively buoyant. You can hold it under water for a minute with your hands. If you want to let the housing soak longer wrap a couple of dive weights in a soft towel (or bubble wrap, or neoprene) and carefuly position the weights in the bottom of the housing.


    Spares and parts: As far as this goes, I'm tend to the extreme. Or at least, some people think so. Then again, I've saved trips for some of those people who don't carry their own spares. Sometimes it's possible to preposition (or ship) a phone box of extra gear to the vessel. Here's the minimum list of spares I like to have with me on a dive trip.


    - a spare camera body;

    - a spare synch cord port;

    - extra synch cords (single and double);

    - at least two complete strobe sets. (Strobes have always been the weakest link in the underwater photography system for me);

    - lots of batteries for strobes;

    - one spare battery for camera (3 batteries for 2 bodies);

    - spare main body and port o-rings;

    - air bulb, lens cleaning solution, swabs and solution for removing crap from camera sensor, lint free cloths, photographers' chamois (for lenses and ports);

    - back-up (slower) PCMCIA card for transferring raw files from cards to laptop;

    - o-ring grease (several kinds, as required)


    Dive gear:

    - Spare regulator 2nd stage.

    - A full set of spare hoses (2nd stage, SPG and high-pressure hose, inflator hose), spare BCD power inflator and corrugated hose).

    - Spare mask (prescription, in my case).


    A carry a plastic tool box with basic tools: stainless steel crescent wrench, hex keys (metric and imperial, unfortunately), needle nose pliers, Scubapro's special regulator tool, screw drivers, brass picks, stainless steel dental pick, stainless steel tweezers, spare tri-glide fasteners, lens cleaning solution, cotton buds, cutters, superglue.


    Unless you have stainless-steel spring heels on your fins, consider bringing a spare pair of fin straps. ALWAYS have a duct tape, a few lengths of braid line, shock cord, and extra plastic ties with you, but this applies to life, not just dive trips.



  4. The 10.5 is a wondeful lens, but not as flexible as the 12-24. It's also more difficult to light. As you know, with the 10.5, you have to be able to approach fish/animals VERY closely, or else they have to be VERY big, or both.


    So I'd have to say that scrapping the 12-24 wouldn't work for me. I use both lens a lot. I also use the 17-35 for wide-angle, mostly for sharks and other animals difficult to approach closely enough for the 12-24, and/or for other situations unsuited for the 10.5 where the 2.8 speed of the 17-35 gives it an edge over the slower 12-24.



  5. Alex, Drew, and everyone else,


    Sorry, I was away when this query and discussion came up in April, in Komodo, as it happens, or I would have posted earlier. As Drew mentioned, this was the inaugural voyage of the Seven Seas, a newly rebuilt Phinisi schooner. All aboard were friends and we had a great trip, including hitting the mega-school of mantas at Karang Makassar. This is a good, well-run boat, well set up for diving and photographers. I haven't had time to post any images on my site for a long time, but there are a few up on the SevenSeas site, including pix of the boat.


    The Seven Seas


    Declaration: Jos and Lida Pet and Mark Heighes - the owners of the Seven Seas - are ery good friends whom I've done a lot of diving with over the years, all over Indonesia. Now they've built their dream boat, and I intend to spend as much time on it as possible over the next year - I'm booked on it again in July (back to Komodo, what can I say?), and November (Ambon-to-Sorong via the Bandas), and I'm hoping to squeeze in at least one more trip somewhere in between.


    I did want to respond to DavePh's comment about the transit time from Bali to Komodo. A few boats do start and begin most of their trips in Bali, which means 1-2 days en route each way. (The usual practice is to to depart Bali about midday, cruise all night, dive north lombok the first real day, cruise all night again, and dive north sumbawa/sangeang island second day.)


    The SevenSeas (and a number of other boats) start and end most of their trips either in Labuanbajo (on Flores) or Bima (eastern Sumbawa). From Labuanbajo, it's about three hours steaming to some of the best dives in the north of the park. From Bima, about a half day. I like it both ways: starting and finishing in Labuanbajo does maximize the time in the park, but I also like doing the macro dives at Sanggeang, which has some nudibranch species and other critters I've never seen anywhere else.


    Alex - if you're still looking for a boat in August, email me.



  6. ...Originally I was going to stay clear of the 105mm as I thought the 60mm would do the trick for most of what I wanted, but it seems as though the 105 is really becomming more popular everyday...


    You can get by with only the 105 mm with a full-frame DSLR, but it's tight with DX frame sensors unless you know you only want to shoot at 1:3 (at the most) or tighter. If you have to pick one macro lens, I think you'll find the 60 mm is more versatile. You'll want the 105 eventually.

    ....I thought about skipping the 12-24 and going with the 10.5 FE.


    You'll probably end up taking some of your best photographs with the 10.5 and possibly using it more than the 12-24, but the fish eye is more difficult to use (and to light). Most important, it's useless for fish unless you can approach very close. If you had to pick one wide-angle, I'd urge you to start with the 12-24, and make the 10.5 the next lens you buy.

    If going with the extention ring for the 12-24 and using the mounting tray, will the extended dome factor be corrected for?


    I'm not sure what you mean, but you will need the extension ring to position the 12-24 mm lens properly with respect to the curvature of the large dome port. The same extension ring is also required for the 17-35. The dome port is used without an extension ring with the 10.5 and other wide-angle prime lenses, such as the 20 mm etc.


    The advantage of mounting strobe arms on handles on a ULCS tray when using the large dome port and an extension ring, in my view, is that it shifts the axis of rotation and lowers center of gravity, reducing the torque on the wrist induced by the positive buoyancy of port and ring, which acts as a lever arm trying to rotate the housing dome up. This can be very tiring on wrist muscles over a long trip with multiple dives every day, particularly high current dives where you may need to hold and manipulate the housing with one hand.


    ....How many of you have the extra larger viewfinder and could you go without?


    I have the large viewfinder on the D2 housing. I like it.


    For travel case, the Pelican is heavier than the Storm and both are really close to the carry-on cut off limitations. I hadnt rulled them out, they just stick out like a sore thumb versus a soft-sided look of a wheeled backpack that has that "dont bother me I'm a quiet gypsie" look that lets you slide by a little easier.


    Different strokes I guess. The bottom line for me is that I believe my housing and ports would survive being checked in a Pelican if it came to that, but I would be less confident if they were in a soft bag or wheeled backpack. Two camera bodies and several lenses, usually including a long telephoto, the laptop and external drives HAVE to fly with me as carry on or I'm not going. That fills up my backpack.


    Okay, one last lens question, for land use, what's a nice all-around zoom you'd recommend?


    For a good carry-on single lens, I like the 24-120 mm.



  7. Paquito,


    Your instinct to go with the 12-24 for wide and 60 mm with a DX frame is absolutely correct. If you noticed, there is anther thread talking about which lenses people use the most, the 10.5 fisheye sounds like it's a more popular choice for wide-angle than the 12-24 mm. I'd certainly consider the 10.5 as the third of your three basic underwater lenses. The fourth would be the 105 mm.


    I wouldn't be optimistic about shooting the 60 through a dome port, though I can't honestly say I've ever tried. I'd also urge you to consider the large Subal dome port, despite its weight and size. My understanding is that this is the only port that will work successfully with the 10.5 mm lens.


    I can carry the Subal D2X housing, the big dome port, a 60 mm flat port and 105 mm (manual focus) port and two extension rings in one Pelican case that is just legal as carry-on. If it had to be checked, the stuff would probably survive, but so far I have never had to check it. The cameras, lenses, laptop and external hard drives all ride in a photographers backpack which is of course never checked. Strobes are packed with the dive gear. (To save checked weight, the strobe arms and NiCad batteries usually go in side-car pockets strapped to the camera backpack.)


    And one more..while a lot of wonderful photos have been taken with a single strobe, you will be severely limiting yourself with only one.


    You don't mention the arm system you intend to use. If you plan to use the 12-24 with the big dome port, then I'd urge you to consider a (ULCS) tray with handles, instead of mounting the arms on top of the housing. With the big dome port stuck out on an extension ring, there is a lot buoyancy forward that makes the camera want to rotate dome up. By day 10 of a liveaboard trip you'll be in need of a chiropractor. If you plan to mainly use the 10.5 (which doesn't need an extension ring) for wide-angle, however, then using the Subal handles and arms mounted on top of the housing is fine.


    Other bits and pieces you might want to consider picking up:


    - Extension ring (needed for 12-24 mm)

    - +2 diopter (77 mm) for 12-24 mm

    - +2 or +3 diopter for 60 mm

    - Photographers chamois. (I love these for lenses, eye-glasses. One is dedicated

    for cleaning the dome port.)



  8. Underwater, it would be either the 10.5 mm or the 12-24 zoom - it's a matter of the site and conditions. For reefscapes and big animals, it's the 10.5, but if the dive is likely to be about fish that are smaller than mantas or molas, or if they may be difficult to approach closely, then it's the 12-24.


    Above-water, the lens that usually "lives" on my land body is a 24-120 mm VR. Image stabilisation partly makes up for it not being the fastest lens ever made. It may not match specialised zooms (or prime lenses) at what they do best, but it's nice to have a carry-around zoom that can take decent photos in marginal light, with that kind of range, and not weighing 4 kg.



  9. Do check the threads on this topic. One option would be to pick up a very inexpensive metal tripod. Another would be to improvise a tripod out of arm sections and a triple clamp.


    You could probably improvise a monopod out of just about anything, including a broomstick, a boathook, or whatever. If it's likely to be a muddy or soft bottom, you'd need something to serve as a 'shoe' on the bottom.



  10. If you shoot RAW, you have the option of doing two (or more) separate conversions in Photoshop ACR (or another converter) with different exposure levels - one representing the normal optimum exposure, and another over-exposed by one stop (or even more) to pull more information out of the shadows. If there are areas that are slightly blown out in the optimum version, a final under-exposed (one stop or less) version may help solve that.


    After combining the three conversions as layers in a single image, you will still have a lot of work left to do, selectively erasing parts of the three different layers and playing with opacity and fill to end up with a good composite, but for the right image, it's worth it.


    This technique is analogous to (but cruder than) the method topside landscape photographers have used for years in order to expand dynamic range, shooting multiple versions of the same scene with different exposure settings with the camera on a tripod, and then sandwiching the negatives together or selectively printing using different parts of the differentl exposed negatives.


    Another classic topside trick is to use a graduated neutral density filter to compress the dynamic range. Since you can't control the position of the transition point on a camera and lens in a housing, you would have to preset the position of the filter before the dive. I've never heard of anyone using ND grad filters underwater. but split diopters - half neutral density and half clear (and usually about a +2 diopter strength) are commonly used for over-unders, essentially solving the same problem.


    If the sun is in the frame, then you probably will need to stop down and use artificial illumination for the near subject. This can take fairly powerful strobes that can push a lot of light.


    As James said, adding contrast to an image that looks a bit flat isn't difficult, and is almost always necessary at least to some degree. Levels is the classic photoshop tool, but Curves provides a lot more control. Even better, convert the image to LAB color space and learn to use Curves there.



  11. I understand that the rule of thumb for handholding a 35 mm SLR is the inverse of the lens length. With a 10-22 mm lens, you would expect to be able to work at 1/10 to 1/20 of a second shooting topside. (Some shooteres can apparently hold a camera still enough at even longer exposure times, but let's stick with this.)


    Underwater, the water will have at least a slight damping effect on camera-housing movement, which is good. That would normally be offset by the fact that an underwater photographer is literally floating, but this doesn't apply if you're negatively buoyant and standing on the bottom. Good ergonomics and twin handles that make it easy to brace the camera against your body could help. Any current could hurt.


    Finally, since you say the dive is fairly deep, if you'll be breathing air, I think you have to factor in the likelihood that you will probably be at least slightly narked.


    Since you'll have a clear bottom, what about using (or improvising) a tripod or monopod? There have beena couple of threads about this, and the situation you've described could be the perfect place to try this. If conditions are good (no current), you really wouldn't have any maximum restriction on shutter speed. And the fish, like cars driving around the Arc de Triomphe, will all disappear as well!


    I hope you will let us know how this worked out and show us the results.



  12. Thanks caymaniac, but I think you may be confusing me and Lionfish, who shoots with the D2H. The shot I posted above was taken with the D2X with the 10.5 lens, two Inon D2000 strobes and a third (slave mode) Sea&Sea strobe mounted in the middle - I think most of that is in the post.


    I'm quite happy with the D2X, by the way, though I'm 99% sure that I would have gone with the D200 had it been released 8 months earlier.



  13. Like Lionfish43, if anything, I shoot more wide-angle since I moved to digital then I did on film. For every dive I set for macro, I probably do at least two wide-angle dives, maybe more. But the ratio of w/a "keepers" is never anything like the shooting ratio, of course. That's only partly because shooting wide-angle is more intrinsically difficult. A macro dive at a site like Lembeh, Raja Empat or Komodo with great biodiversity can yield a stunning number of decent images of different subjects. Wide-angle dives just don't work the same way.


    Sunbursts were always difficult, and pose special problems with digital sensors, but many examples of successful digital sunburst shots have been posted on this board. Sunbursts were becoming almost a cliche in underwater photography, and I like to think that we're moving beyond those standardized images. That said, it's still fun to shoot one every once in a while.




    Eagle Rock, Komodo. D2X in Subal housing, 10.5 mm, Inon strobes




    P.S. Rand, love the cormorant (if that's what it is) - where did you take this? Nice sea lions too!

  14. I'm a big fan of the magic, but I'm not sure it always makes a big positive difference at the very shallow depths that we often see mantas.


    The first of the following images was also shot at Nusa Penida Manta Point, a few months ago, using the Magic Filter. I liked it that the filter helped bring out the reddish brown color of the cliffs (which were brightly illuminated with the morning light) on the undersurface of the water. But the underside of this manta badly needed some fill flash, which I obviously couldn't do with conventional strobes. It was this shot that has pushed me to try to solve the problem of fill-flash with red-orange filters, on which subject I'll post again later. But back to Manta Point, most of the shots from that session suffered from the viz, which was - as usual for any manta site - very poor. It isn't that noticeable here, shooting upwards from very close with the 10.5, but in any shot with any sideways distance in it, the mantas just disappeared in the mist.


    I think viz is by far the most important factor separating ok and wonderful manta shots. The second image was taken at the "Manta Point" off South Komodo last year, without the Magic Filter. Usually the viz at this site is like pea soup, but that day it was phenomenal. I'd never really been able to see the reef before! What the mantas were doing still hanging around with nary a piece of plankton to eat for miles and miles, I really can't say, but they did look gorgeous.


    The third image is from just a few weeks ago, at Karang Makassar in Komodo. This is the site where a huge aggregation of mantas sometimes forms to feed on the rising tide. In 2003, we counted more than 80 mantas in one pass here. Not quite so many this time, maybe 50. Didn't use the magic filter this time, but at surface depth I don't think it mattered. This aggregation only occurs when there is plankton to feed on, however, so it's unrealistic to ever expect the brilliance and sharpness that was possible that gin-clear day at Komodo's Manta Point.


    All images taken with the 10.5, Fuji S2 for the first two, D2X the last.









  15. Thanks for the ID.


    Perhaps my problem is that there is just too much morphological variation in coral genuses (and species) for me to get my head around these taxa. For example, one of the two photos of Symphillia valenciennesii in the Erhardt/Knopp book confirms the id you've suggested.


    But there are four photographs showing examples Simphyllia valenciennesii in Julian Sprung's book, all showing considerable variation, but some similarity. None of these four examples remotely resemble my coral or the mian S. valenciennesii example in the Erhardt/Knopp book, at least not to me.


    I could go on. My point is that I would like to see a coral guide that was organized (or indexed) by physical features in some way. For example, if the specimen to be identified was foliate in form, or else laminar plates, one could quickly scan through samples of corals that can take similar forms. Something analogous to the way that some fish id books that are organized by body shape, rather than strictly order, genus, species.


    But I'm not sure it would ever work. So many coral genuses and species seem to occur in so many different forms.



  16. And this one, which I assume is a coral, but I can't find anything quite like it in either of my two coral reference books. (Julian Sprung's Corals: A quick reference guide and Harry Erhardt and Daniel Knop Corals: Indo-Pacific Field Guide).


    This was on Crystal Bommie, a wonderful dive site in the north part of Komodo National Park, not too deep. It appeared semi-florescent.


    (And by the way, can't someone come up with a better way to organize a corals field guide. About the only way to find something I have ever figure out is to start at page one and keep going, page by page.)




  17. Most airlines these days sensibly require that you remove all fuses from your strobes before flying. Just kidding.


    The purpose of a diffuser is simply to diffuse the light. Without a diffuser, your strobe acts like a point-sized source of light. A single point-source creates clear hard-edged shadows, which can be good for revealing surface texture and detail, but can also look harsh.


    A diffuser or softbox spreads the apparent source of light across its surface, softening the edges of shadows. It's like the difference between taking photographs on a clear, sunny day and a bright but cloudy day. A cloudy sky is the ultimate diffuser/soft box.


    It also broadens and smoothes the edges of the beam, which can be useful when shooting wide-angle with strobe whose angle of coverage is not wide enough to illuminate a large main subject evenly. Last but not least, the diffuser reduces the intensity (power) of the beam by varying amounts, usually equivalent to something between 0.5 and 1.5 stops.


    To make things more confusing, using multiple strobes also softens or even completely removes shadows, but the effect is very different than that obtained by using a diffuser on a single strobe. There is also the more subtle but important difference in visual effect between using diffusers on multiple strobes, or not, which depend in part on strobe placement.


    Diffusers fit over the outside of the strobe, so they can be removed and replaced underwater. You will need a suitable pocket, or else attach lanyards. Try shooting the same subjects (both w/a and macro) with and without the diffuser. You will quickly get a feel for the effect and develop a sense of when you will want to use diffusers and when not.


    The only time you absolutely must use a diffuser is when taking topside portrait using flash of your wife/girlfriend/significant other. * Trust me on this!




    * Professional portrait photographers use soft-focus medium telephoto lenses with designed-in (and controllable) spherical aberration to conceal blemishes and create a magical soft glow around the subject's face, but one can do a lot with carefully applied softening in Photoshop. First, make a duplicate layer, then sharpen the bottom layer. Now apply some gaussian blur or smart blur to the top layer. Erase those parts of the top layer (eyes, lips, etc.) with details that you want to keep maximally sharp. Finally, adjust the opacity of the top layer to moderate the balance between the sharpened lower level and the softening effect on skin tones on the top layer. A few flattering portraits will go a long way to build a more sympathetic understanding of your need to invest in more photo gear.

  18. A light mounted on your housing is definitely the way to go, but I'd urge you to avoid the narrow "pencil" beam spotting lights some people use for this purpose. A spotting light doubling as your dive light needs to have a wide enough beam coverage to let you see what's in front of you and to the sides.


    (Spotting lights "built in" to some strobes or attached to the strobe to help aim it can be useful for that, but won't be very satisfactory as a substitute dive light.


    Personally, moreover, I think separate narrow pencil beam lights are very problematic anyway. Unless you are willing and able to shoot everything at exactly the same distance, you'll have to re-aim the spotting light for each subject and each time the camera (or the subject) moves closer or further away. Life is hard enough.


    Of course, a wide-angle beam bright enough to be useful as a general dive light and to facilitate your camera's autofocus needs to be a fairly powerful light.


    I use a Mini Hartenberger mounted on top of the housing. This light is available with an optional wide-angle reflector that can be switched with the standard beam reflector, and has multiple power settings that can be dialled from the rear. My light is mounted on a ULCS ball fitting bolted to the handle. This isn't the cheapest light you can buy, but my night dives have gone a lot better ever since I got mine.


    If you plan to use a light mounted on your camera/housing as a dive light, do make sure you also carry a separate back-up safety light that's securely attached to you. This is a good application for a good LED light that has no bulb to burn out and can provide up to 200 hours or more burn time. (I don't much like the light that LED lights put out, but I think they're great as safety back-up lights.)



  19. I understand that the rumors of someone else forcing out the resorts mostly came from disgruntled resort staff. And there is no verification of this except to say let's see in 10 years.


    Fair enough, though I'd place the source of the rumours I heard about what was really going on at Sipadan a bit higher than "disgruntled [former] resort staff".


    Scubadru is quite right to point out that the all the stories about big players moving in to build a new resort on Sipadan are just that, rumours, and unverified. As scubadru days, let's see in 10 years. (Though I think we would all know sooner than that.) Nobody would be happier than I if this proved completely unfounded.


    I am glad to see that the extent of damage is less than the first postings seemed to suggest. But the reported explanation - that the construction materials were being brought in to build "tourist facilities like restaurants and toilets for visitors" is hardly consistent with the claimed rationale for shutting down the resorts on the island "to conserve balanced eco-systems for sipadan and its surroundings." Also, the current wikipedia item for Sipadan (who is doing this?) says that Chief Minister Seri Musa Aman has contradicted the claimed explanation of the incident and materials that was issued by State Minister of Tourism Kuat, though I haven't been able to verify this. Does anyone know what's really going on?



  20. Why buy a camera with AF as good as the D200 and worry about manual focus gears? I take the odd image underwater and don't own a single manual focus gear for any of my lenses.


    DiveGypsy mentioned a few reasons why manual focus can sometimes be useful. I agree with Alex as far as wide angle is concerned, and don't own any mf gears for any of my wide-angle lenses. But macro can be a different story. A few examples:


    1. Shooting a commensal Pandalid shrimp (Miropandalus hardingi) on a bushy black coral on a wall, and unable to lock focus on the shrimp amidst the tangled branches of black coral. It took me awhile to remember this was why why I paid the extra $$ for a manual focus port for my 105. MF worked.


    2. Shooting gobies and alpheid shrimp in very shallow water at mid-day, with strong sunlight ripples passing over the sand. The moving bands of shadow and bright sunlight completely confused the auto-focus system. This dive was the reason I subsequently paid the extra $$ to buy a new manual focus port for my 105. Not a single frame in the entire roll was in focus. (This was back in film days - the D2X might have handled the situation better than my old F801s did, but I'm not sure of that.)


    3. Shooting picture dragonets in very turbid water at Secret Bay here in Bali. The D2X's AF capabilities are awesome, way beyond any other camera I've ever owned. But I really wanted the camera to focus on the dragonets, not those particles in the water between the dragonet and the lens.


    4. Shooting a tiny pearlfish swimming in open water (away from its home hole in the nether regions of a holothurian) on a night dive. I spent several minutes trying to capture this rapidly moving fish with the D2X using autofocus. The dark night time water was also full of weird wriggling thingies, which didn't help the AF. Manual focus worked.


    I'd be happy to use AF all the time if I could, but sometimes it just doesn't work. On a night dive with poor viz and/or lots of wriggling thingies attracted to my light, I probably use manual focus at least as much or more than I use AF.



  21. The Sipadan debacle is different. A barge with gravel parked on the pier for what reason? To fill the island's toilets? Ever heard of forest growth? Fishermen not knowing better is one thing. An intentional abuse of the system by having gravel and bulldozer is totally different and more heinous, even if it was probably an accident by errant workers.


    What reason? Hmmm. What possible reason could there be for a barge be unload "tonnes of coarse gravel, sand, steel tubes, iron mesh ... bulldozer and a gigantic crane" on Sipadan? Let's all scratch our heads.


    There have been stories for years that powerful and politically-well-connected Malaysian property interests had their eye on Sipadan to develop it as an upscale resort, and were only waiting until the international court finally decided the dispute with Indonesia over which country really owned the island in Malaysia's favor before moving to kick the existing dive operators off the island and begin construction.


    It's all very sad, but not surprising. What will be surprising, and also sad, is how many people (and dive publications) will be willing forget about the "unavoidable little problems during the construction phase" and accept comped trips, take photographs, write articles and phto essays about how the new Sipadan resort is such a paradise, etc. etc. Watch this place.



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