THE BEST OF BALI WITH BONNIE PELNAR
Rich reefs, a wreck, macro wonders and some ‘big’ animals
Dates: Monday 7th October - Saturday 19th October 2013 (13 days)
Leader: Bonnie Pelnar
Group Size Limit: 11 plus leader
Bonnie Pelnar has been working in the graphic design and photographic industry for over 30 years and since 1996 has dedicated her life to her own work at Under Watercolours, marketing the dive industry, drawing on a life time of experience in photography and artistic talent. The great advantage of all her experience in this line of work is that Bonnie is continually ahead of the game in terms of new technology, new techniques and the latest concepts. Since 2003 Bonnie has focused more and more on her underwater photography workshops and courses for underwater photographers, be they beginners with compact cameras or those with a more complicated DSLR set-up. During her courses Bonnie covers subjects such as composition, lighting (both natural and strobe use), shooting modes and colour management. Where Bonnie really comes into her own is through her knowledge of digital image processing and editing, as she shares an array of tips and tricks for editing and enhancement your images in Photoshop and Elements. You can learn the basics from getting images from your camera to your computer and there is no end to the amount of technical detail that you can reach with Bonnie.
Bali can easily be regarded as perhaps the best pathway into South East Asian diving. A well considered itinerary taking in Bali’s prime dive locations can make for a highly memorable and rewarding trip. Balinese diving offers majestic and colourful current swept walls; one of the world’s most accessible and photogenic wrecks; some intriguing and beguiling muck diving and some thrilling ‘big animal’ encounters.
Our first stop will be at Mimpi Resort, Menjangan. Here the walls at Menjangan Island drip with soft corals of every shape and hue. On the walls reside macro critters such as Orangutan Crab, numerous shrimp and a variety of nudibranchs but it is here that you will require the wide angle lens, as the anthias frame the coral encrusted reefs. You must watch out for what swims past the reef too as reef sharks and rays often come by on patrol. From Menjangan we will also take part in a dusk dive in search of the Mandarinfish, who each night perform their mating ritual as the sun sets. Patience is the key for good photographs here though as you only have a second to catch them in the act!
After Menjangan we shall continue east along Bali’s north coast and down to Tulamben where we can take advantage of the geological effects of the enormous volcano (mount Agung) that sits proudly as a backdrop as you dive up and down the Tulamben coast. The first is the wreck of the USS Liberty, scuttled in World War Two and later tipped off the beach by one of Agung’s eruptions. The second is the black laval sands of Scuba Seraya’s house reef; Seraya Secrets, home to a multitude of macro subjects that will definitely have you back for more!
Our final stop on this ‘tour de force’ will be a stay in Candidasa from where we can reach the island of Nusa Penida, famed for swirling currents, busy reefs, but most of all, the bizarre Mola Mola (or Sunfish) and a resident population of enormous Manta Rays! Diving here can be challenging as the currents are quite unpredictable and the water much cooler than in the temperate regions of Bali. However, the sight of the Mola Mola swimming towards you with it’s seemingly crooked face and eyes is well worth it! We will take two days to dive at Nusa Penida, doing three dives each day; one at Crystal Bay in search of the Mola Mola, followed by a dive at Manta Point to witness the feeding Manta Rays, followed by a third dive at Crystal Bay. Our final dive day will be at Padang Bai so we really go out with a bang! The diving here is some of the most breath-taking in Bali. Sharks regularly visit the walls here and schools of jacks also make their home above the hard coral reefs. On the more sheltered sites gentle sandy slopes provide a haven for cuttlefish, Leaf Scorpionfish and a great variety of colourful reef fish.
For the Menjangan and Candidasa sections of the tour, the diving will be conducted by the well established and highly regarded Aquamarine Diving. Based in Seminyak, their comfortable, air conditioned vans will transport you from your hotel to the dive sites each day. Their guides are hugely talented and extremely friendly and helpful. Aquamarine boats are of an excellent standard and whilst diving with them the ratio of divers to guides will be 4:1.
For full details of Mimpi Menjangan and Scuba Seraya, plus the general Bali tour description, please see the Bali section of our website.
Monday 7th October: Midday arrival at Denpasar where we transfer to Mimpi Menjangan Resort for 4 nights.
Tueaday 8th – Thursday 10th October: 3 days diving the fabulous walls of Menjangan Island.
Friday 11th October: Transfer to Scuba Seraya resort for 4 nights.
Saturday 12th October – Monday 14th October: 3 days of diving the USS Liberty Wreck and the house reef of Scuba Seraya.
Tuesday 15th October: Transfer to (an as yet unknown resort in Candidasa).
Wednesday 16th October – Friday 18th October: 2 days diving at Nusa Penida and 1 day of diving at Padang Bai.
Saturday 19th October: Morning at leisure to dry and pack your gear before an afternoon departure for Denpasar airport.
$3120 (provisional price, to be confirmed)
• All transfers
• 4 nights half board accommodation on a twin/share basis in a Patio Room at Mimpi Menjangan Resort.
• 3 days of diving Menjangan (5 dives Manjangan Island, 1 dive Menjangan Channel, 3 dives Secret Bay or similar) with Aquamarine Diving
• 4 nights room and breakfast accommodation on a twin/share basis in a Patio Room at Scuba Seraya Resort
• 3 days of diving Tulamben (6 boat dives, 3 shore dives)
• 4 nights half board accommodation on a twin/share basis in a Deluxe Garden Room at Puri Bagus Candidasa
• 3 days diving Nusa Penida and Padang Bai (8 boat dives) with Aquamarine Diving
• Services of Bonnie Pelnar as leader
Single occupancy supplement: $557 (provisional price, to be confirmed)
Upgrade at Mimpi Mengangan: There are several different room categories at Mimpi Menjangan. Please contact us for the relevant upgrade supplement.
Upgrade to Ocean View Villa at Scuba Seraya: $232 (provisional price, to be confirmed)