Northern Sulawesi – Part One

diving, Travels, underwater

it has been a week since we arrived at Cocotinos, a lovely dive resort in the Manado area on Northern Sulawesi. After the huge wave of SMS’s and mails we got concerning the earthquake, peace came back to our daily schedule. In fact none of us noticed the quake on Sunday night. After a great breakfast in the morning we left for a 3 tank day dive. I have been to Bunaken before but have never dived the “mainland” dive sites around Manado. So it really came as a surprise to me to find critters such as BRO, Ambon scorpion fish and pontohi seahorses, only to name a few.

Pontohi seahorse

Pontohi seahorse

orange eyed mantis

orange eyed mantis

On Wednesday we went on an extended day trip to the Bangka area and paradise pier. That meant wide angle shots. Huge seafans and schooling yellow snappers welcomed us on our first dive. Taking pictures can be tricky as currents might get strong…

Colourful reef

Colourful reef

schooling around

schooling around

Paradise jetty is located at Paradise Resort a huge ugly (at least to my taste) building which stands in the middle of nowhere, empty, waiting for the new owner to open the place again.

Paradise jetty

paradise jetty

We definitley have fun

LOL

LOL

More to come from Lembeh.

Philippines – Part I : Moalboal

diving, Travels, underwater

We left Luxembourg on April 11 for an 16 day trip to the Philippines. It was the first time I organised a trip and I had to deal with 10 other people I knew more or less. One thing was sure : I would have an exciting trip overland and below the waves. Here’s the first part.

Day One :

We arrived at Cebu City after a long flight via Hong Kong. Luckily the vans were waiting outside the airport and after we got our luggage and some local “Pesos” we were ready to leave to Moalboal. The two and a half hour ride brought us from the east coast to the west coast over the mountains. In the afternoon we arrived at Love’s Lodge at Sea Exlporers. The resort is small, friendly and in the middle of a garden. love's lodge

Some of us went snorkelling but most decided to invade the swimming pool area and get one of the now famous mango juices.

love's lodge swimmingpoool

After a great filipino meal, we went all to bed quite early. As diving was scheduled for the next day.

Day Two :

Dive1 : Housereef Depth : 26,7m Bottom Time : 67 min

The house reef is amazing. After a short swim you get to the edge and the wall goes down into the blue. Lots of black coral around. The perfect introduction dive.

buba

nemo

Dive 2 : Tunga Point Depth : 18,6m Bottom Time : 62 min

In the afternoon we did another wall dive not far away from our resort. Short transfers are commonplace here.

nudi

Dive 3 : Housereef (Night) Depth : 16,2m Bottom Time : 62 min

After our dive on the house reef most of the people were eager to explore this underwater scenery by night. They should not be disappointed.

and some really tiny critters

Day Three :

Dive 1 : Housereef (Early morning) Depth : 28m Bottom Time : 62 min

We were very motivated to get up early and started our dive at 6:53 am. The light was perfect and the atmosphere peaceful and quiet. Great conditions for a perfect day.

me at the housereef

Dive 2 : Pescador Island, east side Depth : 27,7m Bottom Time : 52 min

At least, Pescador, the magic dive site in Moalboal. You can see the small islet from the resort. The clouds had come back and the sky was grey by now, but we didn’t care. Of course the viz wasn’t great, but all my buddies visited the place for the first time ever and were amazed by the walls and the amount and diversity of fishes .

Vicky posing behind huge barrel sponges

as visibility was below average we focused on the macro stuff on the wall

Dive 3 : Kasai Point Depth : 22m Bottom Time : 69 min

strange nudis

and wonderful reefs

Dive 4 : Housereef (Nightdive) Depth : 16,3m Bottom Time : 72min

Those of the group still motivated joined in another night dive.

I never came across an abalone, so here’s my first sighting

Day 3 :

As Cath lost her dive lamp the day before (actually it was one borrowed from a from a friend) we decided having a first deep dive at Pescador and getting then back on the housereef to have a “search&recovery” dive.

Dive 1 : Pescador Island/Cathedral Depth : 35m Bottom Time :56 min

The sky was blue and the sun shining for this second dive at Pescador. Viz had doubled as well. Time to play with the wide angle lens.

we are in the middle of the Cathedral

I love these black forests, and Vicky as well

Dive 2 : Housereef Depth : 27,8m Bottom Time : 57min

I didn’t go on the search&recovery dive for the lamp but decided to go diving with Antoinette. She was the beginner in the group and a bit too excited. Chris and I took her on a zen housereef dive. She enjoyed it a lot.

there’s a remora hanging on me!!!

Dive 3 : Dolphin House Depth : 16,6m Bottom Time : 54 min

The name comes from the resort at the spot. Don’t look for dolphins you will be disappointed. I for myself left my camera on the dry as I buddied up with Antoinette. Quite strange in the beginning. But I have to thank her for this dive. I tried to point out a maximum of critters on this drift dive to her which was really rewarding. There’s nothing better to watch a newbie discover the underwater world. Especially Antoinette. She had her eyes wide open all the time. I really enjoyed her refreshing character . Most of us enjoy the dives but do we still react like Antoinette, enjoying a blue sea star, a turtle? We should ! We are only a few lucky ones to enjoy the underwater world. Thank you Antoinette for reminding me of this!!!

Chris took some shoots especially of this huge sponge

After these 3 days spent in Moalboal, we prepared to move over to Bohol.

Goodbye Moalboal

Every afternoon when we got back to the resort the kids took over the dive boat and used it as playground. I would have loved that as kid.

We enjoyed the open air restaurant at Love’s Lodge and their great juices (and the beer)

Sea Explorers did a great job and we left Moalboal with great memories

stay tuned for Part II and III. Be patient 😉

All the best…

funny stuff, My Point of View, Uncategorized

xmas tree

Christmas is approaching and I still haven’t figured out which greeting card to send. First I focused on a photocomposition , then I went through my photos to find the right one. There are far too many. But then I came across this cold water shot. Good, cold water goes with Christmas, at least here in Luxembourg. And on top, I don’t need any composition. There is actually a Christmas tree standing in 12 m depth in the Blausteinsee. It’s a magic tree…as you get closer the more you discover the crayfish who call it home. After taking this picture from the top of the tree I counted the crayfish , there were more than 20 on it ! Once again it was a wise decision to take a closer look.

My wishes to all of you for the new year? Take close looks wherever you go…, there might be some magic hidden crayfish around…and who knows they might turn into a prince …or princess.