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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Trip Report : Padang Bai, 2-3 Maret 2013

A good way to start March !! :D.
Dive in Padang Bai again, always new experience and new things to learn :).
That's how do my dive trip....

This time we are more relaxed, everything went ok, no plane delay, no problem with traffic, everything is smooth and fine :).
Only one exception, quite bothering that is worth noting, is the staying @ Absolute Scuba Padang Bai.
This is a small resort, containing, hotel, restaurant, pool for scuba lesson and even a dive (or snorkle) store.
Located next to Waterworxx and Geko dive, famous 'bule' dive center @ Padang Bai.

Well this is how I will describe :
If you are a foreigner, european, japanese, perhaps the staying @ Absolute Scuba (Padang Bai Beach Resort) would make sense.
Price is 'ok', compared to other similar hotel, clean, cool, provide even 4 pillows in one bed. Hot water shower, TV. Hotel wise, its ok, but service and regulation was very terrible for my Indonesian ass...

The vehicle and parking policy : If you bring a car then you have to park at the parking lot about 100m away and pays 10.000 rupiah per day. It is fine btw, but I can see they have their own operational minibus parked inside, but none of the guest car allowed to park inside the hotel. This is ridiculous...
If you bring motorcycle then it is ok to park in the hotel but you have to drag with the engine off while in the hotel.
Everybody is doing service according to the regulation... everything is in order but you feels like living in a monastery rather than in a hotel hahahaha... yes, the manager is an Italian...
I mean there will be coupon for breakfast (you will be asked to give it to the waitress), you can not order eggs no more even it there is an egg station because you already order nasi goreng.

Well it is true that you can chooose between nasi goreng OR omelet, but come on... loosen up a little bit, we are not staying in a cheap class hotel that every piece of egg is counted...

Bottom line... I think the resort or dive center or hotel is overly controlled. You do not feel like you are in vacation anymore, everything that is not in the rule 'has to ask for manager permission'.
That was the standard answer... :).
I do not think I will give a good comment on this one... :).
Absolute Scuba is about to be an Absolute No No...

Nevertheless, we try to ignore the bothersome morning we had everyday and enjoy the dive....
Widana Dive Service that was registered as one of the Indonesia World Underwater Photo Contest (IWUPC) 2013 is a good dive operator, very experienced dive guide and a good spotter for underwater creature.
They know the area very well and could spot awkward creatures easily...
Big recommendation for a 'real diver'.
If you consider yourself as a 'real' UW photographer, not a 'holiday' diver then you will have no choice than to choose Widana Dive Service over the other dive center in Padang Bai.
They are local that do not own a fancy Dive center but they surely knows everything, service with heart and give you correct information. A rare occasion in Bali (and other tourist destination) if you know what I mean :).

Then lets go directly to the dives shall we ?
Day 1, March 2nd, 3 dives
Dive 1 : Ferry Channel for Pigmy Seahorse.

We planned to go directly to 24-26m where the seahorses are, but fails to do so because there are a lot of interesting creature a long the way hahahaha...
An example where plan your dive and dive your plan doesn't work again huh ? :D.
Also we are stunned for about 1 minute when the ferry of Bali-Lombok literally passed on top of us... a lot of noise, you bet it is... we are at about 10-12m, a distance that I think save enough...
Yes the pigmy is right below the ferry channel :)...

And finally with the help of wetlens +10 diopter, I managed to shoot them properly, there are 4-5 seahorses in one sea fan... I did not shoot all, because of the deco limitation.

On the way up... I spent some minutes to capture a cow puffer fish... this is also the first time in my whole UW photo experience I could photograph this one :). Poor me... :D.

Lactoria fornasini (bianconi, 1846), Thornback cowfish

Then on the way up I accompany Mr. Komang Tangkas, the dive guide / spotter with his deco stop :).
Shoot some picture of him also :).

Dive 2, We choose Jepun for Thorny seahorse :). Sometimes it is called 'Bias Tunggal'.
And we got we looking for, with deco this time because the T seahorse were so shy she does not turn toward the camera...

The T seahorse is located below 20m... I had to chase her all the way to 15 in order to had a good shoot :). sorry T horse... I'll try to be more stinky next time I dove...

There are some kind of artificial coral reef there, planted. Condition was not too good, not to much coral and fish there.
I was a little bit behind for two robust ghost pipe fish...

Magnificent chromodoris,
Chromodoris magnifica

Wonderfull sea Pen, I wish she hosted shrimp or crab :).

We were almost desperate could not found a single sea horse, but finally teng teng teng, P San found 2 Thorny seahorse :)

Thorny seahorse, Hippocampus histrix

Thorny seahorse, Hippocampus histrix

After 7-10 minutes deco stop, could not remember exactly, we could ascend, no problem, no current.
Current @ Padang Bai usually comes with the tides, which is after 12 AM at this time.

We had lunch and a good rest before doing the 3rd one.

3rd Dive : Turtle Neck, ( ..... Penyu is the Balinese term for the spot).
We started at the bay, which has shallow water, 5 - 6m, and then go south - east down slowly until we reach the drop off when the current get quite messy, we had to drift and then hide in the blue lagoon bay to avoid the current.

The sites contains nudi branches and at the drop off, some coral fishes :), dart fishes, ribbon eels etc...

Flabellina exoptata
another Flabellina exoptata
just @ the end of the dive

Some kind of Halgerda..
could'nt found the species name

And this Decorator Crab : perhaps a Camposcia retusa sorry, could not take a better picture but believe me it crawls :)

Also could not ID this crab or shrimp :)....

Coral crab, Trapezia rufopunctata

Perhaps a Periclimenes magnificus, Magnificent partner shrimp 

Can not ID this one... might be a Halgerda :).

This is one of the dive that is really exhausting, we had to fight and align ourself to the current while trying to take a macro shoot :D. Hard, but possible, after we dove here @ Padang Bai :).
Next time I will have to choose more protected dive spot for the 3rd dive...

Staying, @ Absolute Scuba resort, have a good night sleep :).
2nd Day, 1st Dive : we had Nancy Sadeli along with us and two other friends with her (Putri and Hendrawan pardon me for my dull memory), all hotelier :D.
So we dove @ Jetty point trying to excite ourself with huge and variety kind of macro creature :).
The frogfish were there, the Flabellinas then also some new creature added into my list :).

Flabellina rubrolineata (O'Donoghue, 1929)
Small, 2cm nudi, unidentified...

This time I took quite sometime trying to capture this wonderfull Flabellina ...
Flabellina rubrolineata (O'Donoghue, 1929)

Small bright, just 2cm nudi, could not ID...

Chromodoris tinctoria (Ruppell & Leuckart, 1828), could also found this one somewhere elses :).

Soft coral crab / Candy crab, Hoplophrys oatesii

Soft coral crab / Candy crab, Hoplophrys oatesii

Soft coral crab / Candy crab, Hoplophrys oatesii
Fire worm, Chloeia parva

Might be Xenocarcinus conicus on Sea fan

Xenocarcinus conicus

End of 1st Dive, and preparing for the 2nd @ Jepun, this time we go 'under the submarine'

Looks like not a promising site... we went clueless for the first 15minutes or so... just sand...
Going to 20, we are trying to find mimic octopus, and some wonderfull Nudi pak Wi promised us :).
But looks like we did not find what we are looking for... instead I add these new creatures in my list :).

This Red Claw Cuapetes Shrimp, Cuapetes tenuipes was pointed by Nancy, thanks...

Also this one, thanks to Nancy :)
Ornate ghostpipefish, Solenostomus paradoxus

Clueless :).....

Transparent nudi branch ?? also clueless...

Beautifull Lion fish... :)....

And at the end of the dive, of what seemingly will be dull...

Three-lobed ceratosoma, Ceratosoma trilobatum, there are three of them, all between 15-20 cm long

Mating Ceratosoma trilobatum

Good bye kiss... :D... Ceratosoma trilobatum

Nancy... capturing some photos....

Ended the dive and say goodbye to Nancy, Putri and BF....
Lunch and preparing 3rd dive (charging batteries !! :D).

Makan Mahi Mahi bakar dulu... slurpss... :). Sambil mulai edit foto hahahaha...

Dive 3, we decided to try Blue Lagoon again this time for the 'white' rhinopias...

Warty frogfish or Clown frogfish, Antennarius maculatus

Pretty ugly frog fish :). Small about 20-25cm long :). Nice color...

Warty frogfish or Clown frogfish, Antennarius maculatus

Another Frog fish, about the same size :), in total I see 3 frog fish, 1 of them is the giant frog fish near the Rhinopias.

Paddle-flap scorpionfish, Rhinopias eschmeyeri
The same couple we found from previous dive @ padang Bai :).

Giant frog fish..., Antennarius commerson

This giant frog fish was hiding in the creavase because of the current. Its almost impossible to see such a big body could 'climb' up a steep coral to find its hiding place :).

On this just small boomies of coral, a lot of 'famous' creature could be found, I was pointed to a small uninteresting pair of claw. Pak Wi again shows his class, this one has a name for its unique appearance :).

Bug-Eyed Squat Lobster, Munida olivarae

 And when I think that should be the end of the dive, I was highlighted with these creature on a flat reef :

Anemone, get out from his host anemone and finning against the current :), beautifull moment.

a family of Durban hinge-beak shrimp, Rhynchocinetes durbanensis

Small eel, perhaps a juvenile, near the hinge-beak shrimp :).

And 3 of these dwarf scorpion fish... :D.

Not finished yet......
Still managed to find the leaf fish....

Leaf scorpionfish, Taenianotus triacanthus

So much for a dive !! so thats what Blue Lagoon could promise you ! :).

enjoy your day... see you on the next report from Karimunjawa :).


  1. Nice pictures...
    We've got a pink rhinopia now and 2 Ambon scorpionfish!

    1. Thanks Geko,
      Padang Bai is very good for Macro UW :D.
      Please share us your pictures ! :D.


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