Tulamben, Bali June 2012
June 2012 brings me back to one of my favorite
locations, Tulamben, Bali. I don’t know what it is
about this place that keeps dragging me back but
I find that the whole experience is relaxing and
although I usually only stay between 7 and 10
days I find that I can burn off stress real quick.
Good diving, good food and great people make
this a must each year for me.
Day 1
I skipped the first dive to have a bit of a sleep in
(must be getting old) but jumped in for the next
three. I did notice fairly quickly that there was a
bit more life around than last year. The cleaning
stations were
very active with lots of Coral Trout and Moray Eels. Also managed to get some good Harlequin Shrimp
shots for a change as they are usually in awkward places or surrounded by bad backgrounds. The days
diving was finished off with a casual dive along the foreshore from Mimpi to Coral Gardens. As usual it was
across the road to Wayans for a Bintang and downloading the days shots. After this it was down to our
favorite dinner spot at Tauch Terminal and then back for a massage and bed.
Day 2
Took us to the wreck and although the vis was down a bit we had quite a
few Pygmy Sea horse around including a fewDenise Pygmy. After Breakfast
we made a trip to Seraya for a three dive visit and found that the diving
here has dropped off a bit in the last couple of years. Because of this we
limited our stay to two dives and headed back to Tulamben to finish the
day with another peaceful dive to the 20m cleaning station. Once again it
was very active.
Day 3
Once again I skipped the first dive to enjoy a lay in. Hit the water at 8:30
am and dived the spit next to the wreck. We had a bit of current but my
guide, Nyoman, found lots of good stuff including a small Harlequin Shrimp on a red Star Fish, which made
for some good shots. Also a number of small Shrimp and Gobies on Sea Pens. The second dive was the
next spit over and produced more Harlequin Shrimp as well as Ghost Pipe Fish, Leafy Scorpion fish and
numerous other shrimp and gobies. Once again we had a bit of current but it was dropping. Finished the
day with another visit to the 20m cleaning station at Coral Gardens to try and get a cleaner shrimp on the
eye of a Coral Trout but with no luck.
Day 4
We took off for a dive at 7:00 am to the slope next to the wreck with lots of life and a little current. Frog
Fish, Juvenile Lion Fish and Ghost Pipe Fish were the order of the day and once again we managed to get
a good shooting session. After breakfast it was back to the Harlequin Shrimp. We did the next two dives
at this location but I spent most of my time at a cleaning station trying to get some skin textures and with
some success. This marked the halfway point of our trip and with one dive left for the day we headed off
for same site. For some reason my camera battery died so this ended the day of diving. The day ended
with a party with the guides at one of their houses, plenty of Bintang and singing.
Day 5
Road Trip, or that’s how it started. Went to Mystery Rocks for Pygmy Sea
horses and found seven on one fan but the swell here was excessive so
we decided to head back to Tulamben for the final two dives. For these
dives we headed out to the slopes and the 25m cleaning station. There
was plenty to find and we had lots of Crinoid Shrimp and all the usual
stuff.
Day 6
Today we decided to concentrate on the 25m cleaning station and also
have another crack at the Harlequin Shrimp but it looks like somebody had
removed it. Unfortunate, but it does happen up here. Last dive of the day
was back to Coral Gardens where I finally got a cleaner shrimp in an open Coral Trout mouth. To top things
off our guide, Nyoman, found a Mantis Shrimp laden with eggs. I was going to try and dedicate the last
day to wide angle but the visibility has not been great and we plan to do this trip at another time of year,
probably August. Because of this I remounted my 100 macro for one final fling.
Day 7
We finished off the trip with four local dives at both cleaning stations as well as our favorite slopes and
managed to get a few more shots. The day was finished with a shower followed by a pizza at Wayans new
place just down the road.
This was my 5th trip to Tulamben and won’t be my last. Our main objective for this trip was to concentrate on wide angle but for me the
visibility was too poor for this so I stayed on macro for the entire seven days. We have made the decision to try at a later time next year,
perhaps end August or early September when it is supposed to be much clearer, To give the wide angle a better chance. Even so it was
great to catch up with some of the locals we have come to meet over the years and they have always welcomed us to town. Each time I
visit it feels like I had not left, even Ni Luh’s sister in law, who works at Tauch Terminal, remembered what meals we order.