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Re: Diving in Indonesia

Post by Akimbo » Tue, 23 Dec 2014 10:15 am

Hey y'all,

Planning a sudden trip with a friend for January or February 2015 with a friend of mine to go to Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara. Ultimately, we're gonna go diving there, but we might have a problem, since it's wet season...

Another problem is, I have an AOW, and only experienced 10 dives, but he hasn't got one yet. Would that be a problem? Anybody got experience? How's the difficulty there, by the way?

Any tips on accommodation as well as itinerary? From a quick search, it seems that it's cheaper if I just go around and look for places to stay instead of booking it online.
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Re: Diving in Indonesia

Post by the lynx » Tue, 23 Dec 2014 10:32 am

Akimbo wrote:Hey y'all,

Planning a sudden trip with a friend for January or February 2015 with a friend of mine to go to Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara. Ultimately, we're gonna go diving there, but we might have a problem, since it's wet season...

Another problem is, I have an AOW, and only experienced 10 dives, but he hasn't got one yet. Would that be a problem? Anybody got experience? How's the difficulty there, by the way?

Any tips on accommodation as well as itinerary? From a quick search, it seems that it's cheaper if I just go around and look for places to stay instead of booking it online.
Isn't Labuan Bajo the kind of diving site that requires at least 20 dives? Need to check with the agent. I have never been there but my other diver friends made that remark before.

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Re: Diving in Indonesia

Post by Stevie_W » Tue, 23 Dec 2014 10:45 am

I've just been there.
Dive centers there offer OW courses. But having expedience the waters there, i would recommend that you have done diving experience first.
However, it will be your call whether you want to go and have your friend do the course there. You go witha god dive center, they will look after you.
There isa hostel there if you want to go cheap ish.i stayed at the dive centers home stay for free as i did several days of diving. Most places will be with cold showers. There is 1 place i found that offered hot shower but i didn't stay there.

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Re: Diving in Indonesia

Post by JR8 » Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:31 am

Akimbo wrote:Hey y'all,
Planning a sudden trip with a friend for January or February 2015 with a friend of mine to go to Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara. Ultimately, we're gonna go diving there, but we might have a problem, since it's wet season...
Another problem is, I have an AOW, and only experienced 10 dives, but he hasn't got one yet. Would that be a problem? Anybody got experience? How's the difficulty there, by the way?
Any tips on accommodation as well as itinerary? From a quick search, it seems that it's cheaper if I just go around and look for places to stay instead of booking it online.
In 'oldster' terms the island is Flores, and is over on the side near Komodo. Looking at Google/Maps I should imagine there is some spectacular diving down that way. Not least due the exposed coastline that would suggest some good tidal currents, which are what bring in the dramatic stuff like big rays and sharks.

But since it's likely one heck of an onerous and expensive journey there and back, you might want to consider if it is best suited to your skills/experience. No point going all that way only to find you're not qualified to go on any of the headline dives. What does the dive centre say about diving in wet season (keeping in mind they always tend to be optimistic). Do they stay open year-round, or close at any times during monsoon?

How long would you have there? I'm not persuaded that turning up there and 'going around' is going to find a better deal than booking online.

To be quite candid, I do not think you should consider your skills 'advanced' after just ten dives. In the same way that you wouldn't be an 'advanced' driver ten days after passing your driving test. When did you last dive, and where? Have you experienced 'ripping' drift dives, as Google suggests are a highlight down that way?

From what you have described I would be concerned that you would be travelling a long way, spending a lot, going at the wrong time of year, and to cap it all finding yourself in a destination that you are perhaps not qualified to fully enjoy.

Please don't let me put you off, I am simply trying to be pragmatic! Have you looked into other destinations? Perhaps...
- Not impacted by monsoon, or minimally.
- Less advanced/demanding diving available.
- Easier and cheaper to get to. And so on.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Diving in Indonesia

Post by Akimbo » Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:46 am

JR8 wrote: But since it's likely one heck of an onerous and expensive journey there and back, you might want to consider if it is best suited to your skills/experience. No point going all that way only to find you're not qualified to go on any of the headline dives. What does the dive centre say about diving in wet season (keeping in mind they always tend to be optimistic). Do they stay open year-round, or close at any times during monsoon?

How long would you have there? I'm not persuaded that turning up there and 'going around' is going to find a better deal than booking online.

To be quite candid, I do not think you should consider your skills 'advanced' after just ten dives. In the same way that you wouldn't be an 'advanced' driver ten days after passing your driving test. When did you last dive, and where? Have you experienced 'ripping' drift dives, as Google suggests are a highlight down that way?

From what you have described I would be concerned that you would be travelling a long way, spending a lot, going at the wrong time of year, and to cap it all finding yourself in a destination that you are perhaps not qualified to fully enjoy.

Please don't let me put you off, I am simply trying to be pragmatic! Have you looked into other destinations? Perhaps...
- Not impacted by monsoon, or minimally.
- Less advanced/demanding diving available.
- Easier and cheaper to get to. And so on.
No worries JR8, it doesn't put me off but it has put plans on hold for a future time. Candid and realistic opinion like yours is what I value more on things like this. I think what you've said above are absolutely right. I wouldn't say I'm experienced yet just because I did 10 dives, and since the last time was quite some time ago, all of that has prolly gone away.

I haven't checked in details yet, but such a sudden trip to Labuan Bajo is most likely not possible to plan in just a few weeks time for me right now. It'll probably cost quite a lot too, for him that is. He's not earning in SGD...I'll scrap this plan.

We didn't plan to go just for diving. We plan to go just for the sake of going. I think he wants to go somewhere before the girlfriend comes back from overseas in March haha. I've told him we should go to Cambodia or Vietnam, but he shrugged at it...*sigh* I wanna go there...

Thanks Stevie, Lynx.
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Re: Diving in Indonesia

Post by JR8 » Tue, 23 Dec 2014 8:47 pm

Have you considered Lembeh Straits in Sulawesi?

See further this previous conversation....
http://forum.singaporeexpats.com/viewto ... 7&start=15" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Diving in Indonesia

Post by ChrisCH » Mon, 05 Jan 2015 4:59 pm

Hi!

Well, it's already January, so I hope you had a great trip... but just my two cents: I personally love Lembeh, but I am an experienced diver who happens to love Macro life. An average beginner will see there mostly black sand and a couple of animals which look a bit odd. It takes a bit of experience to appreciate how rare some species are and that this was not just any small octopus...

Long story short: I'd recommend as well to fly to Manado, but instead of the Lembeh Strait head to the Bunaken national park. Biodiversity is just as high, but you get colorful reefs with nice coral on top which most people who are not into underwater macro photography prefer...

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Re: Diving in Indonesia

Post by JR8 » Mon, 05 Jan 2015 8:09 pm

ChrisCH wrote:Hi!
Well, it's already January, so I hope you had a great trip... but just my two cents: I personally love Lembeh, but I am an experienced diver who happens to love Macro life. An average beginner will see there mostly black sand and a couple of animals which look a bit odd. It takes a bit of experience to appreciate how rare some species are and that this was not just any small octopus...

Long story short: I'd recommend as well to fly to Manado, but instead of the Lembeh Strait head to the Bunaken national park. Biodiversity is just as high, but you get colorful reefs with nice coral on top which most people who are not into underwater macro photography prefer...
My thinking was that if you have the inclination and $ for a place like Labuan you are probably not some impoverished noob.
I agree with you, in that when you are relatively new/newly qualified more of a dive is spent considering 'you', your kit, your depth, air, time, others etc. Later on, that become more of a second nature and then the moment becomes what's in front of you, and only that :)
So yes, when starting out, you want big action, as it's what you remember over and above fussing about your gear, trim, air-use etc. Sharks, turtles, rays are the stars of your log-book .... etc.
At some later point spending days pursuing the occasional 'big drama' becomes rather boring, not least as there are a lot of promises suggested, but rarely does it actually come together quite as suggested.
At some point you tire of the hunt for the big drama. You have seen some of it, and you know it involves a lot of fruitless days. And time is money, esp. diving in a far away place.
I think then, when you are more experienced, have the breathing controlled, and see no need to rush: That is when you reach a point of really being able to see things. Things that previously passed you by. The list is veeeerrry long!


p.s. I think I DIY'd Lembeh and Bunaken as a 2-centre dive trip over about a 2 week period. The dive centres can arrange ground transport and airport trfrs, so it's not that difficult to do. [Bunaken was the macro stuff, esp the Thresher Sharks, the Lembeh was the macro stuff. The two together worked very well.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Diving in Indonesia

Post by quin2015 » Tue, 06 Jan 2015 2:46 am

My friend went diving to Pulau Weh in Sumatra. Seen his pictures and the marine life there was awesome! The place has white sand beaches, waterfalls and a small volcano as well.

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Re: Diving in Indonesia

Post by ChrisCH » Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:17 am

JR8 wrote: My thinking was that if you have the inclination and $ for a place like Labuan you are probably not some impoverished noob.
Well, if there is one thing I learned about Singaporean divers is it that the ones with the most expensive gear usually have the least experience... I met people who bought a 2k rebreather ready computer before they had an advanced course and about 10 dives.

Anyway, short list:

Total beginner: I don't think there is any better place than Tulamben, Northern Bali. If you got the money are the Maldives a great place to start as well.

"I got some dives": Bunaken is my favourite which seems to work for everyone. From there it depends what you like to see. I personally loved Malapascua as the Thresher sharks are something special... Lembeh is great if you love small, colorful creatures. I would put Moalboal in this category as the dives I made there were all rather unchallenging - no weird currents. Sipadan goes in here as well while I found it a mixed bag: The island is as awesome as advertised but you just get the permit to go there once every few days (unless you go in the total off season). While every travel agent trying to sell you trips will tell you that the other dives at Mabul and Kapalai are also great do I tend to not agree 100%...

"I feel comfortable diving": I won't put a number of dives as this is pretty personal. Challenging places are Nusa Penida (West Coast of Bali), which allegedly has Mola Molas... I was there several times and never caught them. I personally loved Palau, but it's a bit far and a bit expensive... Komodo, Raja Ampat go in there as well thanks to the rather "advanced" currents.

I have not been to Pulau Weh, it seems a new destination which over the last 12 months got popular with the people who went everywhere else already...

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Re: Diving in Indonesia

Post by Girl_Next_Door » Fri, 09 Jan 2015 9:06 am

My husband's and my fav dive sites is layang layang for the visibility and hammerheads. I know his dream is to Galapagos. We managed to see whale sharks in maldives (you really need to pick the right resort for the right dive sites) and Belize (the right date and resort), as well as mola mola in Bali (this is more luck).

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Re: Diving in Indonesia

Post by Stevie_W » Fri, 09 Jan 2015 10:25 am

If you got the $ and time, i would suggest El nido in Philippines. Nice quiet ish place,not too full of tourists and some nice diving there. Bit of a trek to get there but personally i think well worth it. I can't compare with other places in Philippines add this is the only one I've been to.

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Re: Diving in Indonesia

Post by Dert42 » Fri, 09 Jan 2015 1:54 pm

I did a live aboard around Komodo/Flores in July.
Freaking fantastic! I think for the money, it's a good option. Room and board and diving all taken care of in one package.

To see the manta rays where I went, I wouldn't recommend unless someone was really comfortable and at least Advanced certified. If i had been with my wife i would of aborted the dive with her, but she probably would of aborted too. She's open water, has a couple dozen dives, but i don't think she would of enjoyed being pushed around.
The rest of the dives were pretty easy, but so much good stuff to see. I saw just about everything except whales. Dolphins, sharks, lots of turtles, awesome cuttlefish, a bajillion fish... i even got to tour Komodo national park and saw the dragons.

I went with Dive the World. Would recommend them. I did the Cheng Ho. Not bad, but I wouldn't do it dive with that boat again. Will totally do another live aboard though.
http://liveaboards.dive-the-world.com/l ... eng-ho.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Diving in Indonesia

Post by ChrisCH » Fri, 09 Jan 2015 2:12 pm

Layang layang is only good for experienced divers as you usually stretch the limits of recreational diving there to see the hammer heads.

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