Ubud/Bali from the 26th of July to the 3rd of August 2011

Tuesday the 26th of July 2011

Early start and off to the airport. Around noon I arrived in Bali. Had lunch with Andy (the owner of Maluku divers). He really helped me a lot. He received a package where I finally got my second video light back. Then the usual. Change money, recharge the Sim Card. Travelling is different than holidays. There is always something to organize.

Wednesday and Thursday 27th and 28th of July 2011

I have to get used to Bali. This is the most tourists I have seen in a long time. Okay Angkor Wat had some, too. Ubud used to be Hippie capital of Bali. But mass tourism got its share now. Unbelievable amounts of Souvenir shops, galleries and restaurants. Food is excellent. From Stephan and Cathie (see Raja Ampat) I got the number from a massage therapist. He is really good and gave me a two hour treatment today.

Friday to Monday 29th of July to the 1st of August 2011

There is not much to tell the last days- I did a lot of computer work. Final cut of my two Lembeh videos and finished about 75 % of the North Sulawesi trip. Anyone who ever did video editing knows that for 30 seconds Final Cut, you can end up doing an hour editing. I work in a few steps. First I look at all the clips and put the "chosen" ones in a category. Then I build a sequence out of the categories. According to the sequence I do the editing. Parts of the clips I do not have to correct at all, Part there is work to do. Because I shot Macro without red filter (my housing can't do both) I sometimes have to get some red in the clips. Definitely not rocket science, but time consuming. But I am on holiday ... Sharon and Matt are here since Sunday. We met in the Maldives and will be travelling to Komodo together. They brought a friend (Andy) with them.

Tuesday the 2nd of August 2011

My first tourist program in Ubud. Did the monkey forest in the morning. Then we had an excessive lunch at Bali Buddha. Rest of the day easy.

Wednesday the 3rd of August 2011

Last day in Ubud. Had a therapy with my massage guy again. In the afternoon I finished editing my last video. Tomorrow Komodo.

Komodo Dancer from the 4th of August to the 13th of August 2011

Thursday the 4th of August 2011

Yesterday evening I moved to the Hotel of Matt and Sharon, because we were supposed to drive to the airport at 5.15 am. The driver was late for more than half an hour, so the owner of the hotel took us to the airport. Luckily we had enough time. The we flew half an hour to Labuan Bajo and boarded the ship. Ship is big and the first impression is totally positive. The people on the boat seem to be really nice as well.

Friday to Sunday 5th to the 7th of August 2011

Like always on liveaboards the days pass quickly. We dove more Makro than big stuff. We had one dive with big schools of fish, but the rest was all small. I really like that, but I that is not really the purpos why I came to Komodo. It is time for something bigger.

Monday through Thursday 8th to the 11th of August 2011

Been to the south. Cold water (24 degrees) and bad viz. Beautiful Sites, but with viz below 5 meters you hardly appreciate that. Went Noth again. Had two beautiful Manta Dives. In the North the water is warmer again (27 degrees) and better viz. Did 28 dives so far. I really like it, even when my expectations on big stuff (besides the Mantas) haven't been fulfilled yet. We still have a full day left.

Friday the 12th of August 2011

Dove the top dive sites of the North and had some shark encounters. White tips and grey reef sharks. Really nice.The fish are abundant on some of the sites. Total fish soup. Was really fun on the last full day. Last dive today was the "The cauldron" or "The Shotgun". Interesting currents. Skipped the night dive.

Saturday the 13th of August 2011

Zwei really nice dives again and in the afternoon we did the Ranger Station with the dragons. I am really happy, that we went on the beach with the diveguides to see the "real" ones, that actually tried to go after us. Different experience.

Lembongan from the 14th to the 18th of August

Sunday the 14th of August

Airport in the morning. Flight to Bali. Baggage claim. Just one bag arrived. But I wasn't the only one. The plane was too heavy, so they unloaded a couple of bags. I had booked my transfer to the ferry. Had to send the guy away. My roommate from the ship Andrew allowed me to overnight with him in Kuta. First they said the bags arrive at 3 pm pm, then it was 5pm. At 5.30pm I got nervous and called the guy. Didn't even answer the phone. I got suspicious, so we left to the airport. Flight was canceled. Tomorrow 1 pm. Hopefully.

Monday the 15th of August

The big moment came and my bag really arrived. Kind of a relief. I helped them to sort out where the bags of my fellow travelers have to go. Hopefully they get them. Then off to Sanur and catch the speedboat to Lembongan. Had dinner with an Aussie and fixed the equipment for tomorrow.

Tuesday to Thursday 16th to 18th of August 2011

3 days on the search for Mola Molas or Oceanic Sunfish. Pretty rare creatures. I was very lucky and had one on the first and two on the second day. Not everybody has been as lucky as I was. The diving here is better than expected. The coral are in pretty good conditions. Not really pelagics but an abundance of reef fish. But it is mass tourism. At Crystal Bay (the main Mola Mola Point) sometimes 35 !!! dive boats show up. They are not all from Lembongan. They come from everywhere in Bali. This is not really fun. The island of Lembongan is really nice but has gone over the top to my opinion. I really would like to visit in the off season.

Tuban from the 19th to the 21st of August

Friday the 19th of August

I planned to dive and get back to Bali in the afternoon, but the conditions were really bad yesterday and I had some issues with one of my ears. Not really bad, but why should I risk something on a bad day. Spent the day on the coast.

Saturday and Sunday 20th and 21st of August 2011

I am next to Kuta. This is the main tourist area of Bali. I chose this because of the broadband internet to upload some videos. I will spend the days in my room editing, anyway. Hotel is really nice and has good food. Enough for three days.

Tulamben from the 22nd to the 26th of August

Monday the 22nd of August

Three hours drive to the North East of Bali to Tulamben. Right on the shore lies the wreck of the "Liberty" a ship from WW1. Has built a beautiful artificial reef. Unfortunately I am not the only one to know that :-). Bali is really beautiful and the people are very nice, but it is definitely mass tourism. My first encounter with that kind since I am travelling. Sometimes requires some adjustment.

Tuesday to Thursday 23rd to 25th of August

Did 8 dives the last 3 days. Same here as in Lembongan. Way better than expected. The wreck has heaps of divers but also beautiful places and lots of fish. A resident school of bumpheads, that allow you really close encounters. The rest of the dives has a lot of Muck. Beautiful Nudies. They also have a Grouper cleaning station. Haven't seen that yet. The Groupers wait like in a car wash, and when it is their turn they get cleaned by wrasses and shrimps. We also saw mating cuttle fish today.
"the holy grail"

Friday the 26th of August 2011

Two dives today. Again the grouper cleaning station and the harlequin shrimp. On my last dive today I saw my very first Rhinopia or weedy scorpionfish. Ths is the holy grail of divers at the moment. Really beautiful. But I am still happy with Nemos and other small fish as well. Battery breakdown of my Dive computer. Luckily today and not on Sunday, because in Bali the change can be done and in Lembeh I would have no chance.

Lembeh Strait from the 27th of August to the 1st of September

Saturday the 27th of August 2011

Because of the breakdown of my Dive computer, I started early. Two and half hours to Sanur and had the battery replaced. Took three hours. Airport. Another three hours to departure. Through Makassar to Manado. In Manado they managed again to artificially shorten the supply of baggage carts, so that the baggage handlers make their rip off money. Then I realized that I still can get upset and tell some people my opinion about things. 12.30 am I was at the Hotel and at 1.00 am I finally slept.

Sunday the 28th of August 2011

Got up at 6 and fixed the camera. Met Rupan and Steve. We have been to the Maldives together. He proposed under water and then me and four others have been to the wedding. That was a year ago. Really nice to see them again and dive together. Lembeh is like last time. First day and the whole program. Flamboyant cuttlefish, ghost pipe fish, 2 mimic octopus, a Wonderpus and of course a hairy frogfish. Just a regular Lembeh day.

Monday the 29th of August 2011

4 dives today and we saw some nice stuff. Nevertheless it was not as spectacular as yesterday. It is almost impossible to have a bad day in Lembeh, but most of the times it is better than today. And this time I decided to stay at the same place as Rupan and Steve (makes sense) and I haven't got the chance to dive with Ali. Big difference.

Rupan Steve Martin

Tuesday the 30th of August 2011

The first dive wasn't as good, but the second even more. We watched the hatching of a flamboyant cuttlefish. I didn't capture it with the camera, because I was focused on another egg. But I filmed the 5 mm thing with the other eggs. Really nice.

Wednesday to Thursday 31st of August to 1st of September

The last two days I did 5 dives with the usual suspects. We tried again twice to get the eggs of the flamboyant cuttle fish to hatch. No success. After Rupan and Steve have left, I got a new group.. On the first dive I had an argument with a Chinese diver. They been annoying me the whole dive. Kicking sand up as hell, putting their fins on coral. At the end of the dive he was lying with his full body on a patch of soft coral. That was when I bursted. I lifted him up for half a meter on the tank valve. The dive mangaer talked to them after the dive. They seem to have behaved on the second dive. I switched groups. Some people do not have any respect for the environment they are in.

To be continued: Diary