This September saw Saeed’s inaugural photo workshop with Ultimate Diving. This took place on the wonderful island of Sulawesi at the Tasik Ria Resort with Tasik Divers on-site. The resort was chosen for this workshop because of the excellent mix of dive sites, from the stunning walls and pristine coral of Bunaken National Park to the local critter rich reefs just a short boat ride from the jetty. This ensured a diverse set of photo opportunities for the group.
Excerpt from Saeed’s blog about the trip:
After readying all of our kit, the first day consisted of relaxing around the pool and getting to know each other and the level of everybody’s photography skills, enabling me to understand where I could help over the duration of the workshop. Our first day got off to a real bang with a visit to Bunaken National Park. The walls here are famous for their sponges, fans and fish life and they didn’t disappoint – the first thing you notice as you enter the water is the abundance of fish life. Thick shoals of red-toothed triggerfish and pyramid butterflyfish cover the walls with large jacks hunting smaller bait fish among them.
The other thing Bunaken is famous for are the turtles. Along the reef wall we encountered massive sleeping green turtles and smaller hawksbills often eating the soft coral and sponges. The last time I visited these reefs was six years ago and I remember being wowed by the number of turtles we saw, and things haven’t changed – if anything, there are far more turtles here than ever before. In fact, I would say there are more turtles here than anywhere else I have ever seen. At times there were so many it made it possible for everybody to have their own turtle to practice their photography on and many would act like super models, seeming to know exactly how to pose for the camera.
We made several trips to Bunaken throughout the workshop but without a doubt our favourite locations were those less dived sites more local to the resort. Unlike Bunaken we were almost guaranteed to have these sites to ourselves. The fish life may not have been as jaw dropping when you first entered the water, but the weird and wonderful critter life was as good as I have seen anywhere else, allowing everyone to practice their macro photo skills.
Komodo National Park is one of the most diverse and rich marine environments in the world, home to over 1,000 species of fish and 250 types of reef-building coral. The coral reefs in the north of the park are rich with colourful combinations of hard and soft corals. Be delighted by the ever-present schools of Anthias, Wrasses, majestic angelfish, and larger predators – reef sharks and giant trevally.
Our guides were often able to locate each guest a different photo subject, allowing everyone to take their time and not feel rushed when shooting. That’s got to be the worst thing ever for a photographer, hasn’t it? Nudibranch were a real highlight for the group, from the super small and cute Shaun the Sheep to the bright pink Dorids that seemed all too often to have eggs on-board. On the house reef we were also fortunate to find a pair of mated ornate ghost pipefish with the male already caring for the eggs. These were revisited many times by the group during the trip.
The morning schedule consisted of two boat dives, giving me the chance to look over the groups images on the boat, and with second dives often on the same reef, crucial advice could be given between dives and put into practice straight away. Most evenings were spent going over editing techniques, talking about camera settings or flash positions, while taking part in image reviews as a group. This naturally coincided with an ice-cold beer and the backdrop of the amazing sunsets from our outdoor classroom at the jetty bar.
Ultimate Diving’s next trip takes place in the beautiful Komodo National Park!
The Komodo National Park is one of the most diverse and rich marine environments in the world, home to over 1,000 species of fish and 250 types of coral. The reefs in the north of the park are rich with colourful combinations of hard and soft corals. Be delighted by the ever-present schools of anthias, wrasses, majestic angelfish, and larger predators such as reef sharks and giant trevally.
Boarding the Cheng Ho on the 20th June 2019 for 10 nights on the Komodo National Park route, this price includes accommodation in shared cabin, full board basis, daily diving, airport transfers, endless sessions with Saeed Rashid and 1 night in Bali.
18/06/2019 Fly to Bali via Hong Kong with 1 night in Bali
Fly from Bali to Labuan Bajo. Transfer (approx. 1 hour) to the Cheng Ho boat and check-in for your 10 night adventure. Afternoon at leisure and check-in at the dive centre, prepare camera equipment for diving the following day.
21/6 – 29/6/19 9 days diving aboard the Cheng Ho with daily diving activities. Enjoy the world famous sites of Komodo National Park and dive with manta rays, turtles and pristine coral reefs, trekking in search of the ancient Komodo Dragon, visit the waterfalls, witness an active volcano, local markets and much more.
30/6/19 Transfer to the airport. Fly from Labuan Bajo to Bali. Fly from Bali to Heathrow.
PRICE £3095 per person. Deposit required: £600 + flights.
10 nights in shared cabin aboard the Cheng Ho, daily diving with tanks and weights, full board, airport transfers, harbour and anchor fee, and 1 night in Bali.
Flights approx. £900, airport departure tax, tips, land tour entrance fees and Komodo entrance fee: 25 USD/person/night.
To enquire or book, please give the Ultimate Diving Team a call on 0208 655 6458 or email Marcelina@ultimatediving.co.uk to answer any questions and give you the lowdown on the destination and diving.