Edit Blog Post
Published: April 26th 2016
The only way to claim that you have dived the world, is to dive , one dive site at a time! Leslie has two weeks of school holidays before starting serious school exams...and Tiffany is already back at school in South Africa....so the boys are back on the road, and under the water!
I have already dived in few places around Indonesia, doing Pulau Weh, Gili Trawanggan, Komodo and even Bali. So for Indonesia, North Sulawesi was still on the list. You may have heard of Lembeh, world class muck diving. You basically dive on a black sandy bottom, meeting little creatures that you will only find here. There is also Bunaken and the wall diving. To complete the triangle, you have at the top north tip of North Sulawesi the islands of Bangka and less known Talisei. This place is also often refered as the Golden Triangle by divers.
Bunaken is currently suffering of a lot of trash in the water arriving from the city of Manado....so we gave it a pass for this week. Instead of doing three days on each island and involving a lot of slow transfer times, we based ourselves
in the middle of the action, on the small island of Bangka. Bunaken has over 20 dive centers...and lots of divers. Bangka has only 6 dive centers, most of them welcoming less than 10 divers at the same time...so you won't find a crowded underwater world here!
From Bangka, we are just an hour by boat to Talisei and short of two hours from Lembeh. Out of 8 days of diving, we did 2 in Lembeh, one in Talisei, and the remaining 5 around Bangka and North Sulawesi. You may have heard of the project of an illegal iron ore mine on Bangka. The good news is that project has been officially off for the last 2 years...but it could sadly re-start anytime!
Few years ago, Air Asia had a direct flight to Manado, but no more. So we could have arrived by the Indonesian capital, but this would have mean long and not specially comfortable flights, or by the four weekly flights on Silk Air from Singapore. Singapore it will be! Fun to see that the flight is 2/3 full with divers. It's a diver life, as there is not much else to
do around here, than diving!
We land in Manado, and our driver is ready to pick up us for the one hour drive north....to transfer on a 30 minutes boat ride directly to Nomad divers Bangka. The ride is nice, on small roads, in hilly North Sulawesi. Here, the population is at least 60% Christian, a remaining of the colonial era.
Nomad Divers Bangka is run by a young British couple, Sophie and Simon with baby Max. They took over the place 3 years ago and now operate 7 bungalows from their own beach/mangrove on Bangka. You don't come here for the beach, you come here to dive! We are staying here 9 nights in a little cottage up the hill in the jungle. Here, it's communal table, a generator that operates from 11am to 10pm....and dogs that run around. You feel as if you had arrived to some friends living on the beach....and having a boat for diving!
On arrival, Sophie has her parents, and grandmother in the resort for two more days, so it's truly feel like a family place. There are also a Swedish couple living in Bangkok
and another couple from Toronto, but they would all leave in the coming two days. So we would soon have the place close to ourselves. On the third day, we are join by Hama. He is Japanese, and own the only dive center on Christmas Island, Australia. We had so much fun diving with him, and now, I have one more place to dive the world on my wish list...Christmas Island, Australia....but need to save a little before we go diving there!
Our days are spend diving in the morning....and on the 3 day trips it's actually all day long...and relaxing by the beach in the open air common area. Food here is simple, but gorgeous....and you'd better love rice and fish!
The diving here is all about macro diving. We hunt for little things, sometimes smaller than a dice...and for this we have the help of our dive master, Otny! Bangka is also surrounded by gorgeous healthy corals....so it's nudibranches, little fishes and corals! And Leslie has now over 150 dives...I know, spoiled kids!
Sadly, we didn't spot the dungong. They have one two bays away, and have spotted him
3 times the last two weeks, but for our two tries, we were out of luck. Well, I guess I'll have to bring Leslie to Coron in the Philippines for another chance...not sure when we'll do this trip! Leslie next big trip will be this summer, but no dive planned...so his next diving will only be around Christmas.
There are a lot of pictures...I couldn't choose between something more than a thousand of diving pictures. So here are there...and to my friend Ali, I have to admit, I didn't spend much time trying to identify the name of each of these small creatures!
Next blog will be about Singapore, where I stopped one the way in, and on the way out! Coming soon!
And for Indonesia, I still have to dive Raja Ampat (liveaboard), Sangalikan as well as Wakatobi....I guess it's a diver life!
Tot: 3.001s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 43; qc: 143; dbt: 0.0451s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.7mb