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Tulamben--Matahari Resort 031214-071214

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Tulamben--Matahari Resort 031214-071214

Post Number:#1  Postby decimal86 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:55 am

it is a tortous journey from Bali airport to Tulamben even in the most comfortable of transport. 2 and a half hours of highway and country roads, where the rice fields are shades of green and yellow as the grain ripens for harvesting.

houses that are a meter away from speeding vehicles and children just a breath away from certain bodily harm.

and there is the expected rain in the humid afternoon that brings a cool respite to the villages and school kids going home.

rafi....our champion dive promoter organised a package for us at Matahari Resort at an unbelievable price. all the more impressive because we had a recce party from lahad datu check the place out before this and their review was a big thumbs up.

you could break your journey at cenderawasih for lunch or a cup of coffee but we elected to barrel along to Tulamben.

finally we stopped at the driveway of Matahari.

we took the room at the side of the main road. not a good choice as it is both too far from everybody else and also the wi-fi was very weak. however the room was large and had plenty of charging points. it even had a mini-fridge.

the property is narrow but extended all the way to the sea. it also conducts dive courses that are reasonably priced. a deep swimming pool for the practical lessons.

the restaurants serves a variety of asian and continental cuisine. it sits guests on 2 levels. the tastes varies but the ocean view more than makes up for any deficiencies in taste or looks. the fruit juices were a firm favourite with the guests.

in front of the restaurant is the dive center. its very small and you will get into each others way. baskets had to be shared between couples but they do provide towels for after diving--one per day.

our package included free Nitrox! amazing....

the rinse bin for cameras is very small. and so is the rinse for wetsuits and other dive gear. hanging space is also limited. the good thing about the dive centre is the swimming pool to chill out.

most dives are shore dives. 2 dive sites are by car. the ladies from the village will carry your tanks and bcd to/from the shore dives.

the shore dives are over rocks and they can prove to be a challenge if you have to wear your fin and carry your camera at the same time. my camera almost drowned again but luckily its a TG3 and on its own its waterproof to 15M. special mention must be made of DM Ehte who guided us to all these mini marvels. he has the enthusiasm of a kid in a toy shop when it comes to finding critters. so hard to find such zeal in a DM anywhere. he was also the one who rescued my camera from a watery death.

at the time of writing, every nudi known to man seem to be crawling along the ocean floor in Tulamben. and also regular finds of hairy chicken shrimp. but for me it was the skeleton shrimp of different colours that made this dive trip special.

the USS Liberty has over the last 4 years grown a lot prettier and the bumpheads are still in a school and there also a school of sweetlips there as well. but we did not see the giant baracuda--george. however it is now a haven for macro lovers as there were crabs and shrimps of all varieties here. i must quickly add that i believe these creatures are seasonal and susceptible to water temp changes.

all our dives were in 28 degrees. most of the group wore 1mm wetsuits.

in addition to my old and trusted gear, i have added a bifocal mask to my arsenal. ordered online and it cost 74USD. it helps greatly when it comes to spotting skeleton shrimp.

the night dive was not very exciting if compared to Lembeh. but the waters were warm and not even a hint of a current, ideal conditions for a swim in the dark.

in closing, because they did not use a boat for diving, it turned out to be a cheap dive package. the rooms were clean, the air cond worked. space is a premium at the dive centre as well as the restaurant. but the DMs there were very helpful even though they were not leading your group. it takes a long taxi ride to reach Tulamben, but if the critters are there, it is definitely worth travelling 2.5 hrs to reach the area. Matahari has the advantage of a swimming pool for partners that do not dive. they have masseurs and spa packages are very affordable.

i would like to go back again and shoot the macro colony that are in abundance there. maybe by then they would have paved a 2 lane highway ??
decimal86
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Re: Tulamben--Matahari Resort 031214-071214

Post Number:#2  Postby run » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:16 am

HIGHWAY!!! no no no. I like the laidback santai santai nature over there ;)
What i wont mind having is a jetty from the resort straight to deeper side of the water. Minus the agony walking
with your gears on the roundy pain black rocks and stones.
so for 5 days only at Tulamben?
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Re: Tulamben--Matahari Resort 031214-071214

Post Number:#3  Postby decimal86 » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:08 am

no lah...sit inside for 2.5 hrs cannot lah. boring.

they save a lot from not giving boat rides so i guess jetty is in the far horizon.

we are....rafi is organising another one. contact him for more details.
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Re: Tulamben--Matahari Resort 031214-071214

Post Number:#4  Postby Narco » Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:02 pm

Hi Master Scuba Diver Decimal86, great sharing. This Rafi must have been a great diver chap. Like to enquire more info and perhaps join in the next trip with Master Scuba Diver Decimal86 :)
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Re: Tulamben--Matahari Resort 031214-071214

Post Number:#5  Postby raffidi » Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:20 pm

Nice and simple report Master Decimal86, and yes I myself would return to Tulamben anytime especially cause there is not a moment that the shutter on the camera is not busy, never a shy moment....it was a wonderful trip with great friends. Looking forward to the next trip there in May....

I would like to add that I think the critters are on steroids as they grow bigger than other places....saw the biggest 'orang utan' crab and biggest 'garden eel'. Attached pic to show but not very nice....just to show what I meant with big.

Narco, you're welcome to join us.....Run too.

Anyway Narco, thanks for the compliment but better not judge the cover on a book. Do contact me if you're interested in joining us and would love to meet you and make a new friend. Maybe we can meet up and go for Nasi Lemak .....
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Re: Tulamben--Matahari Resort 031214-071214

Post Number:#6  Postby Narco » Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:15 pm

Are u the RAFI mentioned by master Decimal86? Pleasure to meet u sir. Nasi lemak I like. I heard the Village Park is good.. Hehe
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Re: Tulamben--Matahari Resort 031214-071214

Post Number:#7  Postby raffidi » Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:32 am

Hi Narco....yes I am that RAFI ....do call me and we will go try this place Village Park. ;)
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