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Bali Dive Guide Featuring My Photos!

Bali DIVEmApps logo

Are you a scuba diver? Are you planning to dive in Bali? You need the Bali Dive Guide from DIVEmApps!

DIVEmApps recently released the Bali Dive Guide featuring photos from my travels in Bali! (Yay!)

The guide is built by divers for divers and gives you access to information about the most popular dive destinations and dive sites around Bali, Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan. Use the app to search dive sites, common fish and coral libraries. 

“The Bali Dive Guide by DIVEmApps is an indispensable tool for divers. It is an essential Dive Guide for anyone interested in diving Bali’s best sites. “
– Robert Scales, DIVEmApps’ Publisher

Plan your dives, explore new sites, check out the fish and coral sections, local emergency action plans, view detailed hand-crafted dive site maps created by experienced local guides and instructors, read the Mola and Manta codes of conduct, and learn about local conservation initiatives, review relevant fish signs and hand signals, and much more.

Bali Dive Guide Features:

  • Relevant information about Bali’s history, culture and point of interests
  • Pre dive information: Briefing, buddy check, hand signals, conservation, and code of conduct
  • Emergency Action Plan with local contacts
  • Searchable dives sites, fish and coral libraries
  • User friendly universal App (optimized for iOS 7, iPad Retina and iPhone 5)

My images are featured in the ‘About Bali’ section of the app:

In-App Purchase:

(Unlock all content on this DIVEmApps with a one-time payment $3.99) 

  • 30+ dive site descriptions with occasional tips, depth, and suggested experience level.
  • 30+ quality hand-drawn maps of some of the most popular dive sites around Bali, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Penida, Indonesia
  • 50+ common fish, coral, and invertebrates images and descriptions

The Bali Dive Guide is a great interactive tool for divers.

The Bali Dive Guide is available for FREE in the App Store.
* The Android version is expected to be released in June 2014.

Be sure to follow Bali Dive Guide on Facebook and Twitter for updates and other useful diving information.

For more photos from my travels in Bali, please visit my Flickr page

Have you used the Bali Dive Guide? What did you think?

A Thailand Liveaboard Adventure

I arrived in Thailand at the end of March 2011 armed with my PADI Open Water certification and a mere 7 dives under my belt. After a Scuba Review dive with terrible visibility off Koh Tao, I did the Enriched Air Nitrox specialty course and then the Advanced Open Water course at Buddha View Dive Resort, with PADI instructor, and friend, Robert Scales.

On the dive boat off Koh Tao. Diving on Koh Tao

For my PADI Advanced Open Water Course, I chose to do deep, navigation, peak buoyancy, night and, of course, photography as my adventure dives to complete the course.

Everything went smoothly, and I did not feel the effects of nitrogen narcosis during the deep dive segment. I was fairly nervous about doing the night dive. Diving in the dark, where you can see only where your light shines was hugely intimidating for me. But surprisingly, I found it to be very peaceful and even relaxing. It was probably my best dive experience off Koh Tao.

So, just like that, 3 days later, I was an Advanced Open Water Diver! Yes!!

So… The whole purpose of doing the Advanced Open Water course was to do a three day liveaboard trip to the Similan Islands and Richelieu Rock with Eden Divers in Khao Lak. Our experience with Eden Divers was better than I could have imagined. Never having done a liveaboard before, I was unsure what I should expect, but this far exceeded my expectations!

 

We chose Eden Divers because of the small number of people on the boat. The Sea of Fantasy can take up to 13 liveaboard guests plus crew. We were not interested in going out on a massive boat with 30+ people, where you would constantly be running into people while diving. 13 seemed like it would be a much better and intimate experience. So, we splurged (just a tiny splurge) and booked ourselves one of the two air conditioned master cabins on the ship. Awesome!

The trip included 5 amazing meals a day, coffee, tea, drinking water, fruit and snacks, and you could also purchase soft drinks and beer on the ship, or bring your own. You could do up to four dives each day and if you were nitrox certified (which I now was), the nitrox was included at no extra cost. And to top it all off our guide, Fariborze, was amazing!

Diving courses were also available on the boat, as each guide is a certified instructor. So, for example, if you didn’t have your nitrox certification when you boarded the ship, you could upgrade your knowledge and skills while on the trip and do your dives on nitrox. We had one fellow guest who had started her Open Water course a couple of days before the trip, and she completed it on the boat and decided to also do her Advanced Open Water and Nitrox courses on the boat as well.

The crew on the boat was nothing short of awesome! Our rooms were cleaned and made up each day. The meals we ate were super tasty. The deck crew below, helping with our gear thought of everything before we even had a spark of an idea in our minds. We barely had to do anything except climb into our wetsuits, strap on our BCDs and jump in the 29 celsius water! Awesome!

So, on to the fun stuff! What did we see….??? We woke up on the first day to a tornado/water spout! Very cool! We did 11 dives over 3 days and saw all kinds of crazy creatures: lion fish, dancing shrimp, many giant moray eels and barracudas, many different nudibranchs, trigger fish, box fish (one of my favourites), black spotted puffer fish, porcupine fish, groupers, travellys, the biggest lobster I’ve EVER seen (I’m probably evil for wanting to see it on my plate…), sea horses, harlequin shrimp, ghost pipefish, trumpet fish, jans pipefish, spider crabs, leopard sharks, napoleon wrasse, bandit sea snakes (very poisonous), stone fish, scorpion fish, honeycomb moray eels, and that just scratches the surface! Of course we saw all of the more common creatures like clown fish, anemones, urchins, corals, etc. The two things I was really hoping to encounter were the manta rays and a whale shark, but they did not reveal themselves to us on this adventure. It just means I will have to keep looking and finding many other critters in the process!

So as I stepped off the ship, I now had logged 24 dives in my log book, and I feel much more confident underwater.

It’s funny… when most people look out at the ocean, they have no idea of what lies beneath. There truly is a whole other world on this planet that we share, and I have not even scratched the surface with what I have seen. I could get used to being on the water more. A different view each time you look out, and a new world to explore each time you jump overboard. Doesn’t sound half bad. I could get used to that life.

A HUGE thank you Eden Divers for an amazing experience in the Similan Islands! Thank you Fariborze for being a brilliant guide! And thank you Robert, for being my instructor and dive buddy throughout our Thailand diving adventures! The trip was truly amazing.

[miniflickr photoset_id=72157626990617591&sortby=date-posted-asc&per_page=48]

 

Nikon School of Underwater Photography

Are you interested in learning more about underwater photography? I’ve found the PERFECT solution! Check out the Nikon School of Underwater Photography!

Nikon Digital SLR Underwater Photography Programs are offered every week of the year in Bonaire, in the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean Sea!

Nikon School Underwater Photo Montage
The program includes:

  • Seven nights hotel accommodations/double occupancy
  • Breakfast daily
  • Six days of diving: Six boat dives
  • Unlimited Air Fills and Unlimited 24 hr. Shore Diving
  • Tanks and Weight Belts included
  • Hotel and Government tax and service charges included
  • Round trip airport transfers in Bonaire included
  • Six days free rental of Nikon SLR digital camera and housing, lenses, strobes and accessories.
  • Six-day underwater photography lesson modules with assist from Pro.
  • Regular dive packages are available for non-photography students.

Summer Rates* starting at $1,649/person (Double Occupancy)
April 1 to December 18

Winter Rates* starting at $1,799/person (Double Occupancy)
December 19 to March 31

*Rates vary according to the type of hotel accommodations.

For questions, or to register, please call +1.203.599.1203
or email: [email protected]

For more information on accommodations:
Captain Don’s Habitat, Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles
Habitatbonaire.com

This is definitely another one to add to my bucket list!

Source: http://www.nikonusa.com

Travel on the Horizon

There is travel on the horizon, so close, I can almost touch it! T minus 6 days and I will be leaving Vancouver for 46 days!

Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali 040 I’ll be flying from Vancouver to Bangkok, Thailand. I’ll spend a month exploring Thailand and then will make my way to Bali, Indonesia for some more exploring and hopefully some diving! I don’t have much on my itinerary at this point and am somewhat planning on a “no-plan” plan and talking to people once I arrive there as to what the must-sees are in their personal experiences. The few things that are on my list however, are to do my advanced scuba diving course on Koh Tao, to experience the Songkran Festival for Thai New Year in Chiang Mai, to visit an elephant rescue sanctuary, to spend a few days on a liveaboard diving boat off Phuket, and of course to visit many temples. And of course, this goes without saying, I plan to photograph the entire experience!Ubud Wanderings 17

After about a month in Thailand, I’ll head to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to catch a flight to Bali, Indonesia.  This is where I’ll spend my last 10 days of the trip diving, and seeing sights that I did not get to the last time around. As an added bonus, I’ll be spending a few days in Lovina in Northern Bali, at my aunt’s home, visiting with friends that I met on last year’s trip to the island.

So far, in preparation for the trip, I’ve booked my flight, purchased travel medical insurance, applied for and received my Thai tourist visa, and have ensured that my travel vaccinations are up to date. The main vaccinations my doctor said to concern myself with were: typhoid, tetanus, cholera, travelers diarrhea, and hepatitis A and B. Most of these were already up to date due to my travel to Bali last year, but the cholera/traveler’s diarrhea required a booster dose, so I did that, and the doctor also gave me some all purpose antibiotics (cipro) as a “just in case” solution to some potential problems that I may or may not encounter.

Ubud Wanderings 9 Having to deal with a house move before my departure has not helped my stress levels, so make things a bit simpler, and to save some cash on a month’s rent, I’ve chosen to put my life in storage until I return from the trip… It feels a bit strange to put it all back into a storage locker only six months after pulling it out of one, but somehow it feels like the right choice for the moment…

So there you have it… I’m booked and preparing for an adventure of a lifetime! I realize that many people never have the opportunity to make such a trip, so I plan to live it to the fullest and experience all there is to experience. The travel bug has bit me, and I have a feeling that this is only the beginning of my globe trotting adventures!

 

 

An Adventure in Belize

After flying into Cancun and spending 5 days relaxing on the Mayan Riviera, it was off to Belize!

This involved a bus from Playa del Carmen to Chetumal in the south of Mexico, about a 3 hour bus ride. From there, another bus took us across the border to Belize. After a stop at the border to clear customs and the $20USD entrance tax, the bus took us to Corozal, where we would take a passenger ferry to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. Unfortunately, we had just missed the last boat of the day (there are two per day), so we found ourselves a hotel near the dock, and soon we were headed out and to find ourselves some tasty Belizean 1-Barrel rum cocktails and fresh lobster! Mmm!

The next morning, we caught the 7am ferry across to San Pedro. On the boat we met Jack, an American who owns a house on the island with several suites that he rents out to travelers and vacationers. Chez Caribe! A great place to call home during your stay in San Pedro! There are 3 studio suites and a 3 bedroom suite that makes up the entire top floor of the house. Having no accommodation plan, we checked it out and found our temporary home and a lifelong friend in Jack.

Belize 2009 Belize 2009

Belize 2009

We spent our days in San Pedro, biking around, exploring, eating lobster and drinking rum at the Canucks Bar, swimming and relaxing. But most importantly, and most exciting, we did some DIVING! We took a day trip out to the Blue Hole! It was a 3-dive trip with dives at the Blue Hole, the Aquiarium and Halfmoon Wall, with a lunch break on Halfmoon Caye where we saw loads of red footed boobies. Absolutely amazing! Beautiful clear water, amazing sea life, and an overall amazing experience!

Belize 2009 Belize 2009: The Blue Hole

Belize 2009: The Blue Hole

Belize 2009: Halfmoon Caye Belize 2009: Halfmoon Caye

Belize 2009: Red footed boobies

From Ambergris, we headed to Caye Caulker. We had heard so much about it, so were looking forward to checking it out. Jack volunteered to take us to the island on his boat, the L’il Bus. On the way we did some fishing, saw a beautiful rainbow and outran a storm!

Upon arrival at Caye Caulker, we had one of the locals help us find a place to stay and we ended up at a great place with little cabins right on the beach (the name escapes me). Loved it! The following day we took a photowalk of the island, ate lobster, met some great people, shopped at the local vendors, and drank a whole lot of rum! We planned to stay on the island a few days, but there is a saying, “I spent a week on Caye Caulker one day!” And its pretty accurate! It is a beautiful place, and I’m happy to have visited the island, but after a day and a half, we felt as though we had been there for about a week! So we enjoyed one last night of lobster and coconut rum cocktails and caught the passenger ferry back to San Pedro in the morning.

Belize 2009: Caye Caulker, Go Slow Belize 2009

Belize 2009

Belize 2009 Belize 2009

Belize 2009

When we got off the boat, we walked right into a tropical rain storm! It was crazy! We were soaked instantly! So we found refuge in the Canucks Bar until the rain stopped and then made our way back to Chez Caribe.

Two more days in San Pedro, and it was time to head back up towards Mexico. Rather than catching the ferry back to the mainland, we decided to check out Belize from the air and took a flight back to Corozal. We were up against another rain storm that day and I actually walked across the tarmac to the plane in my bare feet because there was six inches of water on the ground! A memorable moment indeed! When the rain subsided a bit, we took off and once we cleared the rain clouds, we had an absolutely gorgeous view!

Belize 2009 Belize 2009

Belize 2009

We made it back to Playa del Carmen that day, where we spent our last two nights before heading back to Cancun to catch our flight home. We spent the the time shopping, soaking up our last bit of sun, and enjoying our last few margaritas before heading back to winter in Vancouver!

For more photos from Belize, please visit the set on Flickr.