Antarctica

 

                                                           

ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION Nov 30 2019

Join us for an exclusive and unique opportunity to dive the Antarctic summer. All Antarctic Scuba Diving trips are in the Antarctic Autumn. We have persuaded Oceanwide expeditions to lay on diving in their summer expedition.

The best time to visit the Antarctic is in the height of the Antarctic summer. This gives you the best chance to have good weather. It is also the penguin breeding/gestation season, and makes for the best all round experiences for divers and non divers alike. This is the signature trip that takes in South Georgia and the Falklands and Antarctica. We will not be running this trip for a good many years to come.

2 DIVE SPACES SUDDENLY AVAILABLE AGAIN!!!!

Previously full, we received word last night that one of our Antarctic Divers has had to pull out for personal reasons. Upon enquiry, we found out that the entire sailing is full to capacity.  So we got on the phone to our co-expedition leader Jeff and asked his advice. He said he too had a dive cancellation. So, unbelievably, we have two berths available, Please see the prices below.

Are you that adventurous person who was hoping to join us, but we were full? Now you can, this is your once in a lifetime chance to dive the white continent in summer.

EXPEDITION FEES

CABIN Quadruple Porthole Triple Porthole Twin Porthole               Twin Window Twin Deluxe Superior
NON DIVER $12,750 $13,900 $15,350 $16,100 $17,200 $ 18,400
DIVER $13,950 $15,150 $16,600 $17,350 $18,450 $19,650

 

Prices include: Expedition PLA24, diving tanks and weights, all shipboard guiding fees, all meals on board the vessel. Two dives per day on diving days (at the discretion of the dive leader.)

Not Included: flights, airport transfers, hotels, dive gear rental,  departure taxes, alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, personal expenses, food on shore (except breakfast) land based tours, dive equipment, dive and travel insurance (mandatory), clothing hire.

EXPEDITION ROUTE

We will depart from Ushuaia, Argentina aboard the ice-strengthened M/V Plancius to the world famous Falkland Islands. Steeped in history, this British Outpost is home to much wildlife and great diving. The vessel will then set sail again to the jewel of the journey, the British Antarctic Territory of South Georgia. This is a unique part of the earth which is only accessible by ship. We will spend our largest time bloc here before proceeding on to the South Orkney Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. We then pass into the South Shetlands for a final glance at the 10,000ft high peaks before steaming home to Ushuaia through the Drake Passage.

CONTACT : info@orientafrica.com WhatsApp: +447736872259

 

ST HELENAScott Bennett is possibly the world’s most thorough dive journalist. He is so attentive to detail, and places a high value on his time. He is one of the most honest and meticulous journos out there and will report nothing without experiencing it himself or having three confirmed sources back up what he hears. Scott has written numerous African Articles for us, investigated resorts and been on safari with us. He sometimes sees things differently to us, but we love his brutal honesty. So we were very excited when we asked him to visit St Helena Island. We were slightly less excited when he said no. He was simply too busy and wanted to be near his elderly family. Reasons we simply could not say no to. Well, reasons that everyone except Raf could accept. Raf went into overdrive, badgering Scott to get out of his comfort zone in Ontario (That’s in Canada for the Americans amongst us- not Ont CA. ) and get over to Africa.

 

The badgering finally paid off and Scott made his way over to Johannesburg and the magical island of St Helena. And lets be brutally honest about this, St Helena is magical. It is amazing, it is wonderful, it is unique, it is a must visit, and yes it is a rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Astonishingly it is also British. St Helena must be the one part of the greater British Emire that is still amazing. Unlike the British Isles which are in suicidal financial or cultural meltdown due to the mess of leaving (or not) the EU. St Helena chuggs on, being amazing, with lovely wonderful people who welcome the 35 tourists who arrive per week (In season).

So leaving Brexit (or not) firmly behind us, have a read of a Canadian’s point of view of:

St Helena, the most magical, the most amazing and the most wonderful British Island:

 

The MV Odyssey is, quite simply the best live aboard dive vessel in Chuuk. (truk lagoon)

Is it finally time to dive Truk Lagoon

A few years ago, we organised a dive expedition to Papua New Guinea (PNG). Our northernmost point of diving was the paradise island of Lissenung. This island is tiny, with small wooden huts in some trees on the beach. Everything in Lissenung is on the beach and has tree cover. It really is that small. Apart from the plethora of fish, coral and nudibranchs, what really got our attention, was the detritus of world war two. The harbour in front of Kavieng had a Catalina on the bottom along with an array of Japanese metal equipment.

One night in the sultry heat, we asked Dietmar, (the owner of Lissenung Island resort) why this was the case. He pointed to a map on the Bamboo wall of the dining hut.

“Kavieng is exactly 500 nautical miles south of Truk. It is the northernmost airfield in New Guinea. If you look at Truk’s location you will see that it was the natural supply base for the Japanese navy. They could carry on to Saipan and then Japan.”

The forgotten sleepy lagoon in Truk has since become the premier wreck dive site in the world.

Of course we should have remembered our history books, but the Japanese supplied their New Guinea Army through Kavieng. And when they were under attack by the allied forces, they fought off attack after attack from Kavieng. The tactical, technological superiority and professionalism of the US forces prevailed and the Japanese were defeated across the pacific. Peace eventually prevailed. But what got me thinking was Truk. What was so special about Truk and the Japanese supply chain? This forgotten lagoon in the middle of nowhere was turned into a major dive site. The fascination continued and I found myself reading more and more about Operation Hailstorm. Everyone says that the US navy were after the warships, but when you read the history of the defeat of Japan it is obvious that the US had a dual policy of blockade and fight. The US submarine fleet kept Japan completely isolated at the end of the war, and the 1 million Japanese soldiers in China were powerless to defend their homeland, as every ship which put to sea was sunk. The sinking of the Japanese merchant marine fleet in Truk Lagoon effectively neutralised thousands of soldiers on small islands around the pacific. The US forces could then ignore islands at will, and attack those that they chose.

 Truk was on my radar but not really on it, because I thought that I would never get there. All of my visits to Micronesia had been to Yap and Palau, and perhaps I was interested more in life than death. But a chance meeting at the DEMA dive show changed all of that. One day Maria the owner of Kosrae Pacific Tree Lodge took the empty space next to us on the show.   After three days of chatting and drinking coffee in between meetings, she invited us to come and see her lodge and dive centre. The easiest way to Kosrae was via Truk. So I found myself planning to visit Kosrae. But standing next to me, was my friend Cliff of the Truk Odyssey.

“If you visit Kosrae, you would be very welcome to see the Odyssey” he said. And the brain started to work on expanding the Trip.

“If you go to Truk I would like to come with you” said a voice behind me.

Stevie Macleod the owner of the Workshop at Al Boom divers (Dubai) had overheard.

“And I think I know a couple of others who might wish to join us. You see the wrecks of Truk are not still wrecks, they are also vibrant reefs full of fish. Diane would love this.

Doug Bennett the owner of Reef Encounters International (Japan) strolled over.

“Hey Raf, if you go to Truk, then I want to come too with Maggie” .

I sat down and took out my notebook and started to write down names. After a few minutes, I had a think and turned to Cliff. 

“Cliff when do you have a whole boat available? I think if this continues I might need the whole boat”. Cliff beamed from ear to ear, his kind invitation to an agent to inspect his boat, had morphed into a massive booking in five minutes.

“Hey who flies to Truk?” said Stevie?

“Well we use Air Niugini” Is said to him.

“Well you can add that on for me”.

We all packed our bags and flew back to our respective nations around the world. Everyone else got to run their dive centre or workshop. I, on the other hand, found myself at my desk ringing Air Niugini and asking for fares to Truk from Manila and Singapore with a Port Moresby (Hoskins) stopover. Since this all came about, we have packed our bags a few more times, and I have seen the inside of a few aircraft. Turkey, Indonesia, the Antarctic, ST Helena, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania are all lined up before we will eventually board that aircraft to Truk, but it is now only 13 months away, and we are almost able to book flights. Now all I just need to head down to Mike’s Dive Store for that 3mm suit and some replacement fins and I will be ready.

The Wrecks of truk have become reefs now full of life

And you dear reader? Would you like to join us? We only have three spaces left, so you would be welcome. We will be in Truk from 22-29 August 2020. We will be at Walindi Plantation the week after that, and if anyone lasts that long, we will have a glass of bubbles in Cairns or Singapore after that. Ping me an email at Info@orientafrica.com and I’ll send you some details.

All images courtesy of Truk Odyssey- as we have not been there yet!

There is no finer diver liveaboard in Micronesia than the Truk Odyssey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TUFI DIVE RESORT

INTRODUCING TUFI AND TUFI DIVE RESORT

Stunning, untouched, full of life, full of surprises and clearly very rarely visited – that best sums up the diving off Tufi. Reefs rise up from hundreds of metres of depth and some break the surface. There are always sharks and always pelagics.  Some of these outer reefs have strong currents. The dive boat is covered and offers comfortable rides to and from these sites, and some are up to 45 minutes away. The crew of the Tufi Resort knows them well. Besides the obvious known reefs there are so many sites to explore under the guidance of the professional Tufi Dive Team, that you simply cannot go wrong. Diving in Tufi is an essential addition to a PNG dive holiday.

TUFI Dive Resort has possibly one of the most dramatic settings found in New Guinea.  Papua New Guinea is one of the most appealing dive destinations with so many diverse destinations within; from the best liveaboards to the tiny islands of Northern New Ireland. Tufi Resort is one of those diverse destinations. Unlike traditional beach resorts Tufi Dive Resort is located on a cliff top in the Oro Province and overlooking the ocean.  In spite of this lack of conventionality, Tufi is one of the must-visit dive locations in PNG. It has incredible diving, with a perfect combination of adrenaline reefs packed with sharks, to some of the finest calm macro dives in the fjord lands.  Tufi has its quirks however and on this page, we hope to inform you of how to get the very best dive vacation at Tufi Dive Resort.

THE DIVE LODGE

To best describe Tufi Dive Resort would be to liken it to a safari lodge in Tanzania. It is made up of a series of diver friendly air conditioned bungalows with balconies. The rooms are quite comfortable and the food is excellent, but this is the most rural and basic locations in PNG, so you should not expect five star hotel experiences.  The staff are brilliantly led by the gentle and yet so competent Brian Boustridge. He and his team cater for special diets and special requests. Tufi Dive Resort is however unique in its appearance. It is not on a beach, indeed beaches are hard to come by in Fjords, but on a cliff overlooking the sea.

Tufi dive resort sports an amazing view of the surrounding fjords and hills from the rooms, balconies and dining area. A small pool is situated in the centre of the lush gardens between bar area and viewing deck. Dinners and drinks are served sometimes in the cosy restaurant or made into a feast with open air BBQ on the decking area overlooking the stunning fjord. The resort only has 10 rooms, so space is limited. Most packages are full board, but on the standard packages there can be some small but niggling hidden charges added. We always sell an ALL inclusive package at this resort to avoid any extra laundry or internet charges. Please contact us for a fully inclusive package stay at Tufi Dive Resort.

THE LOCAL AREA

The fjords are called fjords as they look exactly like fjords in a tropical setting, but in essence they are of an entirely different making – where fjords are cut out in the landscape by ancient slow moving glaciers, these ravines in Tufi are made thousands of years ago when volcanic lava streams simmered down and carved them out. The lava and volcanic ash left a highly nutritious layer of soil and residue and the green hills and jungle all around are the stunning result.

This means that besides diving, the location is superb for hikers, bird watchers, kayakers and fishermen. The Resort organises day trips but even a 1 hour stroll outside the resort has you right in the middle of lush greenery with scenic views of the fjords, while a myriad of colorfull birds and butterflies dance around you while you hike.

An interesting fact about the butterflies near Tufi Dive Resort is that the famous Queen Alexandra Birdwing (Ornithoptera alexandrae), the largest butterfly in the world, is endemic to this Oro Province and is now listed as highly endangered (CITES, IUCN Red List 1996)– if you have a chance, ask the local guides to search for pupas or fully  grown butterflies known to be around. This intriguing insect needs the old growth forests of the Oro Province to thrive and feed in and is restricted to local habitat areas for mating. They only live for about 3 months, so you have to be there at the right time!  The stunning Queen Alexandra Birdwing can reach a wingspan of just over 25 cm wide – the size of a small bird.

Guides at Tufi Dive resort and all staff hail from the local villages – their families are fishermen and small scale subsistence farmers and extremely friendly. When dressing up for a sing-sing at the Tufi Dive Resort their traditionally painted faces with white dotted lines are as pretty and dainty as their flower- filled surroundings.

 DIVING INFORMATION

The scuba diving is mind-blowing around Tufi but you need to know what you will see depending upon the time you go. The best time to dive the outer reefs of Tufi, is when the sea is calm: between November and June. There is an argument that says that Tufi is best visited during this calm time, but we inspected Tufi Resort in theheight of the winds and found the diving to be spectacular in the calm waters, but this is what you need to know.

The outer reefs off the coast are beyond compare. They are literally shark infested coral structures that poke out of the water. The outer reefs of Tufi are located in crystal clear blue water between 4 and 20 miles offshore. During the calm season, you can be on the dive site very swiftly. But in the cusp seasons, you will need to travel for longer periods (45 mins and more) in a mild sea state. This is not for everyone, so if you don’t have your sea legs and you want to see sharks, tuna and barracuda in great viz, make sure you visit between November and June. When the wind blows hard even the hardiest divers cannot get out of the inlets. This is the perfect time to dive the fjords. These are world class dive sites in their own right. The fjord reefs are packed with coral, fish and nudibranchs. The only issue is that the visibility hangs around 10-25metres and the water can be green. To the experienced diver this is of no matter as the marine life is so prolific as to need a week to explore the fjords alone.

When diving from Tufi Resort, there are 2 main different areas to focus on. There are a huge number of dive sites inside these fjords offering stunning diversity and vibrant reefs. The green water should not hold you back – go below 12 metres and visibility clears up! These fjord dives around Tufi are easily accessible, in warm waters, and within easy reach of the resort. A macro –photographers dream in itself! Dives in these fjords can be done at any depth between 6 and 26 meters, and with very short travel time between resort and site, this is a fantastic opportunity.

The fjords also harbour another surprise – a wreck right in front of the dive centre, on the house reef – where the true extent of the uniqueness of diving the Tufi fjords becomes clear: it drops down to over 40 metres where you will find: a Landrover and a series of wrecked fishing boats. And at the very bottom of the sound is the skeleton of an American PT Boat. (Tufi was a US PT boat base in the second world war)

The combination of sheltered macro sites and challenging open water reefs is a unique feature for Tufi Resort. The windy season is in general from June to October, and the crew will try and take you out where possible – but keep this in mind when planning.

The ‘in’ house dive centre is actually slightly ‘out’ of house, and situated at the bottom of the cliff next to the sea. This means a stroll down every morning to go diving and a steep hike up every afternoon after your return (although a ride in the resorts’ land cruiser is always possible). There is no NITROX available in Tufi Resort. The national dive guides are excellent and knowledgeable. Managers may come and go, but the constant here is the quality of local dive guides and their boat captain.

GETTING TO TUFI

The Tufi Resort can only be reached by plane via Port Moresby, and only on a few days a week. When planning your journey, please contact us to make sure you have enough time between arrival and departure so that you can make your connection.  As with all air travel in PNG, planes don’t always turn up, and are sometimes cancelled (so good travel insurance is vital). In addition, we always build in a large amount of leeway in your bookings to make sure that you get out on time. Tufi ‘Airport’ has a crushed coral runway, and so it has its own unique issue: when it is really rainy the runway becomes waterlogged and the larger Dash8 planes cannot land.

We can also organise charter flights for groups. The lighter charters can nearly always land in Tufi even on a semi waterlogged runway.  Ask us to make all your arrangements and we’ll do our best to avoid the PNG factor when booking your holiday.

TUFI? ITS TIME TO VIST

When combining this dramatic natural landscape, the untouched remote reefs of Tufi, and the diving of the FeBriNa and Walindi Plantation – our guests end up with an unbeatable and once in a life time journey to Papua New Guinea. Ask us now how to combine your 2-centre dive journey to this most vibrant, wild and diverse of dive destinations in the world.

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Scuba Diving holidays in Nusa Penida Island


Step back in time with a diving holiday on Nusa Penida Island. Visit the island of elegant traditional wooden villas, sandy beaches, Hindu temples and thousands of frangipani trees. This is an island of gardens and hillsides and unexplored dive sites. Dive while Manta Rays cruise off the cliffs all year long, or Mola Mola come in to investigate. Sit on the long sandy beaches, for Nusa Penida is a quiet dreamy island of small guest houses, family restaurants, and Indonesian hospitality and home to fundamentally awesome scuba diving, a far cry from hedonistic Bali.

DIVE WITH MANTA RAYS

Nusa Penida is a small island just off the coast of the holiday island of Bali. So close is Nusa Penida that it channels the water flow between the Indian Ocean and the Bali Sea. This epic ocean current brings pelagics, sharks, and Mola Mola (sunfish) close to the shores of steep walls of Nusa Penida. Manta Rays use the southern coast of Nusa Penida as a cleaning station. As you can imagine this makes Nusa Penida a world class scuba dive destination.

When you go on a scuba diving holiday in Indonesia, Nusa Penida should be high on your list. The scuba diving in Nusa Penida easily equals that of Komodo and Raja Ampat in that it regularly has 40 metre visibility, resident Manta Rays and mola mola diving. Nusa Pendida has steep reefs and sheer walls that plunge down to endless depths. The walls are covered in soft and hard coral and are packed with fish.

The reefs of the north coast offer miles and miles of untouched coral and low numbers of divers. The regular occurrences of steady currents make for great drift dives and the presence of large pelagics. The reef life is prolific. The South coast of Nusa Penida is known for the schools of feeding manta rays, incredible coastal landscapes and rocky underwater scenery. We dive all the walls of Nusa Penida in this itinerary; and even some that are yet unknown. The only dive site we do not recommend is Cristal Bay at lunchtime, which becomes crowded with snorkelers and divers taking time off.

BLUE CORNER DIVE CENTRE

Our operator, Blue Corner Diving, is one of the most professional dive centres on the island. Under the command of Englishman Mr Jason Fondis and his associate Mr Chuckles, Blue Corner Diving is equipped to handle small groups. Blue Corner Diving in Nusa Penida has oxygen, first aid sets, first aid trained personnel and professional Indonesian and international staff. Blue Corner Diving is small enough to be very personal and large enough to take care of small groups. As with all of our dive destinations, we have visited, dived with and inspected Blue Corner Dive Centre (Nusa Penida). They more than come up to our required standard.

Blue Corner Diving dive twice a day, but 3rd dives are always available, or can be booked in advance through us.

It is always best to bring your own dive gear but Blue Corner has some rental equipment. Touring the island to see the natural beauty is an absolute must and basic tours are booked locally for £50 for a car for a day. Nusa Penida has escaped the hedonism of Bali and still offers a true, untouched dive paradise.

Leaving Cave
Japan

ACCOMMODATION

We use two locations, the Arsa Santhi Lodge and the Semabu Hills hotel . The Arsa Santhi Lodge is superb, clean, and has a pool. It is well organised and the rooms are large, spotless and air-conditioned. Best of all it is 5 minutes walk from the dive centre and 5 minutes from the largely deserted beach.

For those wishing to have a higher level of service we use the Semabu Hills Hotel. Standing majestically over the market village of ToyoPakeh, the Semabu Hills hotel has an infinity pool, deluxe bar and restaurant and every room is a suite.

EXTENSIONS

Both Bali or Komodo can easily be arranged. Non –divers are always welcome, and there is much to do for all. Perhaps you would like something slightly less rustic after your dives? If you want to add a Bali Highlands tour or more diving in Bali or a few nights on the beach in a luxury resort? We can organise all of this.

YOUR DIVING TOUR – DAY BY DAY

Day 1

Arrive at Bali Den Pasar Airport and pass immigration & customs. Meet at the airport and transfer to the Holiday Inn Express. An ensuite room with breakfast is included. This hotel is perfectly located: close to the beach, the shopping area of Kuta, with all the facilities you need on arrival. Sunset drinks and cocktails can be enjoyed at the adjacent Holiday Inn Envy restaurant and bar. A pool and gym is free to use and Wifi is available throughout this hotel. -Accommodation is in double or twin rooms, bed&breakfast.

Day 2

After breakfast, a transfer by car is arranged to the harbour of Sanur on the eastern side of Bali. A small ferry will take you to the island of Nusa Penida in 30 – 45 minutes. On the island, you will be met by the hotel driver and be transferred the short distance to your accommodation Hotel Semabu Hills.

Check in to your room and meet and greet the dive team of Blue Corner. At this stage you will be taken to the Blue Corner Dive Centre to filling the paperwork and drop your gear.

Here you will meet Jason Fondis the owner and the rest of the dive team. A general plan for the week will be discussed and any gear requests can be handled. Overnight at Semabu Hills in double or twin rooms, ensuite, AC, B&B.

Day 3

2am dives are offered today with a surface interval on the boat. The boat has shade and carries water, tea, coffee and snacks during the interval. Depending on weather, interests and level of divers, your dive sites are either on the South or North coast of Nusa Penida.

After the 2nd dive, return to the harbour and lunch can be had in town. A 3rd dive is optional and available in the afternoon. Island tours and sightseeing are arranged daily.

Dinner: own arrangements. Overnight at Hotel in double or twin rooms, ensuite, AC, B&B.

Day 4

2am dives are offered today with a surface interval on the boat. The boat has shade and carries water, tea, coffee and snacks during the interval. Depending on weather, interests and level of divers, your dive sites are either on the south or north coast of Nusa Penida. After the 2nd dive, return to the harbour and lunch can be had in town. A 3rd dive is optional and available in the afternoon. Island tours and sightseeing are arranged daily.

Dinner: own arrangements. Overnight at Hotel in double or twin rooms, ensuite, AC, B&B.

Day 5

2am dives are offered today with a surface interval on the boat. The boat has shade and carries water, tea, coffee and snacks during the interval. Depending on weather, interests and level of divers, your dive sites are either on the south or north coast of Nusa Penida. After the 2nd dive, return to the harbour and lunch can be had in town. A 3rd dive is optional and available in the afternoon. Island tours and sightseeing are arranged daily.

Dinner: own arrangements. Overnight at Hotel in double or twin rooms, ensuite, AC, B&B.

Day 6

2am dives are offered today with a surface interval on the boat. The boat has shade and carries water, tea, coffee and snacks during the interval. Depending on weather, interests and level of divers, your dive sites are either on the south or north coast of Nusa Penida. After the 2nd dive, return to the harbour and lunch can be had in town. A 3rd dive is optional and available in the afternoon. Island tours and sightseeing are arranged daily.

Dinner: own arrangements. Overnight at Hotel in double or twin rooms, ensuite, AC, B&B.

Day 7

2AM dives are offered today with a surface interval on the boat. The boat has shade and carries water, tea, coffee and snacks during the interval. Depending on weather, interests and level of divers, your dive sites are either on the south or north coast of Nusa Penida. After the 2nd dive, return to the harbour and lunch can be had in town. A 3rd dive is optional and available in the afternoon. Island tours and sightseeing are arranged daily.

Dinner: own arrangements. Overnight at Hotel in double or twin rooms, ensuite, AC, B&B.

Day 8

After breakfast, transfer to the port for the ferry ride will take you back to Senur Beach on Bali Island and onwards to DenPasar International Airport for your flight out.

Trip Costs from :

• Diver £638.00 per person based upon 2 sharing at the Semabu hills hotel

• Non Diver £388.00

• Single Supplement add £205

Included in Tour:

1 night in Bali Holiday In Express / transfer to Senur Harbour Bali / return ferry Bali to Nusa Penida / transfer to accommodation Nusa Penida / 10 AM dives with Blue Corner Dive Centre on Nusa Penida / 6 nights accommodation on Nusa Penida in twin or double rooms, B&B, ensuite

Not Included in Tour:

International flights /visa / vaccinations / travel insurance / dinner in Bali / dinner and lunch on Nusah Penida / extra dives / island trips / dive gear / tips/souvenirs / items of a personal nature/

CONTACT US FOR MORE DETAILS:

E: info@orientafrica.com

Tel: +44 1291 570 953 W: www.orientafricatravel.com

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