Halmahera Photo Tour 2016!
The time is finally here again, the Liburan Paradise is en route to its target region: South East Halmahera. Not only the technology and the steel hull of the vessel was overhauled during the dry dock period, but also the photographers capabilities has been further improved: an enlarged diving pool with direct access to fresh water, a central table with air gun on the dive deck that accommodates a min. of 7 big cameras and a large dry charging station.
The customized tour is specifically designed for photographers. Gorden and Valerija, our center managers in Malta, known for their underwater photography, come along with their like-minded friends to capture the extraordinary diversity in South East Halmahera.
But why is just this unknown area, between Sulawesi, renown because of the Lembeh Strait, and the biodiversity of Raja Ampat, so interesting? Halmahera is located within the Coral Triangle. According to the common opinion of marine biologists, there is the greatest diversity of coral and coral inhabitants here. This is especially evident in current-exposed slopes. Here, staghorn corals can dominate in the shallows, with myriads of plankton-eating damsel and clownfishes; and in deeper waters, stony corals with all its colorful splendor. But this is only one side of South East Halmahera. Just as in Lembeh Strait, some volcanoes have deposited their black sand here in various bays. Critter-seekers are in the right place here. Bobbit worms and various octopuses are partially embedded and seahorses, crabs and lobsters take advantage of the smallest irregularities in the sand as a hiding place. Other dive sites present unusual underwater landscapes with coral reefs: canyons, valleys, plateaus, overhangs. Here are a lot of soft corals and wire corals as a vegetation. Many different species of fish take advantage of the variety of hiding places and the fast access to deep waters. But also drop-offs, with columns and combs, can be dived, particularly in South Halmahera. Encounters with big fish are always possible here, from stationary barracuda swarms, to mobulas, and up to hammerhead sharks. The numerous blacktip reef sharks get no special attention, as they are to be found at almost all dive sites. Last but not least, South East Halmahera has of course its Manta Bay. A sandy shoal, surrounded by small islands where plankton accumulates and thus, becomes food for the giants.
Here's to a colorful and multifaceted photo tour!
Yours truly, Barney (tour guide)