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Diving in Bali is diverse and there are several world class dive sites to choose from. At Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida you have a good chance of spotting sunfish in season (July to September), at Tulamben the coral covered USAT Liberty is resting on the bottom just of the coast and is waiting to be explored, Menjangan island is famed for its diversity in coral and crystal clear waters and the Gili Islands is the perfect place for combining diving with relaxation and a little partying on the laid back islands.

To make it a little easier to pick a destination in Bali or on one of the surrounding islands Mads Rode and Stefan Russel  have written this free e-book. The book covers all Bali’s major dive destinations and hard facts, like water temperatures, current strength and depths combined with short descriptions of the area above water and each area’s most popular dive sites help you in deciding where to empty your tanks in Bali. You can download the book here:
Book on diving Bali.

Here is  the matching dive resort overview


Some of you might remember when at the end of thee last millenium the first photos of pygmy seahorses appeared all over the dive magazines. It was almost as they discovered a new species. Did you know that the pygmy seahorse was already discovered in 1960!? Of course then there were not many underwater photographer around, the cameras were not so brilliant either and divers were rare.

Originally discovered in the 1960’s by the divers at the Aquarium of Noumea in New Caledonia, Bargibanti’s Pygmy Sea Horse (Hippocampus bargibanti) was described by the then Curator of Fishes at the Australian Museum Gilbert Whitley in 1970. It was just another scientific discovery and not much note was taken.

It was the first pygmy sea horse to be named and until Alan Power – Vanuatu’s dive legend – found another one at 50 metres on a sea fan at Santo, Vanuatu in the early 1970’s. Still not much excitement was created and it remained virtually unknown until specimens became suddenly well known throughout Papua New Guinea over the last 20 years.

The first pygmy seahorses in Indonesia were found by the late Larry Smith, then manager of the Kungkunganbay Resort in Lembeh in the 1995. Our friend and genius underwater photographer Juergen (Yogi) Freund happened to be there at the time and when he jumped on board Pindito a couple of days later on a cruise in Raja Ampat he showed his dive guides what to look out for. Within weeks numerous locations for pygmy seahorses were charted and more species were dicovered. The rest is history.

Today we know of at least 9 different species and we are still counting.

(Source: own research,  Neville Coleman)


Here is a very nice review of Matava Island resort by Barbara Winters, a client of us who recently spend a week there:

I wanted to surprise my partner for his 40th holiday and decided onFiji. We met when we learnt scuba diving inHonduras 11 years ago, and he became an instructor and I a rescue diver since. Since just over a year we both work at Adreno Scuba Diving centre in Brisbane, but we hardly ever go diving ourselves. So it was about time we got back in the water!

Through the website of Diversion Dive Travel I found a very good package deal: eight days in Eco-Resort Matava, including daily dives with a PADI Green Star Awarded dive centre, all meals included and the second person would go for half price. The fact that we would go to an Eco-Resort, without mass tourism and no families with small kids, made this holiday perfect for us because we love travelling to places where it is still largely unspoiled and peaceful. 

After a short flight to Fiji and another one to the small island of Kadavu, we were collected at the airport and brought to the other side of the island. The crew of Mad Dive Centre awaited us and entertained us during the 45 min trip to the resort. We were welcomed by more friendly people and shown our beautiful wooden ‘bure’ (hut). It was surrounded by rainforest and had the best view I’ve seen in my 20+ years of overseas travels! This was paradise!

 Critter juntion

Matava is right on the doorstep of the Great Astrolabe Reef. This is the fourth largest barrier reef in the world. It offers colourful soft corals, warm and clear waters and many different dive sites, such as walls, passages to the outer reef, big drop-offs and drift dives in mild currents. There is only a handful of dive operators that go to the reef and you and when we did a shore dive on our first day at Critter Junction, just in front of the resort, we were the only two there. We saw many very colourful and cute looking baby fish and spent a good hour filming and photographing it all. These shore dives are included in the package by the way, which was great.

 Outer reef
We had also booked 10 boat dives and most days we went to the outer reef, The Astrolabe Reef has many channels leading from extremely deep water into shallow lagoons and we visited these channels and on more windy days the lagoons. A beautiful dive is Naiqoro Passage, which was a drift dive along a massive coral wall.

We were lucky enough to see some of the finest the Astrolabe reef has to offer: reef sharks, moray eels, colourful angelfish, many different types of clownfish in waving anemones, a banded eel that behaves a lot like a sea snake, tiny nudibranch of only fingernail size, and even a comb jellyfish, flashing its tiny hairs in the sun as it moved past us during one safety stop. But best of all was the Manta encounter at Manta Reef.  We saw them feeding, doing barrel rolls in order to get the plankton-filled water to flow through their gills. What an amazing sight and how lucky we were to witness this from up close. I was cheering underwater.

Perfect holiday

As regular backpackers, this was our most luxurious trip ever, but it was worth it: in all respects a holiday we can’t fault. Mainly the friendliness of the Fijians and the staff at Matava made it exceptional and we loved the traditional Kava ceremony they invited us to, and special Lovo feast they served. All other days we had a mix of Mexican, Indian, English and Italian-style food, and it just kept coming, which is amazing considering the remote location and the lack of electricity most of the day. They even made my partner and another guest a birthday cake!

We were also very pleased to see that Matava runs its own organic garden and has many fruit trees in between the bures. The fact that you can leave the resort and explore the island a bit, canoe around the nearby island or walk to the village and swim under a waterfall, makes this holiday all the more adventurous.


Our ideas for best family holidays!

It was often difficult for divers with kids to find the right holiday where everybody can have some fun. By now there are a number of liveboard vessels around the world who accept children on some of there cruises which are specifically scheduled as family trips. The Aggressor fleet for example offers some family trips in the Caribbean, closer to our part of the world there are family liveaboard cruises in the Philippines and Indonesia available, for example with

Dive instructor on the Pindito with a child during an intro dive

the Pindito.  Babies, toddlers, teenagers all are welcome on board Pindito and some other liveaboards for designated family excisions!

 Many dive resorts are offering rooms or bungalows for families which are very suitable.

We think there are some considerations to be taken into account when you plan a dive holiday with the whole family.

A resort stay is the most common way to do this. Most resorts offer children’s’ rates (some more some less attractive), but this does not mean that they are naturally suitable for a family holidays. We just like to give you some pointers to select a great diving holiday for the family.

Important questions to ask:

Pack the bags!

  • Does the resort have a nice beach for kids to play and swim?
  • Do they offer a nanny service for a reasonable price?
  • Are the dive sites close by so you can be back in the resort after a dive or two without spending most of the day in the dive boat away from the non divers?
  • Apart from diving, what other activities can you engage in which are fun for the entire family?
  • Depending what age your kids are, you may get them into a bubble maker or similar early dive/snorkel program. Check if this is available
  • Does the resort offer kids sizes snorkel/dive gear?


Volivoli Resort in Fiji has a beach how kids love it!

We have done these checks and found some resorts that fit the bill. They tick the boxes and are quite affordable particularly in the Philippines, in Fiji and in Indonesia. Please check these resort out for your family holiday and ask us for their family rates:

In Fiji
Volivoli Resort 
We have a family special for you for the beautiful Volivoli Resort: Stay 7 pay 5 at 2011 rates for families!  (must be booked latest by 31st March 2012) Please email us for details! 

Here some more resorts that fit the bill:

Indonesia's beautiful reefs

In the Philippines:
Pura Vida Beach Resort
Alona Vida Beach Resort

In Indonesia:
Tasik Ria Resort
Siladen Resort & Spa

Also fantastic, but on a higher budget are: Gangga Island Resort & Spa  and Wakatobi Dive Resort.

Liveaboard Familiy cruises

The Pindito offers Wake Boarding as a fun activity for small and grown up guests!

In case you really want something very special, why not consider a liveboard dive cruise on the Pindito. Once a year they offer a family cruise of a lifetime! The crew has plenty ideas to make this trip exciting for grand and small guests. They offer a lot of activities around the water and on land for kids. Visit the Komodo dragons in the National Park, collect shells on the beach, spend an afternoon wakeboarding or a visit of an old fishing village. Introductory dives are possible as well. On this cruise kids under 10 years travel for free! 10-15 year olds pay 50% of trip price.

Pindito - a beautiful Indonesian liveaboard

Family liveaboard trips 2012:
30 Jul – 10 Aug 2012 Dive Komodo!  Pindito Family diving cruise
3-10 August 2012 (7 nights) Philippines diving  Philippine Siren Family trip

Family Liveaboard trips 2013:
28 Jul – 4 Aug 2013 (7 nights) dive Komodo with Indo Siren Family dive  trip
29 Jul – 9 Aug 2013 (11 nights) Dive Komodo with the Pindito Family dive trip


STOP PRESS!!   2012 Dates are still available – Check online or  FREECALL in Australia 1800 607 913 or email Info@diversiondivetravel.com.au for details

We have berths available on Mike Balls super livebaoard vessel, Spoilsport! This is a rare chance for an adventure of a life time in Australia. June and July each year is the season to encounter the Minke Whales. These excursions are for snorkelers and divers!

There are not many people in the world lucky enough to experience this but now this week you can be one of them!

The species that we will be observing is the Dwarf Minke Whale, which grows to a maximum length of about 8 metres. As soon as the whales get close to the boat, the skipper will disengage the engine and the boat will silently along with the current. Two ropes will be hanging from the back deck and you will be gliding in the water, wearing your mask fins and snorkel and a wetsuit. You just hang on to that rope, wait and see. The scene is set: Showtime!

Click to watch video

The whales  are very curious by nature and will continue to come closer to have a look at you.

For unknown reasons, they are interested in contact with people! They like to show of acrobatics like the belly loop for example, right in front of snorkelers!  If previous people’s whale encounter experience is any indication, there are no words for it. You’re going to be profoundly glad for the experience. Be quick, we have only a few berths to sell!

This is THE ultimate thrill for everyone who admires whales. The success rate of whale encounters is very high. Contact us: info@diversiondivetravel.com.au

FREECALL in Australia 1800 607 913

or email Info@diversiondivetravel.com.au for reservations


Which fish to eat? Make the right choice!

16th March 2012 is Sustainable Seafood Day. To celebrate and raise awareness we give you a chance to  WIN a TRAVELVOUCHER worth AUD 100 towards your next dive trip you book with us!  All you need to is share your story, or thoughts or a photo about what you do on Sustainable Seafood Day this weekend on our facebook wall.  The winner will be drawn randomly. We at DIVERSION DIVE TRAVEL support the event to motivate divers everywhere to be conscious about what seafood they eat! Like us on our facebook and get active

Fish is probably one of the last food sources on our planet that is exploited in the traditional “hunter and gatherer” fashion. Mankind just takes what is seemingly freely available. Well we all know that today’s technology used by commercial fishing fleets has very little resemblance to the “hunter and gatherer” approach. The only resemblance is that they only take fish and don’t do anything to replenish or protect the resource. There are responsible folk in the fishing community,, but they are on the receiving end as local fisheries are dying, entire fish stocks are in danger to be wiped out and new deep sea fishing techniques are extinguishing fish species faster than they can be discovered!

The driving force for all this is “the market”. This is where you come in when shopping for fish at your local supermarket or restaurant. We don’t want to discourage anyone from enjoying fish, but as with all things today, there are choices to be made – both good and bad when you consider purchasing fish. Furthermore, with all the interesting names for fish popping up on supermarket shelves it’s near to impossible to know what to do.
With this situation in mind, different organisations around the world have published fish guides to help you, the consumer, make the right choices. The information varies in each publication due to the different local fish names and availability.
Here is a random selection of fish eating guides worth checking out:

The AMCS has been the driving force behind and Australian Guide. Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Online Guide is an independent tool to choosing seafood wisely. It is Australia’s first online resource for consumers seeking to make sustainable seafood choices. It was developed in response to growing public concern about overfishing and its impact on our oceans and their wildlife.
AMCS sustainable seafood guide

You can even down laod a free IPhone App so you always have the information at your fingertips

Similar information with regional adaptation can be found for other parts of the world:

 USA /Canada      Seafood choices (Online directory)

UK/ Europe         Marine Conservation Society (pocket guide) 


Truk Lagoon

We asked our newsletter readers this question recently. The right answer is 30 years. Many participants mad an extra effort and added comments, some where quite funny or even informative and we like to share them with you:

    • 30 years. got my fingers, toes, legs and arms crossed, makes it really hard to dive like this though 😉

    • Whale Sharks need to be about 30 years old to procreate. I am 54 years young today and have been procreating about 30 years.

    • They reach maturity at the age of 30 years.  (Wish I was still 30!)

    • 30. Please, please, please…..
    • 30 !! P.S. does the fact that 30th Jan is my birthday help me win?  :)
    • 30 years. Do they serve eggs benedict at Blue Lagoon Hotel?
    • 30 years of age (a bit like human maturity really!!!)
    • Please pick me :) haha
    • 30. Happy New Year guys! Great newsletter!
    • 30 years. I’ll be saying my prayers every night and crossing all my fingers and toes :-)
    • Hi!! I saw this competition and couldn’t resist giving it a go!! I’ve been obsessed with sharks since I was a kid!
    • 30 years!!! I want my prize!
    • The Newsletter says after they grow 9 metres and are about 30 years old. Other marine biologists with whom I have spoken believe it is possible from 25 years on, or even younger – providing still the 9 metre length requirement! And all this proves is how much we have to learn about these AMAZING creatures!

The answers didn’t influence the outcome, but they brought some smiles on our faces.  Thank you everybody for participating in our competition to win a stay in Truk Lagoon in the beautiful Blue Lagoon Resort. The winner is…..Jodie Lee from Brisbane! Congratulations Jodie.  Jodie won 6 nights twin share accommodation with airport transfer from/to Weno airport/Resort  in

Truk Lagoon’s Blue Lagoon Resort

The Prize is for 2 divers and also  includes 10 dives per person!


It has been late 1991 when I first ventured to Banda Island in the Maluku Sea. I was then backpacking through Indonesia and on to PNG. I remember a quaint village with big history. The island came to fame and humble wealth as origin of spices such as nutmeg and pepper. Very violent battles between Colonial occupiers and locals have formed a very proud population. Diving was fabulous, but no dive guides and hardly any services available in Banda in 1991. I got stuck for a couple of days as no ferry or flight were available to travel on.

20 years later I sailed into Banda harbour again – this time on board of PINDITO.

What a change in experience. Pindito is definitely one of the finest live aboard vessels in Indonesia. Ample space for 16 guest in roomy airconditioned cabins. Private ensuite bathrooms, Saecco Coffee machine, free Bintang, 3 excellent meals every day, and the best group of dive guides to show us around.

Does this sound pampered? Then I explained it right. Guest on Pindito are looked after by 14 amazing crew members, starting from the chef in her stainless kitchen, through the hard working guys in the engine room, the ship mates, dive guides, the captain to the 2 cruise directors (The only non –Indonesians). Everyone was working hard to make sure we guest were having a good time.

PINDITO was built 20 years ago from tropical timber in the traditional Phinisi style. The ship has a beautiful feel of old maritime tradition. I agree with Edi, the owner, that she will be still around in 100 years. The sails hardly get raised these days as our trip covers almost 1000 km. In 11 days we covered some of the most amazing reefs in the heart of the Coral Triangle.

Critter galore in Ambons deep harbour, giant hard coral cover on the volcanic reef slopes of Banda Island, exposed seamounts, sheltered coral gardens, reef points sticking out into the currents,. Cleaner stations where the giants of the oceans receive their pedicure from specialised fish….

As a long time fan of Papua New Guinea Diving – which I still am, I have to concede that especially the northern reefs around Misool and Mansuar are displaying a density of life which is unparalleled. Each square millimiter is covered by some (colourful) living “thing”. It is a divers (and uw photographers) dream.

Back on board PINDITO, there was a buzz of excitement after each dive. Our well travelled and experienced dive buddies had all big smiles about their dives.

Mike, Amir and Bob- our guides – constantly showed us the weird and wonderful.

Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock, THE authorities on Diving in Raja Ampat and authors of many photo books, had just been on Pindito for the first time (after 15 years of intensively diving the region) left a big compliment in the guest book. Their biggest regret is to realise what they missed out on by not going on Pindito in those previous years.

It is difficult to explain one’s excitement without falling into platitudes. So I stop here and hopefully leave you with the desire to see for yourself what I was on about..

PS: Banda itself hasn’t changed much. The world seems to stay still in those remote parts of our planet.


Since I received my first NAUI Open water certification in the early 90’s I was always drawn to capture the excitement I experienced and to share it with friends, family and later clients. My first attempts with a SONY video 8 camera in a housing that resembled more the shape and size of a vacuum cleaner made me and my immediate family proud (they wouldn’t have dared to tell the truth).

Next phase was the upgrade to Hi8, new housing, lights and all. I felt like a pro! Especially when it came to chat to the check in lady and trying to get 40KG of excess luggage checked. Those were the days.

Fast forward to 2011. I see even novice divers with a small camera in a sleek housing, taken pictures and video that sometimes rival my best efforts in the early nineties. Technology is so good these days that your potential results can easily qualify to become viral on Facebook or YouTube. Still it is not all technology – the “auto” settings return great average results. To take better then average pictures underwater you must not only get a feel for the light underwater – its opportunities and limitations, you need to learn a lot about the subjects you want to photograph.

You can do this like me and add experience with every dive – or you speed up the learing process and take advice from a pro. What better then combining your next dive holiday with an intensive coaching session. Many liveaboards have resident photopros on board who are more then willing to oblige. And then there are special courses scheduled, like the series next year at TUFI Dive Resort in Papua New Guinea.

Learn from a pro

 In May 2012 Christopher Bartlett, an experienced photo-journalist who has published his pictures in many dive magazines and brochures, will teach three 5- day Compact Camera Workshops. In those courses he will cover equipment preparation and setup, underwater guidance and subject finding, composition, lighting, no flash photography, digital image processing. Classes will be limited to 6 participants only!

You get five nights twin share deluxe accommodation, all (yummy) meals, eight morning dives on the outer reefs, four afternoon critter dives, one night dive and the course for only AUD 1850.00/person. And you get to experience one of PNGs finest dive location!

Dates: 2-6 May 2012 – 9-13 May 2012 – 16-20 May 2012

 Contact Diversion Dive Travel 1800 607 913 / info@diversiondivetravel.com.au for travel suggestions, flights and more info on Christopher’s’ courses.


Divers with young kids often face a challenge if they want to take the family on a great holiday and experience excellent diving. Dive, bring the kids, have nannies on board who look after them. Get to dive and sail in the Philippines and/or in Indonesia. Enjoy an awesome family holiday on a liveaboard! This is for divers and non-divers. Other great activities such as kayaking, nature treks and beach combing are part of your excursion too.

There are no age restrictions, babies, toddler or teenage children, these family excursions are for everyone. Children under 10 years are Free of Charge and children up 15 years old pay half price!

Siren’s family diving trips are dedicated to families with kids and every aspect of what makes a family holiday relaxing and fun is taken care of. This trip is designed to allow both parents and their children to dive together (dependant on age and qualifications), to try scuba diving if not qualified yet and to enjoy many other activities.

Some of the activities on offer during family excursions are sea-kayaking, water skiing, treasure hunts, visits to stunning beaches and much more.  Food is included in the excursion and there is nothing to worry about, as children will get healthy but favourite and familiar food on board. Soft drinks & juices are included in the price as well. There is an extensive movie selection on board of kids favourites’ such as Disney movies and these can be viewed in the saloon on the large plasma screen whilst munching some pop corn or on each cabin’s personal computer!

  •  7 nights excursion*
  •  Price per adult (16 years +) 1850 Euro (approx. AUD 2499)
  • 10-15 year olds half price (per full paying adult)
  • Children under 10 years are Free of Charge !!!

*Inclusions: 7 night excursion, airport transfers (domestic airport and boat/return, accommodation for family of 3-4 in a double & twin beeded share ensuite cabin, all delicious meals and snacks, coffee, tea,  fruit juice, soft drinks and beer, fresh fruit ( special dietary requirements catered for), on diving days up to 3-4 dives for certified divers with all essential dive equipment provided.


 FREE PADI Discover Scuba Dive* for all non-diving guests
3 day PADI Scuba Diver* course ONLY 75 Euro per person

Onboard PADI instructors will be available to conduct scuba diving courses for those guests who never dived but would like to try! Take this fantastic opportunity to encourage the rest of your family members to enjoy your diving hobby as well! For 8 & 9 year old kids the Bubblemaker program will be offered if weather conditions and other circumstances allow.

*  Participants for any diving course or activity must be aged 10 or above

 Please contact us now for bookings of these special 7-night trips:

  • 3-10 August 2012 (Visayas, Philippines from Cebu to Dauin)
  • 28 July-4 August 2013 (Komodo, Indonesia from/to Birma)

 More about the boats on our website: Philippine Siren  and Indo Siren
Note: The Philippine Siren excursion is almost sold out, only a few berths left. Contact as soon!

Special Features of Family Diving Trips:

  • Nannies to look after children.
  • Baby cot if required*.
  • Children’s size snorkeling equipment*.
  • Specially catered children’s menu.
  • Fancy dress pirate night with prize for best dressed (make the crew walk the plank).
  • Fun but educational talks on the marine environment.

 *Limited numbers. Cot should be ordered at time of booking. It is advised parents purchase their child(rens) snorkel equipment prior to the trip to ensure a perfect fit.

Contact us!!

Phone     + 61 ( 7 ) 40 390 200
Freecall  1800 607 913 (within Australia)



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