Category Archives: The Ocean

I love the ocean and when im not hacking away on the computer building stuff, I want to spend as much time as I can by the ocean. I like to spend time either swimming in the surf to do some body surfing, sitting by the beach and taking in the fresh air or go free diving to check out the underwater life. Whenever I get a chance to do any of those things and snap some pictures I will post them here. Also I might post some things such as equipment and gear that I buy to help me further enjoy the ocean activities … I will attempt to take pictures of as many beaches as I can firstly around Sydney then everywhere else !

Indonesia – Island hopping … Rain, Hail or Shine !

So its rainy season here in Indonesia ! If you plan a trip to one of the islands its a gamble as to whether its going to be good or bad weather on that day. The best way to fix this problem is to simply not care and go anyway HAHAHAHA ! Take the good ole Aussie approach. “Yeah she’ll be right mate” …. :)

Rain hail or shine, if you plan to go on a trip be happy no matter what the weather is and your going to be sure your trip will be SCHWEEET ! :) I guess the only consideration you need to take is to ensure that its safe and that you aren’t putting yourself or anyone that relies on you in danger. I was somewhat worried about that because there were some new guys on our trip that might have had issues if the boat capsized but it wasn’t as bad as I thought and the weather and ocean was pretty good to us. If it was just me and mark, I could imagine that if the boat capsized we would have started laughing and started taking pictures LOL, then only after 2-3 hours if someone didn’t come get us we would probably start getting just a little worried (just a little :P )

The swell was big on the way to Pulau Harapan so we had to stop for about 1 and a half hours to avoid the big waves but other then that slight “waste of time” mishap it was fine. We had some chop on the way to the smaller islands but for the most part the small nelayan boats held up good.

DSCF0345

So the group this time was bigger then just the BUMS (me and mark) and it was fun having a slightly bigger group. We had Rafie join us, Widdy (Rafies work mate) and Vero (my work mate). We went to the usual dive locations but this time because of the choppy seas the silt was kicked up from the ocean bed and it made the visibility pretty bad and this did put a slight dampen on our expectations but … it didn’t matter cause we were in the water and some locations were much better then others and did have some slight visibility.

So in the group we had 2 light skinned guys Widdy and Vero and 3 dark skinned guys, Mark, me and Rafie. So as the 3 of us went black, Widdy and Vero got red. The biggest standout was Widdy, it looked like he had a red mask and vest on HAHAHA ! Thanks for being a good sport mate … hope you are now recovered and its not peeling to bad.

My skin started to peel after a day and I looked like two-face from batman, people at the malls probably thought I had a skin disease HAHAHA WHATEVER … The sun burn mostly occurred on the first day because the sun was out and strong. Come the second day it was a totally different story.

That night after we got home all painful and burnt we had dinner then played big 2 … yeah big 2 … I don’t really wanna talk about it LOL … dumb game … had to many issues with the cards I was being dealt so didn’t do too well (plus maybe i’m just shit I don’t know)

DSCF0399

So on the second day it was a completely different atmosphere. The weather was gloomy and it started to rain as well. When we woke up the rain was pretty strong .. BUT .. it didn’t matter. We went out and to our surprise pulau perak (where we went diving on this very rainy day) was still very nice and relatively clear. We were able to still have some fun, see some fish and rafie was able to practice his dives and managed to reach the first double digit mark of 10m which is his PB and only second time in open water training.

The boat ride during the rain is actually very different, the water splashing on you and the large waves moving the boat side to side makes for a very different experience. Either way it was fun and a change from the normal boat rides I have experienced when I went to pualu seribu.

DSCF0359

So … yeah … another successful weekend in one of the most awesome and cheapest countries to go for weekend trips I must say. Check out the video above to see a summary of our weekend !

… And thanks for coming to the new guys, hope to see you on the next outing :)

DSCF0393 DSCF0389 DSCF0381
DSCF0379 DSCF0377 DSCF0360
DSCF0347 DSCF0346 DSCF0366
DSCF0397 DSCF0364 DSCF0367

Back In Sydney …

IMG_1054

So I am back in Sydney and there is a bit of mixed feelings to be back. I miss Indonesia, my family, my friends and just the general atmosphere of the people BUT I am happy there is no more traffic, almost no pollution and I am just minutes away from the beach. I am also happy that the Sydney summer is to be upon us very soon. I feel like I have three hometowns, Jakarta, Bandung and Sydney and they are all special in their own way.

IMG_1047

IMG_1041

I flew back to Sydney at 10:45pm but got to the airport at about 8 and was at the gate by 8:30 so it was a long wait until the flight and as usual, I get there early, sit nice and comfortably by the gate and it changes in the last 45 mins :( bit of a walk to the new gate but whatever, this always happens and im used to it so … all cool :)

Flight was nice and easy because I slept most of the way and was really looking forward to going straight to the beach that morning. When the plane landed I had a quick checkout, no customs checked my luggage, because I had nothing to declare and it took all of about 20 mins.

I called up my mate Damir and he was already waiting near by. First thing we did was to go straight to the beach. I wanted that cold water on my skin, i wanted to get wet with the ocean water and feel that cool refreshing feeling that is at least a two hour boat ride in Indonesia. I didn’t have a towel but I had everything else. I took my clothes of in the car park and put on my shorts and and was ready to go. No wetsuit … need to get used to the cold water climate again !

IMG_1088

IMG_1091I started by doing some warmups by the rocks next to the water and then went straight in once I was done ! The water was 19 degrees ! Warmer by our standards here in Australia but freezing by Indonesian standards. I thought it would take some time to get used to it again but once the water hit my skin, i remembered the feeling and was in the water for 4hrs with only small breaks in between.

After the dives I was freezing, the wind was strong and my legs were sore because I couldn’t get back into shore from the normal diving ramp which was closer, I had to swim all the way to the beach because the seas were rough and trying to get out from the ramp would definitely mean cuts and bruises as you got banged onto the wall by the heavy waves. It’s quite dangerous at times and this ramp is probably lacking some hand rails to keep it safe for people getting in and out.

IMG_1074

After our swim Damir prepared the best meal ! Roast chicken marinated in soy sauce and apple vinegar over night, with the freshest salad. So filling and very healthy (nice tasting too).

As i stared out onto the water and smelt the sand and salt in my nose whilst getting hit by ocean spray it occured to me … Ahh yes, this is why I also love sydney :) And why I can call Sydney home too.

After the beach I went to darling harbour and just layed down on the road like a BUM at the warf. People were looking at me but who cares :) I was comfortable and the weather was nice. If they thought I was weird for lying on the road like a bum thats just fine with me :P

IMG_1099

I’ll be going back to Indonesia soon to continue working on our business, but for now, whilst I am here, I am going to make the best of Sydney’s summer and remind myself about why I love sydney and why i felt lucky to be brought up here

IMG_1052

The sun, surf, beaches, water and weather, so close to where I am …. yep thats why I love sydney also.

Documentary – Pulau Harapan (Free Diving Trip)

So last weekend I went away again on a nice trip to Pulau Seribu. This time however I decided to plan my trip exactly as I wanted it. By this I knew that what we wanted to do was go to all the different islands in the area. We didn’t want to do any banana boating, or sight seeing on the island its self. The main goal was to jump in the water and dive !

The way I arranged the trip was I told our organiser Pak Wawai that all I needed was accommodation, food for the two days and boat rental that could take us to anywhere we wanted within the area. Usually the packets they have include many other activities but we were not really interested because wanted to spend +8 hours in the water.

Pak Wawai was a great host and organised everything for us with a really nice boat driver who did a bit of free diving with us also. So in total this is what the packet included

  • Ferry ride from Muara Angke to Pulau Harapan (via Pulau Pramuka)
  • Accommodation at a pretty decent place in Pulau Harapan (decent as in it had showers, AC and bed :P ) if your expecting 5 star accommodation you will be disappointed :)
  • All the food and water for breakfast lunch dinner for the first day and then breakfast and lunch again for the second day. Dinner also included normal dinner and a BBQ with fresh fish.
  • Boat hire for 2 whole days to go where ever we wanted

For two people 2 days 1 night this whole arrangement cost $59 AUD which would be about $57 or so USD and Rp600,000. This however was for only two people and the price radically decreases as you add people to the trip. With a group of 4 it could be around Rp450,000 – Rp500,000 depending on what you do.

Day 1 of the trip 

The trip as usual started in Muara Angke and stopped of at Pulau Pramuka before docking in Pulau Harapan. We then didn’t waste any time through our gear into our cabin and jumped straight onto the boats.

Pulau Seribu Fish

From there we just went island hopping and went diving around the whole area. The water was really nice in comparison to Pulau Pramuka and was really much cleaner, bluer and had much better wild life. We managed to capture big schools of fish, turtles and other wild life all around.

After all the diving was completed we went to an Island called Pulau Pasir which is basically just a sand island right in the middle of the ocean ! It was beautiful, we made it there just in time for the sunset and was watching the sun go down whilst sitting in warm clear waters waist deep ! It was magical and awesome and freaking cheap too ! In the middle of the island there was a small stall where we could get some snacks and drinks :)

At night we were toasted because we were at a dance party on the Friday (Dj Tiesto party) and just danced the night away till 4 and headed straight for the island at 6 (yeah insane) diving like this is dangerous BTW so we didn’t force ourselves to much. So that night we crashed really early. At about 10 Pak Wawai woke us up to tell us that our BBQ dinner was ready. We ate it half asleep and zombie like then headed straight for the sack right after and slept nicely from about 11pm – 5am. Best sleep ever !

Day 2 of the trip 

DCIM100MEDIA

Day 2 of the trip was simple ! We got our gear at 6:30 jumped on the boat again and spent the whole day in Pulau Perak. We stayed there for about 4-5 hrs and then had to leave to go back to Jakarta.

One of the highlights is on the way back to our ferries there are lots of little kids swimming in the beach and they ask for coins, so we throw them coins and they dive down to get the coins. Maybe there are so future freedivers being cultivated here :)

We finally arrived back in jakarta and had to use the usual tuktuk vehicle which is a motorbike front end connected to a passenger cabin at the back. We where the only two passengers and all the people who knew the driver was giving him a hard time because of it LOL :) It was a great trip and I learnt that up north the islands are so much nicer and much better for diving.

I will probably explore Pulau seribu a few more times to get to know more of the remote areas and do some camping but once I have done that, it will be time to explore other parts of Indonesia’s great diving sites.

Catch you guys till then :)

Pulau Sangiang – Indonesia

I am currently not yet back in Australia yet so I have taken a second weekend trip out of Jakarta to visit more of the beautiful remote islands of my AWESOME country … Indonesia.

DCIM100MEDIA

Pulau Sangiang lies in the Sunda strait (or Sulat Sunda) right between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. The way to arrive to this island is to leave of the coast of Anyer by boat. Anyer is about a 3 and a half hour drive from the main city of Jakarta so you need to find your way to the docks in Anyer to board your boat to the island. It’s a much less crowded nicer boarding area then what you will find when you travel to the “Thousand Islands” in Muara angke.

DCIM100GOPRO

So what happened on Day 1:

The boat ride is about 2 to 3 hours depending on which part of the island you want to land on and what you want to see on the island.

As the boat sailed along the coast of the island there were lots of coral reefs to be seen and many steep cliff drops with caves down below were the water would break and swirl around. It was an awesome site and something I haven’t seen before. When I travelled to Pulau seribu the islands didn’t ahve high or steep cliffs, they had shallow coral slowly receding into sand so this was something totally different.

We passed a few boats and many people on the boats had wetsuits on so it seems that there were many different diving sites that we passed along the way to our main location. When we finally arrived at our location we took the boat for a detour down some mangroves and looked at where the ocean meets the rivers. What I found interesting was the transition of water colour from the clear blue, turquoise colours to the green muddy colours as we got further inland.

DCIM100MEDIA

After we made some rounds in the mangrove area everyone just couldn’t wait to get wet and jump in the water. The boat turned around and we headed straight back to the ocean !! Yeaaaaaahhhh. I was already in my wetsuit ready to jump in and enjoy the ocean. As a result of our little mangrove detour i was already sweating big time in my suite … honestly, it felt like a freaking sauna under the hot sun and everything zipped up :P

When we were at the spot I took my GoPro into the water, washed my mask, cleared and rinsed my snorkel and jumped in. After about a few minutes of taking some warmup dives I was ready to start recording on my GoPro.

Freaking disaster, I saw condensation in my GoPro and I couldn’t turn it off, the camera seemed to be non responsive. It seemed to be stuck and it was probably because of the small amount of fluid that got in. Fuarrrr … is my GoPro stuffed ?! I got out of the water, took it out of its case and left it out for a while. When I rechecked the GoPro everything was fine so I had a feeling my case wasn’t sealed tight. As a result of this I had concerns taking my camera in the water so I left it out for the whole weekend. I did many dives through some really awesome coral but didn’t capture it on video. Would rather keep my GoPro live another day and wait for a new case then risk taking it in again :)

It didn’t matter though not having the GoPro allowed me to dive without having to hold a camera and allowed me to enjoy the water without having to be concerned about whether the shot came out good or not. Sometimes you just need to get into the water to just be in the water and enjoy the feeling, not think about recording or anything else.

The water was nice, i swam down the steep ledge to about 10 meters and just enjoyed the peace and quite whilst looking at the fish and coral, I lay on my back for a bit and then slowly floated up …. beautiful feeling. After spending some time away from the group, I noticed that some of the other guys where dropping a line and taking photo’s so I decided to join them and do some line work.

We took turns using the line and budding up with each other to make sure we were all safe going down and coming back up. Safety First ;) :P During the day we moved to various different locations around Sangiang island to experience the reefs and enjoy the diving. Some reefs were very shallow then veered steeply into a very deep trench, these were pretty nice locations to practice depth as we didn’t have to move to far from shore.

One of the best parts of the trip was the sunset, it was an absolutely awesome view and something I hope to see again. I’ll be prepared with a proper camera next time. I wont write to much about it but you can see the trek up to the beach where we viewed the sunset in the video above.

DCIM100MEDIA

Three of the divers were also avid spear fisherman and managed to rack in some nice fish, we had some grupers, sting rays and an assortment of other fish as well as some chicken, rice and tempe prepared for us. The fish was grilled on an open fire and some nice chilli sauce was added to it … such a great dinner !

DCIM100MEDIA

The worst part of the trip was the sleeping conditions ! Because i slept late i had to sleep outside. Most of the time I have no concerns about sleeping outside but in this case the mosquitos were out in flock and they were taking out big chunks from my feet. I had covered up with long pants and had long sleeves on and the only exposed part of my body (which was my feet) was taken advantage of by the mosquitos. It got so annoying i went inside, told my cousin (who also came) to shift a little so I could also sleep indoors ! :P

So what happened on Day 2:

DCIM100GOPRO

On day two we trekked out to one of the caves and looked into a cave that stretched from inland out towards the open ocean. Waves would come into the cave from the outside straight onto the island. This particular cave is infested with bats and reeks of bat crap BUT there are also sharks swimming in the water ready to pluck and eat bats that fall in. Joining the sharks there are also large lizards taking its own fill of bat :)

After we took pictures and explored the area we went back to the main cabin location, had some coconuts and departed on our boat. We headed to one last dive site where we took some turns on the line and I was explaining to one of my friends how to equalise by going feet first down the dive line. One of the difficulties with teaching this method is if you want to pull UP on the rope you need to find a place to tie it down. Looking for a big rock was difficult but eventually found one and was able to go up and down the line easily.

DCIM100GOPRO

This time the spearo’s did well and managed to get about 7 fish all up. There were some really nice ones (can’t remember the names). Some were fried and some where thrown on the open fire and once the fish was cooked, everyone would dig in like a pack of hungry wolves … (hey its understandable .. diving does that to you, it makes you dam hungry)

After lunch we had our final trip back by boat to the Anyer where we initially departed from. The boat trip back started of pretty smooth but then got really really rough. I (as usual) was on the roof of the boat and was rocking around all over the place, at one point it did get pretty scary and I had to hold on but after a while the seas got smooth again.

We finally landed back at Anyer, had a shower, loaded our stuff onto the bus and left to go back home. Such a totally awesome trip and something definitely different then usual. I’ll try to get back to Sangiang again if I get the chance and take some proper underwater pictures of the nice coral there.

Until next time …. have a good one !

DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIA
DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIA
DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100GOPRO
DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100GOPRO

The Octopus of Shelly Beach Rock Pools

P2172305

I really love going back home to indonesia. It’s home and even though there are massive traffic jams, the pollution is terrible and one of the things I hate most in the world … smoking (my mum smokes and I hate it) is done by everyone without restrictions in pubs, clubs and coffee shops, there is only really one thing that I miss :(

That one thing is waking up at 6am in the morning everyday and driving to Cronulla beach to swim in the morning in the shelly beach rock pools. The smell of the ocean, the cool breeze, the morning sun … man, I miss it a lot and if I had to spend more then 2 months in Indonesia I would probably need to go to bali every weekend to get close to the sea. Right now since I know that I will be here only for a 2 month period the swimming pools will suffice, any longer and I would need to find an alternative.

I had a few of the friends message me from the morning pools swim asking how I am but one email in particular came from Ansje. She loves to take pictures and takes really beautiful ones of the ocean, the sunrise and some of the marine life and on one of the morning swimming sessions we had discussed putting some of her images and videos on my blog.

Yesterday I received an image from her with the picture of the famous octopus that resides in the shelly beach pools. Octopuses are really fantastic creatures and are the most intelligent in the family of molluscs. They have this insane capability to blend and in many cases can change their skin color to match the surroundings almost identically so for most predators, they would simple swim by and not even notice that the octopus was there ! They are the chameleons of the underwater world and do it with style.

This particular octopus resides in two places in the pool on the east end under some rocks or the west end. Sometimes though, probably when its travelling in between  it will blend its skin with its surroundings and in many cases when I have been swimming underneath the water I have bumped into it accidentally only to see it shoot of at break neck speed.

Anyway seeing this picture just reminds me of the morning swim I am missing out on, but thats OK, when I get back to sydney, the water is still gonna be freezing and coming from this humid sweltering heat and a place where 25 degrees Celsius waters  is considered cold, the 16 degree waters are gonna hit me nice and good.

Check out the picture of the octopus in full view taken by Ansje !

Thanks Ansje ! Don’t hesitate to send me more :)

The Bali Seas !

IMG_0065

So this blog has been mostly coming at you from the sunny east side of Australia (Sydney). Well sydney is freezing now so I am off and kicking it in Indonesia. Im actually here to launch our service but just cause im working it doesn’t mean I can enjoy myself by the beach every so often :P (I do that in sydney anyway) :)

I went to bali prior to going to Jakarta cause bali is just one of those places that you have to visit when your in indonesia. There are a lot of great places to relax and chill and the eating in bali is cheap and just so great. Of the many places I love to eat there these are my favourites “Seafood house in Kuta”, “Jimbaran beach” and “Queens Indian cuisine” dam great food and dam cheap too. Most of the guys at those places already know me so the service is just that much better also :)

One of the main reasons why I went to bali this time though was not just to eat but to also to go  freediving in Amed/Tulamben with a diving school called Apneabali (who are a hell of a great bunch of people by the way in which ill get more into in a later post). I have been diving quite a lot BUT I wanted to get taught how to Freedive officially and not just keep doing things my own way which could get me injured or worse.

We did the training in tulamben and stayed in some bungalows called Citra Lestari. Citra Lestari is as bare bones as you could get though the sleeping accommodation was very comfortable. The bungalow has warm water, internet, bed and aircon.  What else do you need on a diving trip other then that (and a great beach and seas of course). The people in the restaurant were great and the food was cheap and very nice too. We didn’t need to go to far to eat as the food was already really nice.

IMG_0039

They had chicken batutu (Tutu) on the menu and I wanted to order it but i had to order it a day in advance cause I think they actually had to kill the chicken first and prepare it haha. I gave that a skip and ordered other stuff instead.

Anyway this post is just a quick overview as I have many images pictures and some great videos to upload. At the moment my net kind of blows (well its good just not enough data to upload the images and videos I have) so I can’t upload anything yet, but when I finally do there will be a lot of great things to see :)

Anyway check out the panoramic images of the Tulamben sea where we did the training. Just a perfect day !

IMG_0057

Definitely coming back here again :P

Unforgiving Conditions – No Diving This Week :-(

Woke up at about 6am this morning. Had some tea and relaxed for a while to see what the weather would look like. Looked up at the sky and saw no clouds and that the sun was well on its way up. Awesome … time to pack my gear and head off to Clovelly/Gordons bay.

The air was still very chilly but that doesn’t matter as I like to get some cold therapy in the morning and go for a cold swim. Then when it gets to cold I can put on my wetsuit.

I arrived at Clovelly/Gordons and parked the car in the normal car park only to see massive waves breaking along the gordon bay area all the way through to clovelly.

Crap … maybe it will die down ?! Sat there for about an hour (enjoyed some more tea from the thermos I brought) whilst talking to some joggers (one with a GoPro strapped to his hat) and waiting to see if the conditions would get better.

The weather didn’t improve so I decided to head of to shelly beach and just go for a swim. The usual suspects were there and after the swim I sat in the sun, warmed up and had a chat with the guys about all sorts of random things. What can you do, if the weather doesn’t permit you dont force it :)

Check out the videos above and below to see the washing machine conditions both at Clovelly and Gordons. The video above is of the Clovelly pools and below is the entry to Gordon’s bay.

It’s Getting Coooooolerrrrr ……

IMG_0425

So we are truly getting into winter now. The water in good ol’e shelly beach was a balmy 18, 19, 20 degrees last week but its now starting to drop rapidly. I heard from the locals that it can get down to 12 ! Yes … 12 degrees Celsius :)

When that happens its going to be interesting to see who is still going to be at the pool’s, who wont and who will be using wetsuits :P I personally will give it a go, just my pants, fins (maybe) and goggles and see how long I can last before I need to get dry, jump in the car and put the heater on full blast.

I don’t think I have ever been in water that cold before for a prolonged period of time but since I have been swimming in these pools for the last 8 months I really want to test my tolerance to the water at 12 degrees. Some of the locals who have been going to the pools for the last 10 – 30 years still say they can maintain the same number of laps as usual so I guess their tolerance has really built up over the years … good for them !

Anyway, today I didn’t take the camera in the water, just did 30 laps, got dry and basked in the sun for about 30 mins. Needed to warm up my core body temperature before I left the beach.

Check out the image above of the temperature chart that is taken everyday by George ! As you can also notice the Air temperature is much much cooler than the water. This is why getting into the water is OK but its the getting out of the water thats the hardest.

Foggy Morning

DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIA

So it was a foggy morning at the beach over the last few days. It’s interesting when you look out over the beach and see only a few meters ahead. Sometimes the morning starts bright and sunny, but because the air temperature drops much faster then the water temperature you can actually start to see the water rising from the surface as vapour.

As your swimming, you can actually see the water rising. It almost makes you feel like you are in a hot bath however the water is far from being a hot bat ! This simply happens because the air is so cold compared to the water (which in its self is really cold). If you look at the image on the left you can actually see the fog on the horizon making its way closer to the shore

I have actually wanted to go diving along the edge of the rocks with the fog but the swell has been very high so it hasn’t been the right conditions to go diving. With the fog it can be dangerous with boats but (assuming that the waters are calm and there is no swell) aslong as you stay close to the edge of the rocks and just explore this area it should be fine as boats never come that close to shore.

Anyway, this is just a quick blog post, check out the images above … one minute everything is fine then a few minutes later the fog starts to set in and the sun disappears from sight !

 

Pirate for a day :P

So today I took 2hrs of to go and drop Damir’s wetsuit to his new work place. Just so you know his new work place is on an old boat built in the 1940′s. It looks like an old school ship that captain cook came in when he found Australia.

Had a nice tour of the ship and said hi to the crew. Even had a chance to meet the captain “Marty”. It was good timing to as when we arrived Marty was trying to access the internet to check some important email when all his IT started to fail :P To cut a long story short, we did a bit of fiddle diddle and got the net working so he could check his email.

After the tour I had a chance to climb the mast which I think is about 19 meters tall. Before I climbed the mast I had to sign the usual disclaimer form (which is understandable). When I reached the top I took a few pictures and a video. It was a great climb and really exciting to see the harbour from so far up.

Hopefully I get a chance to do it when the ship is sailing. This way I can feel the boat rock as I am high up on the mast. That should be fun I think :P

Anyway, some pictures and video of the tour ….

IMG_0360 IMG_0370 IMG_0373
IMG_0387 IMG_0399 IMG_0388
IMG_0376 IMG_0396 IMG_0393