Animal behaviour has always been popular for divers here at Maluku Divers. When I began guiding for macro photographers I was told that the divers wanted to see “either very cool critters or normal critters doing really cool things” and this has been very true. It is just one of the aspects highlighting the great understanding of photographers that has developed at the Maluku Divers resort over the previous years operating in Ambon Bay.
To find a critter with eggs, breeding or feeding really adds an interesting dynamic to any dive, to observe this kind of behaviour is always a privilege to observe, but to photograph it takes patience and often dedication (or dare I say it, luck) but it has to be said, divers visiting Maluku Divers get more chances than most to see something unusual. The images here were all shot by Joe Daniels, one of our talented Resort Managers, and he gets more time than most with the critters!
Having been lucky enough to observe Ambon Bay over a number of years it is interesting to note that eggs, whether its frogfish, ghost pipe fish or gobies tend to be far more prevalent around the full moon. So as full moon approaches we are always more focussed on behaviour hunting for our divers to photograph.
At one of our sites last season, there were numerous bearded gobies snuggled in stylophora branching corals all carefully guarding their eggs. We had been watching these eggs over a number of days and were lucky enough to return each day as the eggs developed allowing us to see their growth and have Joe around to capture the eyes of the developing fish in the eggs.
Being able to not only see these amazing critters, but to also watch them going about their daily lives during long relaxed dives, is a great pleasure and we hope is one of the most rewarding aspects of visiting Maluku Divers. Our dive guides have collective decades of experience spotting critters, but perhaps more importantly they have an understanding of the habitat and behaviour of the critters too, this helps them to ensure our divers are able to see and photograph as much of this unique behaviour as possible.
With small dive groups, multiple dive boats and the fact that we are still the only resort inside Ambon Bay means photographers at Maluku Divers have all the time they need to enjoy the abundance of critter behaviour of Ambon. Have you booked your stay yet?
Maluku Divers Giving Back
With Maluku Divers being the only dedicated dive resort here in the village of Laha Ambon, divers are still somewhat of a novelty for the local villagers. We often get some confused looks from the fishermen (or big smiles from the children) as the diver’s heads pop up amongst the fishing boats or beside the village jetty.
As Maluku Divers continues to expand we like to involve the local community in Laha so that they can understand more about our company beliefs, mindset and our view points, but also learn about the ocean and their environment. So we thought what better way to involve them than taking the time to train some up so that they are able to understand the draw of diving and hopefully join the Maluku Divers team one day? We currently have 45 Indonesian staff occupying all the positions in the resort, from mechanics and chefs to house keeping and boat captains, but one thing we can’t have too many of here at Maluku Divers is dive guides. With this in mind we decided to host an open water diving course this week, run by project directors Nus Lobbu and dive team heads Semuel and Nan. The course was free of charge and open to local people and current staff interested in taking the plunge!
The course was a great success with 8 new divers, some showing real potential, who will continue their training in hopes of becoming future dive guides here at Maluku Divers. The interactions also gave us the opportunity to talk the group about conservation issues here in Ambon and offer a little education about the importance of correctly disposing of plastics and rubbish and the effects this has on the ocean. It was great to see their enthusiasm and understanding of the topic and we hope all these little steps will work towards a clean future for Ambon Bay.
While we have been busy teaching our guests have been busy critter hunting and were pleased to find some camera friendly rhinopias, both a weedy and paddleflat within meters of each other.
If you would like to meet some of our newly trained staff or visit the Rhinopias, then get in touch with our reservatiosn team and they’ll help you arrange your stay with Maluku Divers.
Last month Emily and Joe waved goodbye to the shores of Ambon for a few days, leaving Maluku Divers in the safe hands of Mr Nus and boarded a plane to Singapore to represent Maluku Divers at the 2014 ADEX dive show. Here’s Emily’s report and some
dubious photos of Emily by Joe.
The ADEX show was held from the 11th to the 13 of April at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre. The venue is right on the Marina with stunning views of the city and bay.
We were lucky enough to be invited to represent tourism in Indonesia so were given a stand in prime position ready to greet guests old and new.
Luckily for us Maluku Divers is not a hard sell so once the slide show of resort facilities and brochures packed with critter photos were set out on the table a steady stream of macro loving divers kept us busy for the 3 day show.
We were also nicely located by the photo zone, which gave us a perfect position to listen in on the photographic talks and guest speakers who presented on a range of subjects. With some of the industry’s big names, Aaron Wong, William Tan, Imran Ahmed, Christian Vizil and Jason Isley, just to name a few of these very inspirational photographers, we listened eagerly ready to take our newly learnt skills back to Ambon!
The show was a great success for Maluku Divers. A big thank you to all our previous guests for coming by to visit us, and wearing your Maluku Divers T-shirts to help represent! And also to the ‘soon to be’ guests for taking the time to chat with us, we look forward to welcoming you to our resort.
With next season quickly filling up don’t delay in booking your stay with us!
Maluku Divers is very happy to announce a new addition to our beautiful resort as construction of our jetty began this month!
Those of you who have visited Maluku Divers previously will probably have fond memories of scaling the sea wall for boat entries but as of June 2014 (all fingers crossed for Ambon construction deadlines) we will be inviting our guests to take a gentle stroll along the jetty on their way out to the dive boats. As Ambon’s only dedicated dive resort, Maluku Divers is always striving to make improvements to ensure our guests have the most comfortable and enjoyable stay, and the jetty has been top of the improvement list for some time, we’re very happy to finally be making it a reality.
The past few months have been some of the busiest months on record for Maluku Divers, filled with great guests and of course plentiful critters. But as we have a couple of quiet days between groups the team are taking the time to give the resort a little spruce up ready for the next guests, and of course sneaking in a few fun dives where we can
We can’t possibly finish a mumbling without a little update on what critters have been seen around the bay over the past few days. We have been overrun with what we believe to be the tiniest of harlequin shrimps( HymenoceraElegans), hoards of bumblebee shrimp (Gnathophyllumamericanum), pregnant frogfish and hunting mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus Mimicus)
If you would like to join us for a stay here at Maluku Divers, for your first time with the critters, or even just to try out our new jetty, then get in touch and we’ll give you a guided tour!
The Shark Whisperer
When you live and dive in Ambon for long enough, the seemingly strange starts to become normal. A shrimp disguised as a bumble bee or a tiger, a fish with a rhino horn, a crab with boxing gloves fashioned from anemones - all become common place in our daily sightings!
But this week an unusual event occurred when one of our guests, videographer Danny Van Belle went to the twilight zone in search of some cleverly disguised critter only to be faced with a 2.5 meter bow mouthed guitar shark. This beautiful shark was the first of this kind we have seen here in Ambon bay. The shark had unfortunately found itself in the hands of a local and rather confused looking fisherman! After a little persuasion (and perhaps a few rupiah) Danny was able to convince the fisherman to free the shark. Our dive guide Joni swam down to the shark and released it onto the sandy slopes of Laha as some of the guests managed to film its elegant swim to freedom! Later that day in what can only be described as perhaps a show of thanks from the shark world other guests were lucky enough to dive with both coral cat sharks and bamboo sharks.
Now, we are not sure that “Sharks Without Crowds” has quite the same ring as “Critters Without Crowds” but one thing we are sure of is Ambon is always full of surprises.
If you would like to become accustomed to some of our beautifully disguised critters or even join in our shark search then don’t hesitate to book your place here with the team at Maluku Divers.
Exploring Ambon in wide angle
This month Maluku Divers was lucky enough to host Martin Edge and his guests for an underwater photography workshop. Martin’s website can be found through this link; http://www.edgeunderwaterphotography.com
Much excitement and preparation was had prior to the group’s arrival but once the dedicated camera room, multiple dive boats and skilled dive guides were prepped and of course the bar fully stocked, we were ready for the workshop to begin. Now normally when Maluku Divers hosts workshops and professional divers they come with one thing in mind and one lens on hand …. Macro! But Martin and his group came with open minds and multiple lenses ready to explore everything Ambon had to offer, and in doing so they captured some beautiful and interesting shots of Ambon.
The divers not only enjoyed epic visibility and wide angle opportunities at our signature wideangle sites, such as Pintu Kota, Hukarila Cave and the stunning 137 metre wreck “The Duke of Sparta” which we identified in 2009 after decades of mystery, but also spent many hours sitting under the jetties of Ambon Bay.
After relaxed lengthy dives throughout the day the group came together in the dive lounge each evening, where Martin and Sylvia Edge gave presentations on a variety of topics allowing not only the divers but also the Maluku Divers team members, to make some great improvements in their photography as the week went on! The week finished with an Ambon Photo Shoot Out, congratulations go out to Terry Steely, Chris Anderson and Simon Ebbins for their beautiful prize winning shots!
A big thank you from the team here at Maluku Divers to Martin and Sylvia Edge and their workshop group for a wonderful 10 days. Keep an eye on the Maluku Divers facebook page and website as we will be posting links to Martin Edge’s Ambon Photos over the next few weeks….
If the idea of exploring Ambon through wide angle and adding some days diving the slopes of the southern coastline’s archways and unique topography interests you, feel free to contact our reservations team . We’re looking forward to seeing you under the jetty!
New Year, New Rooms, New Boats!
February is off to a flying start here at Maluku Divers, with the official opening of our new Garden Rooms and the highly anticipated launch of our fourth dive boat, (with the incredibly imaginative name of Maluku Divers 4!)
Due to our growing popularity in Ambon, and more people discovering the quality of the diving in our region, we were really getting fed up with turning divers away from the Ambon dive experience, so we invested again over the last six months and our four new Garden Rooms are finally complete. They will not only allow us the opportunity to host more divers, but will also enable us to offer a choice of accommodation for people on different budget. The new accommodation is still designed with photographers in mind, containing a camera editing desk for each person, single, twin or double rooms and private bathrooms. The Garden Rooms are in a terrace style and are set back from the waterfront bungalows and snuggled amongst the gardens at the rear of the property. These images show the new rooms in all their glory!
The successful conclusion of the maiden voyage of Maluku Divers Four gives us greater flexibility for the dive experience. Not only does the vessel accommodate our increased diver capacity, but for more quite timeframes, it also allows us the option of running private guided trips with the speedboat, for divers interested in spending a little more quiet time with a specific photo subject. The vessel ensures all our divers are able to spread across multiple dive boats, ensuring quiet dive sites and personalized service, after all we are proud of our reputation for having “Critters without Crowds”
With all these developments you may think we have had little time for diving – but think again! January brought some epic diving with continued sightings of our much appreciated residents – Mimic Octopus (Thaumoctopu mimicus), Wonderpus (Wonderpus Photogenicus), Harliquin Shrimps ( Hymenocera Elegans), Tiger Shrimps (Phyllognathia ceratophthalmus), Berry’s Bobtail Squid (Euprymna berryi) and Rhinopias, not to mention some new sightings of hairy octopus (Octopus SP1) and coral cat sharks!
If you would like to test out our new Garden Rooms, try out our new speed boat and see for your self the joys of critter diving in Ambon Bay, then don’t hesitate to contact our booking team on
Life In Laha
Ambon Bay is now pretty famous across the world for its amazing critter diving but life in the village of Laha provides a colourful backdrop for Maluku Divers too, and in this week’s mumbling we wanted to give you all a glimpse into what life in Laha looks like.
When Maluku Divers originally came to Ambon, way back in 2004, we were based on the most westerly peninsula of the south coast of Ambon. After developing a bit of a taste for muck diving and exploring the dive sites all around the island over the course of the first few years of operation, the decision was eventually made up sticks from the village of Latuhalat to move closer to the critter hotspots and re-locate to our current location, in the village of Laha on the northern coast of Ambon Bay. Moving to Laha has brought us into a happy and vibrant village life, where we hope our presence means that the local village kids are now growing up to more readily understand the ocean around them. For sure they seem to take advantage of any opportunity they can find to play in it!
But of course there has to be a dive benefit too, and so from our current location in our purpose built dive resort, Maluku Divers boasts world renowned critter dive sites such as the Twilight Zone and Laha regions as on our doorsteps, or if you are lucky enough to stay with us on your bungalow doorstep! Our location means we able to take advantage of our short boat rides, heading back to the resort for lunch, cups of tea, hot showers and of course battery charging before your night dive. Our goal is to make your dive experience as convenient as possible, ask our previous divers what they thought…
Of course a trip to Indonesia is not complete without enjoying some of the amazing local dishes. Here at Maluku Divers we have a team of incredible Indonesian chefs who will prepare delightfully delicious delicacies, for each of your meals. This week we have been enjoying a new addition to the menu, known as Rujak – with sliced fresh fruits harvested in Ambon, covered in a delightfully moreish cane sugar, peanut and chili source, this is a dish not to be missed!
If you would like to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of Ambon (as well as all those famous critters of course) please don’t hesitate to contact our team. We all (including the village kids) look forward to welcoming you to our home in Laha very soon.
The return of the Harlequin
The overwhelming abundance of critter sightings this month has meant that deciding on a particular subject for this week’s mumblings has been a hard choice! But the return of one little critter is deserving of a particular mention.
During the first month of the season the Harlequin shrimp (Hymenocera elegans) was becoming quite a notorious creature, previously seen on regular occasions last season, this season they seemed to be playing a game of hide and seek with our guides. That is until the discovery of, not one, but two pairs hiding away on the house reef. Over the past few days they have become bolder and less camera shy, allowing Maluku Divers’ guests to get some wonderful opportunities to capture these little critters on camera.
It also seems this week that love is most definately in the air (Or should I say water) with our resident mandarin fish (Synchiropus Splendidus) enjoying some rather public displays of affection.
Back on dry land the dive lounge area has now been fitted with a new (and rather large!) 42 inch television screen which can be used for not only our regular workshops and presentations, but for sharing of the day’s images. Last week our resort was filled with an avid group of photographers and videographers led by Alan Markis (his fourth visit to MD!) who made good use of the new facilities with evening screenings of the beautiful HD Video footage they had captured throughout the day. See you again soon Al!
Have you booked your trip to Ambon yet?
DEMA and Daiquiris
After such a successful season earlier this year the new management team were left with a problem, if you come into a three star resort with luxurious beach front accommodation, delicious cuisine and of course world class critter diving, what can we do to keep improving Maluku Divers?
And then it came to us, one evening while watching the sunset from the dive lounge, what better way is there to finish off a great days diving than with a cold beer …….. with a cold Mojito of course! So this month construction began on the Maluku Diver’s cocktail and juice bar. Fast progress is being made and the crew have high hopes for opening night, with many suggestions of cocktail names the Mimic Mojitos, Wonderpus Whisky Sour and Pygmy Colada –( Perhaps we will work on these before the cocktails lists are printed!) photos to come in a future update!
In other news Maluku Divers have confirmed their appearance at DEMA 2013. Our Operations Manager Nus will be making the journey from Ambon to Orlando to represent Maluku Divers and spread the word of out critter heaven! If you are heading DEMA please be sure to visit us at Booth 2445, next to the photography zone!
In preparation we have been working on a new brochure, with staff members collecting many great images of the abundance of local critters ready to brighten the pages of the new materials. This week’s dives have been octopus filled with mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus ), wonderpus (Wunderpus photogenicus), and coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) all putting on a show.
Of course no Maluku Divers brochure would be complete without a team photo, much hilarity was had in attempts to get our rowdy team to settle and pose in an orderly manner but we think the final images turned out well!