Lembeh Straits : WIDE OPEN!!!
May 13 – 22, 2013 with Andy Sallmon and Allison Vitsky
Lembeh Straits has long been known as the muck diving capital of the world. Thousands of underwater photographers descend upon this legendary place every year armed with macro lenses and a singular goal in mind: to create images of the incredible, small creatures that inhabit this fantastic place.
For a long time, we were no different. However, it began to occur to us that we were missing a large part - literally – of what Lembeh had to offer. We’d see gorgeous, tiny cowries and shrimp…then back up and notice the huge gorgonians and branching soft corals they inhabited. The more we looked, the more we felt that some of the dive sites seemed just as suited to wide-angle as to macro photography. Furthermore, we heard rumors of additional sites: shipwrecks, current-swept pinnacles, and soft-coral-laden arches, all of which belied the macro-only reputation that Lembeh has had for so long.
We spoke to Critters@Lembeh/Lembeh Resort Managers Kerri Bingham and Hergen Spalink, and they were game for a challenge, as well. With their help, we’ve crafted an amazing trip that will showcase Lembeh in a whole new way. We’ll still visit some amazing macro sites, but we’ll spend many dives shooting unique reefscapes the likes of which have not emerged from this region before. To enable guests to maximize their chances at getting fantastic shots, photography seminars on various aspects of wide-angle and macro photography will be presented during the trip.
The price for this exclusive opportunity is $2500 per person. This trip includes 9 nights at the luxurious Lembeh Resort, 3 boat dives daily and unlimited shore diving, photo seminars, all meals, and transfers to and from the airport in Manado. Alcohol, gratuities, and flights to and from Manado are not included. A nonrefundable deposit of $850 holds your spot. For additional information or to book, contact Andy Sallmon at email@example.com or (949) 637-6623.
Cocos Island : WILD!!!
Sept. 10 – 20, 2013 with Andy Sallmon and Allison Vitsky. Organized by Reef & Rainforest
Cocos island, the “pelagic crossroads” of the Pacific, is home to one of the densest populations of marine life anywhere on the planet. It’s a wild place and surely one of the last frontiers that divers can visit. Thousands of sharks, rays, sea turtles, dolphins, huge schools of fish and seabirds are attracted to this lonely outpost in the Eastern Pacific. It’s a stopover point for some and home to others. Breeding, feeding and congregating animals all end up at Cocos at sometime during their respective journeys. Cocos is thick in legend too. It’s said to be home to several caches of hidden (lost) pirate booty. Over the years, many a notorious buccaneer used the island to take safe anchorage, hide from authorities and re-provision their ships with food and water. Some hid their treasure here to avoid being caught. Over the years their stories have ignited the imaginations of treasure hunters from around the world, but no treasure has ever been found. Treasure that is, in the monetary sense! This tiny island offers up its real treasures in the form of exciting and rare marine life encounters.
Wild above and below!
Cocos is wild both above and below. Seasonal downpours support incredible, huge rainforests that cover the island’s interior. Numerous waterfalls plummet hundreds, even thousands, of feet from its
rocky cliff edges onto rocky beaches greeting the Pacific tides. The waters surrounding Cocos Island are wild and teaming with huge schools of fish. Jacks, tuna and snapper, thousands strong, hover over many of the island’s dive sites. Most of these sites are offshore pinnacles and seamounts that lie in deeper water. There, in the deep, cool water below the thermoclines, cleaning stations attract schooling sharks and rays. Large, brightly colored King angelfish and a small silvery-yellow butterflyfish, known as the barberfish, attract the attention of pelagic animals. One by one, like a busy car wash on a weekend, hundreds of scalloped hammerhead sharks pass through the cleaners. By staying perfectly still on the bottom, divers are treated to a spectacle few will ever experience as hundreds of hammerheads pass right in front of them. Silky, Galapagos and even whale sharks are also attracted to the seamounts and cleaning stations and it is possible to view them at arms length. This is a paradise for the underwater photographer!
The near-shore islets offer more protected waters. These are great places to see sleepy sea turtles and white-tipped reef sharks, as well as large schools of blue-lined snapper and crimson squirrelfish. There have even been occasional sightings of tiger sharks near some of the islets in the small protected bays. For the photographer, there’s good reason to bring a macro lens as well! Frogfish and Cocos batfish (an endemic species) inhabit the bottom at some of the inshore sites rounding out the cast of characters found in Cocos’ diverse waters.
Getting close and closer again!
Stealth is the name of the game if you want up close and personal visits by hammerhead sharks. The closest (best) encounters come from lots of patience and good technique. Holding perfectly still, on the bottom, behind a rock is the best way to get that hammerhead to come close. Divers exhaust bubbles can frighten hammerheads away during their approach to a cleaning station. So, it is really important to relax, hold still and breath shallow. I prefer a rebreather when trying to get hammerheads to come close to me. One of the features of this trip will be that 1/2 of the divers will be on rebreathers! Our plan is to dedicate one of the two dive skiffs for rebreathers only and the other for the open circuit folks. We are doing this for the rebreather divers to give them the best chance of close encounters for their efforts, as traveling with a rebreather is a real pain and quite costly. For the open circuit folks, we will give special instructions so that they will also have real close encounters with hammerhead sharks. Everybody wins, but rebreather or not, holding still and staying glued to the bottom are a must!
Whether you are a seasoned pro, or a rank novice photographer you will want images of your trip to Cocos Island. Because we are photographers, we invite everyone to bring a camera. One of the benefits of having group leaders that are also
award winning professional photographers and published photojournalists is that you will have a wealth of photographic knowledge at your disposal. We will give presentations at the beginning, critiques during and a final presentation at the end of the trip. We do this to help you get your best images, because a picture says a thousand words! We also invite everyone to add images for critique nights to help you hone your skills, so that your best images get even better. We promise to be nice on critique night too, so don’t worry! The important thing to us is that you should get the best service that we can offer you, so that you can go home and proudly show all your friends and family your images and what you experienced at Cocos Island. They will be amazed!
Experience, Safety and Success
We’d love to have you join us on this great adventure and share the secrets of Cocos Island with you. if you do, you will undoubtedly experience one-of-a kind marine life action like nowhere else in the
world. For this kind of diving we have carefully chosen the best of the best to get us there and back and watch over us while there. The Undersea Hunter Group has more experience diving Cocos safely then anyone in the business. Sure, close marine life encounters are what we all want, but when it comes to doing it comfortably and safely only the USH Group will do. Our home for this ten-day adventure is the spacious Sea Hunter. The Sea Hunter is a purpose made live aboard with every amenity to make our time at sea as comfortable as possible. Check her out at: http://www.underseahunter.com/b170/general-ship-info.html. The USH divemasters are the best in the business and over the years many have become friends.
Please sign up today!
We invite you to join us and experience this once in a lifetime adventure. Spaces are limited.
or contact group leader Andy Sallmon at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information please visit this URL. http://www.reefrainforest.com/pho302/photo-trip-cocos-islands-with-andy-sallmon.html
Trip Price: $5084
Includes: Package includes twin/double cabin accommodation, meals, all diving with Nitrox and services of the crew and photo pro.
Does not include:$245 park fee or $60 transfers or airfare.