Pamela Martin

7 Days at Walindi - Day 5

7 Days at Walindi - Day 5

The Deep Dive

This was special!

I had the rare and exciting opportunity to accompany a team of experienced tech divers and scientists to map the newest wreck just outside Kimbe Bay.

Becoming only the sixteenth diver to dive this wreck and the first to photograph it was an experience I could not pass up.

The stern sits at 60m while the bow is situated at around 30m, so a deep dive it is!

The reef it sits on is covered with beautiful corals and abundant fish life, as we have come to expect from diving these waters, for the less experienced and adventurous divers on the boat to enjoy.

The team was lead by experienced tech divers and instructors, Captain Garry Kulisek and his son Matts Kulisek. Making sure all aspects of this dive went
to plan.

The team’s mission was to locate, search, map and photograph the site for others to experience and enjoy when visiting the area.

The wreck itself is only one year old giving it an eerie but beautiful feel as though it does not yet belong underwater. We could see the beginnings of coral formation on the wreck with marine life beginning to take up residence. The way it’s positioned on the reef while looking from the bow gives the optical illusion that the stern is much shallower than it actually is, adding an extra dimension to this dive.

The ship is beautiful to look at and easy to photograph in it’s entirety in the clear waters of Kimbe Bay.

As you descend to the stern you are able to see the ship in it’s entirety. Passing by the bridge and on down to the swim through that takes you underneath the body of the ship. The easy swim through lies at 53.7m filled with colourful coral allowing you to pass under the ship through to the other side, where you can see the damage to the hull before slowly ascending back up to the bow to end the dive.

I was never really captured by the lure of wreck diving until that day. Maybe it was being a part of the team and the mission, maybe it was being the first to photograph it or maybe it was the lure of the wreck itself. When I think back it was probably all of these parts combining to make this dive so unforgettable.

I can’t wait to go back and document the coral formations on this wreck over time and see who has taken up residence.

One thing is for sure; this wreck is great to dive today and is only going to get better over time!

A big thank you to Garry, Matts and the Walindi team for allowing me to be part
of the mission.

http://www.walindi.com

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Pamela Martin

7 Days at Walindi - Day 4

7 Days at Walindi - Day 4

This morning, by popular demand we headed back to Joelle’s to spend time with our turtle friends followed by dives at Ann Sophie’s and Joy’s Reef.

Joelle’s is also filled with colourful Anemones and Anemone fish making this site worth a second visit with a macro lens attached rather than a wide angle.

Ann Sophie’s can only be described as biodiversity at its best!

Varying coral gardens, fill this dive site making it a must for macro photography. Goby Shrimp, crabs, Scorpion fish, nudibranchs, flatworms, Dart fish and Garden Eels all live here, providing ample opportunity to witness what a healthy ecosystem should look like.

As with all the dive sites in Kimbe Bay, Ann Sophie’s is a Mecca for fish life of all kinds that makes you feel like you’re diving in a giant aquarium rather than in the open ocean.

Joy’s Reef was the last dive of the day; with a nice sandy slope. It is the place to drift along the sandy bottom looking for all things that burrow. We spent much of our time there watching our guide coax a Manta Shrimp out of its hole for an impromptu photo shoot. Fast little things they are! Make sure your camera is on rapid fire and start shooting before the little guy even looks like he’s coming out of his hole or you’ll miss him every time. Garden Eels are everywhere as were Shrimp Gobies and nudibranchs.

Another beautiful day in paradise!

http://www.walindi.com

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Pamela Martin

7 Days at Walindi - Day 3

7 Days at Walindi - Day 3

Bradford Shoals, North Emaand Susan’s Reef dive sites.

Day three of Kimbe Bay diving takes us to Bradford Shoals, a seamount that rises from the depths creating an environment rich in biodiversity.

At depth you can see a number of pelagic fish including Barracudas, Pinfaro, Big Eye Trevally, Dog Tooth Tuna, Unicorn Fish, and Sharks, as well as Leather Coral at the stunning vertical drop off where we were treated to a Hammerhead that swam past us before gracefully disappearing into the blue.

Closer to the surface we found Fairy basslets, Butterfly fish, Damselfish and Pink Anemone fish in abundance and to top it off found one of my personal favorites the Cuttlefish counting not one or two but five in close proximity of each other.

North Ema Reef is a deep bommie situated to the North of the main reef.

It is a jungle of Giant Gorgonian sea fans that take your breath away. After spending as much time as you can admiring their beauty and abundance it is time to turn east and head back to the shallower waters of the main reef to admire yet another sheer wall that drops away to the brilliant blue depths.

Navigating our way around the reef to the surface we came across large Anemone with rare Orange Anemone fish to keep us company on our accent.

Susan’s Reef was our last dive of the day; this is the place to go in search of the illusive Pigmy Sea Horse. With Red Whip Gorgonian Fans, colourful Crinoids, Sea Whips, Hard Corals, Staghorn Corals and Sea Anemone this aquatic garden is definitely for the coral lovers amongst us.

I spent the whole dive admiring the tiny and fragile beauty of both Red and Brown Pigmy Sea Horses hidden away in their glorious sea fan homes.

I can think of worse ways to spend an afternoon!

http://www.walindi.com

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Pamela Martin

7 Days at Walindi - Day 2

7 Days at Walindi - Day 2

Joelle’s, Anne Sophieand Malupa dive sites.

If I was impressed with the diving on day one, day two raised the bar. Starting with Joelle’s. A lovely forty-minute boat ride from my jungle home, I was once again in diving heaven. I’m talking about forty meter visibility, coral gardens that you only dream of and a resident Hawksbill Turtle that followed me around like my very own underwater puppy for the entire dive. I fondly called him Martin, after my dive master, who not only had a very special connection with Martin the turtle but with all the dive sites in Kimbe Bay.

The beauty of having local dive masters at a resort, especially for photographers, is the knowledge base these professionals possess.

Martin and his colleagues know where all the underwater critters live and are proud to show off their spectacular reefs to visitors. My advice to even the most experienced diver is stick with the dive masters and you will see a lot more than you ever would on your own.

Also found at Joelles’s are schooling Barracuda, Big Eye Trevally, Pinfaro, Dog Tooth Tuna, Surgeonfish, Gray Reef Sharks and White Tip Sharks.

I will always remember Anne Sophie as the Barracuda and Batfish dive. Not because they are the only things there, on the contrary, but because they are in such abundance it is hard to get past them. Tornadoes of Barracuda swirl around you in the water column above this reef. If you do happen to look down for a moment you will find a reef that is blessed with huge brain coral, sea fans, black coral trees and barrel sponges providing homes for the abundant marine life including crabs, Scorpion fish, nudibranchs, flatworms and Dart fish.

The last dive of the day was Malupa, which is great for anyone who loves the smaller things in life. Abundant crustations and fish life found in a landscape of hard and soft corals that you could easily spend hours exploring.

Friendly turtles, big fish, small critters, colorful coral gardens and someone who can show you it all.

What more can you ask for?

             http://www.walindi.com

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Pamela Martin

7 Days at Walindi - Day 1

7 Days at Walindi - Day 1

The first day of diving and I was so excited I forgot my dive computer and had to run back to my bungalow to get it. With an 8am start down at the jetty I was met by the one and only Captain Gary Kulisek, the Dive Ops Manger at Walindi. Gary can only be described as; the most charismatic, larger than life person I have ever met who rained supreme over the team of dive masters who had my gear set up ready for me to check before I had even set foot on the boat.

To ease into the week the first day consisted of two dives sites, Otto’s Point
and Otto’s South.

What can I say, the first day diving Kimbe Bay did not disappoint!

The diving at Otto’s consists of sheer drop off’s displaying a flourishing reef system of both hard and soft corals that create magnificent underwater architecture for the hundreds of fish species that share this spectacular reef.

For the photographer this is the place to hone your wide angle, underwater landscape and schooling fish skills. While for the diver it is a place to be at one with nature and enjoy the incredible biodiversity Kimbe Bay has to offer.

Otto’s Pointis, as the name suggests, a steeply descending point at the northeastern end of the reef. For the macro lovers amongst us it boosts large Mushroom Coral, Sea Anemones with Pink Anemone fish, Spider crabs, gobies and an abundance of nudibranchs. However, the highlight of this reef is definitely the schooling Barracuda, Trevally, Sea Perch, Unicorn fish, Tuna and occasional sharks that all feed in the currents just beyond this point.

The beautiful southern end of the reef called Otto’s South consists of a series of ledges, overhangs and small caves with a myriad of sponges, black corals and reef clams to add to the long list of species you can find here.

After our dives we head back to Walindi spending our time enjoying clear blue sky’s, mountainous jungle landscapes and smoking volcanoes that make up the dramatic scenery and surrounds of Kimbe Bay.

Tempted yet?

http://www.walindi.com

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