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Shasta_man

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About Shasta_man

  • Rank
    Moray Eel

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    SF Bay Area

Additional Info

  • Camera Model & Brand
    Olympus C-5060
  • Camera Housing
    Olympus PT-020
  1. Thanks. Magnificent pics. I was pointing to something on the screen and cut my finger on the sharpness.
  2. FYI: I was getting same thing with IE for about a week, but now resolved. What did I do to fix? I'm computer inclined but don't know/can't tell...
  3. Fantastic report/tutorial. Required reading for those interested in going. Hmmm...9 days x $400 for a private charter = a good chunk of change. A serious trip to be sure but obviously can be an amazing experience.
  4. That's another thing I like about Singapore Airport - luggage carts are free! And yes, why do so many bags have great outsides and cheap zippers?!
  5. There is a slight difference to seeing the Komodos in a zoo... There's no fence between you and them and you can see them relatively close up and see how big those claws really are. You also get to see like 8-10 really large ones all in a small area. They cruise around so you probably see more activity than you would typically see at the zoo. We saw some in the forest and they subtly displayed some of their hunting skills which aren't obvious to the inexperienced. Despite looking much like California with some tropical plants mixed in, you can see a lot of other interesting critters you won't see elsewhere. It may not be exciting for everyone but not quite as bleak as painted. You ought to get the nitrox money back, but I'm thinking the boat money is gone.
  6. If you want the best experience, I'd recommend bringing all your own gear. Renting can be hit or miss and we're talking Indonesia, pretty far down on the economic scale here. You might have no problem but you only have a week's dives to waste. If anything, bring what must fit and rent anything else. Remember this is Asia so available sizes will typically fall towards the smaller frame, so consider that. A bit on the touristy side, we did the Elephant Safari thing near Ubud. Kind of cool in that you get to ride an elephant through the countryside and jungle where you get to see plants and animals. Very cool to stand next to the elephants to get your pic taken after the ride. The gutteral sounds they make are amazing. It's my wife's favorite pic and it's more than evident in her smile in the pic. I have to think this helps support the elephants by returning some economic gain from them instead of working in the jungle or even living in the city. Of course the monkey forest. Remember, they touch you, not vice versa. I wasn't going to do this place, but ended up going for other reasons. We got in sort of between groups and the place only had a few people. We didn't make a lot of noise and get them freaked out, like I imagine the busload of tourists would, so we had good experiences. Didn't intend to even touch them but they were on my wife's back before she knew it. You just stand still and they get off in a moment. Pretty cool to be so close. Wetsuit thickness is always a matter of your own conditioning and temperament, and I only dove in Komodo, but since I only use 7mm here in Monterey, I'd think that is way overkill. I only used 3mm suit for the Komodo diving, so I'd question even 5mm. To level set, I'd use 5mm starting at maybe mid 70s water temp. Drew and others can comment on water temp actually in Bali. Oh yeah, if you haven't been to Indo, it is cool. Interesting people, places, and sights.
  7. Stepping out to the big picture, I would caution against buying a new camera to bring on the dream trip unless you are going to have time to use it and be comfortable and effective with it beforehand. The issue is that you end up missing all the great shots you wanted because the new camera didn't capture what you wanted, or you spend the whole trip doinking with the camera instead of actually enjoying the view because you're only watching through a little tube. I do race photography but I am a race fan first so I have to remind myself to put the camera down for a few laps to enjoy the race and not just the awesome zoomed shot I wanted. Getting the beautiful shots is a lot more than point and shoot the awesome camera. If you have a competent rig now, consider whether you can either bring it too or just use it to get the good shots. Nothing sucks more than that long wait after getting back from the dream location to go again to fix the problems on the first trip. I know the new camera is going to win out but I had to tell you this. :-) However, it works out, remember to put the camera down and fill your memory banks directly. I know little about still underwater photo, but light is extremely important for colors when I am shooting video. Without light and effective WB, it's all blue...or green if it's Sony.
  8. ...I knew this artificial ventilator I always bring would finally come in handy... :-)
  9. If you intend to snorkel the pass with the wife, don't show it to her from land. It looks rather intimidating... :-) but once in you zoom right back into the lagoon...
  10. Thanks for the memories. Stayed at Pearl Beach Bora Bora and Kia Ora Village in Rangiroa in '99. It was $10 for an alcoholic drink back then. The pic of the shark fins in the shallow water reminds exactly of the Blue Lagoon snorkeling excursion we did then. 6 inches of water and all these little black tip shark fins.
  11. SOutheast Asia is going to be cheapest area that would make that possible. I've heard that you can stay dirt cheap in places like near Tulumben. And the diving is top notch around in Indonesia. You could then splurge to get out to Komodo, etc.
  12. I just buy more memory sticks and bring them. Any hard drive with moving parts is suspectible to failure. Whether from shock or condensation, etc, lots of threats there. Unless you are a journalist, that would be one heck of a lot of pics you could bring just on sticks alone.
  13. Thanks for bringing back the memories of Komodo and Indonesia. Having been to Komodo and Raja Ampat, I know exactly what you are talking about. The diving is miles of ahead of many other places and the place is so wonderful with the crew you spoke of, etc. The denseness of the life and the huge schools of fish are amazing. The beauty of those reefs in the sunlight is fantastic. Interesting how many people mention Crystal Rock. I missed that dive after almost losing the wife there. During descending in a pretty good current, I kept looking back for her until on the last look, she was gone. She'd aborted due to a reg problem. I immediately surfaced to find her arguing with the skiff driver to wait because she was certain I was coming up to find her. Made a few points over what could have been a bad situation. :-) As I was surfacing, and looking down at relatively bad vis and a lot of circling sharks, I wondered whether I would find myself bobbing alone until the skiffs came back. So many good dives in Komodo. One night dive had a whole book full of critter sightings from banded pipefish to stargazers to lobsters to a huge snail looking creature whose name escapes me right now. Interesting about the lense setup. My experience has been dive 1 of the day (always 7 AM or something on the liveaboards) is best vis of the day and a must do dive regardless of site. So I'd expect those dives to be wide angle. Of course, to get the most critter sightings, don't bring your camera. The one thing I find interesting about those liveaboard trips (love those 11 - 12 night trips in Indo) is how normal it becomes to be down at 85 feet at 6:30 AM. Many people aren't out of bed and you're already at 85 feet. You become so comfortable with it, you have to remember you're underwater.
  14. I can add some experiences and tips to this as I also go out of SFO to Indo. First tip is if you can put your gear/housing in a backpack, a photo type backpack for example, you may avoid weighing the carry-on. Not a monster one, but one similar to a standard backpack. Make certain to wear it to the check-in counter and appear "unencumbered". I did that and carried a reg bag separately. When asked about the carry-on, I said, oh just a backpack and they didn't bother to weigh it. It actually weighed about 20 lbs with the video housing, video camera, still camera, and dive computer as well as a book for the flight and other essentials. In prep, trim it down to the essentials and have a plan for if it gets weighed. I was going to put cameras in the reg bag if necessary and the regs in the luggage if necessary. Once you get through security, don't go to the gate until the last moment as there can be roving "patrols" at the gate area looking for overweights. Again, if it's just a backpack, it is generally overlooked. Then show up at the gate and carry your bag the whole time to again appear "light". Straight to the line and on. Once on the plane, you're good because there is tons of room in the overheads. We were weighed on our first trip because my wife and I showed up with multiple bags on a cart. Second is that I bring a dive bag with all the dive gear, and then a small hard shell poly carbonate suitcase, which is light but could protect anything that had to be stuffed in there. Note that you need to have it simply filled like with clothes so it handles the weight of the other bags on it. Last is that a third suitcase is much cheaper than an overweight charge. Coming back from Bali, overweight charge on Singapore Air for any amount over was $330 flat rate! Bringing a third bag was $130 flat rate. We brought the third bag and was upfront about having it and willing to pay. They didn't care how much weight we had in each bag then. For the peace of mind, it was worth it. Charges vary by the specific route you're on, so check. Last tip is unrelated: don't work all day and then take a 14 hour flight at midnight unless you are good at sleeping on a plane. I'm not. 43 hours of consciousness later, I was in Jakarta. Indonesia is great isn't it?
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