Friday, March 18, 2011

Belongas Bay, Southern Lombok

Its a diving trip  with Kapal Selam and DiveZone as the dive operator.  Short trip, only 4 days [6 dives], but soooo enjoyable! Thanks to Thea, who arranged this trip.

Friday, 11 Mar
I was almost not able to fly. Out of the blue I got stomach cramp while on the way to the airport. Took light breakfast and medicine on the lounge but my body could not take anything. Spent most of time at the restroom until boarding time announced. Dragged myself to the plane. Took another medicine again, drink lots of water then slept all the way to Lombok. Lucky me, the medicine worked, feel much better when I met Thea, Hengky and Otti at Mataram airport. They flew from Denpasar and arrived one hour earlier. Then we went lunch at Irama Taliwang (recommended), while waiting for Anton, other participants from Surabaya. Really tempted to eat Ayam Taliwang (super duper spicy chicken), famous local food. But since my stomach not fully recover yet, I ate the non spicy food.  Anton joined us later and after he finished his quick lunch, we drove to Belongas Bay.

Belongas is located in the southern part of Lombok. 2 hours drive from Mataram. Its an amazing place, I fall in love at the first time. When we arrived, the transfer boat already waited for us. Our lodge located on the other side of the bay. It was so secluded. No mobile phone signal, no TV. Only 4 Ipads :-)

our transfer boat

Belongas Bay Lodge  is a nice place and so green! If the shower has more power, it will be perfect! oh and the cook.

Gear up for tomorrow. Check into the room. Tea and coffee. Chit chat on the bale bengong. Then Thea and myself did a little walked on the beach.

walked till the end of the beach

Saturday, 12 Mar
Diving time! Thea was sick :-( Maybe because of food poisoning or masuk angin, not sure which one. She skipped the dives. Eve joined us this morning. She based in Lombok.

The dive sites were not like Gili Trawangan, Gili Air or Gili Meno on the north part of Lombok. We took boat about 15 - 20minutes to the open sea where most of dive sites located. Due to strong current, they said its only for experienced divers with minimum log 100 dives.

First dive: the Magnet. Looked for the hammerhead eventhough it wasn't the season yet.
Results: 2 White tip sharks :-) So happy to see sharks during the dive! Knowing that Indonesia is the biggest country who export shark fins! Not what am proud of :-(

Back to the lodge for breakfast - plain nasi goreng. Wished they had kerupuk!

Second dive: Catedral
Nice dive site!! Really nice! Lots of schooling and the fishes were supersize! Bigger than the average.
Viz was not that good, strong current!
Back to the lodge for lunch, then napping.

Third dive scheduled at 3pm. Rain cats and dogs. Dive rescheduled to 3:30pm then 4pm then headache came, skipped the dive. I need aspirin.

Sunday, 13 Mar
Weather was lovely!
We went to Magnet again on the first dive, start earlier than yesterday. Still no hammerhead but strong current and surge. We saw SUPERSIZE sea snake! Golden and brown color. At first I thought it was moray eel. Dive with the surge, been swung up and down, and the sea snake around me, dont ask how I fell. Am cool but I lied ^^

Back for breakfast, had plain mie goreng.

Second dive we went to the Blue Hole. Its a cave! Another strong surge at the entry point. Hengky and Pi'i, our dive guide, gave signs to turn around. Dive away from the cave and we saw boulder and boulder, remind me of Weh in Aceh. Not much fish though. Then I saw the weed hang on the wall swung up and down. Oh NO!! But now I was more calm and a bit enjoyed it ^^ Then the wall became more prettier and more fishes. Its remind me of one of the dive site in Misool, but blue hole doesn't have colorful soft corals.  In front of the channel, we saw school of glass fish and school of surgeon fish. Pi'i our guide, showed a sign of turtle but we couldn't see anything. The glass fishes blocked our sight. Until the baby turtle swam closer to us, aha there you are! Blue Hole is a  pretty dive site, pretty landscape!

Back for lunch. Eve managed to buy some fish from fisherman on the way back. Nice lunch and dinner!

Clean up the jukung, we bought their fishes for lunch and dinner
Third dive we dove at Gili Sarang. Another lovely site, full of colorful soft coral. Remind me of Misool again. Beautiful. But viz was not that good. Lots of macro here. The anemone shrimp also SUPERSIZE. And another baby shark under the coral table. Wished I bring my underwater housing :-(

Monday, 14 Mar
Our last day at Belongas. It was pouring the whole night and morning. Rain stopped at breakfast time.
We had american breakfast this time [better than mie goreng]. Then packed our diving gear, our wet diving gear. Time to back to the real world. Adios Belongas, I will come back!

Morning at the bay

The sunset 
Morning after the rain. Our last day on Belongas

Other face of Belongas

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Finding Nemo!

If you ask me why I learn scuba dive, I'll simply reply that fish is my sign. But the truth is because of 'Finding Nemo" :-) I took an open water course in June 2004, a year after I saw the movie :-) And up until now, am still exciting when find nemo during my dives. You never feel bored with nemo! Usually, we can find nemo in the shallow water (5m - 10m) or during the safety stop. Their bright-orange-color are very eye-catching. But its not easy to take picture of nemo (for me). They never stay still, keep moving with lots of energy!

One of the interesting fact about nemo or false clown anemone fish is: they have ability to change their sex from male to female. In one anemone there will be a dominant female and when this female dies then a dominant male will change sex and replaced the position.

My NEMO pictures from various diving trips;

Taken in Donggala, Palu

Same site as number 1

Taken in Raja Ampat, forgot the name of the site

From my recent dive in Menjangan
When its too difficult to take a picture, I take the video instead :-)

Monday, February 21, 2011

A little walk to Gunung Pancar

Last Saturday, we did a little walk to Gunung Pancar. Last time I hiked at Gunung Pancar was August 2009, before the Nepal trip. This time we did in a big group! From 2 people then 4 people then grow-up to 10 people, the more the merrier! Eddy still be our guide. A bit lost and found and lots of photo sessions :-) We walked about 3 hours starting at 10:30am, up and down the hills. Weather was great, too hot for me though.

Gunung Pancar is about 30 - 45 minutes drive from Jakarta, depends on the traffic and how fast you drive :-)
But it's easy to get there. The trek we did on Saturday was the easy one, not as steep as Cisadon , but the view was awesome! We can see many faces of Gunung Pancar; from savana, kebun singkong, pine forest and the paddy field. We also pass by a small village.
Please bring your own snack, lots of water, lunch pack and sunblock. We plan to have lunch at Giri Tirta ( a hot spring spa around that area), but their services was really disappointed. Sentul City has lots places to have lunch though.

Some pictures from the walked;

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I Love Manta!!

On April 2007 I went to Derawan looking for manta ray. 5 days LOB with Sea Safari III, we only saw the invisible manta! "No luck", "No Manta", "Manta, where are you?", those what I wrote in my logbook. But eventhough we have no luck with the manta, the barracuda at Maratua Channel was stunning! That was the highlight of our trip, not the invisible manta!

First time I saw manta was on October 2007, when we dive with Grand Komodo in Raja Ampat. We dive in a slope, 12m depth, the site named as Manta Point. After waiting for couple min, we saw what we're waiting for. Finally I saw manta!! So big and swam gracefully. Looks like they were flying or dancing for me and I fell in love with manta :-)

In June 2008, we dive to KomodoWe saw 6 mantas at Manta Alley, but there were current and surge :-( The enjoyable dive with manta was at Tatawa Kecil. Only saw 2 mantas but the mantas were more friendly, they swam closer to us, so close! It was long and enjoyable dive.

@ Manta Alley, Komodo

@Tatawa Kecil, Komodo

in June 2009, I dive at Manta Point, Nusa Penida, Bali, where you can see manta all year around. But when we dive there, there were lots of divers and viz was not that good (maybe because of the plankton). And the worst was two divers with big cameras chased the manta away :-(

In January 2010, again I went to Raja Ampat. We met 6 mantas at Black Bird, dive about 70 min. On the last 10min, it were only me, my buddy, our lovely guide, Noak, and the mantas! After that dive, my love with manta became deeper:-) Some pictures of mantas here Close encounters with the Mantas.

And here is the video of 4 mantas playing around us.

I really hope I can dive with lots of mantas very soon!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Baluran's sunrise

This photo taken on Aug 10. We stayed over at Baluran National Park for one night after
Bromo's trip and before continued our trip to Bali. Baluran located in East Java, its about 15min by bus to Ketapang (ferry terminal to cross to Gilimanuk, Bali). Every bus from Bromo or Ijen to Bali will pass by Baluran. Its really worth a visit.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Diving, North of Bali (II)

Some photos taken before, in between or after the dives ... in the cloudy days!

PJ in the morning

babi guling wanna be - PJ

Labuan Lalang pier. 

Labuan Lalang. These boats will take you to Menjangan island.

Boat man, not ours though.

Menjangan Island

Our boat

Little bird in Menjangan

Temple @ PJ

Secret Bay (Gilimanuk) in the morning

Christmas Diving, North of Bali (1)

2010 was a busy year for me, not much diving trips I had :-(  So when we made this trip really happened, I was so happy! I dived with Frieda, Chris and Russ, small group but great one! Our guide was Today from Aqua Cat Bali.

We dived at Menjangan for the first 2 days then Puri Jati and Secret Bay on the last day.
Last time I dived at Menjangan was 3 years ago. Surprisingly both hard and soft corals at the safety stops still amaze me. No wonder we saw lots of snorkelers in Pos 2 (Fav place to dive and snorkel). What I missed were the abundant of anthias and the nudibranch :-(

PJ and Secret Bay are for macro. We missed the mimic octopus and vis were really bad, not many stuff we met, but its still good dives! Every dive is a good one for me :-)

Enjoy the photos;

Garden Eel - Menjangan

Goby - Menjangan

Anemone Clown Fish - Menjangan

Big Rose Underwater - Menjangan Pos2

Puffer fish - PJ

Lion fish - PJ

Now I believe, there are Banggai in Secret Bay ^^

Squids eggs at Secret Bay, below the exit point