Packing has always been a bit of a chore for me, although most of my kit will be made of dive equipment for this up coming tour it’s all the little things and deciding where to put them that frustrates me..endless pockets and compartments that I have to remember in order that I’ll eventually find them again. I must admit that this time it’s not so tedious, I’m heading out to Indonesia, Borneo and the Philippines (with some stops in Malaysia and Thailand en route) for a DSA group tour and the chance to check out some of the finest dive resorts in the area (all in the name of research of course) . I’ve guessed at around 100 dives or thereabouts.
The tour is particularly exciting, 12 guests flying in from Australia, USA, Singapore and the UK for a 32 dive safari that will feature a collection of my favorite sites in Indonesia. I think we’ve got it pretty well covered with superb wall diving in Bunaken, no doubt an abundance of critters in Lembeh and then on to Raja Ampat for some top quality reef diving and hopefully some big fish. I’m expecting lots of happy faces.
Over the last few years I’m beginning to feel the Philippines has more and more to offer. In direct competition with Indonesia it was always a bit of a no brainer for me but recently I’m beginning to get a scale of the diving here and the vast number of accessible islands. Whilst Indonesia has more, around 17,000 compared with a mere 7,000 islands in the Philippines, alot of Indonesia just isn’t worth considering from a divers point of view. Forget Java and much of Sumatra (although we’re still fond of the north) and also take away much of South Kalimantan and it starts to look more and more confined to the major spots and those offshore reefs accessible only by liveaboard. I’m also a big fan of muck diving which the Philippines is just brilliant for. This time we’re covering Puerto Galera courtesy of Atlantis Resorts and Anilao (which we’ve heard is rather special and on par with Lembeh).
The final part of the trip I’ll be heading to the new lodge by Tasik Divers on the east coast of Kalimantan. This is a new set up by the guys at Tasik who already run quality operations on Bunaken and Bali. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the diving in this area over the years so I’m looking forward to seeing it for myself. It has the ingredients to make a good destination for anyone looking to get off the beaten track – simple bungalows with white sand and blue water on your doorstep, the chance to see mantas, some good quality reefs and reasonable macro opportunities. I hope I’ll be able to return positively and we’ll be able to add it to our list of destinations.
I’ll be armed with a Go Pro Hero 3 and Canon G9 for photos & video and hopefully they’ll be regular blog posts and FB updates for anyone who wants to keep in touch. If you’ve already been diving in this area why not get in touch so we can compare notes!
Happy Diving from Ben!