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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#31  Postby shafi » Sat Dec 06, 2008 6:23 pm

Aiyoh, so cute la that little one.... Its smiling at you  :) 

What is that fish, bro?  ;)
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#32  Postby Yan » Sat Dec 06, 2008 7:37 pm

Image
trigger's bday cake.....they actually baked this on board....

Image

Image
jasmine's 200th dive....!!!!

Image
in between dives....

Image
cooking up a storm

Image

Image

Image

just enjoying the view....

Image
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#33  Postby Nazir Amin » Sun Dec 07, 2008 3:52 am

Manta hehehehe  ;)
Image
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#34  Postby ScubaBunny » Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:09 am

[center]Image

Its like Colgate advert.. Smilee.....

Love this one.. Its a bleny no?

By the way guys.. Way cool dive.. True wat shafi said.. Its rolls royce of diving.. Nice one..  :glasses9:
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#35  Postby shafi » Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:32 am

Nazir Amin wrote:
Manta hehehehe  ;)
Image



This beautiful shot from Nazir was taken right under the Shakti at 2130hrs on November 28th, less than 2 hours after our night dive and an hour after our dinner...

The spot is called "Shakti's Secret Bay"..

It was drizzling and cold ...

There were initially 3 of the mantas, doing their acrobatic somersaults close to the surface, having their plankton buffet. Dave and Din said they are the resident mantas here and each have adoring names.

As soon as Spazm and I swam and snorkelled nearby, 2 of the skittish ones retreated, but one stayed back to continue to marvel us... Rocket and Nazir then came in with their tanks, the video stuff (the lights behind that manta there is Rocket's strobes) and camera to shoot the dancing performance...

I left the bobbing surface and dove to Nazir, asking to share nitrox and then our dancing with the manta took its course...

For 35 minutes, at a max dept of 10.6m and averaging at 7.6m, our cooperative manta was gliding between our legs or brushing its white-belly against the camera lens and even playfully slapping the strobe arms with its wings  :)

And as Rocket has it on his hydrophone, I was shrieking underwater - either surprised or with glee...  :D :D :D

Just as soon as we were about ready to get to the surface, the other skittish all-black manta came back to say bye  :hello:

Thanks Nazir for the nitrox-sharing and what a great shot!!!   ;)
Last edited by shafi on Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#36  Postby shafi » Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:06 am

RoCKET wrote:Image
trigger's bday cake.....they actually baked this on board....



Trigger's birthday was celebrated on November 28th at the Alyui Channel in West Waigeo...

The crew baked this on the boat and later hid in Ravi's cabin before coming out with the cake and singing  :smileinbox:  :occasion13:

What a way to celebrate your birthday, young man!   :occasion15:

We all wish you many many more diving holiday birthdays! Last year was Maldives, wasnt it?

:icon_rr:
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#37  Postby shafi » Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:32 am

Continuing with the report... Capt. Dave made sure we woke up earlier than usual for this one...

MANTA MANTA MANTA!!!
THURSDAY  - 27 November 2008

Dive site: Manta Point (near Gam)
Time in: 0837hrs
Surface interval: 15hr 45mins
Duration of dive: 44 mins
Gas mix: EAN 33-34
Average depth: 9.1m
Maximum depth: 10.6m
Temperature: 29 degrees
Visibility: 15m
Surface condition: Calm
Diving condition: What da %^&*

Dive briefing from Dave made 3 things very clear to us:-

1. Strong currents and we later found out from Robert it was about 3-4 knots. So when we drop of at the shallow area of 3m, we will be swept into a furious drift to a lip of the slope at about 7m which will then drop very steeply into the deep blue.. So the idea is to not miss the slope lip otherwise you enter into zones of swirling turbulence and down current! Margin for error is small here  [-(

2. Turbulence - when Dave drew the map, all i saw were swigglies illustrating washing machine experience. So no go into such areas. Problem was that they were everywhere... so we all had to stay close and stay hooked...

3. Down current - able to pull us from 5m to 30m and god knows where else... so NO SAFETY STOP!! This is one of the few occasions we learnt were safety stops can actually endanger our lives.

Finally, the exclusion clause during the briefing was that it could be a hit or miss with the mantas, depending on timing. Having said that, Dave had expertly calculated the dive time and we saw FOUR MANTAS!, 2 all-black stealth cuties and 2 white-bellied ones. There were around for about 30 mins and then they were all gone... So imagine if we were either too early or too late..

Since we were hooked to the reefs, the mantas swept and hovered close above our heads as they were being cleaned... saw one actually being tickled by the cleaners once in a while  :)  It was breath-taking...

After 44 mins, we made our slow continuous ascend from about 11m (since NO SAFETY STOP)... Ravi was slowly being pulled by the down current so Dave had to dive in after him and yank him up. Rocket too ended up rather deep...

I wasnt sure, but I think GCG, Rocket and one more were caught at the surface right smack in one of the swirling turbulence...

What an experience!!  :icon_thumleft:
Last edited by shafi on Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#38  Postby fizah83 » Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:19 am

congratulation guys....very enjoyable trip.  B-) B-)

triggerfish: cool birthday u got there bro
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#39  Postby shafi » Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:08 pm

LOBSTER HEAVEN!!!
THURSDAY  - 27 November 2008

Dive site: Apibok (only slightly further from Manta Point)
Time in: 1329hrs
Surface interval: 4hr 07mins
Duration of dive: 46 mins
Gas mix: EAN 33-34
Average depth: 18m
Maximum depth: 25.6m
Temperature: 29 degrees
Visibility: 20+m
Surface condition: Calm
Diving condition: What da %^&*

I called this dive lobster heaven because of the obvious... big lobsters everywhere, often in pairs too! Good healthy breeding population since we found baby ones as well.. Can you imagine Snafu's excitement with all these lobsters everywhere? He was so inspired to do lobster 'research'!!!  ;)

The current at this site made us constantly finning our way around. Blackbear made it down to 18m in the beginning but had to go back up again because his ears were hurting...

We saw a beautiful tassled wobbegong 'served' on a hard coral platter - posing for a shot.

There were juvenile snappers and a solo spanish mackerel glistening as it swam by...

Lots of red-tooth triggerfishes and humphead bannerfishes... also potato cod, puffers and trumpetfish... and a big nudi playing dead - a green and yellow Notodorididae sp   ;) .. Couldnt fool the expert eyes of Din!!!

:icon_rr:
Last edited by shafi on Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#40  Postby shafi » Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:11 pm

EXPLORATION DIVE.
THURSDAY  - 27 November 2008

Dive site: Apo Reef
Time in: 1623hrs
Surface interval: 2hr 08mins
Duration of dive: 61 mins
Gas mix: EAN 33-34
Average depth: 11.8m
Maximum depth: 23.7m
Temperature: 29 degrees
Visibility: 20+m
Surface condition: Calm
Diving condition: Just nice

After already a few dives with rapid negative descent and endless finning, we cherished every moment of this last dive for the day... It was an exploration dive since Dave and Din hadn't scouted this one out... The coordinates to this place were provided by local fishermen who said there's lots of fish here.

So we all got in, paired up and went our own ways to discover as much as we can. Part of the site looked like it had been trawled clean - all grey and flat.. but yes there were lots of fish! Where the corals were spared the wrath of illegal destructive fishing methods, they flourished...

We mucked around, shone our torches and found marine marvels:-

Tassled wobbegongs and one under a table coral was really fat (we speculated that she might have been pregnant due to a prominent rounded belly)...  :fish:

Banded shrimps, glass shrimps on anemone with a boxer crab, squat lobsters, fusiliers, snappers and their juvies.... Boxfish, scorpionfish and a school of batfish...  :)

It was a perfect leisurely exploration dive and we ascended as the sky slowly darkened..

:hello:
Last edited by shafi on Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#41  Postby John F SeaDemon » Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:50 pm

Nazir Amin wrote:
Manta hehehehe  ;)
Image



Excellent UFO shot bro...I orgasm immediately
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#42  Postby shafi » Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:04 pm

VIDEO GIRL (and then some…)
FRIDAY  - 28 November 2008

Dive site: Alyui Channel, West Waigeo.
Time in: 0800hrs
Surface interval: 14hr 32mins
Duration of dive: 62 mins
Gas mix: EAN 33-34
Average depth: 12.8m
Maximum depth: 20.1m
Temperature: 29 degrees
Visibility: 20+m
Surface condition: Calm
Diving condition: Just nice

We spent a lot of time at the shallow area where the coral-scape is most mesmerising.  And this time Rocket went diving ‘naked’ (meaning I had his video camera and messed around with it – managed to even shove it into a soft coral!! Ooopss!! And he had to see it la). Hope the footage turned out okay, Rocket…  The man behind the camera became the star of that dive..  :)

Saw a barramundi cod right at the start, fusiliers and urchin clingfishes, a really long serpent nudi Pteraeolidia ianthina and at the end, a banded sea snake. Since I had the video, Rocket shoved me right up close to the snake and that was when I decided to pass the video back to him… hahaha! Rocket somehow doesn’t believe in zooming….

It was a nice and easy dive with mild current to give it a slight drift. A wall dive for the most part with corals, sponges, enveloping algae, and tunicates covering every inch of that wall.

It rained as soon as we got out of the water...

:icon_rr:
Last edited by shafi on Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#43  Postby John F SeaDemon » Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:08 pm

Alooo...zooming is bad la...you pick up the particles and the images shakes  :P :D :D :D :D
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#44  Postby shafi » Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:16 pm

ALL MAX-ED OUT
FRIDAY  - 28 November 2008

Dive site: Wobbey Valley, Northwest Waigeo.
Time in: 1238hrs
Surface interval: 14hr 32mins
Duration of dive: 50 mins
Gas mix: EAN 33-34
Average depth: 16.4m
Maximum depth: 32m
Temperature: 29 degrees
Visibility: 25+m
Surface condition: Calm
Diving condition: Just nice

Shakti was on the move again - her sleekness gave us nothing but comfort and the luxury of enjoying early morning sun as we digested breakfast. Now at northwest of Waigeo Island, we were all set to dive at an excellent site - a valley between two islets, almost no current whatsoever and great visibility. Woohoo!   :blob10: :blob10: :blob10:

4 circling humphead wrasses, a tassled wobbegong, banded shrimps in a nice barrel sponge  :)  Giant Moray and unicornfish, batfish, long-fin and humphead banners as well as lots of oriental sweetlips, big broad and beautiful  :-* ...

Led by Dave, few of us went for a swim-through which made us max out our MOD (maximum operating depth).. Yikes!  :toothy9:

:glasses9:
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#45  Postby shafi » Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:18 pm

John F SeaDemon wrote:Alooo...zooming is bad la...you pick up the particles and the images shakes  :P :D :D :D :D


Indeed so they say!! But i'd rather have particles and shaking images than ending up dead!  :D :D

Anyway, my marine biology lecturer once told me that these sea snakes need to be literally caught and tied into a knot before they actually decide to bite you.

But its okay, its too early for me to join irwin.
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#46  Postby John F SeaDemon » Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:23 pm

shafi wrote:
John F SeaDemon wrote:Alooo...zooming is bad la...you pick up the particles and the images shakes  :P :D :D :D :D


Indeed so they say!! But i'd rather have particles and shaking images than ending up dead!   :D :D

Anyway, my marine biology lecturer once told me that these sea snakes need to be literally caught and tied into a knot before they actually decide to bite you.

But its okay, its too early for me to join irwin.




I think what your lecturer said could be true.  Like sharks, I have that stigma thingy about sea snakes.  But I think we human beings are far too big for it to waste its venom on.  So far I've videoshot and stillshot sea snakes from relatively close distance without intruding in its personal comfort zone.
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#47  Postby dp » Sun Dec 07, 2008 3:31 pm

John F SeaDemon wrote:
shafi wrote:
John F SeaDemon wrote:Alooo...zooming is bad la...you pick up the particles and the images shakes  :P :D :D :D :D


Indeed so they say!! But i'd rather have particles and shaking images than ending up dead!   :D :D

Anyway, my marine biology lecturer once told me that these sea snakes need to be literally caught and tied into a knot before they actually decide to bite you.

But its okay, its too early for me to join irwin.




I think what your lecturer said could be true.  Like sharks, I have that stigma thingy about sea snakes.  But I think we human beings are far too big for it to waste its venom on.  So far I've videoshot and stillshot sea snakes from relatively close distance without intruding in its personal comfort zone.


Sea snakes are simply wonderful and graceful. (ok lah.. kenot challenge the Mantas),which is why i am always so fascinated by them. Truth be told, it will take a lot to actually make them bite you, as they dont really care much about your presence when they are looking for food.

Which makes it easier to take (extreme) close up shots of them "hunting".

(this is when i shall put the disclaimer : DO NOT TRY THIS UNDERWATER..:))

But they are fast swimmers, tho. thus can get quite tricky to get the camera to focus.


Excellent report, shafi.

Was kicking myself back then when i had to back out.

Now, m kicking myself again here.

:P
Last edited by dp on Sun Dec 07, 2008 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#48  Postby trigger fish » Sun Dec 07, 2008 5:18 pm

shafi wrote:
RoCKET wrote:Image
trigger's bday cake.....they actually baked this on board....



Trigger's birthday was celebrated on November 28th at the Alyui Channel in West Waigeo...

The crew baked this on the boat and later hid in Ravi's cabin before coming out with the cake and singing  :smileinbox:  :occasion13:

What a way to celebrate your birthday, young man!   :occasion15:

We all wish you many many more diving holiday birthdays! Last year was Maldives, wasnt it?

:icon_rr:

Thanks Shafi, you ppl on board really make it my day  B-)

As I say , this is my best and most enjoyable dive trip  :)

You ppl make me so much younger  :glasses2:

Maybe next year south cruise!!!!! anyone ? :glasses9:
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#49  Postby shafi » Sun Dec 07, 2008 5:25 pm

And the great sleek Shakti, looking so glorious with her sails up...

Image
Photo credit: Diana Himmelspach, PT Tribal Diving

After Wobbey Valley, we all spent the afternoon snorkelling and kayaking around the Waigeo islets... beyond these islets is already the South Pacific ocean, so we felt like we were at some sort of the 'last frontier' when we moored safely.

Image
Photo credit: Diana Himmelspach, PT Tribal Diving

Dave recommended that its better to do a night dive here as "there is more action"...

Alrighty then..  :)
Last edited by shafi on Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#50  Postby shafi » Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:15 pm

While we wait for some ridiculously cute photos from Rocket and Nazir of Shanti swimming around here and all of us snorkelling, free-diving, kayaking and working out our arm muscles...

Image
Photo credit: Diana Himmelspach

This was our playground that afternoon... we mostly snorkelled around that little islet (on the right) which Shanti moored to 

:glasses9:
Last edited by shafi on Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#51  Postby Yan » Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:06 pm

more cute pictures hahahahah

Image
captain dave and DM din

Image
DM robert

Image Image
Image Image

happy divers

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Image Image Image
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#52  Postby Nazir Amin » Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:20 pm

Image
Wide Angle Shot -  Sweet lips and seafan coral


;)
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#53  Postby shafi » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:35 am

See Shanti fly!! The amazing Scuba Dog!!

And Rocket's photos of GCG, myself and Snafuette should be aptly captioned "Espresso; Mocha; and Latte"  :D

Nice one Rocket! Bring on the Bond girls!!
Last edited by shafi on Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#54  Postby mocha » Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:01 am

shafi wrote:See Shanti fly!! The amazing Scuba Dog!!

And Rocket's photos of GCG, myself and Snafuette should be aptly captioned "Espresso; Mocha; and Latte"   :D

Nice one Rocket! Bring on the Bond girls!!


i know la i wasnt there.... but dun hafto call out for me so loudly... haha....
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#55  Postby shafi » Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:07 am

That's how much we miss you la, dei!!!

For GCG, we were juggling between 'Espresso' and 'Long-Black'... and we chose the first one  ;) 

:D :D
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#56  Postby shafi » Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:29 am

It Takes Two - Night Diving
FRIDAY - 28 November 2008

Dive site: Secret Bay
Time in: 1838hrs
Surface interval: 5hr 10mins
Duration of dive: 55 mins
Gas mix: EAN 33-34
Average depth: 9.7m
Maximum depth: 13.7m
Temperature: 30 degrees
Surface condition: Calm
Diving condition: Just nice

The group split into TWO and dove at separate areas not too far from each other... My group saw:-

TWO cute Bobtail Squids (no bigger than 10 cent coins) and one squirted ink as it swam from us... Amazing eyes, Din!!  :icon_thumleft:

TWO nudis : Phyllidia varicosa and Chromodoris annae

TWO Pleurobranchus forskali

... and a barramundi cod...

The other group saw lots and also juvenile resident mantas!! Snafuette can write more about her close encounter with those little darlings.

After the dive, we all had dinner and that was when Rocket, Nazir, Spazm and I decided to get wet again  ;) I had written about this earlier with the manta pic Nazir posted.

:icon_rr:
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#57  Postby shafi » Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:35 pm

SWOOSH DIVE
SATURDAY - 29 November 2008

Dive site: Magic Rock
Time in: 0722hrs
Surface interval: 9hr 23mins
Duration of dive: 37 mins
Gas mix: EAN 33-34
Average depth: 19m
Maximum depth: 30.4m
Temperature: 29 degrees
Visibility: 25+m
Surface condition: Rough
Diving condition: What the %^&*

This is a small but exciting dive site with 'screaming currents', lovely soft corals and sea fans. The night before, Dave told us that we needed to start off early this morning while the current is still slack. It was kinda slack, but Dave's version of slack was our version of extreme.

Morning briefing from Dave sent a strong message: "ZERO TOLERANCE for breaking corals due to lack of buoyancy control". In other words, break anything down there and you're banned from diving throughout the trip....

The site is a rocky mound and is basically like its standing on legs formed by swim-throughs, which unfortunately or fortunately, channeled and strengthened the currents. So you find yourself kinda protected in the swimthrough but by the time you take a peek at the exit, you're literally swept out  :)

It was constant kicking, except for a short breather in the swim-throughs... One round at the back and then on the way out, we got 'scooped' and drifted, doing our safety stop along the way..

Well, anything is better than down current or washing machine turbulence  :icon_tongue:

It was fun!! 2 huge mackerels and big groups of sweetlips, surgeonfish and midnight snappers. But its the coralscape and swimthroughs that made this site special.

:icon_rr:
To die as I have lived.....*Paulo Coelho*
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#58  Postby gcg » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:03 pm

Great job Shafi! Thanks triggerfish - it was honour and an awesome experience to be your buddy.

I shall try to put up some picture -- lets try this first:

Image
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#59  Postby mocha » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:24 pm

wah doc.... very nice la.... very well taken....
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Re: Awesome Raja Ampat Nitrox Diving 24 Nov to 1 Dec 08

Post Number:#60  Postby gcg » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:50 pm

Thanks Mocha.

More topside pictures

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Some of the divers in anticipation of the days to come, hiding their anger and frustration of losing their bags.

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Lunch was always simple and tasty -- but I always waited for tea time - excellent pastries were made!

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DSLR training session - thanks to Nazir and Rocket

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Shanti, Shakti's bodyguard -- Rocket got her constant attention.

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All on Nitrox filling up for the next rapid negative descent dive!
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