Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sunset Moment

I love to see the sunset. Its a magical moment for me. These pictures taken from beautiful places I have visited during my diving trips. All in Indonesia.

1. Nearly sunset at Barito river, taken from our boat. We're on the way to Derawan.

2. It was a cloudy day while we were sailing from Bali to Lombok.

3. Beautiful sunset at Kuta beach....

4. On the way to Sunset Point, Gili Trawangan, Lombok

5. I love taking silhouette pictures. Maria with her yoga pose at Sunset Point, Gili Trawangan

6. I remember we surfed-up at beautiful beach on our last dive in Alor. No one but us and the boat captain and the sun!

7. In our Live-aboard trip to Raja Ampat, every evening we saw the beautiful sunset and I never feel bored. Simply love it!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nepal, the trekking part

Namaste! Welcome to Nepal (Never Ending Peace and Love). We arrived Kathmandu on Thu, 17 Sep at 12:45pm, its 1hr 15min behind Jakarta time, yup 15 minutes!!

Prakash from Great Adventure ( greeted us at the airport as promised. He drived us to Norling Guest House where we stayed for one night before heading to Pokhara the next morning. Norling is located in Thamel area, next to book stores, in front of souvenir shops, close to outdoor stores in the day light, but at night we only saw neon signs of 'Shower Dance' or 'Pussy Cat'. Totally different scene! Absolutely no silent night or good sleep for us. The musics, the noisy conversations, the busy road with cars and the honks ofcourse, I will not back to Norling!
Kathmandu to Pokhara

It took about 8 hours from Kathmandu to Pokhara by bus, 2 hours behind the schedule because of the traffic. No complaint from me, I slept most of the journey and when I wake up I really enjoy the view from my window's seat. It was so beautiful! Greenline was very confy bus and we paid $18 per person including lunch at Spring Water Resort. We arrived Pokhara around 4pm and Surya, our guide already stand by at the bus station, an open space no bigger than a soccer field. He, then escorted us to Fewa Lakeside hotel. Fewa is a very basic hotel, 2 storeys building with 10 rooms only. This hotel is famous for their breakfast, where you can sit by the lake or in their beautiful garden. We paid $20 for one night per room, same as we spent at Norling, but Fewa was much much nicer!! And the staffs were very friendly with us.

That evening, we had nepali tea by the lake with World Peace Pagoda from a distance. And so the next morning, we sat by the lake again at the same table, watched local people back and forth in front of us while we enjoyed our yummy breakfast (later we found there are temple in the middle of the lake and most of Nepali start their days by praying at the temple). At 9am Surya picked us up, we went to Nayapul, about 1.5 hours driving from Pokhara. That was 19 Sep.
Sunny morning at Fewa Lake, in fron of our hostel

Full breakfast before start the trekking

The baby trek
We took 6 days trek to Ghorepani/Poon Hill trek. The baby trek! Most of trekkers in this route will go to Annapurna Base Camp for 10 - 14 days. After the trek, we met 2 Spanish guys who finished the trek in 6 days! Poor their porter :-)

Day 01: Trek from Pokhara (915 m.) to Nayapul (1050m.) by car which takes 1 and half hours drive. Now you begin your trek from Nayapul (1050m.) to Tikhedhunga (1577 m.) via Birethanti (1065m.) which takes about 4 hours. We walked from one villages to anothers, along the river and paddy fields until we found Laxmi Lodge at Thikedhunga at 4pm where we spent the night. It was beautiful day!
walk along the river

The women work very hard

Day 02: Trek from Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani (2675 m.) and it takes about 6 hours. This was the hardest trek. So many steps and very steep, gosh!! Traffic jam because of the goats. Hundreds of maybe thousands ( too tired to count) of goats sent down to all over Pokhara for the big festival. Plus heavy rain followed us after the lunch time, made this trek even more challenging.

Dewi and the goats ^^

Day 03: Trek from Ghorepani to Poon Hill (3180m.) Early morning trip to Poon Hill (3232m.) to enjoy the sunrise view over Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m.), Tukuche Peak (6920m.), Nilgiri (6940m.), Varaha Shikhar (7847m.), Mt. Annapurna I (8091m.), Annapurna South (7219m.), Annapurna III (7855m.), Machhapuchhre (6993m.), Annapurna IV (7525m.), Annapurna II (7937m.), Lamjung Himal (6931m.) and other numerous snowcapped. The guide gave us morning call at 4am. We started walking at 4:30am to see the sunrise at Poon Hill. We ararived Poon Hill 1 hour later,15 min behind the schedule, not bad hu? Its a bit cloudy, but well we managed to see some peaks; Fish Tail, Annapurna South, Dhaulgiri. Its not perfect day, but it kept us to stay at Poon Hill for more than 2 hours! Its soooo beautiful!! We're almost the last group who left Poon Hill.

Poon HIll, 3210m

Annapurna South & Fish Tail from Poon Hill

After breakfast trek from Ghorepani to Tadapani (2675m.) which takes about 5 and half hours. Everyone about to leave to Tadapani, when we're back to our lodge. This was a nice trek, we walked in the misty jungle, then walked along the river. We met Suzane, Paula & Claire (the Holland girls) and we had lunch together at Hungry Eyes. Again, heavy rain followed us. I was bitten by the leeches!! We stayed at the same lodge again with the Canadian family and Swiss couple. Suzane and the Holland girls stay in next door.

Day 04: Trek from Tadapani (2675m.) to Ghandruk (1950m.) and it takes about 3 hours.Had breakfast outside with a magnificent view, Fish Tails, Annapurna South and Daulgiri!! Left Tadapani at 10am. We always the latest group who left the lodge. Suzane and the Swiss couple continue the trek to ABC.

Day 05: Trek from Ghandruk (1950m.) to Pothana (1990m.) which takes about 6 hours. It was a long day, walked for 9 hours! We went down and went up the hills, crossed the river, walked along the villages (Gandruk - Landruk - Tolka then Pothana). Was bitten by the leech again!! Had instant noodles as our lunch, it was so nice!!

Day 06: Trek from Pothana to Dhampus Phedi (1113m.) which takes about 4 hours and drive back to Pokhara. We made it shorter, only walked for 1 hour since our porters need to be at home soon, its a big festival in Nepal. Its beautiful still, walked along the villages and seen morning activities in the villages. Took taxi to Pokhara and arrived there about lunch time.

Enjoy SMILES from Never Ending Peace And Love ^__^

Monday, September 14, 2009

3rd Training Session, Hot Spring, Cibodas

It was our last training sessions before the D-Day! We will fly to Kathmandu on this coming Wed, Sep 16! This time we hiked in Cibodas National Park. Located in Puncak Area, not so far from Puncak Pass, about 1:30 minutes drive from Jakarta. We started a bit late, arrived there about 10:30am. Our destination is the hot spring at 2100 meter height and we managed to go there! The bapak in the parking area said that it took 3 hours to go up and 2 hours to go down, but we ended walking about 6 hours! No surprise though :-) Me and Dewi stopped many times to take pictures and to take a rest of course :-)
Cibodas is a nice place to hike or just walk to get a fresh air. Telaga Biru is about 1 hour walk, another 30 minutes you will arrive at Cibeureum waterfall. All are based in our pace of course! I dunno how many hours to arrive at the summit :-)

Enjoy the pictures!

My buddies with the hotspring on the background

The hotspring!

Telaga Biru

Orange mushroom
Wild flower

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Diving Alor

I join the group one week before trip begun. One of the participant couldn't make it and I replaced his seat. Got a big deal, I only paid for the trip cost and he paid for my ticket! So, I joined Dewi & Darwin who already on the group. This trip was a live-aboard with MV Tarata with max 12 divers only for 8 days 7 nights.

On 27 Sep 08 early morning, we flew to Maumere, where we met the crew of Tarata, then we sailed for about 18 hours to Alor archipelago. Alor Archipelago is in East Nusa Tenggara. Pls see the following links on the excat location; . Not like Raja Ampat or Komodo, most of the islands are fishermen villages. Our first dive on that day was a night dive at Maumere bay. Interesting dive, we seen very big seaslug (yup, jumbo size!), ghostpipe fish and electric clamp. We dove for about 71min, quiet long for a night dive. If we didnt feel hungry, maybe we still explored Maumere bay underwater. Diner was ready when we back to the boat, its really up to us, diner or shower first. One of the privilege of live-aboard compare to landbase.

That night our boat sailed to Alor archipelago, our main destination, while we all slept. When the boat stopped, we were already on the Lembata Island. At 10am ( a bit late for a morning dive, but well we're still on the way to Alor), we dove at site named Waihingga. Its a wall dive, ho ho so many orang utan crabs! and of course another ghost pipe fish :-). After morning dive we had lunch then we sailed again.

At 3pm we arrived at Pantar Island, part of the Alor archipelago. Yes we have arrived to our main destination. Is it 18 hours already? :-) We dove at Pulau Lapan. Its a slope, but too sad, so many rubble and not much to see. Back and forth current, tiring dive! As for the night dive we jump to Karamba @ Kalabahi bay. I called it 'baby night dive' since we saw so many babies; baby cuttlefish, baby octopus, baby croc fish.. A short dive, hungry!

I love the morning dive on the third day of our trip. The dive site called 'School out'. Dont asked me why, maybe supposedly at this site we saw school of fishes! But well, eventhough we didnt see any school, I was happy to see a nurse shark and a big family of nudibranch. School out has a beautiful landscape and nice safety stop with colorful anthias! Water temperature was 26 degree, a bit cold but we dove for about 72min.
That day, the second dive, we dove at the famous dive site 'Karl's Dream'. But again, we missed the school because our boat had trouble. Yup, we missed the current, no current no school. Not meet the expectation of Karl's Dream. But we will back to dive at Karls Dream before end of the trip.

Other famous site is Anemone City or Clown Valley. We dove there on the fourth day of the trip, first dive at 7am. Yes 7am! I was a bit sleepy when geared up for the dive, then I screamed and authomatically awake when I jumped into the water, its sooooo coooold!! downthere, my divecomp showed that water temperature was 23C degree! But the site was beautiful, as far as you can see are the anemones. Anemones cover all the dive site, it felt like we're diving on the top of the carpet! And so many pretty nudibranch here and there. But I was not lucky, my camera housing hang again :-( At this site I saw sea apple for the first time as well, and the safety stop was amazing with a bright sun ray! I love Anemone City!

After breakfast we went to the Takpala traditional village at Lembur Barat, Alor. It took 1 hour drive from the harbor. Nothing much we can see, its a village set up for the tourists. Yup we met local people and buy some souvenir from them.

After visiting the tradional village, we back to the boat, had lunch @ the boat. Too bad, we did not have chance to try local food, all resto closed due to hari raya Lebaran.

The second dive also another cold dive, temperature was 24C degree. Visibility was very poor, its a muck dive, we seen sea horse, cuttle fish and ofcourse ghostpipe fish and nudibranch. Dewi seen a wonderpush and I missed it, because my body started shivering and I almost lack of air. I consumed more air on the cold water :-( And its a long dive, 87min.

Since Alor archipelago are fisherman villages, its common to see 'bubu' (tradional net to catch the fishes, made from bamboo) or fishermen dive in shallow water. Not like us, they dive without diving gear! They only use their traditional goggles (made from wood). I call them 'natural diver'. Talking about traditional goggle, one of our friend, try to exchange that goggle with her speedo, but its failed :-) They love their wooden goggles.

Oct 1, the fifth day of the trip. We dove at Karl's Dream again. The current, wow! We saw school of barracuda at the beginning of the dive, but then the current was really strong our guide decided to abort the dive and we ascended to the surface. Its only 45min, the shortest dive and the most tiring dive. Swimming to the boat.

The next day, we dove at Pulau Batang on the third dive. We jumped from the boat. It was a sad and bored dive. All I saw were rubbles, not so many fishes there. I guess maybe because of big earthquake/tsunami which hit Alor back in Dec 2004. Well, we still seen stingray, some moray eels and porcelain crabs. After one hour we ascended at the very beautiful beach! Spent some times on the beach before the sunset! Can you imagine if below this beautiful white sandy beach, the marine life still very healthy? I will give more than 2 thumbs up!!
Oct 3 was the last day we dive. Only got one dive, its at Tanjung Gedong, we're already in Flores. We saw shark! Finally! We found 3 white tip sharks, they played around us. Visibility was very clear, about 25m, so we even when we finished the dive, we still can saw the shark from the surface. Enjoyable and longest dive, 89 minutes. After breakfast we sailed to Maumere again. At the evening we walked around the harbor.

Oct 4, the end of the trip. After breakfast we fly back to Jakarta via Denpasar with good memory of Alor underwater, but am promise myself to back to Alor. I wanna try landbase next time, to explore the 'real' Alor. I thik I should dive with Donovan, . Yup, I should back to Alor!

Some pictures from the trip;

Sunday, August 30, 2009

2nd Training Session, Hamberang to Cisadon, Sentul

Set the GPS ON

Last Saturday we walked around Hamberang & Cisadon area. Its about 30 minutes drive from Sentul City. We met Edie, our local guide from last week @ Taman Budaya Sentul. From there we went north and further up on the way to Gadog. This time, there were 5 of us; Frieda, Dewi, Edie, Yusuf (Edie's brother) and myself.

Supposedly the trekking start from the hunting hut, but since the road on the way up was not that friendly for Frieda's car, we decided to walk to the hunting hut. It took about 1 hour for Frieda to arrive the hunting hut, and a bit longer for us (Dewi and myself) :-). At the hut, a traditional house but very nice and clean, we met some hunters and their catch, a boar hang in on the tree, pretty sad!

We continued to walk to Hamberang hill and slowly but sure we arrived at Cisadon hill! Eventhough we did not manage to the lake (on the top of the hill). The area is more greener compare to Gunung Pancar, lots of wild flowers, wild coffee plantation and wild animals. Besides the boars (well, we did not meet any of them during the trek), Frieda saw a monkey, but I missed it :-(

Besides the hunters, the poor thing we heard was the annoying sounds from the illegal lumberjack. They cut the trees!! Please help, how we safe the trees there? Soon or later it will be like Gunung Pancar, 'Gundul'!!

At 2pm we went down the hill, on the way down we saw a small house with beautiful garden! Its Pak RT's house. We stop by and chit chat with them for awhile. I think its not a bad idea to camp on their backyard during the weekend, escape from poluted Jakarta and try to slow down our pace of life. These family are farmers, even the little boy and girl, spent their time with their parents on the 'ladang'. They have big pond in front of their house and their own irigation system. They have a very green house!
Interesting walked! This time we walked 12km, 5 hours up to the 1200m (but we start at 100m), not bad :-)

Yes Dewi, you did it! :-)

coffee coffe coffee

Kina's trees - traditional medicine for malaria