Raja Ampat – West Papua (2) – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Lots of stripy fish (sweetlips)

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly – (The Diving Bit)

This post is specifically about our diving experience in Raja Ampat.  We only dived together on two occasions as I came down with a bad ear infection shortly after we arrived and just as I recovered the Wooky was himself struck down with the same affliction and confined to his hammock for almost a week.  We had different gripes but agreed that the diving was excellent. Continue reading

Raja Ampat – West Papua (1) – Visiting on a Budget

Picture perfect fairytale Raja Ampat

Part 1

Visiting Raja Ampat on a mid-range budget

Raja Ampat is arguably one of the finest destinations in the world for underwater exploration with a tank on your back.  Despite the challenges of getting there, paying for the privilege (it’s expensive, but it is a privilege), and the sometimes tricky diving conditions (unpredictable currents and some questionable equipment standards), and even taking into account our overall experience (which was not particularly positive) we cannot deny that it has got to be up there with the world’s best diving experiences.  The diving is amazing (what we saw of it anyway).  But what happens when we visit?  We are both struck down with nasty ear infections wiping out a week of diving for each of us.

Continue reading

Banda Islands – Central Maluku – The Diving (3)

Very fishy

WARNING:  Contains a lot of fish

We loved the diving here and the Wooky took some amazing photographs of some amazing critters, some beautiful fish (when they stood for long enough, which they rarely did), lots of moray eels, some beautiful landscapes and really weird stuff.   Continue reading

Wakatobi – The dive report

Some weird shrimp

Dive Report

Wakatobi’s claim to fame is that Jacques Cousteau said (allegedly) that the diving around the Tukang Besi Islands was among the best in the world.  I have undertaken a cursory search on the internet but I am only able to find reference to this on an Indonesian tourist website so I remain dubious.  However now we have experienced the diving firsthand we can confirm the underwater world here is, indeed, mightily impressive and Monsieur Cousteau may well have uttered those words. Continue reading

Wakatobi – Hoga Island – Another beach and diving paradise

The Wanci to Kaledupa ferry

Wakatobi wasn’t on our radar when we began researching our trip but we stumbled across it and learned more about this fairly remote part of south east Sulawesi (originally known as the Tukang Besi Islands) so it was added it to the ever increasing list of places we wanted to visit.

Continue reading

Bira – Part 2 – Exploring above and below the waves

The Indonesian crew and staff

New Year was out of the way so a few days diving was on the agenda followed by a day or two exploring on a scooter.

We were excited to be getting back into the water again and looking forward to cooling down a bit.  The three annoying Dutch joined us for our first 2 days but it wasn’t much of a problem because when you’re underwater you can’t actually hear anyone talking.  This is one of the reasons the Wooky has taken to diving in such a big way.  And the fish of course.  He loves to chase the fish.  He’s like an underwater puppy sometimes (and just as difficult to control). Continue reading

The Boat Trip Incident

The big boat

There was a little incident on a boat trip while we were in Donggala.  One of the German guides was to accompany us on a day trip to two dive sites across the bay.  Paul was a tad disappointed it wasn’t one of the Indonesian guides because the German tended to get quite cross with him, for example, for failing to provide a running commentary on his air supply.  Her mantra was “The dive is my responsibility, I am the guide” and when it’s said over and over again in a German accent it can get a bit tedious to a fairly experienced diver (particularly as he seemed to be unfairly singled out for this sort of treatment – he is neither reckless nor irresponsible).  And anyone that knows the Wooky will know he doesn’t take too kindly to being told what to do by anyone.  Ever.  Me, I was tolerating a lot of hectoring, given my novice status, happy to accept any advice thrown in my general direction.

Continue reading

Learning to Scuba

The Wooky’s Story

The Wooky with Pablo and Peter on our first liveaboard

In February 2013 we went on a snorkelling trip in the Con Dao Islands in Vietnam. We shared the boat with a couple of divers who surfaced from the deep with tales of an amazing underwater world of huge fish and amazing coral and the Wooky decided he wanted some of that.

Several weeks later he had embarked on his PADI Open Water course with a German outfit in Sihanoukville, followed by the Advanced Open Water which he combined with a liveaboard trip (which we liked so much we went on a second a few days later).

The Wooky then proceeded to jump in the water with a tank on his back at every opportunity and another obsession was born.

But it wasn’t easy Continue reading