Diving with… Martin Steiner, Murex Dive Resort, Bangka, Indonesia

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In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…


What is your name?

Martin Steiner. I’m from Austria.

What is the name of your business?

Murex Bangka Dive Center

What is your role within the business?

I am the manager of the dive center.

How long has the business operated for?

Murex Bangka has been operating since 2002.

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

After snorkelling since I was a kid, I started diving in 2004 in Australia. Now I am a PADI MSDT with about 6250 dives.

What is your favorite type of diving?

I really love diving at pinnacles and drift diving.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

We are one of the few places that really have this Robinson Crusoe Island feeling. No other guest than our resort guests and everything is surrounded by jungle. So just to be there is amazing. The second thing is that we have a mix of spectacular soft corals and dive sites for critters. The variety of different dive sites we offer is great.

Murex has two more dive centers, in Lembeh and Manado (Bunaken) which belong together and with a “Passport to Paradise” divers can see three complete different locations in one holiday. The transfer to Lembeh  or Manado can be done by boat with two dives on the way. This way guests don’t lose a day for travelling overland and don’t waste time by repeating the check in procedures and paperwork in another location.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

It is the pinnacle Sahaung. The top of the dive site pops out of the ocean and it is spectacular. Sahaung is full with soft corals and fish life. There are sleeping White Tipped Reef sharks, soft coral walls and gorgonian with Pygmy Seahorses as well.

What types of diving are available in your location?

  • Pinnacle diving
  • Macro dive sites
  • Sloping reefs with corals and mix of corals and macro

One unique dive site with a hot underwater spring, we also have some small walls.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

The possibility to dive regularly, as well the chance to live and work on an untouched island with jungle, no cars and a fresh breeze.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Dugong, the Ambon scorpionfish, and every kind of frogfish. For sure the flamboyant cuttlefish as well.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

Yes, we are installing solar panels right now and renewing the bungalows as well as some other constructions. The atmosphere and feeling will still be a Robinson Crusoe style island.

Recently we became the first resort that can offer the Coral Diver course from Ocean Gardener. During this course people divers can learn more about hard & soft coral species but also how to farm them and make sure they survive.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

Fresh water is hard to come by on the island, especially close to the resort. We need to get the water from a well on the other side of the island. There we fill big holding tanks on a boat that are being transported to a place behind the resort. From there it is pumped into the big holding tanks on the hill from which it is distributed to all the rooms in our resort. It is a very labour intensive process but needed to offer our guests fresh water showers.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

We run a project called the Bangka Conservation Fund. This is being used for all different kind of project but started when we fought against illegal mining, which was and is a issue in Bangka. A Chinese mining company has been trying to operate an iron ore mine on the island. We have won all legal cases and the threat is gone for now but you never know what they will try again.
There are some project with the villages to protect the reefs and we are outsourcing some of our work to give them some jobs and a better future.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

The scuba diving/freediving and snorkelling are done in the most cases in a good way. There are many limitations in terms of numbers where it is necessary. Changes need to be done inside the countries. National park fees are many times not used like they are supposed to. For the industry in overall there need to be international standards. As well there is the urge to work with nature and not against it (trash, climate).

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

There are very colourful soft corals and a huge variety of diving. Nice temperatures , critters, a hot spring under water. With Lembeh too you have amazing critter diving and Bunaken with it turtles and walls can be done within a daytrip.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

You can find us at many of the International Dive shows:

  • Germany: BOOT – Düsseldorf, Inter Dive – Friedrichshafen.
  • USA: DEMA – Las Vegas/Orlando,
  • Switzerland: FESPO – Zurich,
  • The Netherlands: Duikvaker – Houten,
  • France: Salon de la Plongee – Paris.
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