One of my all time favourite photos is this photo of a black and white banded sea snake (krait) surfacing for breath. The photo was taken at the island of Bunaken on one of the famous Likuan dive sites which feature a shallow reef bordered by a sharp vertical wall. It was during the morning on a dive to this site where I encountered this beautiful sea snake while doing my safety stop in the shallows. I patiently followed the snake for a while taking a photo or two of it while it stuck it’s head into a few holes in the corals, possibly looking for a meal. The snake was not bothered by my presence and continued to swim along the reef in no particular hurry. However, as any air breathing animal is want to do, it eventually had to swim toward the surface for a breath of air. This is when I knew the best photo opportunity would take place, as the snake would have to swim up toward the flat calm surface. Sure enough, off the snake went toward the surface and I quickly followed it while taking a few shots of it from below. Immediately, I knew the photos would be winners as I could see the beautiful blue/green water pop up on my screen afterwards. There are two elements of this photo that I believe really make the photo: firstly, the green reflection of the reef surrounding the white clouds and blue coloured snell’s window and secondly, the ripples that the snake’s head makes on the water as it surfaced for air.
Nikon D90, 10.5 mm lens, f7.1, 1/200, ISO 200 Sea and Sea Strobes
We have been keeping this one a little close to the chest, but now it’s time to announce it to the masses!
We are excited to publicly announce two very special trips to Komodo National Park this coming July with the Underwater Tribe. We have reserved back to back sailings with the exclusive live aboard “Wellenreng” in the wonderful Komodo National Park, Indonesia.
The dates for these two trips are 5 – 14 July and 15 – 24 July 2016. What makes these trips so special is that the boat hosts just 3 cabins, which means our group will have a maximum of only 6 guests! With such a small group we will be able to pick and choose the best sites at the best times to avoid the crowds and dive the sites at the most opportune times, rather than sticking to a set schedule like larger boats do. If we find a particular site is really hot for diving and photography, we will stay on the site all day if we want! The Wellenreng prides itself on fantastic personal service which is one of the reasons we have chosen to work with the vessel, combined with their intimate knowledge of the area and flexibility of schedule. Of course the Underwater Tribe also knows a lot about the Komodo area so we will personally discuss the diving plans each day with the crew to ensure we are at the right place at the right time. Mike or Luca will be on the boat to host and lead the trip; we will not be conducting a formal photo workshop, however we will certainly be on hand to help everyone with their photography needs and conduct evening presentations about underwater photography and Indonesia in general.
July is a great time to dive the area with a very good chance of encountering mantas, turtles, and sharks. Komodo is home to some of the most varied diving that Indonesia has to offer with a huge range of eco systems to visit such as beautiful hard coral reefs, manta ray cleaning stations, action packed pinnacle dives, and amazing black sand muck dives as well. The sheer variety of dives in the Komodo area is a great attraction for underwater photographers who enjoy a mix of both wide angle and macro subjects and is one of the reasons we visit there every year.
There is only one full cabin available for each of our two sailings so please get in contact with us ASAP if you would like to confirm your place on one of these very special trips. The cabin can be configured as either a twin or double so it’s perfect for either a couple or else two friends to share. There is also the possibility to join us on back to back trips to spend almost one month of diving in Komodo!
In addition to this trip we will be also running a special underwater photography warm up session in Bali.
Trip 1: 05-14 July 2016 – 9 nights with 4 dives a day for most days
Trip 2: 15-24 July 2016 – 9 nights with 4 dives a day for most days
Arrival and Departure from Labuan Bajo ( Komodo).
The trip costs 3800 Euro per person plus 200 Euro for Park/Harbour fees and 100 Euro for Nitrox.
(Park fees and nitrox to be paid on board)
The boat will depart and return to Labuan Bajo for each trip, therefore, guests will need to arrive into Indonesia from Bali and then connect to Labuan Bajo via domestic flight (approximately $200 USD return) We recommend that guests arrive in Bali at least 1 day ahead of the domestic flight and plan their international departure one day after their domestic flight case of delays.
Included in the price:
Accommodation in cabins with air conditioning, private toilet with shower, bathrobe & towels
Full board with extensive breakfast and two hot meals per day
Fresh fruits and snacks at any time, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, free tea and coffee
Use of all onboard equipment, use of the fiberglass boats (6 m), Bauer compressors, tanks and weights
3-4 guided dives per day guided by an experienced Indonesian dive guide.
Transfer from the local airport to the dive boat Wellenreng and return to the local airport
Land excursions during the dive trip
Nitrox for day dives (Please note that we cannot guarantee availability because the oxygen suppliers are not always reliable in Indonesia)
Harbour & National Park Fees (Please note: national park fees can be changed by the local government or the national park office without any advance notice)
Komodo Liveaboard Trip Does Not Include:
Not Included in the price :
Airfares (domestic and international)
Alcoholic drinks such as beer and wine
Nitrox during Night Dive ( due to limited stock)
Single cabin surcharge
Health, Travel and Dive insurance ( Strongly recommend)
Excess luggages fee
Airport tax and departure tax
Hotel, airport transfers in Bali prior or after the trip
My first time diving the Liberty Wreck in Tulamben, Bali was in 2006 during a photo workshop I was conducting with Tim Rock at Scuba Seraya. During my very first dive on the wreck, I swam the length of the wreck scanning the site for the best photo opportunities. Once I reached the midship area, with the open cargo hold, I kept it in my mind as being one of the best “photo ops” of the wreck as it certainly offered a real feel of being in a proper shipwreck as opposed to only the colourful soft corals which are plentiful on the Liberty. Being ever the opportunist, I immediately decided that I wanted to incorporate photos of this scene into the photo workshop that we were teaching. Therefore, for the rest of the week I worked with each of the participants to set up this same shot again and again with very positive results for everyone who took the shot. Although it looks like a simple shot, the difference in brightness inside and outside of the hold does make it a great learning process for new photographers to work out the intricacies of shooting natural light photography and silhouettes.
For anyone who has taken a photo class with me in Bali since then, you will most likely recognize the photo. Knowing a good learning experience when I found it, I continue to utilize this scene in all of the photo classes that we teach in Tulamben to this day and I am sure will continue to do so far into the future.
If you are diving with us here in Bali, let us know if you would like to try your hand at this photo opportunity, we are always happy to model for you!
Thanks to Sofie for being the model in this photograph with the Liberty Wreck
It has taken some time but we have finally edited the video clips from the Underwater Tribe Raja Ampat trip aboard the Mermaid II liveaboard in March 2015. As expected, the Raja Ampat area delivered some amazing diving for our group of explorers and the Misool area was especially abundant with clear water and plenty of fish. If you would like to read a brief trip report on our 2015 adventures then please head on over to our Trip Report from March. If you are interested in joining us on a trip of a lifetime to Raja Ampat we have booked the Mermaid II for the same moon phase at the same time of year in 2017 and we still have spaces available, please check out the 2017 trip page here: Underwater Tribe Raja Ampat 2017
It’s been awhile, we have been exceedingly busy here in Bali over the past month and somewhat lax when it comes to our social media! Therefore, as a special gift to you all, we present another Photo of the Day! Hope you enjoy this photo from Raja Ampat.
One of my favourite underwater photo subjects are turtles, it doesn’t matter if it’s a “relatively” common hawksbill turtle or green turtle or any of the other more endangered turtles, I am always happy to encounter any turtle when diving. On this particular encounter on the island of Layang Layang in Sabah, Malaysia, I ran into this friendly hawksbill turtle who was happily munching away on sponge embedded in the hard coral. As with any turtle encounter, I stopped and watched it for a few moments to see if it would be spooked by my presence or if it would allow me to get closer. After watching it for a while I decided that it wasn’t bothered by my presence and so I slowly moved closer in order to take a few photos. After snapping a couple of shots from the side I then decided to see if the turtle would allow me to approach from the front, as this photo can attest, it sure did! As I moved from the side toward the front I realized that the turtle was allowing me to get quite close, but as I started to maneuver my strobes closer to the port the young hawksbill turtle decided that it was a lot more interested in my dome port than the sponges! Abandoning the idea of moving my strobes, instead I started backpedaling away from the hungry hawksbill while snapping off a few photos and trying to avoid “turtle bites” on my port! My guess is he/she reacted to the reflection of another turtle in the port and the attempted biting was in order to scare off a potential competitor. After I backed off again the happy hawksbill went right back to munching on sponge and ignoring my ungainly presence. Although I didn’t necessarily get the lighting correct on this shot, it is a photo that stands out as it was really a funny situation with a personable turtle who was intent on showing me who’s the boss!
Layang Layang, Sabah, Malaysia – Nikon D90, Aquatica Housing, 10-17mm lens, f10, 1/100, Sea and Sea Strobes
It’s that time of year once again, high season in Bali! August to November is the time of year where we start running all around the island showing our guests the beauty of Bali both above and below the waves. Although diving and traveling are great in Bali all year round, August is the traditional start of the boom season which lasts until mid to late September. However, October is our personal favourite month for diving in Bali, the waters are usually calm and clear (in the north!) and there are still plenty of chances to see the Mola-Mola in the south. Of course, what is a trip to Bali without a visit to the Manta Rays of Nusa Penida!
If you haven’t booked your trip to Bali yet there is no time like the present.
One of the things we hear the most when talking to underwater photographers is “I have a whole hard drive full of fish butts!” I believe everyone knows the feeling of sneaking up on an underwater subject to get just that much closer when “boom” the subject you have just spent endless time stalking suddenly turns and speeds off just as you pull the trigger! The resulting photo is what is lovingly called a “fish butt” shot and I know I have a hard drive full of them myself! In fact, I have often thought about publishing a book called “Butts of the Pacific” but then I figured it may get banned for censorship reasons so unfortunately I have yet to do so! However, not all “butt shots” are created equal, in fact, I think this small hawksbill turtle has a lovely butt, he sure did spend a lot of time with his beak in a hole eating sponges and showing me nothing but butt until I ran out of air, therefore, before heading up I had to snap off at least one photo of this turtle and I believe the result wasn’t too bad, for a butt shot!
This was taken at Whale Rock in the incredible Misool area of Raja Ampat where we will be heading again in 2017!
We don’t really need to make an excuse around here to take a photo of a shark, so why not have a beautiful juvenile silvertip as today’s Photo of the Day! This incredible shark is not very big, maybe only 4 feet long but he sure did have a staggering amount of swagger, silvertip sharks have one of the most “shark” profiles of any requiem sharks and truly are one of the most graceful large ocean predators. Mike Veitch
Mike is off to Komodo tomorrow for 10 days of what should be incredible diving and topside adventure! Mike hasn’t been there for a while and it’s always exciting to head back to one of Indonesia’s most incredible locations. Can’t wait to climb a few hills and jump into some incredible coral reefs and action packed dives!
Looking down at a Phinisi style liveaboard boat at anchor in Matu Monco Bay in NW Komodo Island, Komodo National Park, Indonesia, Pacific Ocean