I'm off to North Sulawesi, to dive Manado, Bangka and Lembeh Strait. There's been the usual chaotic mess that's part-and-parcel of preparing for a dive trip. The most difficult thing about getting ready for this trip has been completely switching all the gear from my recent Tonga excursion.
For whale photography, having a lot of wide-angle lenses underwater was top priority. For this trip, it's mostly macro gear, which means finding, testing, repairing, modifying and packing an entirely different set of ports, strobes, wires, tools, lenses, gears and just lots of junk. And of course, I didn't have any scuba gear on the previous trip, so I've had to dig through my scuba pile too, first to find everything, and then to make sure it all works. Argh.
As part of the process, I did something I've been putting off for ages — I cleaned up my photo-gear piles. It's truly amazing just how much stuff I've accumulated over the years, some of which I truly have no recollection of ever acquiring.
While I was uncharacteristically in the house-cleaning mood, I took mountains of camera gear I don't use to my friends at Camera Workshop in Singapore and asked them to help me sort through everything and find new owners to adopt my much-neglected kit. And one day, I'm sure I'll find the time and energy to sort through all my extraneous underwater camera stuff...not.
It's actually been a couple of years since I've been to North Sulawesi. Amazing how quickly time flies. I'll be staying with Murex Dive Resorts & Liveaboards, which is one of the area's first dive operators and Kasawari Lembeh Resort, which is one of the newest places in Lembeh. I'll also hopefully be seeing friends from other resorts, including a short stay on one of the Archipelago Fleet's vessels and a visit to the new Sedona Hotel 5-star resort.
I'm particularly looking forward to two things — exploring Bangka Island, which is one of the many islands that is often overlooked by visitors to North Sulawesi, and enjoying the facilities at Kasawari Lembeh Resort, which has been built to provide luxury accommodation and customised service for photographers and videographers.
Net connections permitting, I'll post some pix and thoughts from location, but otherwise I'll post an update after I get back. In the meantime, here's a slideshow of a few images from previous trips to the area: