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Wetpixel Ultimate Indonesia 2012 Trip Report and Slideshow

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Hello, everyone. Trip I of Wetpixel Ultimate Indonesia 2012 just finished, and I'm back in San Francisco after 6 flights (starting in Kaimana). We spent 12 nights diving from Ambon, Banda, Momon, and Triton Bay. Here's the trip slideshow. Enjoy! :)

 

[vimeohd]55239065[/vimeohd]

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Pictures! :)

 

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Two squid, at night (Ambon, Indonesia)

 

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A broadclub cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus) hides by an anemone. Laha 1, Ambon, Indonesia.

 

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Fuseliers stream through a hard coral garden at Amed, Nusa Laut, Indonesia.

 

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Beautiful hard coral formations in a protected valley just off of Gunung Api volcano on Banda Neira in the Banda Sea, Indonesia. November 29, 2012.

 

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A view straight up reveals a school of thousands of baitfish. Tim Rock, Triton Bay, Indonesia.

 

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Paracheilinus nursalis, the endemic flasher wrasse of Triton Bay

 

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Two male cuttlefish face off in an attempt to win mating rights with a female cuttlefish. Flash Beach, Triton Bay, Indonesia.

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nicely done

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How was the viz and fish life @ Little Komodo?

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Fantastic stuff Eric! Okay, now list the equipment used for us keyboard honchos living vicariously through your video/slideshow :D

 

John

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Here's the underwater video footage (~5 min) extracted from the slideshow:

[vimeohd]55249218[/vimeohd]

 

Gear for video:

 

1. Canon 5D Mark III in Nauticam underwater housing with Magic Filter and manual white balance; XIT 404 tripod mount and telescoping tripod legs (when stabilized)

 

2. GoPro HERO2 in Dive Housing and Backscatter Flip-Up Color Correction Filter for GoPro

 

Gear for stills:

 

- Canon 5D Mark III in Nauticam underwater housing

- Zen dome and macro port

- 2 x Sea & Sea DS1 strobes with warming gels and diffuser

- Canon 15mm fisheye lens

- Tokina 17mm/3.5 lens

- Canon 100mm USM macro lens (Mark I)

- Canon 16-35mm/2.8L lens

- XIT 404 zoom / focus knob

- STIX float arms

- ULCS clamps

- Light & Motion SOLA 600 / 1200 / 2000 lights

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This reminded me of my trip on the Damai in RA, Triton and our abortive attempt to dive our way to Timor. Glad to see Made' is still on the boat. A great DM.

 

Nicely done video, Eric

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Your fast!

I am still trying to put together a video from my trip in March.

 

Looks like you had a fun trip.

Great video.

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The first time I went to Ambon, I watched a large population of dwarf (pygmy) cuttlefishes (Sepia bandensis) mate for days. They weren't there when we went back this year, but I did see 6 cuttlefishes mating at Flasher Beach in Triton Bay, Indonesia. When you see two cuttlefishes together, don't charge in and take pictures. Just sit back and watch. Eventually, they will go about their business again. In this case, the female hunted and scouted egg locations by "tapping" corals to see if anything was inside, and the male postured and fought for mating rights (amazing to see). The males become aggressively striped and "spiky" when they see another male, and eventually, the one male grabs the other and flips the other away. Per the sparring rituals of other species, neither of them appear to actually get hurt, but one clearly wins.

 

I love seeing the entire process, from posturing to courting to mating to egg laying. In Ambon, we also saw eggs hatching, but I didn't see that this time around. We were at the dive site to photograph flasher wrasse, but I was thoroughly derailed by cuttlefish. :)

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great series

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Ok - i will give this whole "posting in wetpixel" thing a try! Maybe it will be addicting.

Reeftop pipefish. I watched this little guy for a while. making his way out of a heap of trash and tree branches at 30 ft deep near Rhino City, Ambon, Indonesia. He went all the wat ouf from the mass to the very tip of one branch and kind of flunch himself off and drifted downwards to the seabottom a few feet below and continued to "crawl". The whole thing was kind of surreal like i was watching a slow motion video of some land mammal falling out of a tree.

 

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pipefish profile by kozyndan, on Flickr

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Incredible trip with an unbeatable group. In Ambon I was photographing this emperor shrimp when he darted to the female and..well...you know...nature and all that. Eric explains it much more eloquently with the cuttlefish. Then again, the shrimp didn't really have the same courtship ritual.

 

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Edited by ChristopherRobinson

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The second leg of Wetpixel Ultimate Indonesia 2012 went swimmingly well. We have an absolutely marvelous group of divers and conversationalists and the trip flew by so quickly with so many fantastic dives that no one wanted to get off the ultra luxurious Damai Dua. On the last day, we did a group photo: what a damn good looking group of satisfied, relaxed divers. This is what dive trips are supposed to be about! From left to right: Sharon Wada, Cruise Director Par Excellence Simon Marsh, Jenny Chadwick (would-be stowaway), Dr. Mike Buckmaster, Carol "Current Cruiser" Battershell, Greg "Bubba" Holmes, Fearless Trip Leader Douglas Seifert, his wife Emily (who celebrated her 1000th dive on the last day) and Lupo Dion.

 

These posts are unfortunately short as the internet here in Sorong reminds me of dial up and 24 baud and besides, the world is supposed to end tomorrow and I dont want to miss anything by being online when it happens.

 

 

Submitted faithfully, by Douglas Seifert, Wetpixel Trip Leader and World Editor of DIVE Magazine, from inertial Sorong.

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Edited by Yellowmon

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I dont know where the photo went. Eaten in cyberspace by pygmies, I suppose...

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Here are a few of the wonderful subjects we encountered as we traveled from Triton Bay to Northern Raja Ampat...

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Thanks for the update, Douglas! Chris, I love that mating emperor shrimp shot. Here's the group shot from trip 1.

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But really, even more important than photo opportunities, are real life experiences in the ever-fascinating, often unpredictable natural world. I would rather have a close personal encounter with a marine animal or the sight of a healthy coral reef than a photographic image any day. Fortunately, on a Wetpixel Ultimate Expedition, sometimes you can even have both.

 

Where else can you have a Manta Hat on a pleasure dive?

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The endemic Triton Bay flasher wrasse (Paracheilinus nursalim). The males are extremely colorful and have filaments on their fins that the "flash" while zooming around, protecting and interacting with their harems and with other males. They were 60-90 feet down at a site called Flasher Beach in a huge field of what looked to be Fungia sp. corals. Triton Bay, Indonesia. There's also a shot of a filamented flasher wrasse, which stood out in the field of P. nursalis.

 

All pictures shot with Canon 5D Mark III and 100mm/2.8L USM macro lens (mark I). Canon 5D3 auto-focus rocks. I always have it set to the back button so the camera doesn't hunt when I don't want it to.

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Oh, and just so no thinks there was any slacking off, the lead story in the new issue of DIVE, about dugongs in general and a certain dugong named Dyson, in particular, was crafted aboard Damai Dua during the first trip segment and can now be read online for one and all.

 

It was a very tight deadline and the telecommunications in Ambon made transmission of the text a nerve-wracking (at least for the publisher and staff) 48 hours...

 

Your free subscription to DIVE, it is available here and downloadable via the Apple App store:

http://free.divemagazine.co.uk

 

 

(Apologies for the shameless plug, and none of your whinge-ing, Bantin....)

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One sad event I feel I must report is an incident that occurred the last dive at Blue Magic. Another live aboard, the WAOW, was anchored nearby and Simon, our cruise director and the dive guides went over to politely attempt to coordinate diving schedules so both boats and their passengers could enjoy the same dive site on their last day. Simon and the dive guides returned from the WAOW and told us we would wait another half hour to go in; the WAOW's people were doing their briefing and would go in first, then we would follow thirty minutes later as their group ascended to the shallower water. We waited and waited in our wetsuits and finally, thirty minutes later, the WAOW's boat still had not loaded or departed for the dive site, so we made the decision to go now. Time and tide can wait for only so long. The Damai's first tender took our divers and dropped them as the second tender, which I was in, arrived next to drop. We had just stopped when one of the WAOW's tenders roared up to us and their dive director, who I have discovered is named Jerome (Jay) Monney, began screaming at all of us and using tremendous but not very creative profanity. I said "why does it take you forty minutes to get your people diving?" He screamed "We were here first" and continued on swearing at Damai's dive guides and presumably Simon, who was escorting the first group already underwater. The WAOW's people and our people dropped in and went our own ways on the reef looking for the oceanic mantas the site is known for. At one point, our group was hunkered down in the shadow of some coral heads and this terrible dive guide Jay (identifiable by his large pony bottle strapped to his tank and his boardshorts) comes by and intentionally gets between our divers and the mantas and violently exhales to spook the mantas. He also made several rude gestures to some of our guests. I am personally appalled that someone in the industry exhibits such poor manners and is rude to the guests of another boat. This behavior reflects badly on everyone in the dive industry and for the Indonesian boat crews and guides, it shows the uglier side of Western behavior that has no place in Raja Ampat.

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Douglas, Water Adventures Ocean Wide is aware of this post.

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Hello all, I was lucky enough to be on Trips 1 and 2 of this terrific Wetpixel expedition. Travelling from Ambon, through Banda to Triton Bay and then on through Raja Ampat to Sorong, provided a great mix of diving and photography. From rather ghastly but interesting muck diving in Ambon, to beautiful sea mounts covered with soft corals, drift diving along beautiful walls and in raging currents on some of the fishiest dives I've seen. And of course, beautiful, beautiful manta ray - we were lucky enough on the last two dives to have oceanic and reef mantas!

 

This was my second Wetpixel trip and I was a little nervous that perhaps I had just been especially lucky last year. Not so! This trip confirmed for me that travelling with Wetpixel is a really great way to experience the best of underwater photography/diving. Trip leaders like Eric and Douglas know when and where the best diving will be and the trips attract people who are not just fantastic underwater photographers but who bring a Wetpixel culture of comraderie and generosity that means that despite the intense photography focus, the small groups create a lively, funny, intelligent and thoughtful experience. So shout out to my new first best Californians from Trip 1 and more mature group from Trip 2 who, unlike Trip 1 peeps, managed to get through the whole trip without talking about poop. Special thanks to Lupo for lending me a brand new Inon Z240 following a dreadful explosion and flood in my one and only one, and to Eric and Douglas and Emily for creating such a wonderful experience.

 

Here is a set of photos I hope demonstrates the diversity of underwater environment we had to explore -

 

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Edited by Jenny

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And of course some silliness is always in order -

 

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I was very sad to leave the boat and not stay on for Trip 3 - in fact I wondered whether I did really need to leave the boat -

 

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This wasn't much of a hiding place, but I did find Emily's stash of Nutella

 

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And this wold have been a good place, but I don't really like heights -

 

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I tried swapping my ticket home with Arif's bandana, but the Captain wouldn't hear of it -

 

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This turned out to be the best spot -

 

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Until Lupo and Douglas inconveniently turned up -

 

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And insisted I make way for the paid up Trip 3 guests -

 

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How unreasonable!

 

So now I'm home facing the horror of the shopping malls for last minute Christmas preparations, really wishing I was in Raja Ampat with Wetpixel.

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