Wild Oceans

Mike has put together a video short from our recent trip to Raja Ampat for an online media company called Earth Touch News which specializes in wildlife and nature programming. The clip is about the dive site Andiamo which is in the Daram island group in the Misool region of Raja Ampat.  If you haven’t seen his other contributions, Mike has also uploaded videos about Citrus Ridge in Raja Ampat, Manta Alley in Komodo, and most recently Andiamo in Daram, Raja Ampat.  The gist of the video is to have the cameraman narrate what he sees over a dive so that the viewer has an idea of what he/she is seeing throughout the world.  It’s like having a back stage pass to all the world’s premiere dive sites in one handy location!

Here is Mike’s latest video on Andiamo

Photo of the Day – Jellyfish and Mangroves

Everyone seems to know about the Jellyfish Lake (actually lakes as there are quite a few) in the Republic of Palau, however, Indonesia is also home to numerous jellyfish lakes from Borneo to Papua and several places in between.  I have been lucky to have had the chance to visit several of them over the years and one that is very accessible as well as productive is the jellyfish lake in Kakaban island off the east coast of Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo.  Physically this lake is much larger than the other lakes I have visited including Misool and Palau but the jellyfish “mass” is not as thick as in Palau.  However, the variety of life in the Kakaban lake seems greater and the photo opportunities are endless, I would go back in a heartbeat!  Here is a shot near the edge of the lake with a fallen tree in the foreground and the mangroves in the background

Jellyfish at Kakaban Island

Photo of the Day – Schooling Barracuda

Schooling Barracuda

Indonesia suffers from a bit of a reputation of not having many large schools of fish.  However, that’s simply not true.  There are many different massive schools of barracuda throughout the country, from Kalimantan to Papua!  This photo is from one of several big schools that I know of in the Halmahera region, an area that is not visited by many diver and is highly under rated.

Shot with a Nikon D90 in Aquatica Housing, 10-17mm lens, f8, 1/60, Sea and Sea Strobes

Story Behind the Shot – Grey Reef Shark and Diver

Grey Reef

Meet Seb, he is the French diveguide that I used to work with back in French Polynesia 10 years ago or so.  Seb lived on the island of Rangiroa and joined the Tahiti Aggressor when I worked on that boat from 2002 to 2004.  Seb was a special kind of person, he loved sharks and loved feeding them even more!  No mesh glove, no special equipment, no fear!  It was always a great adventure diving with Seb as you could always find a stray tuna head in his BCD, the photo opportunities for shark shots was always incredible.   On this particular dive Seb was feeding sharks at the bottom and I positioned myself right beside him in order to get some great photos.  This particular grey reef shark came in for a quick pass to see what was in store and I was able to take the shot as it shot between Seb and I.

Grey Reef Shark, Tuamotu Island Group, French Polynesia, Settings unrecorded, Nikonos V and Provia 100 film, 15mm lens, Sea and Sea YS 120 Strobes

Mike Veitch

Volcanic Bubbles in the Komodo area

I am heading out to the Komodo region soon, I must admit it has been quite some time since I have been there, in fact, I haven’t been since before the major Sangeang Volcano eruption last year!  Looking forward to diving the area to see what has changed since my last trip!  Here is a photo of one of the coolest features of diving in Sangeang looks like: volcanic bubbles always permeating through the sand at the dive site “Bubble Reef” aka “Hot Rocks”.

 

Bubble Reef

Photo of the Day – Andiamo Reef

As we have recently returned from Raja Ampat on a thoroughly enjoyable liveaboard trip (Trip Report is here) with great friends and superb diving, we are slowly processing our photos and presenting them on our social media channels.  One of the highlights of our Raja trip was the dive site “Andiamo”, in the Daram island group in the SE Misool area, which is absolutely chock a block with bright and beautiful soft corals as well as plenty of fish life.  Andiamo is one of my favourite sites in all of Raja Ampat due to the variety of terrain it offers – a blue water pinnacle, a sandy flat, steep coral covered walls, a current swept ridge, and an amazing “channel” that splits the two islets of the dive site.  I could dive this site (and the neighbouring sites in the Daram group) all day every day and not get bored of the myriad photo opportunities.  One of the biggest challenges I always encounter (anywhere in Raja really) is capturing a decent shot of the brilliant red coral trouts that are common to the area, on this shot I think I actually captured one with a compelling foreground and background subject.  Stay tuned for more Raja, Ambon, and Banda Sea images from our epic series of Underwater Tribe trips over the past 4 weeks in eastern Indonesia.

 

Soft Corals and Grouper Andiamo

Photo of the Day – Wide Angle Lembeh

Although it is known as a macro location, the Lembeh Strait is also a very under rated wide angle photography location.  Besides the stunning reefs on the east and north ends of the island, there are sites within the strait that also host some amazing wide angle opportunities.  Dive sites such as California Dreaming, Angels Window, and Crab a Goby offer reasonably clear water as well as a plethora of sea fans, sea whips, soft corals and other classic wide angle photo opportunities.  However, the wide angle photo opportunities in Lembeh really come into their own when concentrating on Close Focus Wide Angle opportunities on Lembeh’s more signature muck sites.  The “wow” factor of shooting mucky creatures with a wide angle lens is what makes Lembeh Wide Angle photos really stand out from the crowd as a “soft coral” photo can be from anywhere.  During our annual Photography Workshop in Lembeh at NAD we always discuss the benefits of shooting wide in a macro location, join us this July and learn how to improve your wide angle muck photography!

 

Hairy Frogfish Lembeh

Nik in the Sunrays

We just recently finished our incredible 9 day trip aboard the Mermaid II Liveaboard in Raja Ampat with a great group of divers and some amazing diving.  The weather, the waves, the sun, the fish, and the corals are cooperated perfectly and all of these elements came together to make one outstanding dive trip for our Underwater Tribe group.  We can’t wait to do it again soon as the diving in Raja Ampat is one of the best dive experiences out there.  A full report will be coming soon but here is a sneak peak of one of our friends Nik enjoying a bit of sun while underwater in Misool!

Nik in the Light

Erupting Volcano – Photo of the Day

One of the coolest things to see when diving the Banda Sea or East Flores/Alor is the opportunity to visit the island of Komba near Maumere.  The island is actually a very active volcano which erupts every 15 minutes or so spreading ash and rocks all over.  The opportunity to watch the show is an incredible experience both at night or during the day.  Here is a shot of the volcano as seen during the day

Volcano Erupting