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Tropical diving is the stuff that non-divers think of whenever SCUBA or Jacques Cousteau are mentioned. It can be great; truly spectacular on a diverse and colourful scale that wildlife on land struggles to match with the added zest that it is truly and literally immerssive. The wildlife is all around; above, below and beside in an environment that is alien to us without equipment.

These special places are under pressure from man just as much as any habitats on land and it is hard to know just how detrimental the diving industry is when conducted carefully. I hope that on balance  responsible diving is a net gain to the local economy and this gives preserving the environment a worth greater that which could be obtained from harvesting animals or damaging developments.

For us the marine riches of South East Asia are the most impressive and the difficulty of reaching them has offered some degree of protection whilst our 'local' coral in the Red Sea is taking a pounding through its proximity to Europe. 


Kalimantan '08 - Indonesian Borneo - Nabucco and Sangalaki
What a trip! We'd wanted to extend our Borneo diving after visiting, what is now very busy, Sipadan 4 years ago, but Sangalaki had been off the radar for a while. Finally it was due to open again so we jumped at the chance to be there first but thought it would be prudent to spread our time between two islands in the area just in case things weren't quite ready...
Nabucco is a very small island within Maratu atoll which is off the South Eastern coast of Indonesian Borneo - the province of Kalimantan. It is close to the better known islands of Derewan, Sangalaki and Kakaban. Those were the ones we were aiming for but life is far from straightforward out here so we thought we should have safe start in the area. This didn't turned out to be our best decision ever.....
Sangalaki may stand alone now as the iconic Borneo diving island - since Sipadan is within easy reach of crowds and ringed by resorts. Like Sipadan the island was recognised as special by Ron Holland and set up to his plan when he realised Sipadan was now just too well known. Unfortunately Ron (who I've never met so this is just piblic domain information) had health issues and the island setup hiccuped badly a few years ago and has only just reopened. Ron has passed the Torch to Jeremy Stein who has had great success promoting Vietnam as a dive destination and the signs for the future are rosy.
Singapore ChangiSingapore Changi - mini gallery
Going through Singapore and already seen the good bits? Fancy staying out of town and having a quiet stopover next time? We did so we stayed in Changi village at the West end of the island. We couldn't find the botanical gardens or the museum in our short visit but we had a pleasant evening walk along the boardwalk past the Yacht Club and fun food at a street cafe. It was a pleasant chance to recover after the flight from the UK without the hustle of the main city centre but not a must-see. Changi, which means tree, was the location of a large Japanese POW camp which was the inspiration for the film King Rat...

Indonesia Nov06 At the end of last year we returned to Indonesia spreading our time between Bunaken, Lembeh and a liveaboard via Halmerhera to Raja Ampat. There's a gallery for each part of the trip and even some bonus surface shots and panoramas.

Bunaken Nov06 Our first few days were spent relaxing on Bunaken Island with Twofish divers
Lembeh Nov06 ...and then a few more at their place on Lembeh Island ....
Halmerhera and Raja Ampat Dec06 ...before we transferred to the confused luxury of  Odyssea 1 for the main part of the trip.
IMG_0748.JPG Just in case you're curious here are some assorted surface pictures....
45pano.jpg ...I've separated the panoramas as they make rather a nice themed group by themselves

thumb7.jpg Recently we had a jaunt round the northern part of Raja Ampat on Shakti...
Raja Ampat, Shakti May 06
thumb21.jpg ...and then a few days relaxing on Kri
Raja Ampat, Kri Island June 06


Although I thought the pygmy seahorses were adorable it seems that the stunning views from the top of the hill on Wayag were even more popular so here's a better version and some more panoramic views
Raja Ampat, Panoramas May/June 06

Older highlights:
Thai jellyfish Thailand and Myanmar December 05
003008000680.jpg Sipadan and Kapalai, November 2004
These Islands off Borneo are both amazing and represent the front line in diving tourism. Sipadan has been the place to go for a very long time but has been adversely affected by recent, clumsy moves to 'protect' it from further exploitation. Kapalai has made a virtue of neccessity and is both a good base to dive Sipadan and now a premier 'muck diving' destination in its own right.

This is an old gallery rescued from the place it used to be. Sorry, only the thumbnails work.
737008000896.jpg North Sulawesi, including Bunaken and Lembeh, November 2004
Indonesia is perhaps the most exciting Tropical area to dive in at the moment - but that's not a very precise geographical description as with 17,000 Islands it is one of the most scattered archipelagos in the world. Years of diving couldn't cover all the variation available and luckily it is so hard to travel through the numbers of divers are low enough to be manageable - just!

This is an old gallery rescued from the place it used to be. Sorry, only the thumbnails work.
  thumb20.jpg  Western Australia:-) diving Ningaloo Reef and having fun on the surface in Exmouth and Perth in March 2004.

This is an old gallery not yet rescued from the place it used to be. Sorry, it doesn't work.
Thumbnail1.jpg Sharm El Sheik 03
Thumbnail1.jpg Thailand December 02
I've forgotten our first trip to Australia, to see the Great Barrier Reef see the gallery for our New Zealand '02 trip which is in the temperate section

Constructive comments and corrections are welcome, as always :-)

Rob and Dawn