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Pulau Weh-Gapang Beach-Lumba Lumba DC

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Pulau Weh-Gapang Beach-Lumba Lumba DC

Post Number:#1  Postby decimal86 » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:51 pm

Pulau Weh trip report--Lumba Lumba PADI Dive Center

18/07/10-25/07/10

To be sure, it is a long way from Singapore. we took an Air-Asia flt from Singapore, to KL, then caught another Air Asia flt to Bandar Aceh. this was followed by a taxi ride to Ulee Lhuee harbour, where we caught a fast ferry to Balohan village.

then it was a 45 min ride to Gapang beach where Lumba Lumba is situated.

we started at 0645 hrs in singapore and we ended the journey at 1745 hrs at our beautiful semi-d villa #2!

one thing though, the porters at the airport and the harbour will try to hassle you to carry yr bags for a small tip. and u must bargain for the taxi ride. there are 2 kinds of sea transport--fast ferry and the car ferry. prices are varying depending on ferry and class of travel.

ferry took about 45 mins as well. there is a small hawker center by the ferry terminal if you arrive too early. food was malaysian style. cheap and safe.

the resort is growing! we can see new villas being built further up the hill. and they are modern looking but folks....NO AIR-COND..ok? just wall-fans. it can get kinda humid, and if you wanna keep the insects out, it will be HUMID! so expect to see insect everywhere especially the toilet and the well that you collect water to bathe. (reminds me of my childhood days). the next day we were sharing the bed with dozens of insects. there is also a gekko that makes its mating call at night and he craps all over the place. messy fellow.

the hot water is another story...it is gas-fired. you have to turn it all the way to HOT, let the flame ignite, wait a while then adjust to hot! no half-way stop..or else the gas switches off. so its either boiling hot or frezing cold in the mornings.

they give a kettle, cups, plates, bowls, forks and spoons, and dish-wahing liquid. you can buy "pot mie' from the warongs and make instant noodles. coffe and tea is given in satchets.multiple points for charging your hungry batteries in the villa. these are 2 round-pins type. eletric mosquitoe repellant is provided, so is the traditional burning coil.(bring with you to the restaurants at night...)

you may want to know that 2 guests fell into the pond at the back of the DC because it is not well lit. so bring yr torch during dinner time.

the safe is at the DC.

i understand the villa-residents get to refill their water for FREE!! at the DC. whilst for others its charged.

the DC has coffee and tea making facilities...kopi tiam style! with the sock and sweetener. alright! biscuits as well. beer was sold here although it is against the local law..but you can bring duty-free.

DC--diving-wise, not really big, but it has easy access with 3 doors. one for suits, BCD and a corridor with a basket with yr name on it.

internet? did u ask? well it is Wi-Fi but not as we know it Jim (as Mr Spock would say). it is from a satellite and the transmission is intermittent. so it will take a while. although if you are an early riser like me, the internet was good. wired connection at the DC is chargeable.

phone reception was excellent.

the air in our tanks did not smell.

the style over here is they will assemble yr gear and bring the BCD down to the boat. you have to bring yr own weights (preferably on a belt), fins, masks and misc with you. and likewise after the dive.

there are only 2 boat dives a day, yes, you heard right. 0930 hrs and again at 1400 hrs. at other times it will be ad hoc. and there is a min number of persons before they will give the ok.

shore dives are ok but chargeable and more if you are guided, we did not find it necessary as the house reef was easily reached and so was the jetty.

the surrounding has gone to the dogs...in a manner of speech. there are lots of dogs around. if you are the sort to be put off by dogs who are very friendly, this may be annoying. we did not mind as we have 2 dogs ourselves. Henry and Mama are the resident canines. give him a tid-bit and you have a guard dog for the night!

the other huts/warong have their own dogs. one even has a litter of 5 puppies about 2 weeks old. cute factor sky high..cows wander freely and leave their cow-pie all over the place.

food is cheap, even BBQ fish fresh from the shore. vegies are plentiful and this place barracuda restaurant offers calzones with guacamole filling--my personal recomm!! sedap.

kopi is malaysian version. teh halia is freh made! food preparation takes a long time. best thing to do is order the day before and show up punctually and dine on some of the best cuisine aceh ahs to offer. fresh food is avail here and lots of variety. durian was avail too much to the dislike of the ang mohs. tea-time a makcik comes round to sell hot snacks like doughnuts, pisang goreng, and the ball with sesame seed outside. at the restaurants its best to ask politely if they allow alcohol on their premises. we are guests here...

lunch time, i recomm a warong on the main road just outside lumba lumba, about 5 mins walk uphill. but believe me, the food is KL standard and very tasty. we ate there daily. we brought the group that come a day before we left and they too loved the food. the makcik is chatty and says vegies are on the house provided you buy one meat dish from her. now isn't that nice?

on fridays, there are no activities allowed before 1400 hrs. not even snorkelling. i don't know if its just lumba lumba but that was what they wrote on the dive schedule. i have no comment.

you can rent a motorbike, or go on an excursion with the locals around the DC. price have to be bargained. see what? waterfall, volcanoes and the highlight? kilometer zero. yes, the starting point of the archipelago of Indonesia. wow..when we were there, there was an earthquake but we did not feel it. only rained one day in our entire stay, lucky for us. the night can be sticky but can turn to be cold in the wee hours of the morning. only gave us a bed-sheet as blanket. not enough pillows. the room is cleaned only when you hand in your keys in the morn when you go for your dives.

(to be contd)
alamak, the tank goes at the back??
decimal86
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Re: Pulau Weh-Gapang Beach-Lumba Lumba DC

Post Number:#2  Postby decimal86 » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:52 pm

(contd)


ok the dive-sites are not spectacular. we have seen it in Sipadan and with better visibility too, and the pelagics were in greater numbers. the macro is not anywhere near to Manado...(imho the best so far). so what would make you come visit pulau weh?

the scenery from the boat is just lovely to behold. if you stay in Iboih beach, i reckon the shore dives will be a lot more interesting as just across from the beach is rubiah island, both banks with crystal clear waters. the houses are on stilts and look as if they are going to collapse any moment. and it is perfect for a honeymoon. the dive sites on the northern and north-western side have very choppy sea conditions on both times that we visited. struggling to get into the boat. here they will ask that you hand them your camera, weight-belt, BCD then fins before attempting to board from the sea. takes some doing in 1 m of waves!! very strong currents at Canyon. this place has the highest number of eels per square meter i have ever seen. some even stay together in one hole! and same for the pipefish, so many of them...orange spotted!

and if you really needed a time out for spa treatment, you have come to the right place!! 4 m down...is a hot spring!! what they do is take you to the wreck at Sabang, then save yr tank of air, ohhh, say 70 bar and they bring you to this hot spring, you may want to add weight if you are infull suit, take off your top and dive right in and enjoy the warm waters with all the minerals spewing out from the depths of the earth!! excellent....this was the highlight for me and my wife. just soaking in the warmth of the water and be at peace with the world.

nudis were seldom found. plenty of big banded shrimps. plenty of lionfish, frogfish, shrimp fishes (razorfish) were aplenty, tonnes of juvenile trigger fish, cornets, durban shrimp and sea horses at the house reef in front of lumba lumba, look out for fronds of coconut leaves according to the dive guides. we only saw one on our last day. (sigh)


we would have loved to do more boat dives but what to do? the shore dives were rewarding but we did not do a night shore-dive because we did not have the numbers. that would have been nice...the other wreck was way too deep for my experience level. close by too. the guides are good spotters and the safety factor is very high, we were not allowed to do our own safety stop when i was low on air, one guide to roughly 3 divers. boat was small--like tioman--and it was packed. drinking water provided on boat.

so in closing, i would recomm it but if you are seriously looking for macro, and in particular nudis? this is not for you. the porcelain crab here is as big as the crab along the shore. no crinoids. if kampung living is what turns you on after a dive? then come and enjoy the laid back charm.

enjoy! and harap berjumpa lagi...
alamak, the tank goes at the back??
decimal86
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Re: Pulau Weh-Gapang Beach-Lumba Lumba DC

Post Number:#3  Postby Ketam » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:36 am

Always enjoy reading your report bro.... especially the detailed information land side.... something Ketam always left out hehehe. Pulau Weh seems interesting just for the underwater hot spring experience.

You and Kat are all over the place hehehehe really like the enthusiasm.

Photos please!!! hehehehe
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Re: Pulau Weh-Gapang Beach-Lumba Lumba DC

Post Number:#4  Postby decimal86 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:00 am

this is my contribution to this forum...sometimes we need to know the distance, local rules, food, when to eat, std of rooms, air-cond , etc...which i hope will be useful to the folks here. one forum said i was not welcomed, but that's all right.

i am still trying to put up by Tulamben photos...will sit down one day and lock the door and do it. hmm 2 weeks from work and so many notices and emails to reply ar ???

no more leave..sob sob..but hey, met a bunch of guys malaysians and singaporeans there who dive very often. will see them on my facebook. will try to get together for a dive soon. this group got one guy with the Olym pen!! but no strobe, so naughty me introduced him to poison....


next up is Manado again with Lembeh as a day trip. i am thoroughly impressed by the macro life there. no wasting time, you can take there..i take here...then we changeover, i just love it man. and also i get a discount on silkair, so that's why its on top of my list. i will try la racasse this time, they say its closer to the eating places.


my Olym is coming back next week. i will try to sneak in a Tioman dive w/o my boss's barking and see what makes a pen tick ?? lol ? seems to be receiving a lot of good reviews from scubaboard.
alamak, the tank goes at the back??
decimal86
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Re: Pulau Weh-Gapang Beach-Lumba Lumba DC

Post Number:#5  Postby zee » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:57 am

we went to Gapang last 2years and i must say, the view from our backpack chalet took our breath away.
at that time i wasnt a diver yet (just got certified last 3weeks  ;) and i told myself by the time i got certified,i am soooo going to Gapang again and dive there (if snorkeling was awesomely good, let alone diving right?).
it is on top my dive site list, but from the sound of your report, manado is better, yes? looks like i shoud put manado higher lah  :glasses9:

ps: i think the reason being no activities on friday before 1400 have something to do with tsunami kot...
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Re: Pulau Weh-Gapang Beach-Lumba Lumba DC

Post Number:#6  Postby Ketam » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:33 pm

Bro... when are you going Manado? Me been dry for some time
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Re: Pulau Weh-Gapang Beach-Lumba Lumba DC

Post Number:#7  Postby meg » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:37 pm

Hi,

Thanks for the review. Really help us in preparing mentally what to expect on the topsite. Going there end October.

On the friday thingy, it is not due to tsunami like what commented before me. The fishermen on Pulau Weh believe that friday is sacred and water activities can only start after the friday prayer as majority are muslim. This also to ensure them go to friday prayer la...

Megat
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Re: Pulau Weh-Gapang Beach-Lumba Lumba DC

Post Number:#8  Postby decimal86 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:04 pm

zee wrote:we went to Gapang last 2years and i must say, the view from our backpack chalet took our breath away.
at that time i wasnt a diver yet (just got certified last 3weeks  ;) and i told myself by the time i got certified,i am soooo going to Gapang again and dive there (if snorkeling was awesomely good, let alone diving right?).
it is on top my dive site list, but from the sound of your report, manado is better, yes? looks like i shoud put manado higher lah  :glasses9:

ps: i think the reason being no activities on friday before 1400 have something to do with tsunami kot...


oh u went before...so we are agreed it is beautiful. if i go again, it will be Iboih beach...the first DC they have on pulau weh is in Iboih but somehow we keep going there everyday to pick up divers to dive with Lumba Lumba ??? hmmmm

when i compared the whole package, imho, manado is way so much to see and shoot (especially if you are a photographer). Bunaken marine park has pelagics and the vis was better...and the macro, the macro, the macro...like a jet li movie, no dialogue action only! my pressure gauge read 20 bar i oso don't know in Manado sampai bini tong tong tong di tangki!

but manado, the food at the place i stayed not so on--Sedona resort. this time i will stay at Cocotinos, closer to the city.

so w/o prjudice, i would vote for manado. and manado got lembeh some more? wonder how it got its name? dive until lembek? lol..

meg wrote:Hi,

Thanks for the review. Really help us in preparing mentally what to expect on the topsite. Going there end October.

On the friday thingy, it is not due to tsunami like what commented before me. The fishermen on Pulau Weh believe that friday is sacred and water activities can only start after the friday prayer as majority are muslim. This also to ensure them go to friday prayer la...

Megat


yes, friday is same as in malaysia.

brudder you will enjoy yourself there. Lumba Lumba all ang moh. they only dive with them. so if its summer in europe, all the faces are ang moh. and they were full from 28th july onwards.

pity though only 2 boat dives a day unless you can get 7 others. we left out quite a few dive sites because of that. the ang mohs only do 1 boat dive a day, the rest of the day sit, chit chat and drink bintang. but i guess thats how they treat their holidays.

in total my wife and i spent close to 3 million rupiah for food, tips and transport. i think that's useful? Tulamben, the cost of dinner was higher so we spent the same amount but no taxi and ferry charges incurred. and b'fast was at the villa. so a big difference. the exit tax here in bandar aceh is 100,000 rupiah compared to Bali 150,000.

Ketam wrote:Bro... when are you going Manado? Me been dry for some time


bro' you tell me-lah the range of dates, then we can organise together. my new toy coming back from NYC soon. my son is buying from there. so i will need you to teach me how to use. i bought the 9-18mm lens.  
Last edited by decimal86 on Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
alamak, the tank goes at the back??
decimal86
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