Traveling and diving in Ambon with critter junkies Dive Bluemontion.
This was quite a long trip for me. It all started 4th of March when I flew out from Arlanda airport in Stockholm, Sweden, leaving 16:00 heading first to Doha with Qatar Airlines then on to Jakarta where I had a 8-hour stop before the last leg to me to Ambon island where I arrived 6th of March early in the morning.
I had managed to get a total of 4 hour sleep during the whole trip so felt a bit tired at arrival. One reason was on the first leg down to Qatar, everyone on the entire plane seemed to be sleeping except the family behind me. Small children in an airplane is never much fun (me thinks), but that is also life. You may not believe it but even I was a Mini Patrik once.
Pleased to finally have arrived, I waited eagerly for my pre-booked pickup. It never arrived so after some eventually I just grabbed at taxi on the street. The trip from the airport to the hotel took about 45 minutes.
Once in my room, the first thing I always do it to charge all my batteries and to mount my camera so everything is ready for the dives the next day.
For me it is very important to have the camera ready and everything checked about the camera the evening before a dive, and I also take same test shoots. I check that the camera is dense and not leaking, and for that I use a vacuum pump/alarm.
The next day began with me oversleeping by 1.5 hours after which I was in a real hurry. I was supposed to get up at 6 am and woke at 7.30 am, not good start on the day. However, somewhat sleep deprived after the trip and as Indonesia is some 7 hours ahead of Sweden making 6 am being 11 pm, explains the oversleeping I guess.
I grabbed some fruit salad in the hotel restaurant, ran and made it to the Critter Junkers Dive Centre on time anyway. Luckily.
That first day we made 4 dives. The first dive was just outside the house reef. We just walked 100 meters to the left from the Dive Centre, close to some local fishing boats. It was a really good muck dive and I saw a hairy frogfish, henequen shrimps, nudibranch, seahorses, etc. The dive was to 25m depth and we were diving for 80 minutes. Arthur from the dive centre kindly guided me around. The dive was a good 7.
The second dive was just outside the house reef. Once again, it was just Arthur and me. I really like to be by myself and get help from someone who knows how to find the great things at the dive site. I think that without him, I would only have found maybe half the things we saw. That’s how valuable a local guide is, so my recommendation is to get one when you can. This second dive was down to around 25 meter and 80 minutes long. We saw Cutter fish, weedy scorpion fish, lot of nudibranches again, different kinds of frogfish and much more. The dive was a clear 8.
The third dive was a boat dive to a site called “Lama 2”. We went down to around 20 meter and stayed down for another 80 minutes. We saw more nudis, sea houses, different kinds of lion fish, frogfish, crabs, shrimps and other little things. A great dive that scored 7.
The last dive for the day was a night dive at the house reef. When I booked the diving with Critter Junkies Diver they really recommended their night diving, and yes they was so right about this. This time we were a small group, only two guest divers and two dive guides, pure luxury 😊.
It was maybe one of my best night dives ever! The dive guides were showing me things everywhere and I had to swim between them like a maniac the entire dive in order to catch everything each of them found.
Before the dive, they told us that they would use their underwater lamps to show us when they had found something special. They were move the lights from right to left and back again. Did they move the lights? Yes they did! It was like being at a disco down there, the lights were going from the left to the right and back the entire dive. So much fun! In fact it was so much fun that the battery in my camera ran out after 45 minutes. I took 1500 photos that first day.
Why wasn’t this dive the best? Because of all the rubbish and plastic at the bottom of the sea. Otherwise it have been world class on that dive site. We all have to stop this, cant we offer the locals a way to get rid of the plastic and clean up the area. Cant we just use less plastic everywhere and anywhere?
I been taking with a close friend of mine about this problem, Sabine. She has told me they have started some cleaning up the islands in Maldives and she even told me that there are 50 island that have started to do something about this. She also told me that in Germany, they use plastic for making electricity, maybe that’s one idea to deal with all this plastic excess.
Another old friend of me, Michael, now lives in Philippines/Moalboal has told me that in the Philippines, they are taking care of all plastic bottles, recycling them. They have problems with the plastic bags instead but are collecting also those bags. Another idea that I am aware of is that they make clothes and even buildings blocks of recycled plastic.
I have an idea – a lot of people today are talking about eating eco food. It costs a little more but it is better for the environment. I think we should start going on eco trips. In practice that means the trip will cost a little bit more, but if we start showing a preference and willingness to go to ( eco) clean oceans area , that mean that maybe places are going to taking more care about the nature and other problems around the world. And those who take more care, get more tourists to visit and make more money, a win- win situation.
What are your great ideas for stopping the pollution of our seas and to bring them back to health? Any initiatives you would like to share?
Apologies for the diversion but please comment, this is important. Now back to the diving and the second day when we made just two dives.
The first dive was a boat dive with a score of 7. We went down to 25 meters and slowly made our way around the entire dive site. We saw lot of nudibranch, clownfish, moray eel, seahorses, cuttlefish, octopus, frogfish etc. I went up too early on this dive. I thought I just had 40 bar of air left so I went up, but I hadn’t looked close enough on my pressure gauge, which showed 80 bar left when I come up. Can’t recall something like that before but better than no air at all, rather safe than sorry as the expression goes.
The second boat dive on that day was to Kampung Barv and scored a 6. A very nice dive site, with lots of things to see, and as usual we started around 25 m. It was a slow slope up to the beach. In fact every dive I made here had a slow slope. The deepest on this trip was around 30 meters, but Arthur at the dive Centre told me that the site goes down to 700m. He also explained that can be the reason why they have so many different fishes in the water. If you like muck diving then you really need to go here. We saw lot of nudibranch, moray eel, crabs, different shrimps,
At the end of the dive, we notice what looked like a big cloud coming towards us in the water. First we had about 15 meter visibility but with the big cloud came visibility of only 0.5 meter. It’s a tad scary how quickly the visibility and change. When we come up the weather had changed dramatically. The wind had increased severely and there was a heavy rain. It was a new experience for me that the weather could change so very quickly.
I want to thank all the staff at Critter Junkies Dives Centre for an amazing few days – Arthur,Ariy, Kasol, Bib, Benny Anda and of course the chef Tasya who made us fantastic lunches every day.
And yes I want to go back there again for much more muck diving. I have only scraped the surface and there is so much more that I like to discover there. I think I need at least a month or maybe more when I think about it. There is simply so much more to experience, see and document.