After over a year of keeping my fins dry (tragic, no?) we are excitedly prepping for another awesome dive trip. This time we are doing something a little different…we are not joining any group, nor are we hosting our own. While we absolutely love traveling and diving with friends and about-to-become friends, we wanted this trip to be extra special and are keeping it all to ourselves because it is our honeymoon :) After Warren’s big surprise proposal in Koh Phi Phi last year (included in this post) we have been busy bees planning our wedding, which we hosted in Vancouver Canada on March 30th. It was a truly spectacular day that we will always cherish and now we are excitedly looking forward to our greatest adventure yet…marriage!
When we started discussing our honeymoon, we knew for sure it would have to be scuba-centric and spent some time brainstorming our bucket list destinations. Indonesia became a front runner early on, though we each had a different location in mind. After much research and discussion, we decided “what the hell, its our honeymoon…lets do it all!”. And now here we are, leaving in less than a week!
Our trip begins in Honolulu Hawaii, for no other reason than it is a favorite spot of mine and I have been dying to go back for years. Oahu was the site of my very first dive, and I have always wanted to take Warren there and show him around. We have a fun week of kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, surfing lessons, a bit of diving, and beaching planned. Can’t wait to smell that flowery air and feel the aloha spirit! This was the add-on to our Indo trip, because hey…its basically on the way there…so why not stop off to break up the long flight?? I make a good case, no?
After Hawaii we are hopping a plane en route to the Lembeh Straight in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Approximately 39 hours after our departure, if all goes according to plan, we’ll be checking in to NAD Resort ready to find out what all the fuss is about. Lembeh is known for its rich volcanic ash that covers the sea floor, home to all sorts of strange and bizarre creatures, many found nowhere else on earth. This is called muck diving, and its been near the top of Warren’s “must dive” list for quite some time now! Supposedly, this place is an absolute cornucopia for macro photography so you can see why Warren is so keen to check it out. This will be the first trip he gets to test out his new G15 camera underwater, and he’s got it all decked out too with photo and video lights…needless to say, he is excited! I am definitely looking forward to trying something totally new in terms of diving and really hoping to see a mimic octopus, mandarin fish, and hopefully even a pygmy seahorse. Cross your fingers folks!
After Lembeh we are headed to the “cherry on top” of our trip, Misool Eco Resort in Raja Ampat. Raja Ampat has been at the very top of my must-dive list for nearly as long as I’ve been diving, and it didn’t take long to convince Warren it should be at the top of his too. It is a group of islands off the northwest tip of the Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, in Indonesia’s West Papua province. Raja Ampat means Four Kings, for the 4 main islands of the area – Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo. The area has become famous for being in the heart of the Coral Triangle, making it one of the most bio diverse places on the entire planet. More marine life diversity has been recorded here than anywhere else on the planet. Let that one sink in for a minute people.
We first heard about Misool Eco Resort at DEMA Show 2012, in Las Vegas. We happened upon their booth on the trade floor and spent a mesmerizing chunk of time chatting with the host who showed us the most incredible above and below water pictures and generally did a fantastic job of selling the place. Kudos to him. It had been in the back of our minds ever since. The resort is built on the small private island of Batbitim, on what used to be a shark finning camp. The island was leased from the nearby local community and turned into a conservation center and dive resort. They have since established a 1220 sq km No-Take Zone to protect the underwater world from all marine resource extraction which is actively patrolled by local rangers. The nearby villages are benefiting from increased catch on the fringes of the Zone, because the fish don’t recognize boundaries! This is only a tiny part of what makes Misool Eco Resort such an astounding example of how sustainable tourism initiatives can protect the marine environment. We had the privilege of meeting one of the owners at DEMA Show 2013 in Orlando this past year and got to hear the whole story of how MER came to be. And WOW, what a story it is! We are beyond excited to be supporting a resort whose values are so closely aligned with our own, and thrilled that our money will go towards protecting the underwater world we love so much. And if all that isn’t enough, the North Lagoon also happens to be a blacktip shark nursery. Seriously?!
Check out this awesome aerial video MER posted recently…see if you can count the sharks!
Here’s a link to the resort’s website, where you can read all about their conservation initiatives and the impact their efforts have had on the environment and the local communities. Please, go have a read. The world needs to know about this place, because we need more places like it. You can also read more about the No Take Zone here:
And also here:
I suspect this place will live up to our expectations, and we are hoping to take a group there in the future but for now, we are just planning on enjoying our honeymoon and our first few weeks married :)