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|Newsletter May 2013|
East of Flores Trip Report
By Jane Barron
Diving is really wonderful I concluded after our amazing trip East of Flores, Indonesia (19th April - 3rd May 2013). Even though we are avid snorkelers, I had been anticipating the trip for a year, since we had postponed a similar trip the year before due to sudden onset of breast cancer! That made me even more determined to go, and this time, with encouragement and two short lessons from Valerie Taylor on a previous super trip to Banda, enthusiasm for diving took hold and I completed my Padi Open Water diving course in January (at Frog Dive in Willoughby, Sydney) ready for the trip. I enjoyed 24 dives on this trip and I only wish I had done it 40 years ago!!!
Our small group of eleven eager passengers met at Bali Airport with Mark our highly experienced tour leader, and his son Ben (at 11 already an accomplished diver). After a memorable flight over vents of smoking volcanoes and beautiful coral reefs, we made a bumpy landing at Maumere, Flores, then Mark led us onto the Seven Seas ready for a once in a lifetime adventure. The friendly Indonesian crew quickly dispensed with the bags, and provided a welcome late lunch.
The following day we awoke to beautiful weather and wonderful scenery amid huge active volcanoes and delightful island reefs near Lewotola, Lembata Island in the Banda Sea East of Flores. Everyone was getting ready for the first dive and I was a bit nervous with little experience, but Valerie and her brother Greg (Mark's dad) were there giving heaps of sage advice and encouragement to novice old divers.
Our group comprised five friends who were also novice divers compared to our travelling companions, especially Valerie, Dieter and Alice who were sporting serious underwater camera equipment. The next dive (near Pantar Island, Alor Island Group) revealed a new underwater world of astonishing creatures. Our two Indonesian dive masters were masters indeed, able to find quite minute and carefully camouflaged creatures indicating millennia of selective evolution. A night dive was the first for me. It was also our first large scorpion fish, a truly ugly creature matching perfectly its blotchy and knobbly surrounds. Elsewhere were small delicate black and white lobsters, a huge red hermit crab and thin flounder decorated with alphabet letters upon its back. Dancing blue nudibranchs completed the array.
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The Seven Seas - Grahalia Tiying Gading 18, Suite 1 - Jl Tukad Pancoran
Panjer Denpasar 80225 - Bali - Indonesia