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Dive Safari Asia: Alor and Komodo Trip Report

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What an awesome trip this was! We all met in Bali at the airport hotel for dinner and a couple of beers and then had an early night to try and get ahead of jetlag. The following morning we met for a delicious breakfast buffet and then were off to domestic departures to catch our flights to Alor via Kupang.

On arrival in Alor we were greeted by the resort drivers and set off on an hour long drive on a mostly unpaved road through the gorgeous countryside to reach Alami Alor. Tucked away on a remote corner of Alor, the resort is absolutely fabulous. We were greeted by friendly staff, welcome drinks and a delicious Indonesian inspired family style lunch. The rest of the afternoon was spent unpacking and relaxing on the sun-loungers and hammocks on each of the six chalet’s private verandas.

After a delicious Indonesian dinner and freshly baked cake we were off to bed in preparation for a full day of diving the following day. After a hearty breakfast we set off on the two fiberglass speedboats to the first dive site which was only 30 mins away, which is typical in this area. From the get-go the diving had us all enthralled, with exceptionally healthy reefs and an abundance of fish and critters, the clear water and absence of current was ideal. Day one, we saw seven individual rhinopias, frogfish and sea snakes on spectacularly colourful reefs!

The diving was exciting and varied, with sites ranging from deep walls, to sloping fringing reefs, to sandy muck sites. The currents can be strong and unpredictable but the staff are very experienced and able to judge conditions well before each dive, changing dive sites when necessary. The house reef at Alami Alor is a treat and is available to be dived at any time. Here there are resident mandarin fish which come out around sunset, as well as frogfish, pipefish, octopus and more.

Between many of the dives we came across pods of melon-head dolphins and lots of mola-mola sunning themselves on the surface. Some guests chose to snorkel with these strange ocean giants.

On the days following new moon we ventured to a particular sea mound about 45 minutes from the resort in search of hammerhead sharks. We were lucky enough to see a school of over 40 individuals which swam in circles around us for some time, at about 25m. Then we drifted along spotting dozens of black tip reef sharks, schooling barracuda and also a squadron of eight eagle rays. What a dive!

After a very happy and exciting week of diving, in which we were lucky enough to see not only the schooling hammerheads, but harlequin shrimp, mimic octopus, too many frogfish, sea horses, pipefish and nudis to count, to name a few, it was time for an early morning departure and a day’s travelling to reach Komodo Resort. Lauren from Alami baked almond muffins for the road, even though we had eaten her freshly baked cakes twice daily since arrival!

Upon arrival we were greeted with cold face clothes and welcome drinks and after a quick shower we met for a delicious Italian a la carte dinner and drinks at the bar.

The following morning we started diving. The diving in the area is characterised by good visibility, healthy reefs, sometimes-strong currents and lots of fish. And boy did it deliver. On the first day we went to a dive site where we were lucky enough to spend most of the dive surrounded by inquisitive manta rays circling us. And the diving didn’t disappoint going forward either. The sites are motly fringing reefs, pinnacles, sandy slopes and small walls. Some of the highlights of the week included the manta rays, pygmy sea horses, ghost pipefish and frogfish.

With two morning dives about 1-1.5 hours from the resort, back for Indonesian a la carte lunch, and an afternoon dive at a nearby site, with some night dives too, we were able to enjoy a variety of marine life sightings. On our last day, after two morning dives, we travelled to Rinca island to see the Komodo dragons in the wild. We had many sightings and a beautiful walk around the island, a spectacular way to off-gas.

Unfortunately, as happens, all good things come to an end and after 13 days together we returned to Bali and parted ways with smiles and promises to keep in touch and go diving together again soon.

Bernita is a Tour Leader for UK-based tour operator Dive Safari Asia. To find out more, visit www.divesafariasia.com.

Born and bred in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa. Traveled and instructed in South East Asia for the approx 10 years. Now living the dream working as Operations Manager and Tour Leader for UK-based tour operator Dive Safari Asia. Believes in mermaids.

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Scubaverse UWP Winners Gallery: Christian Horras

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Each month we give the winner of the Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition the opportunity to show off a little more of their work in a gallery. The March winner was Christian Horras and you can see their winning image at the top of this page.


What do you love about diving & underwater photography?

For me it is all about showing the beauty of our world underwater to people that don’t dive and thus can’t see it for themselves. I want to share my own passion for the amazing ecosystem that is so much older than everything we know living on land. As I am from Germany, there are only a few people in my surroundings that have ever seen a coral reef or a shark with their own eyes. It is a big privilege to be able to go diving all over the world and in return it should be our task to arise awareness of this fragile and endangered ecosystem.

What equipment do you use?

I use a Nikon D810 in a Isotta Housing and various lenses, depending on the subject: a Sigma 15mm F2.8 Fisheye, a Nikon 16-35 mm F4 and two Nikon Macro lenses (60mm and 105mm), as well as a WeeFine +13 Diopter. The Fisheye is my main lens, as it allows me to get really close and still cover a big field of view. For lighting I use two Retra Pro Strobes and a Retra Snoot.

Where can our readers see more of your work?

Website: www.christianhorras.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/christian.horras/


To enter the latest Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition, with a chance to win some great prizes as well as have your own gallery published, head over to the competition page and upload up to 3 images.

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Emperor Divers reaches halfway in Covid Diver Heroes Initiative with fourth award

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Emperor Divers have reached the halfway point with their #coviddiverheroes initiative and are still receiving worthy nominations every day! Here, they recognise their 4th winner, another awesome hero from the diving community with an inspirational story of selflessness through the pandemic. Nominated by David White, Phuong Cao wins a free liveaboard trip in the Maldives when she can finally take some time off, and here is her story:

I, David White, would like to nominate Phuong Cao (36) for her tireless efforts fighting this pandemic. Not satisfied with being a frontline hospitalist in New York she took a second job on the COVID team in Guam to treat patients under even tougher conditions on her weeks off! She continues to commute 7750 miles each way and apply herself to both jobs for three months already and counting. Her energy level has no limits and she’s only happy when those in her care are on the mend. I think she definitely deserves a break! I guess the Maldives would be the best choice for her as I know she has dived with you in the Red Sea already.

Phuong Cao

We have been in touch with Phuong who had this to say: “Wow what a surprise! Thank you for the recognition. Holding my breath until I get back underwater!”

The halfway point is a good chance to remind people that the initiative is still running and the Emperor Divers team would love to hear about more heroes, as there are four more to award in the next 2 months!

Do you know a diver who has been heroic this past year? Emperor know that, worldwide, people have had to step up during this pandemic which has affected so many lives. They want to reward some real heroes with free liveaboard trips in the Red Sea or Maldives.

Luke Atkinson, Emperor’s Red Sea Manager, said: “This initiative is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all those hundreds of people who have taken a selfless interest in looking after the vulnerable in their community. Examples could include healthworkers, carers or those who have come out of retirement to volunteer locally, but really we know there are many other ways people have been heroic.“

Emperor want to hear from people who know a heroic diver who would love to have a free liveaboard trip to look forward to in the future. People need to nominate a Covid Hero Diver and tell Emperor (in 100 – 200 words) why they deserve a free trip, and whether they would prefer the Red Sea or the Maldives. A multinational panel of Emperor’s most loyal and compassionate staff will judge the entries and pick a winner every 2 weeks for the next 2 months. There are two remaining Red Sea and two more Maldives liveaboards to be earned, so get nominating and give that hero a reward for their amazing work!

Winners will be announced by 14th (Maldives) and 28th (Red Sea) of each month. Final entries for Red Sea by 20th May ‘21 and Maldives 5th June ’21.

Entries, comments and questions should be sent to heroes@emperordivers.com.

Terms & Conditions apply: Please contact heroes@emperordivers.com for details.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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