"Parting is such sweet sorrow", as Juliet once said. My time in Lembeh for this trip has come to an end.
As always, I'm sad to be packing for departure, but at the same time, I'm delighted with the many fascinating encounters I had here...both above and below the waterline.
It's been an eventful stay, to say the least. A camera and lens gone kaput; gathering of old friends and making of new ones; a photo shootout; amazing experiences underwater...it's difficult to beat a trip like this.
In contrast to my usual habit of writing one extended trip report after getting back to an urban environment, I did my best to post to my blog as often as possible while I was here in Lembeh.
Partially, this was an experiment to see if it's better to write when everything is fresh in my mind, or whether I should stick to posting longer text when I've had the benefit of a bit of time to reflect upon things.
And partially, this was out of necessity, as I foresee the distinct possibility of life being too chaotic for me to spend much time writing after I leave Lembeh.
What I learned is two things. First, it's exhausting preparing and writing regular blog posts after doing multiple dives, then downloading and processing images. I ended up getting only four to five hours of sleep on many nights, resulting in my constantly being in a semi-permanent daze (on land only of course).
Second, I think that in retrospect, I'll find that it's good to post along the way like I have (internet connection and personal fatigue allowing), and then re-read those posts later and put something longer together when (if) I have time.
All-in-all though, I feel that it was worth the effort of posting, and I hope you enjoyed seeing just a few of the amazing critters here, whether you've visited Lembeh previously or not. I have many more photos...quite a few, in fact, that I haven't even looked at after downloading, which I'll endeavour to do something with later.
One thing that made this trip really special was being able to share it with some great friends who share my passion for the ocean and everything in it.
Add to that...hanging out with the terrific team at Kasawari Lembeh Resort again, making new friends with the participants in Scubacam's photo shootout, abusing Andy (the guy who left his hood behind), embarrassing Nus (the guy with the much-too-cute pointer)...and this trip was much more than a dive adventure. It's been a 2.5-week party!
(Incidentally, if you haven't seen the prize winners from this trip's activities, click here to see the images and comments on why Aey, Mean and I selected the images we did. Most of the time with shootouts like this, you just see the images without getting much insight on the background selection process, so we spent a bit of time writing a few thoughts for each image.)
From here, I'm off to DEEP Indonesia in Jakarta. I'm going to be giving talks about underwater photography, plus I'll have a chance to hook up with other friends there.
As a parting thought before I commence the unpleasant task of cleaning and packing gear...we had such a good time that we're going to be doing this trip again next year, tentatively scheduled for the first week of March.
We'll work out the details in the coming weeks, but if you're interested in diving in Lembeh with us, let me know or drop David and Sanah an email.