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Bali: Where to stay for Nusa Penida diving...

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Back off, CamDiver. I made it absolutely clear in my posting that if they had a boat now, then it was a new one (and it is). I also corrected my post as soon as I heard from a reliable source that the situation had just changed.

 

Frogfish

 

 

A few more facts, for the uninformed about Aquamarine Diving, which were provided by an "insider". AquaMarine 1, their first boat, was launched at the end of 2006 over 8 months ago. Aquamarine 2 was launched in July 2007.

 

AquaMarine Diving Bali owns two boats - moored in Pandangbai rather than Sanur (like BIDP and Ena who both only own 1 boat each). Why moored in Padangbai? So AquaMarine can also offer diving at Tepekong, Mimpang, Biaha and Selang unlike dive operators who moor their boats in Sanur (it's too far to travel). Also Sanur suffers terribly from those low, low tides meaning guests have long treks up and down the beach and then wading through water to get into boats ... and of course all the gear and tanks have to be

carried/transported to the boats too.

 

Both AquaMarine boats have toilets and "excellent guides who understand photographers". .

 

AquaMarine only employs local dive staff and has certified five local Divemasters and so far has paid for three local dive staff to become instructors with the fourth starting his IDC/IE on 07 Sept 2007.

Aquamarine has the first Balinese Instructor to take his IDC/IE on Bali and he was a Divemaster for Aquamarine when he did his IDC/IE.

 

I have dived with several of AquaMarine's guides and they are excellent critter spotters, know how to handle a camera and are clued in on good eats spots.

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Thank you, Tony, for clearing the air on Aquamarine's boat situation. I think it fair to add that they didn't own any boats for many years and the "insider" made an erroneous assumption the situation didn't change. And being associated with CitySeahorse, Aquamarine's webmaster, you would obviously know a lot more than most outsiders. Which is why such forums are great for information and research. We get "insider" information from all sources. :guiness:

However, irrespective of scuba operation, I think it prudent to revisit Pakman's original question. He will probably be staying on the west side of Bali in Jimbaran or Seminyak. Sanur is 20-30 minutes away depending on traffic, Padang Bai is at least 50mins to 1.5 hours away. Personally I wouldn't spend my holiday in a car for 2-3hours daily when it's 1 hour travel time to and fro by choosing Sanur.

Sure the customers have to wade out sometimes at low tide, but they also have a little row boat that ferries customers and equipment to whichever boat. I personally don't use it as I like the exercise and I even carry my own housing sometimes for the strength training.

Being a frequent diver in Bali over the years, I think most of the operators use a similar MO. Tranport the customer to the dive site of choice and bring along tanks and equipment and hire a local boat/resort to dive that area. Having used a few of the operators, it's been pretty much the same. BIDP, Bali Hai and Aquamarine have stellar reputations on Bali. Pakman would be fine with any of them.

Oh and Pakman, the 'proper' term for the Bali beach boys is Kuta Cowboys. :)

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No but I've seen their boat.... busy with a lot of Japanese tourists that touch a lot, and I'm not talking about the good kinda touching. :)

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A few more facts, for the uninformed about Aquamarine Diving, which were provided by an "insider". AquaMarine 1, their first boat, was launched at the end of 2006 over 8 months ago. Aquamarine 2 was launched in July 2007.

 

AquaMarine Diving Bali owns two boats - moored in Pandangbai rather than Sanur (like BIDP and Ena who both only own 1 boat each). Why moored in Padangbai? So AquaMarine can also offer diving at Tepekong, Mimpang, Biaha and Selang unlike dive operators who moor their boats in Sanur (it's too far to travel). Also Sanur suffers terribly from those low, low tides meaning guests have long treks up and down the beach and then wading through water to get into boats ... and of course all the gear and tanks have to be

carried/transported to the boats too.

 

Both AquaMarine boats have toilets and "excellent guides who understand photographers". .

 

AquaMarine only employs local dive staff and has certified five local Divemasters and so far has paid for three local dive staff to become instructors with the fourth starting his IDC/IE on 07 Sept 2007.

Aquamarine has the first Balinese Instructor to take his IDC/IE on Bali and he was a Divemaster for Aquamarine when he did his IDC/IE.

 

I have dived with several of AquaMarine's guides and they are excellent critter spotters, know how to handle a camera and are clued in on good eats spots.

Thanks for clearing that up Tony. I hope all previous posters in this thread read and take note of this information. I knew I wasn't dreaming!!

 

Cheers,

Mark.

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No but I've seen their boat.... busy with a lot of Japanese tourists that touch a lot, and I'm not talking about the good kinda touching. :)

 

ha... thanks for the warning B)

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Thanks for clearing that up Tony. I hope all previous posters in this thread read and take note of this information. I knew I wasn't dreaming!!

 

Cheers,

Mark.

 

Mark,

We get 90% of our info about Aquamarine Diving via their newsletter which is published every 2 months.

As Drew stated I do have a relationship with AMD's WEBMs but the newsletter is our source for most information, I found out about their boats in the newsletter not from some back channel.

 

We certainly aren't able to just pop down to AMD's office and query Annabel about what is going on with AMD as we live in Fort Worth, TX.

We do get to Indonesia 2 or 3 times a year but not always to Bali.

 

For those who would like to be kept abreast of information about AMD drop them an email at news@AquaMarineDiving.com and asked to be put on their newsletter subscription list, Annabel will be quite happy to see that you are added to the list.

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Hi Tony,

Through professional undertakings I don't feel I will be going back to Bali within the foreseeable future so that negates the issue of needing to receive further information on dive shops there, whether AMD or others. Whenever I go somewhere I sniff around for all information pertaining to the dive shop / destination in general.

 

Whilst I didn't know if AMD had their own boat before going to Bali, I kinda expected they did. As it turns out I was very pleased with the service in general.

 

I also wanted to clear up the fact as to why I intentionally decided to dive with someone promoting the fact that their shop is owned by a nationality other than that of the local persuasion. It boils down to the fact that as as an image chasing diver I feel that I, and others like me, need to be understood in our demands. That said I have been to places throughout my years of travels and frequented dive operations using local guides. Most of these operators have had impeccable services but the problem raises its head when one starts discussing things you may need for shots etc with the local guides. Through no fault of their own they tend to be not understanding of camera angles and shot requirements. Mix that with a poor grasp of the English language and it makes communications, at times, so damn painful.

 

Lest it again be suggested that my actions in selecting an English dive shop in Bali could be construed as racist (believe it, that has been mentioned) I should also point out that I speak French, Spanish and German, but unfortunately not Indonesian. I endeavor to understand at least a spattering of local dialects during my travels and have very strong personal ties and friendships with nationals from many island nations and regions of SE Asia.

 

Seeking out an Anglophone dive shop in the midst of locally owned ones was made purely to appease that very basic communication issue. With an English boss the guides at AMD speak English with greater competence than that of other locals I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of. Period.

 

As far as I'm concerned this whole episode is finished. I suggest that every 'insider' be fully aware of all of the facts of any given topic, and double check their sources before posting what could be construed as disrespectful and detrimental comments to others in the forum.

 

Cheers,

Mark.

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Hi Mike,

 

Since this thread is still rumbling on I thought I'd add some comments on the original question. The one thought I'd add about the mola mola is that they are not the most exciting subjects. They are certainly amazing to see - but since they don't really do that much, as a stills photographer once you have seen them you have seen them. If you get some good encounters on your first day or so, you may be content with what you've got. For me they lack the charm of a subject like mantas that you can watch dive after dive.

 

Anyway, I guess you won't know until you have the shots. But this is where there is an advatage of staying on Bali rather than Lembongan. If you get lucky with the MM early then you can always do something else.

 

Just a thought.

 

Alex

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I also wanted to clear up the fact as to why I intentionally decided to dive with someone promoting the fact that their shop is owned by a nationality other than that of the local persuasion. It boils down to the fact that as as an image chasing diver I feel that I, and others like me, need to be understood in our demands. That said I have been to places throughout my years of travels and frequented dive operations using local guides. Most of these operators have had impeccable services but the problem raises its head when one starts discussing things you may need for shots etc with the local guides. Through no fault of their own they tend to be not understanding of camera angles and shot requirements. Mix that with a poor grasp of the English language and it makes communications, at times, so damn painful.

Lest it again be suggested that my actions in selecting an English dive shop in Bali could be construed as racist (believe it, that has been mentioned) I should also point out that I speak French, Spanish and German, but unfortunately not Indonesian. I endeavor to understand at least a spattering of local dialects during my travels and have very strong personal ties and friendships with nationals from many island nations and regions of SE Asia.

Seeking out an Anglophone dive shop in the midst of locally owned ones was made purely to appease that very basic communication issue. With an English boss the guides at AMD speak English with greater competence than that of other locals I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of. Period.

I'm sure no one thinks it's racist to seek an english speaking operation (perhaps nationalist? :)). However, again I think that is an unfair assumption to make about local operations in general. So I'll have to disagree with you on that statement. Sure they speak with an accent and broken english, but then again, so do cockneys, and they are british too! :guiness:

I'm very sure those operations named here speak perfectly comprehensible english to where they can work with photographers. I accept that not all operations are like this but I'm sure the recommendations of wetpixel members would not include a need to speak Bahasa Indonesia.

 

Since this thread is still rumbling on I thought I'd add some comments on the original question. The one thought I'd add about the mola mola is that they are not the most exciting subjects. They are certainly amazing to see - but since they don't really do that much, as a stills photographer once you have seen them you have seen them. If you get some good encounters on your first day or so, you may be content with what you've got. For me they lack the charm of a subject like mantas that you can watch dive after dive.

Ah Sir Moutarde, that's cause you haven't shot them breaching yet. Or getting cleaned by seabirds at the surface, or chowing down a jellyfish or my favorite... getting chowed by a big shark! :P

Sure, mantas have the graceful movement and flippy cephallic fin lip thing going. They are also probably more engaging to divers and instill wonderment to the diver in general. I think molas have that Edvard Munch/goldfish lip shocked look them that is priceless, thus is the ecletic's choice. :)

Signed

Mola Mola's just wanna have fun too Foundation.

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but Alex, ah shucks... I was gonna film 60 min of non stop video of Mola Mola's doing exactly that... nothing... :) j/k

 

I'm gonna have to side with Drew on this one. Those goofy Mola faces are too irresistable. Just one of many things on my "must see" list...

Just heard from a Singapore based friend that she saw 3 mola mola's together on 1 dive last week.

 

Anyways, we'll be doing a couple days diving in Tulamben as well to round things off.

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Pak, you do know you have to hit the water once you arrive for the best period to catch molas? It's 3 days before and after full and black moon, according to local dive ops.

And waitaminit... what do you mean? you don't agree with me on other issues?!? :P

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Drew, yep that's why we're gonna try to hit Nusa Penida as soon as we arrive...

 

Now we just need a mola mola or two to breach for us... :P

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Had a remarkable trip from Aug 1-15. Did a LOB to Komodo and then to Bali for Molas.

 

I went to Bali last year in Oct and saw ZERO molas... so this year I told myself to go during the lunar 7th month. That's the season when the sightings of molas is higher. And that's August!....

 

Last year we stayed in Mimpi (to dive Tulamben & Seraya) then WaterGraden for NusaPenida diving. And we dived with AquaMarine. I really liked out guide a v cool n calm man call Ketut.

 

This year we stayed in Lotus Bungalow in Candidasa. Dun worry about 'no night life'. There is a restaurant in Candidasa I highly recommend call Vincent's. About 20mins walk away from htl and 3 mins by taxi.

 

This time all our bookings were made through our local dive ctr, Sea Hounds in Spore (my cousin runs the shop... thus :angry: ). Lotus Bungalow uses their own boat. They have a super duper new and fast boat.

 

We had over 10 sightings of molas at Crystal Bay on 3 dives. And countless display and parade of mantas at Manta Point. The good DMs makes a difference and the dive centre in Lotus Bungalows is ran by a Danish Instructor Jan. We know him quite well we used to dive with him in Gangga Island, Manado (part of the Lotus group). We saw our first blue-ring octopus with him la!

 

He gave an excellent advise.... DUN go below a mola... once they feel the bubbles.. they'll scutter away before u know it... and they're fast!

 

I have great videos and pics of Molas.... but I'm really a newbie w my cam so maybe its not really spiffy to you. Nonethless.... it was an exceptionally amazing experience and I will be happy to help you hook up with arrangements if u care...

 

Good luck!!

Edited by meimei

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I know this post started a while ago but hopefully theres some people still reading it. I'm heading to Bali on the 24th October and diving the 26th-28th. Diving 26th at Tulamben (Liberty Wreck), 27th Nusa Penida / Nusa Lembongan and the 28th outside Padangbai and Candidasa. Was wondering if anyone can give me some ideas of what to expect. Is there any chance of me seeing Mola Mola or am I going too late in the season? Are the Manta Rays going to be about? I have just recently bought a Canon Powershot A570 IS in a Canon housing and have no external strobes. Am I going to be able to make use of this set up, or am I better off leaving it in my dive bag and just enjoy the dives. I'm hoping that I may be able to get some use out of my camera. Is it worthwhile to invest in a magic filter or similar to make best use of having no strobe? If this is the case, what is best filter to go with?

 

I'm travelling with Aquamarine diving and so far they have been fantastic with everything. The trip I'm going on was a prize I won through Sport Diving Magazine/Divelog Australasia and Aquamarine Diving, so just wanted to give these guys a big thank you (and a small bit of advertising) here in the forum. Looking forward to what I'm sure will be a great trip.

Edited by adamk76

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Adam, flying out this Sat. Might do just 2 days diving in Nusa Penida area. Will have more to post in answer to your questions when I get back on the 20th... :) But I've been hearing rumblings that the mantas have gone AWOL lately around Nusa Penida... :)

 

Given how small the A570 is, I'd suggest bringing it. If you do see a manta or mola mola, try some ambient shots (no flash). Or even take some video with it :P

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But I've been hearing rumblings that the mantas have gone AWOL lately around Nusa Penida... :)

Agh! Don't tell me that! I've got a month in Bali starting next Tuesday. Besides Mike V and Simon B it sounds like I might bump into a few others from Weptpixel while I am there. First week is at Tulamben then the rest of the plan will be worked out with Mike and Simon. If you see a Canadian, a Brit and an Aussie all in one place then that will be us probably.

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Pacman,

 

Looking forward to hear how your trip was. Spoke to someone the other day that said the Mola Mola were still round in large groups. Hopefully you'll be able to confirm this and tell me that the Mantas are still there. Also wondering what the weather is like at the moment? I'm leaving Sydney on Wednesday morning so thinking it won't have change much by the time I arrive.

 

As a very novice underwater photographer I will ask the question regarding ambient shots. What exactly do you mean and what is the benefit of this type of shot? If I can get just one good picture from 3 days of diving I will be happy. So any help or suggestions you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

 

As today is when your coming home from Bali, I hope you had a good trip and I look forward to your response.

 

Adam

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I just got back today from Bali. We only ended up doing 2 dives (1 day trip) to Crystal Bay. We saw one baby mola mola getting cleaned for a few minutes before the crowd of 20+ divers spooked it away... We had around 8 boats in Crystal bay during our dives. We were diving with BIDP and they said the manta sightings have been rare so we opted out on having the 2nd dive at Manta Point and did a 2nd dive at Crystal Bay, where we proceeded to freeze our arses off as the thermoclines dropped to 16c at one point!! Absolutely amazed that there were a couple people in just shorties!!! nuts...

 

After just chilling in Jimbaran Bay, we stayed over at Mimpi Tulamben for 3 days. The tornado of jacks were there every morning. Last time I did USS Liberty, it was for my OW checkout dive over 10 yrs ago, so it was nice revisting this site. Despite the crowds of daytrippers from Sanur, there was plenty of fish life. Mimpi staff were great, and very relaxed about solo nite dives... Had a blast doing 80+ min dives out to Drop off point and back to the Mimpi house reef. Even had the jacks come into to the shallow outcrop on top of Drop Off Point. Came across a cute little blue/green bobtail squid in the sand. There's a monster green moray in the rocks right in front of Mimpi as well as some other smaller yellow morays. Will try to post a few pics later.

 

Met up with Mike V. for a few beers in Sanur, where he proceeded to rub it in about seeing so many mola molas a few weeks ago with no divers around... :)

 

Adam - the flash on a point and shoot isn't very strong, so unless you get in real close to the mola mola, it won't do much other than light up backscatter. This was my 1st Mola encounter so I'm sure the other experts with more experience will have better advice. I was told best not to rush in else you might spook them. Wait until they tilt up for a cleaning and go into a little trance...

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If you see a Canadian, a Brit and an Aussie all in one place ...
Perish the thought, now there's gotta be some jokes about that scenario!

 

Break a leg, and then Mike's.

 

Best,

Mark.

:)

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