Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kasawari Lembeh Part VI - The Resort

What can I say about the Kasawari Lembeh resort that hasn't already been said over and over? The only thing I can do now is just rave about it in my own words.

This was our accommodation, villa number 5 nestled among lush well kept greenery. They were kind enough to let me use the same villa again on my second trip 2 weeks after the first.

First off the bits I could really live without. Wonky internet connection, nil mobile phone reception in the villa and frequent power outages. But I don't really see this as too much of a hassle as the main idea is that you are supposed to be out there diving for most of the day.
The bits I like- the main room and bathroom was nice and spacious. And I really mean nice and spacious! Short stays here just do not do it justice.

However it is their camera room that really takes the cake. Nice and spacious with individual workstations with two multipin power sockets for charging batteries and stuff. With the huge group the "Night Safari" experienced, it was still pretty roomy and no one really got into each other's way.

However on my second stay, another diver and myself were the ONLY ones to use the camera room. And I could hardly even see the guy's stuff giving me the impression that I was the only user of the room.

Each workstation had a small laminated numbered card with a clip that you attach to your housing so that when the staff return your kit to the camera room (after rinsing in freshwater) they will return your kit ato your workstation according to it's number. Neat eh?

The infinity pool for you to spend your surface intervals at. Oh the green is not algae but the colour of the tiles. I checked.

The view of the inviting water as you walk out onto the jetty to the dive boat.

Add in great company and there you have it... :)

Kasawari Lembeh Part V - Young 'Uns

While at Lembeh for the "Night Safari" event I had hoped to see acts of predation being carried out among it's critter denizens and even better, capture it on camera. While I did see a long arm octopus reach for and grab some small fish for it's snack, I did not see anything else "exciting" unlike Eugene's fantastic picture of an octopus feeding on a wrasse or Tony Wu's typical Lizardfish having a meal shot.
However I did see a great number of juveniles hanging around which must surely be a good thing for they are the "future".

This baby frogfish is so tiny than it's smaller than a pea! I was really lucky in spotting this one. I was poking around a ball of old fishing net at Jahir when I noticed this minuscule movement of something that resembled a micro mini frogfish. True enough it was a micro mini frogfish! I only managed to get two shots of it before it disappeared back among the bottom debris for which Lembeh is so fabulously famous for.

This juvenile scorpionfish tried "yawning" in a vain attempt to get me to scoot off. It didn't work of course.
This juvenile flamboyant cuttlefish was just the cutest thing ever. It trotted along the seabird on two tentacles to a sort of cadence. It was so darn cute that if one could, one would cuddle it.

The following shots while not taken during the "Night Safari" event are also of juveniles.

Juvenile Frogfish at Jahir.

Juvenile Lionfish at Pante Parigi.

Ah...God bless the juveniles...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Life at Home after the travellin' is over...

So there you have it...both Lembeh Straits dive trips and Siem Reap trip over and done with. And I so recall that euphoria just before the "Night Safari" event at still having a week of diving to go, a photography trip to Angkor and a final trip back to Lembeh to look forward to. On the bright side I still have about 2 more weeks left to go before I head back to Dubai, which is the average time anyway I'd spent at home on leave. On the other hand, the next 2 weeks ain't exactly vacation time for me. Now I do not want to go into detail here as I do not want to be seen as clamoring for pity or good praises but I am beginning to realise that to do what I do now at home will require 3 things.

1. No expectations of thanks or reward.
2. The carrying out of tasks without grudge or complaints.
3. The putting aside of pride and scrounging up of every common sense I can muster.

However whenever I feel myself faltering in these areas I just recall that wonderful feeling of jumping into that cool Lembeh water and descending to a black sandy oasis full of photographic anticipation and excitement....

I guess I've had my fun...and now it's time to "pay".

Monday, March 15, 2010

Kasawari Lembeh Part IV

This last Lembeh trip was centered around night diving hence the name "Night Safari" and was supposedly organised between Tony Wu, Fins Online and Scubacam. However with due respect to the former two, I saw no real involvement from them except for the publicity they provided and when the event finally arrived I found the whole thing so "clique'ish" with the known personalities sticking to their own with a groupie or two thrown in.
In a funny sort of way I did warn myself that my own expectations may not be met on this trip and I guess in a way, my foreboding was all not for naught. However.. I am indeed glad to have met folks whose company I enjoyed tremendously and ended up having a bitchin' that the fishing boat with lights that did jack shit for us, sharing whiskey and talking crap until the whiskey ran out so the trip was not a total loss on the relationship front. Well I guess we can't have everything in life and it's all about managing one's expectations.
However I for one am GLAD to be going back to Kasawari Lembeh this Wednesday for a another quick trip before I pack up my dive kit for good until next year. I have decided to put off diving in the UAE for good. With Heisham gone it just seems pointless to drive 2 hours to the east coast for mediocre diving and then have to lug everything back to Singapore all over again if I plan another trip to Lembeh next year. Nosiree all my dive gear and U/W photography kit will be left at home this time. As such this week's dive trip will be my last for a very long while so I intend to make every full use of it.

Kasawari Lembeh Part III

I will make no secret that I am a fan of Tony Wu's underwater photography so I consider myself lucky to have come across this opportunity to obtain a similar shot of his from his book "Silent Symphony" (with William Tan) of a porcelain crab residing in the anus of a sea cucumber!

Oh how I love to regale to anyone who would listen how I managed to obtain such a shot! The time and patience required staring at the wrong end of a sand gobbler observing the pulsating opening and closing of it's anal opening awaiting the right moment for the little crab to show itself... :)

I call this series "I have Crabs"

Kasawari Lembeh part II

The week in Kasawari Lembeh passed fast and we got to meet some very fun people. Apart from Sanah, there was also David of Scubacam, Heok Hui, Eugene, Colin and Kamarul and we had a barrel of laughs especially when it came taking the piss out of David.
Although I did not get to capture on camera the sort of critter behaviour I was hoping to capture ie: mating, hunting, I did managed to get some pretty cool shots of fish lying in wait for dinner to swim by.

I call this series "Hello..Nice to Eat You"

"Hello...Nice to Eat You" because I imagine a small little fishy ambling along the dark bottom of the substrate in search of food only to come across a pair of eyes shining in the dark looking intently at it and in a split second dash...nothing but darkness as the little fishy contemplates it's new role as nutrient giving food to it's sinister lie in wait predator. Burp.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Kasawari Lembeh - Finally!!!!

Well I am finally here and here are some sample shots..

The first full day of dives truly were checkout dives for me. After these dives I discovered that I was shooting at ISO 1000, an exposure compensation of -1.3 and on the last dive I had accidentally activated the "timer" mode and spent half the dive trying to figure out what the hell was wrong. It being a night dive only added to my confusion! Well now I know I know better and feel more sufficiently prepared for the next three nights of diving. It's going to be a full moon so we're expecting to see some pretty amazing stuff.

More photos to follow!