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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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Get moving with the new RAID DPV training programs

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The thrill of speeding through the water behind a diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) is an experience that really gets the blood racing. Using a DPV provides divers both immense fun and the means to achieve goals that would be impossible without their use.

RAID is proud to announce the new two-tier DPV training program with certifications for DPV and Advanced DPV.

Why DPV and why now?
Recreational and technical divers are using DPVs to access sites that would be difficult to reach and explore using traditional propulsion methods; to help propel large amounts of heavy equipment; to increase the safety of dives in areas of strong current; or just for the pure exhilaration of shooting through the water at speed and performing underwater acrobatics.

By extending your capabilities and extending your range, using a DPV opens new vistas for exploration and fun.

DPV
This certification option is aimed at the recreational diver who wishes to learn how to use a DPV to enhance their diving by using mainly natural navigation.

Advanced DPV
This certification option is available to anyone who is familiar with longhose configuration, has logged a minimum of 20 dives and is certified as Navigation specialty divers.

This certification option is aimed at the slightly more experienced diver with preexisting navigational training and diving on a single, twin or sidemount setup with a longhose. Although this level is slightly more challenging, the more advanced navigation exercises provide an important base for more complex types of DPV diving within a team.

PREREQUISITES
You must:

  • Be a minimum of 12 years old.
  • Be certified as RAID Open Water 20, Junior Open Water or equivalent.

Just visit www.diveRAID.com to put some extra dash into your dives.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Beers raise cash for ocean clean-up

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The Driftwood Spars Brewery, a pioneering microbrewery based on the North Cornwall coast, is donating a percentage of all profits from its Cove range of beers to Fathoms Free, a certified charity which actively cleans the ocean around the Cornish peninsula.

Each purchase of the small-batch, craft beers – there are four different canned beers in the Cove range – will help generate funds to purchase a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and fund retrieval dives; every brew will raise the equivalent cost of a fully-funded dive. 

Fathoms Free is a Cornwall-based charity whose day-to-day mission involves dives from their fast-response specialist vessel to recover ghost fishing gear; abandoned nets, pots, angling equipment and other plastic causes severe damage to the marine environment and the death of countless seabirds, seals, dolphins and other sea life.

The campaign to raise funds for an ROV is a new initiative which will take the clean-up work to a new level; the highly manoeuvrable underwater vehicle will be used to scour the seabed, harbours and remote parts of the coastline for abandoned fishing gear and other marine litter.

Project Manager Natallia Paliakova from Fathoms Free said: “Apart from helping us locate ghost gear underwater, the ROV will also be capable of recording underwater video which is always great for raising awareness about marine pollution issues.”

She added: “We are really excited to be partnering with The Driftwood Spars Brewery and appreciate the proactive support of Mike and his team in bringing the purchase of an ROV a step closer to reality.”

Head Brewer Mike Mason personally approached the charity after their work was featured on the BBC 2 documentary, ‘Cornwall with Simon Reeve’.    

He said: “As a keen surfer I am only too aware of the problem of marine litter and had heard about Fathoms Free, but seeing them in action prompted me to find a way of contributing. The scale of the challenge is scary, but the determination of organisations like Fathoms Free is inspiring.”

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

The Driftwood Spars Brewery was founded in 2000 in Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes; the microbrewery is just a few steps away from it’s co-joined brewpub, The Driftwood Spars; both pub and brewery are well-regarded far beyond the Cornish cove they call home. 

You can hear the waves and taste the salt on the air from the door of both brewery and pub, and the rough seas along the rugged North coast often throw up discarded nets and other detritus; Louise Treseder, Landlady of The Driftwood Spars and a keen sea swimmer, often collects washed up ghost gear on her daily beach excursions.     

Louise commented: “This is a great partnership to support a cause close to our hearts – I know the money we raise will have a positive and lasting impact. The Cove range was inspired by our unique surroundings and the artwork – by local artist Jago Silver – reflects that. Now donations from each purchase will contribute towards the vital ocean clean-up taking place right on our doorstep.”

The Cove range can currently be purchased online here, and is available in good independent bottle shops in Cornwall.

To find out more about Fathoms Free visit their website here.

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Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk to book your spot!

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