Diving ... holidaying... is all about good experiences and living in different conditions, meeting people, having a good time.
One thing I love about this trip was staying at the Bunaken Cha Cha resort on the Island of Bunaken. Its similar to Sipadan. Swim out 30m from the shore and you're at the drop off point, overlooking a blue sea abysse. Great for snokellers and free divers. They say its what Sipadan was like 20 years ago.
The weather and sea conditions were a bit choppy at times. Overcast conditions mostly. We had to forfeit one day diving due to a storm; no charge. However, we went beachcombing - after the storm- and I found small anamones by the shoreline with baby fishes inside. Remarkable!!!
On two of the wall dives - there were swarms of thousands of baby trigger and yellow angel fishes. It looked like a Windows Computer Screen Saver.
Had trouble breathing for some reason. I just couldn't relax. Turns out that there was a setting for my breathing regulator- it may have been turned down to low.
The Bunaken Cha Cha resort has a lot of rustic charm going for it. The chalets are built into the side of a tropical jungle forest. The buildings are well made- and use plenty of concrete for their foundation and flooring. Teak is used for the bedroom and verandas. It feels so idyllic lying on the hammock by the veranda and looking into the sea. Surprisingly very few mosquitoes. I don't have any bite marks at all.
Its also very exclusive- the resort only had about 10 guests when we were there; it could fit 20 guests in total. We had 2 - 3 senior dive guides on all the dives.
The resort also has broadband internet connection and mobile phone reception. Total cost for 4 days of diving (6 days, 5 nights) not including air tickets was S$730 (thats about AUD$570).
Unfortunately, the limits of my camera or my photography skill and poor tech knowledge bothered the crap out of me. I just couldn't get the camera to focus on some of the subjects- and instead got clear shots of the sandy or rocky background!!! ARGHHHH!!!!!! I think it has to do with the lighting and taking photos 20 - 30m under the sea.
One other thing I need to mention is a strange incident at the airport. When we touched down at Manado airport- we had to go through a x-ray security screening. People had to deposit their phones, watches on the trays to put it through the x-ray machines - including their hand luguage. I was carrying my wallet in my surf pants - which has the pocket on the side. The Indonesian security official saw I had something in my pocket and got me to empty it out. I showed him it was my wallet- and he passed a tray for me to put it on. When I walked through the detectors - I noticed he DID NOT put the tray with my wallet into the machine. I got extremely worried that he was holding onto my wallet- so I walked straight back. When he saw me walking back- he quickly put back the wallet onto the machine and looked away. If the airport wasn't so busy- he could have easily removed my cash from the wallet. Anyways there was only about $100 worth of Indonesian cash inside, I had kept the resort payment in another bag. But yeah, they really do things differently here in Indonesia.