I had the pleasure of doing my Wreck and Night Diver specialities this week. Having not been on a night dive for over 5 years, I was reminded of why I loved it so much. Bunaken night diving is amazing; enormous crabs lurking in the reef, mandarin fish hiding in the corals, and beautiful Pleurobranch displaying their splendid purple colour in the torch light. On the final dive, when I was required to turn my torch off for 3 minutes, I was lucky enough to be diving on a near full moon, and found that my body movements activated the bioluminescence. This made the three minutes rather enjoyable, this also served as entertainment for a student taking her advanced course night dive who commented on the light show she witnessed whilst all was dark.
While things around the resort calmed down a bit after Easter, our instructors Dion and Yvonne have been busy teaching right across the spectrum of PADI courses for the past few days. They’ve been introducing first time divers to the underwater world, explored shipwrecks and worked with our divemaster trainees to perfect their skills both underwater and on land. And they even managed to re-introduce a guest to the underwater world after a 13 year break who was most impressed by the number and size of turtles on our walls (picture by Alex Schade).
One of the first things my instructors mentioned to me when I arrived at Two Fish Divers is that in the diving industry plans change all the time. Safe to say that’s been very true for my Divemaster course. It’s not just down to dive centre logistics either, it can be simple things like a sinus infection which mean you spend rather more time with your books. Now that I’ve been back in the water for a few days, let me tell you what’s been going on.
This week, we were joined by Ismail from Jakarta, who specifically travelled to our Bunaken resort to get started on the route to technical diving. So far, so normal. Asked about his diving experience to date, Ismail said he had completed just under 30 dives, prompting the question what time is the right time for a diver to start technical diving training.
We might not have been hunting for Easter eggs or chocolates, but we’ve been lucky enough to spot plenty of pygmy seahorses and ornate ghost pipefish around Bunaken this week. It’s definitely been a week for macro photography fans (thanks for the picture, Alex Schade) with our guides spotting numerous pregnant Pontohi Pygmy and Severn’s seahorses as well as ornate ghost pipefish all around the island.
Sometimes, what divers see from the surface can be as impressive as what we see underwater. This week in Bunaken, an extraordinarily large dolphin pod kept us company not once, but two days in a row. We estimate the pod of around 100 at times, circling both boats. And even seasoned dive guides get a little excited by that.
As my PADI instructor course and internship at Two Fish Divers in Bunaken comes to a close, I can’t help but look over this past month and realize how much I’ve learned and experienced in such a short period of time. In a lot of ways, it feels like it’s been so much longer than a month. But of course in other ways it feels like it’s been only a couple days.
After a few days of fun diving and completing his PADI EFR and Rescue course in Bunaken, Tristan has now embarked on his Divemaster course here at Two Fish Divers, which will also take him to our Lembeh resort in a few weeks. Until then, he’s getting to grips with dive logistics, among other things.
Two years ago, Simon completed his Divemaster course with Two Fish Divers Bunaken. This year, he returned to take the next step and become a PADI instructor. After his course, he decided to stay on for a couple of weeks and complete an instructor internship. Here’s how it went….
This week in Bunaken we had the unique opportunity to dive during the full solar eclipse. And, as a double treat, senior dive guide Fenly picked a rarely visited site which usually offers a good chance for larger marine life. But that’s not what happened on this magical dive…
To witness a full solar eclipse, you really have to be in the right place at the right time. Turns out, Bunaken was the place to be this week as we had a chance to see a 98% solar eclipse just before 9 am. Some of our guests opted to dive later, but a few hardy ones wanted to know what it might be like to dive when the sun disappears.
Our guests have been fortunate to spot blacktip reef sharks on nearly every dive this week. And as if that wasn’t enough, there have been plenty of eagle rays, too as well as our favourite sea turtles. A week for big stuff!
This week in Bunaken, our IDC candidates spent some of their time off learning more about technical diving. We’ve not convinced all of them to go to the dark side just yet, though. In the meantime, return guests Ferdy & Sue enjoyed getting back into diving and fun divers Jane & Hiroka spent their dive accompanied by three Eagle Rays!
Twinset manifolds – not the sexiest item of technical diving equipment by far and also not the most talked-about, you would think. Well, last week proved to be a little different – with three technical divers joining us in Bunaken for guided dives, we discovered that all of us had different ideas about manifold settings. So, who’s right?
This week, our guests Steven and Karen decided to venture a little further off the beaten track from Bunaken and headed to the northern islands of the Bunaken Marine National Park. The rewards were schooling Barracuda, eagle rays and much more.
This week’s diving in Bunaken had something for both macro fans and lovers of big marine life – our guests saw Pontohi Pygmy Seahorses as well as increasing numbers of Spotted Eagle Rays.
Thanks to our eagle-eyed dive guides Frankli and Fenly, Mads from Denmark managed to get the fabulous shot for this blog. These miniature seahorses are fairly rare and we don’t have a lot of information about them. They’ve been spotted in (eastern) Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Have you tried Sidemount diving? As our guest Simon discovered this week, sidemount diving is not just for serious technical divers (although they love it, too). Benefits include more comfort in the water, better buoyancy control, improved streamlining, and additional safety thanks to having a redundant air supply and a completely separate regulator.
One of the mainstays of Bunaken’s spectacular diving are its dramatic walls, often dropping away to far more than 100 meters, sometimes featuring ledges, overhangs and small caverns. They’re a fantastic playground for beginners and experienced divers alike. Especially for newbies, though, the topography might be a little daunting, so we’ve put together a few tips to help you enjoy your wall dives more.
This week in Bunaken we spent more of our underwater time looking for smaller creatures like this Bubble Coral Shrimp. While everyone loves exciting encounters with large marine life, we find that typically more experienced divers muck diving – or macro diving – and there are some great finds in Bunaken.
Meet Singaporean Sing Yi. She came to Two Fish Tech in December to dip her toes into technical diving and had some concerns about being able to handle the amount of equipment involved. Whilst we do carry more on technical dives, we strongly believe that excellent skills and thorough planning make a good technical diver much more so than physical strength does. Here’s how Sing Yi’s time with us went:
January blues? Not in Bunaken!Statistically speaking, this week is when most people around the globe are hit by the so-called January blues – but not our team in Bunaken.
Granted, this is one of the quieter times of the year, but with guests completing three dives a day, our dive guides are still busy looking for creatures large and small. What’s even better is that with fewer divers around we have a good chance to have our chosen dive sites all to ourselves – plenty of time to hang out with Napoleon wrasse, watch our favourite sea turtles munch away in the morning and search for smaller critters.
Happy New Year from Two Fish Divers Bunaken. It’s been a busy few days over New Year in Bunaken with guests from all corners of the world enjoying great visibility, calm conditions and encounters with creatures big and small.
Week 3 of my dive master training was full of tests and assessments, in the water and on land.
One experience that stands out is the equipment exchange underwater which would be a little tricky even without instructors causing a few extra problems. Not to mention underwater mapping which is definitely a fun experience – you think you’ve drawn the dive site on your underwater slate and then you look at it on the surface and can’t make sense of it!
Santa Claus might have been busy handing out presents this week, but we were equally busy exploring Bunaken’s underwater world with some good ol’ Christmas diving!
Repeat guest Angela even managed to complete her 1000th dive with us, just in time for the holidays. She mentioned it took about 20 years, but that doesn’t make it any less of an achievement. She’s currently muck diving her way towards another 1000 at our sister resort in the beautiful Lembeh Straits.
Although most of my Divemaster course in Bunaken is done, this week I had a chance to spend a few days at our sister resort in Lembeh.
My last week in Bunaken has been a real rollercoaster of activities, involving a Project Aware beach clean up, lots of fun dives, a hair cut (!) and my snorkel test to celebrate finishing my course.