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paolobl65

Trip Report : Weda Halmahera - Indonesia - April 2019

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Posted (edited)

I was in Weda Resort ( http://www.wedaresort.com/) Halmahera – Indonesia for a 12 days dive trip in April 2019 , and I’d like to share my experience .

Reservation :

I contacted the resort directly and discuss accommodation and diving . Payment possible on check out but I preferred to pay in advance so I get also discount 10% .

Get there :

I flew from Italy to Jakarta , stay some hours in an Hotel near airport and take late at night a direct flight to Ternate ( Halmahera Island ) landing the following day h 07:25 .

Pick up in the airport from the Weda staff and then 15’ by car + 45’ by speed boat + 2 hour 30’ by car so I arrived h 12:00 in Weda resort . Smooth and well organized .

Accomodation :

Very comfortable even without aircon because the roof leave the air to enter . I’d say is not a luxury bungalow as some other resort , anyway all what you need for a perfect diving vacation is well provided . Very clean room , confy bed with mosquito net , a large table to work with the camera , big bathroom with hot shower . A nice veranda to enjoy the sunset . And just few step from the diving and from the restaurant .

My only complain was the frogs were very noisy at night ! ( also becuase it was a lot of rain at night )

Restaurant :

the food was very good and plenty ! Lunch and dinner was in family style and fish , chicken and at least 4 vegetarian options were served every time .

Afternoon snack was served directly on the bungalow veranda ( this was a nice touch ! )

Wi-Fi works only in the restaurant and was just enough for some wathapps .

Birdwatching :

I'm not a big fan of birdwatching but it's worth an early woke up end join the expedition to see the Standard Wing Bird of Paradise in the jungle . A big professional monocular was setted up by the guide , so I saw wery well his dancing ritual . The guide had incredible eyes and he showed me many others birds I cannot count .

Diving operation :

2 dives in the morning starting on 7:30 for reef dive and 1 dive in the afternoon 15:00 usually for macro . Night dive available ( but 3 dives was more than enoug for me because 70-90 minutes each one ) .

Dive boat was very confortable , fast , semicovered , easy to get in and out , plenty of space , and also rinse tank on board for 2 big DSLR camera !

Snack on board , as well as water , coffee and tea . Great crew , as always in Indonesia , take care of all .

Group are small , max 4 divers for 1 dive master , but usually 2-3 .

Diving :

As underwater photographer I was there for wide angle photography and I was not disappointed !!!

No other dive shop around , no big boat transit ( just some small fisherman boat ) …. all the sea was only for us !

Even if there was a lot of rain at night during my stay ( unusual for the period ) the visibility was from great to excellent . Anyway we had to dive mostly the off shore dive site ( Loleo , Tidore , Elmoos ) for best visibility .

Hope next time I will be there ( … and yes , I have to came there again for sure ! ) I'll be able to dive the dive site close the coastline .

Macro dive was also good with some dives really "muck style " on sandy slope in search of mimic octopus and frog fish .

Very special dives were Gorango and Shark Mountain in early morning dive . So many fish !

Dive condition was perfect : flat sea , warm water ( 29-31°C ) , great visiblity , none to moderate current .

Great snorkeling possibility as well and fantastic shallow part of the reef .

It was really a great experience : one of the best place I ever dived for wide angle photography because the combination of three key factor : fantastic corals and very good fish life / great visibility / moderate current ( to be able to manage flash positioning and accurate composition ) , ..... anyway more than thousand words I think it is better to show you some photos :

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Edited by paolobl65
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Posted (edited)

some more photos :

 

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in natural light with Magic Filter

 

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early morning and deep dive at shark mountain ( sadly non sun ! ) , too much fish !

 

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all photos with Canon 80D and Canon 8-15 mm in S&S housing with Zen 170 Dome port + 2 x INON Z330

 

If you like to see more photos about this place here is my Flick gallery : https://www.flickr.com/photos/paolobl65/albums/72157708873533293/with/48109615808/

 

 

Finally let me say a special thanks to all the Weda Resort Staff and to my super dive Master Demos for their professionality and courtesy .

 

All my best

Paolo Isgro

Edited by paolobl65
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great shots! Have to go to work now, will read the report in the evening, tnx! :clapping:

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Hi Paolo,

 

Great photos from you, as always!

 

 

I have two questions:

 

#1.: How did you manage to get directly the sun into your photos (especially 3rd photo, but also the others, from first post), without getting ugly artifacts upon post-processing? I use OMD-EM1II and when I have the sun directly in the frame, the colors become very unpleasant after processing. According to DxO, the EM1II has even better dynamic range than the Canon 80D: https://www.dxomark.com/Cameras/Compare/Side-by-side/Canon-EOS-80D-versus-Olympus-OM-D-E-M1-Mark-II___1076_1136

 

Is my post-processing too rigorous?

Or is it the 14-bit digitalisation of the Canon vs. the 12-bit of the OMD that makes the difference?

Would you mind to disclose your settings?

 

#2.: In February 2020 I will go to Sorong, also via Jakarta. We arrive at 06:30 and depart at 00:30 - the traveling agency offers a day hotel where we can check in only at 14:00. Is it easily possible to go without prior reservation and find something, where one can check in just upon arrival?

 

Thanks, Wolfgang

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Hi Paolo,

Thanks for sharing your experiences. And great pics! Those loopy fishies round teh pier do look funny :)

As we are trying to decide where to go for our next trip.....how are other, non wide angles looking like there ? Any significant macro to speak of? Any signs of rays/mantas or other weird flying creatures ?

 

Cheers,

Martin

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oke now I read it, looks like a very nice place to visit! Awesome

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Posted (edited)

Hi Wolfgang ,

 

thank you for your comment .

 

#1 : setting 3th photo is F20 - 1/250 - iso 100 ( see exif data here : https://www.flickr.com/photos/paolobl65/47980304126/in/album-72157708873533293/ ) and with this setting the sunburst is OK , but the real secret to get a good sunburst ( without cyan halo ) is to dive very shallow ( 3 m - 7 m ) . In this case I dont remember exactly but for sure 5-6 m .

And you need to stay very close to the subject ( CFWA is better ) and flash full power because the close aperture ( F20 this time , sometime I use even F22 ) .

I just made postprocessing in Lightroom so nothing special .

 

 

#2 : I used Orchardz Bandara hotel near Jakarta airport , check in available from 08:00 ( booked trough booking.com ) !

 

hope this help

all my best

Paolo

Edited by paolobl65
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Hi Martin ,

 

thanks for your comment .

 

I made some macro shot also ... but not really a standard macro because I used some vintage lens ( Helios and Oreston ) to get some special effect .

 

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about macro there were some mimic and wonderpuss , frog fish , some nudi , shrimps , crabs , the highlight for me was a junenile zebra batfish .

 

Not so bad but I do not rate this place as good as Tulamben , Anilao or Lembeh .

 

No manta because the water was so clean , but some shark .

Incredible dive at shark montain h 06.30 at 34m FULL of fish but so dark ( no sun that day ) autofocus didnt work properly !!

 

47980233907_281e88237e_b.jpg

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Great photos Paolo, I was there in November last year and already planning on going back, was quite happy with my first go with a fisheye lens till I saw your images. I seemed to be plagued by some particles in the water even though visibility was 30-40m, think I need to experiment with strobe positions some more! I recognise some of these scenes from my dives at Elmoos Reef.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks a lot for the tips Paolo. Yeah, Lembeh will be hard to match.

Looking more for a bit of both worlds location, so one can do a bit of wa, bit of macro and so on...if there is something bigger (especially flying things, since I am fixated on these) then great. Well let's see, can always go back to Komodo :) Alternatively Dumaguete looks interesting, though tad hard to get to.

And your octopus has definitely 80s vibe :D

Edited by makar0n

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Some super pics there, Paolo. Lovely work! That vintage lens effect is terrific.

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Thanks a lot for the tips Paolo. Yeah, Lembeh will be hard to match.

Looking more for a bit of both worlds location, so one can do a bit of wa, bit of macro and so on...if there is something bigger (especially flying things, since I am fixated on these) then great. Well let's see, can always go back to Komodo :) Alternatively Dumaguete looks interesting, though tad hard to get to.

And your octopus has definitely 80s vibe :D

You can actually do Lembeh and Weda on one trip staying at the sister lodge in Lembeh, I did this last November - it is a <1 hour plane flight from Ternate to Manado then transfer to divers lodge Lembeh. You of course have a full day's travel and lose the afternoon dive on your last day at Weda if you do that first, but Manado is on the way home for many as you can connect from Manado to Singapore or Jakarta.

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