Beneath Cornish

publish*) in Feb 2009

£ Mark Webster

Great White Shark by Julian Cohen

"Shark coming up on the bait fast from the right hand side" is the cry from Moth who is standing next to me and staring at the sea surface. He is pointing across me and I follow the line of his arm to see the huge dark shadow appear from the blue. Nothing can quite prepare you for your first sight of a Great White Shark. You may have seen photos, watched movies or National Geographic documentaries, but the first glimpse of this enormous animal in it's natural element, on a clear, calm sea with the sun shining above you, just makes your breath catch in your throat. It is just so much bigger than you ever thought it could be; and fast.

Along with three friends I am on The Princess II, a liveaboard in The Neptune Islands off the southern coast of Australia. The boat is run by Andrew Fox, the son of Rodney Fox, probably one of the most famous shark attack victims ever. He was attacked while spear fishing in his youth and miraculously survived. To hear him tell the story leaves me a little disturbed. The image he describes of seeing the teeth of the shark as it was coming up at him through a pool of his own blood will never leave me. Incredibly he went on to become one of the shark's greatest protectors and many of the films and documentaries you may have seen have been made with his help. He is also an incredibly nice bloke. Andrew is the only operator in the world who runs a cage at the bottom as well as at the surface. Seeing these animals at a depth of twenty metres of water you feel that you have entered their habitat and it is a totally different experience to seeing them at the surface.

The shark appears to languidly move towards the bait, the head of a one and a half metre tuna tied to a rope that is being dangled from a small buoy off the back of the boat. It passes under the bait and then with one barely perceptible move of its tail it has done a complete one-eighty and suddenly all I can see is teeth. Johnsie, on the other end of the rope, pulls the bait in just at the

11125 atf4.12-24mm at 24mm. ISO 320. Nikon D200

11160 atf6.3.12-24mm at 17mm. ISO 160. Nikon D200

11100 at f4.12-24mm at 20mm. ISO 200. Nikon D200

right moment, and the shark bites air. It keeps biting, pursuing the bait as Johnsie pulls it smoothly towards the stern of the boat. The trick is not to feed the sharks, but to encourage them closer to the cage that is tied to the stern. Some of the sharks swim around the boat in large circles, passing tantalisingly close to the bait and appearing to ignore it completely. Then suddenly they will turn and try to grab it. Others, especially the smaller younger ones, and when I say small I am talking about three and a half metres, lunge and snap at the bait constantly. Johnsie has to stay alert to

11125 at f4.12-24mm at 24mm. ISO 320. Nikon D200

11100 atf6.3.12-24mm at 12mm. ISO 200. Nikon D200

avoid having to reload the line.

Time to get in the cage. Four divers jump in and stay as long as they can stand the cold. That can actually be quite a long time as when the sharks are active it is difficult to tear yourself away, no matter how numb you feel. I dropped into the water and after the initial gasp of breath as the cold hit me, I remembered to breathe and took my place in the cage and started to look around.

1/100 atf5.12-24mm at 12mm. ISO 200. Nikon D200

About fifteen metres from me was a four and a half metre shark swimming slowly past the cage. Even though I had my camera rig in my hand I just stood and stared. I think the thing that surprised me most was how wide it was. Later I found out this shark was Curly, a male that is the shark equivalent of short and stout. He seemed to me to be at least a metre and a half in diameter at his widest part. As he opened his mouth to take the bait, one of the times Johnsie was caught napping, he just got wider and wider. I could easily have fit into his mouth and down his throat without touching the sides.

I got myself together and started to think about taking photos. I was shooting with ambient light only, no strobes, as there was plenty of light,

Rodney Fox

the cage was at the surface and I also wanted to make sure I wasn't taking too much gear into a small space to get banged around as the boat gently rocked in the bay. I worked on ISO 400 so that I could get the shutter speed to freeze the action. I was alone in the cage at this point as the other divers were doing a shift change. A very aggressive shark suddenly turned up. Rusty was over four metres long but not as wide as Curly. She had brown streak marks on her jaws from trying to thrust her head through the steel nets that the local fishermen use to hold the tuna. Tuna fishing and harvesting is the primary source of income in Port Lincoln, the nearest town. She came up from the deep in a classic Great White ambush attack, fast and nearly vertical. At the last moment Johnsie saw her coming and pulled the bait out of her reach. She nearly breached as she missed the bait and then turned to chase it. I was standing at the corner of the cage with both arms out holding the camera. Johnsie was pulling the bait towards the cage and the shark was following the bait. I started to pull my arms in as Johnsie pulled the bait clear of the water and Rusty slammed into the side of the cage. Fifteen hundred kilos of shark was snapping at empty water about half a metre from my face. She clamped down on the edge of the cage where five seconds ago my camera had been and I stumbled backwards across the cage. Everything seemed to go into slow motion. I remember thinking to myself "Am I scared? No. Amazing! I'm not scared. Get the shot! Get the shot!" As I fell backwards I fired off three shots. Later I looked at my computer screen and saw the teeth that Rodney had seen. However in my case there was a steel cage between the teeth and me. I still don't know how Rodney can sleep at night.

Over the thirty five years that Andrew has been coming to The Neptune Islands, he and his father have been tagging and trying to identify the sharks to study their behaviour. Many sharks come back again and again to the Islands, often at the same time of the year. The favourite time is seal calving time when the Australian Fur Seal pups are learning to swim and have to do it in a sea that is literally packed with Great White sharks. We saw eleven different sharks on our four day trip, and we didn't move out of the bay, but stayed moored up the whole time.

Julian Cohen

www.rodneyfox.com.au

Rim - No Fitter No White Balance

Digital - No Filter Manual WB

Magic Filter Manual WB

Digital cameras have opened up new possibilities to underwater photographers. For available light photography manual white balance is an invaluable tool for restoring colours. But when you use it without a filter you are not making the most of the technique. You're doing all the hard work without reaping the full rewards.

These three photos are all taken of the same wreck in the Red Sea. The left hand image was taken on slide film, which rendered the scene completely blue. The middle image is taken with a digital SLR without a filter, using manual white balance. The white balance has brought out some of the colour of the wreck, but it has also sucked all the blue out of the water behind the wreck, making it almost grey. The right hand image is taken with the same digital camera and lens, but this time using an original Magic Filter. The filter attenuates blue light meaning that the colours of the wreck are brought out and it stands out from the background water, which is recorded as an accurate blue.

www.magio-füterx.com

Chalkidiki

The Diving paradise in Northern Greece

By Nicholas Samaras 8t Rabea latridou

Chalkidiki, the famous three-pronged peninsula in Northern Greece lies near the city of Thessaloniki (only 60 minutes away from the international airport of Thessaloniki), the second largest city in Greece.

This region is a resort area serviced by most international tour operators. Everyone knows Chalkidiki as a great holidays destination with magnificent white sanded beaches (most of them awarded with E.E.C. blue flags), landscapes fully surrounded by forests of all kinds of trees and of course the bluest of the unique Aegean Sea.

What most people don't know is that Chalkidiki is not only a place to relax on holidays, get a perfect tan and enjoy night life but is regarded as the Diving paradise of Greece, for divers and underwater photographers. The same place gives you different dive depending on the time of the year. This is magical. The diving location transforms during the year and gives multiple colour combinations and lighting.

As a diving destination,

Chalkidiki has to offer many great diving spots with perfect conditions for scuba diving, and digital underwater photography: excellent visibility, a few wrecks, some beautiful tunnels and caves with exciting lighting effects and rocks with soft and hard corals and fascinating marine life.

Water temperature during winter drops to 12-14 and during summer rise up to 26-28 oC. So the diving season runs from the beginning of April until the end of October and for braver divers with the appropriate equipment (dry or semi-dry suits) it lasts all year.

Chalkidiki has three large peninsulas: Cassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos, but diving is allowed only in the first two. In both peninsulas there are many diving centres with modern facilities, up-to-date equipment and highly trained and experienced staff and most of them are located at the best beaches, big hotel units and camping areas, very close to diving spots and offer not only diving equipment for rental

Aegean scene with Gorgonian & Anthias. Canon 5D, Canon 15mm Fish Eye, S&S YS-250PRO flash, ISO 100, flO @ 11125

Orange Mediterranean Sponge & Diver. Canon 5D, Canon 15 mm Fish Eye, S&S YS-250PRO flash, ISO 100, ft @ 1160

but also daily diving cruises and group diving from boat at specific destinations.

The bright Greek sun is your best friend here because you can take great shots of sunballs and sunbursts all day long and shoot wrecks and reefs with natural light with no strobes used.

Depending on how long your vacation is, you can arrange your dives in both peninsulas. If your staying is sort, it is better to choose one of the two peninsulas and enjoy your staying there. Also it is recommended that you keep away from moving to places during weekendis hot hours (Saturday morning and Sunday evening). Chalkidiki is the weekend vacation resort for citizens of Thessaloniki and the traffic is absurd.

Peninsula Cassandra is the most popular holidays & travel destination in Chalkidiki and has to give high quality travel & tourism services for accommodation, rentals, cruises, ect at

Nitdibranch Cratena Peregrina. Canon 5D, Canon 100mm Macro, S&S YS-110 flash, ISO 250, JS @ 11100

affordable prices. Most of diving spots there are accessible from shore and some others require boat.

Most known diving spot in Cassandra is the wreck of boat Mitilini North-West of bight named Kipsa. Ship lies at 20m and if the visibility is good, this wreck cannot fail to impress you. It is great for wide angle and fish eye shots early in the morning before groups from local diving centres make their morning dive. The wreck is decorated with shells, corals, anemones and coils and it constitutes a shelter for groupers, morays, scorpionfishes and big blacks. To dive to Mitilini wreck a boat is required, so if you want to plan a dive there the easiest way is to contact the diving center in Sani. In the afternoon, after the lbusy hoursT when the visibility is poorer itis the time for macro shooting

Koursaros (dokos) bay is an impressive shore dive at south neast of peninsula Cassandra. The road

Under the platform. Canon 5D, Canon 15mm Fish Eye, S&S YS-250PRO flash, ISO 100,f7,l @ 11250

ends at marina and you can leave your car there and get ready for your dive. The dive starts about 100 meters from shore at the end of right hand side of bay, so you have to swim a little. If you look down you will see in your left hand an underwater entrance between two big rocks! Itis magnificent! You will be thrilled. Rich marine life, plenty of colours and shapes.

In the other side of bay is Alonaki and you start your dive by reaching the shore passing from old camping facilities of EOT. Very nice dive with underwater walls and big single rocks here and there. Big anemones and coils will give impressive colours to your pictures.

Porto Valitsa bay is one more excellent shore dive spot, very close to Koursaros. If the sea is wavy in one bay, diving can be done in the other as the two bays are opposite oriented. In Porto Valitsa there is a mini marina for your water entry but if you donit have a 4X4 car, you have to carry your equipment down to the marina (30m) on foot. You can do 2 dives in this bay: one left and one at the right and is magnificent for night dive also. Both sides have straight vertical and

Blenny. Canon 5D, Canon 100mm Macro, S&S YS-250PRO flash, ISO 100, fl8 @ 11125

Lophius Piscatorius. Canon 5D, Canon 17-40mm, S&S YS-250PRO flash, ISO 200, fl8 @ 11160

horizontal underwater walls full of holes where you can find Lobsters, Octopus, Shrimps, Cuttlefish, Damselfish and Mediterranean eels with the right hand dive going deeper.

Avlaki is a small bay near Paliouri village. The road to get there is bad full of gravels and potholes so you have to be extra careful when driving. When you get there you will see straight in front of you a small breakwater wall. You will start your dive at the left hand side and follow the left turn underwater for 20 minutes approximately. Max depth 40-45m with great sea scenery everywhere! Big fishes come and go but they keep their distance.

At peninsulas end are marked some very good dives but require a boat so you have to visit one of diving centres in area and plan your dives. You mustn't miss dive spot 'faros' (lighthouse) which is one of the favourite dive spots there.

Peninsula Sithonia is considered to be a peaceful travel destination, where you can relax and enjoy the natural and desolate white sandy beaches. The coast line is outstanding by making all kind of turns and shapes, creating small gulfs and bays. There are so many trees everywhere so the green mixes with the sea blue, and creates magic contrast!

In Sithonia there are numerous mapped diving spots, most of them boat dives. If you choose to dive to Sithonia it is suggested to book a hotel room, or select an organized camping as south as you can, because all diving spots are down there (east and west side). Most of diving spots are mapped at Kelifos Island and at Kalamitsi bay.

4 miles from Porto Koufo is an underwater cave named Erica's cave from a girl drowned there some years before. Underwater entrance for cave is at 12m and the cave is not covered all over with water but it has a natural imposing dome in top, with fresh air and of course the possibility to swim in it. Underwater the cave goes in for 60 meters and it has about 10 meters width. As a cave it doesn't have something unique to see, except that it is a place for reproduction of crabs, lobsters and shrimps Also some divers met there, at some point in a dive, a female Mediterranean seal monachous - monachous. The real advantage of Erica's cave and the reason to dive it is the spectacular exit, especially in middle of the day in a sunny day. Between the rocks the most loved blues, turquoise, dark blue and in top a brilliant big sunball and sunbeams entering in water! Excellent spot for wide angle and fish eye photoshooting.

Wreck of a Turkish commercial ship 7miles north n east of Porto Koufo that is located at east side of Sithonia peninsula. The wreck is cracked in two pieces the front and the back almost in the middle in depth of 17 to 40 meters. This wreck is excellent for wide angle shooting but also for macro as it has been transformed to an artificial reef, a home to many little sea creatures, fishes and colourful corals, many morays and Mediterranean eels. This is a boat dive so you have to contact a local diving centre.

A dive suitable for macro photography is in Kriaritsi diving spot. You can get there only with boat and be sure that you meet a plethora of nudibranches and sea slugs of all kinds and colours! You can meet mini flabelina trees, little sea plants with so many flabelinas climbed on (if you are lucky with their eggs also) that it looks like Christmas trees decorated in pink and purple!!

If you arrange Kelifos Island, your staying must be arranged near the village of Marmaras. There are plenty of hotels (simple, luxury and personal villas with pools

Scorpaena Scrofa. Canon 5D, Canon 17-40mm, &S YS-250PRO flash, ISO 100, fl3 @ 1160

Tylodina Perversa. Canon 5D, Canon 100mm Macro, S&S YS-250PRO flash, ISO 100, f22 @ 11125

and all comforts) and rooms to let everywhere. Avoid visiting Marmaras between the 1st and 15th of August because it is full tourist season and it is hard to find a place to stay. Diving in this area are mapped around a small island called Kelifos (means shell because of it shape that seems like a turtle shell). The island is located between the two peninsulas

Hermit Crab. Canon 5D, Canon 100mm Macro, S&S YS-250PRO flash, ISO 100, fl6 @ 11125

3 miles from Marmaras and it is very interesting to dive to because it has more than 10 diving spots the one better than the other! All over big rocks fully covered with corals, sea plants, small and big holes shelters for all kinds of fishes and sea slugs, precipices and abrupt stone walls decorated with colours. The visibility at this spot is excellent and gives you the opportunity to see bottom characteristics from the surface when snorkelling even in depth of 25m. Don't miss the opportunity to dive in Kelifos. Local diving centres organize daily trips with 2-3 dives mostly at the east side which is the more interesting for divers.

Kalogrias beach is located in the south n west side of Sithonia. A great spot for vacation and all day activities. It has everything: sandy beach, crystal clear water, beach bar and restaurant and of course a very good diving spot. At the middle of the bay there is a tiny rock island with rich marine life, a good variety of fish and nidibranch, occasional octopus, and hundreds of shell crabs, funny decorated for camouflage, with everything you can imagine: seaweed, corals, even anemones and other sea plants It is an easy shore dive around the rock tiny island and perfect choice for night dive also.

Armenistis Rock is an other shore dive in the left hand end of Armenistis Camping in south & east side of peninsula Sithonia. The beach in Armenistis is a dream. The sand is so white and the water there makes you think you are not in Greece but in a tropical paradise. For the dive you have to get ready on the beach and swim a little till you reach the rock. Then you descent from one side and swim around with max depth for the dive 47 meters and many morays and sea eels to see. Unfortunately it is difficult to meet big fishes because of the spear fishing with tanks at night, witch is illegal in Greece. It is a beautiful spot and it can give you many good scenes to shoot underwater.

Peninsula of Mount Athos (Agio Oros) is a place that can captivate the soul of any visitor. Mount Athos is the land of the Greek Orthodox monasteries, where entry is not allowed to women. Diving is forbidden near Mount Athos but there is in Ouranoupoli a diving center that can provide boat dives in beautiful diving locations just in the border line with Mount Athos. There you can meet flocks of big fishes and if you take the daily cruise around Mount Athos dolphins will follow your boat and swim around you playing and jumping of the water!

There are many more diving spots in Cassandra and Sithonia not mentioned here, but it will be uninteresting and boring to describe it all (Elina, Kerato, Stires ect). The best for you if you decide to visit Chalkidiki (something I recommend unconditionally) is to contact one of the many diving centres near the place you stay and plan a number of dives in both peninsulas.

Nicholas Samaras & Rabea latridou

www.underwater-photography.gr

Muck and Macro in Lernbeh Strait Photo Workshop with Mark Webster 31 October to 7 November 2009

Details: www.photec.co.uk [email protected]

All this space could be yours for as little as £100 and it will be seen by over 10,000 underwater photographers worldwide. www.uwpmag.com/ advertising.html or e mail Peter Rowlands [email protected]

Bimini Magic

A Frolic with Wild Dolphins by Tim Rock and Yoko Higashide

I was hanging in the Bimini blue. I could see the sandy bottom and I could hear the calls of the wild ocean. I turned and there they were. Oblivious to my mere floating presence, they were calling, swimming and slapping one another in a wild frenzy. It was a group of spotted dolphins. And they were going crazy in a mad ball of pre-sexual foreplay. I had never seen anything like this in the sea and I may never see it again.

It's a little place with a big name. Made famous in the '30s by rum swilling fishermen and angler-author Ernest Hemingway, it was the place where facts became fables. But that was then and this is now.

Fishing and revelry now share the stage with skin diving and dolphins. Ringed in sandy shorelines of snow-white powder fine beaches, its blue and gin clear waters are just eye-popping. Its quintessential Bahamas. Just a half hour flight from Florida's Fort Lauderdale, it's a world away in terms of lifestyle.

The yards are flush with flora, dotted in chartreuse bougainvillea and other tropical flowers. People ride bikes, roll by in golf carts and there's even a car or two. Many people just walk.

If you're lucky, a junkanoo band will parade down the street playing music that makes everyone want to dance. Restaurants boast fare like conch salad and lobster fritters. Liquor stores still have cheap rum and Bahamian beer.

A1 Sweeting Jr. has lived amidst this tropical splendor all of his life. His heritage in these islands dates back more than seven generations He grew up here and learned to love the Bimini seas and to free dive its many reefs. He's explored the infamous Bimini Road, fought giant marlin and learned as his ocean-loving father and uncle passed on the secrets of the sea. He was raised on a beach and cut his teeth on boatsS" all sorts of boats. He left Bimini to become a banker but that didn't last long. He returned to his true passion of free diving and started an adventure company that now specializes in finding wild dolphins in

Camera data: I used Nikon D200 cameras inAqiiatica housings with 8" dome and Ikelite DS125 strobes at 118 power forfill when the sun was starting to set. All underwater images were made with the ToMtia 10-17mm lens. Land images were mainly made with the Sigma 10-200MM OS lens and circular polarizer.

the Northwest Providence Channel.

Bimini actually has lots to offer in terms of marine life. Sitting at the edge of the shallow Bahamas Banks on one side and the very deep Straits of Florida on the other, the entire area is a fertile breeding and nursery area for much of the Caribbean. At horseshoe-shaped Honeymoon Harbour Bay, you can snorkel with southern stingrays a la Grand Cayman's famed Stingray

City. You can also have a frolic with Caribbean reef sharks just south of Bimini over a shallow, sandy trench at Triangle Rocks. At The Concrete Ship, whose name says it all, you can wander over the watery inner holds of a 1929 shipwreck whose fate was sealed by a hurricane.

But with all that Bimini has to offer, Al's passion can be found ten or more miles out to sea in the shallow northern banks that run through much of the Bahamas. About the time Bimini starts to get pretty small on the horizon, Al's pals show up. He likes to find, swim with and photograph wild spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis). He works closely with Kelly Melillo of the Dolphin Communication Project (DCP). She's a dedicated marine scientist who specializes in nothing but observing this Bimini family of perhaps 100 dolphins that live in the banks north of the island.

Al spots them from four stories up in a high tower that sways above his comfy Hatteras cruiser. He watches to see their demeanor. If they look curious or inquisitive, he will tell folks to don their fins and mask. The boat slows to a stop and people slide into the water.

Then all Hell breaks loose.

Crazed and seemingly frenzied, the dolphins will swim among the snorkelers, sating their curiosity. A domed camera housing seems to always attract attention. Sometimes the younger ones swim right up to the front port. They also like to play so good free divers dip down and mimic the dolphins. This sometimes drives them nuts and even more play ensues. This diver to dolphin interaction is totally up to the dolphins. It can last 30 seconds or it can go on for hours. If the dolphins are curious and engaged, its never-ending fun. Usually it's the snorkelers who surrender first, elated and exhausted.

On one of our last days at sea, we encountered something that Al says is pretty rare. It was a mating congregation. Actually, it was more of a huge group foreplay gathering and it was wild. Dolphins apparently like it rough. They were swimming in a large group of maybe 30 dolphins. The older ones were really getting into it. We could look down and see them swimming single file almost like a bracelet. Then they would group together in a big ball near the surface. They would start slapping, biting, chirping and chattering. A1 told me to not get into the middle of this as a powerful "love slap" from a dolphin can knock your mask off. And if you're in the middle of this, you're fair game.

So we would dive down on the periphery and watch in amazement. Once they had enough the dolphins would dive down and swim off again only to surface perhaps 100 yards later and do the same thing. They was no pattern to this. At times they would swim far away from us. Other times they would come back and be right in our midst.

The younger ones would play with my lens or follow my snorkel model Yoko as she dipped down and twirled around. But the older ones were totally enthralled with this fore pi ay.

Actual dolphin mating takes less than a minute on the average. But the fore pi ay goes on for a long time. We left this unpredictable but fascinating group to look for some others. But they had been doing the mating dance for over an hour that we saw and showed no sign of stopping.

Bimini is a fascinating little place for the ocean lover. Aside from dolphins, sharks, wrecks and rays there is a marine lab there that specializes in sharks and the extensive mangroves hold an amazing array of Caribbean juveniles. Free diving in the open ocean with curious dolphins is a dream for many. On Bimini, the dream can come true.

Tim Rock

Tim is a professional marine photojoiirnalist based in Micronesia.

He is a Lonely Planet author and correspondent for many ocean-oriented magazines.

Tim's website:

www.doubleblue.com

A1 Sweeting's website:

www.biminiadventures.com

Play with Wild DOLPHIN5 in the Bahamas

Join Pfiotojournalist Tim Roclc in Bimini Mau 10- 17 for wild spottca dolphin^, stingrays, shares and shipwrecks

Program rui|s Sunday through Saturday, and includes room, most meals, boat, weights, guides, seminars

Water activities;

1 Datf sharLs and Dolphins I Day &imini Rd & Dolphins I 1 hree Sisters & Dolphins

2 DaLjs ESimirit freach and Land exploration

All Shorkeling... Families Welcome

Just a short flieht from Port Lauderdale i2Z?0 based on dU occ

Contact:

[email protected][cbluc,com into Üie Sea —

East Kalimantan

By Alex Tyrrell

At the beginning of June 2008 I was leaving Thailand on my way to Jakarta, and after an overnight stop, boarded my early morning flight to Tarakan via Balikpapan both in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo. This was the beginning of a four month diving adventure starting a new job as Trip Manager on the live-aboard boat Panunee Seamaster which would be cruising the Sulu Sea and visiting the islands of Derawan, Sangalaki, Kakaban and Maratua.

Panunee is normally based in Phuket from November to May plying the waters of the Similan and Surin Islands, plus regular trips into Myanmar (Burma) during January to April when the conditions are at their best. When the monsoon wind and rains come, Panunee leaves the Anderman Sea and heads down to Indonesia for calmer waters and this time had a change from Lembeh Straights, which it visited in previous years.

Panunee is a 32m steel hulled vessel that comfortably carries up to 20 divers and has Nitrox available at a reasonable cost. She has a crew of eight, plus 4 Divemasters, that are very helpful and the boat is accustomed to catering for photographers. They even have two cabins specifically designed with photographers/ videographers in mind with well lit set-up benches and blow guns located under your bunk. It helps that the owner of the boat, Jakrin Kittisarn, is fanatical about underwater photography, so has designed the boat and planned it's itineraries with this in mind. Panunee is the only live-aboard boat in the area, so

solitude underwater is guaranteed in this virgin area - we rarely saw other divers underwater.

There are small dive centers on Derawan (Derawan Dive Resort), Sangalaki (Sangalaki Dive Lodge) and two on Maratua (Maratua Paradise and Nabucco Dive Resort) where local diving and trips to the other islands can be arranged using small speedboats. However, the ease and comfort of live-aboard diving makes this option my preferred choice, especially for photographers who will want to change their lens set-ups for the different dive sites in air conditioned comfort instead of rocking and rolling on a small boat with sea spray getting onto the camera sensor!

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