TWARS (This Week at Reef Seekers) - June 5-12

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Ken Kurtis

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Hoods, Indonesia, Dr. Bill memorial, and more
(please scroll down for details)
This week went by faster than the vacation week (which I think is a good thing) . . .

OUR TRIP BACK WAS EASIER - Poor Buck. He's trying to get home from Roatan (he was there with a Barnacle Busters group) and their flight home Saturday was cancelled. It seems the airport was closed to both incoming and outgoing flights due to . . . potholes in the runway. Yikes!!! They fixed them overnight and he and the group went back to the airport Sunday only to find that while the airport was open, the inbound flight was late which meant they would be late and miss the connection in Dallas. So he's now stuck there for a while trying to get home. (I just got a note from him as I was about to hit SEND and he says they're on a flight tonight that will land at LAX around midnight. Yahoo!!!) Much as we all miss travelling for warm-water diving, we sometimes forget about the problems that can pop up. And this one's rather unique.

HOOD ADVICE FROM OUR BONAIRE TRIP - I've preached this a lot but I'll repeat it: Take a couple of hoods of different thicknesses with you on your trip. In Bonaire, the water was low-80s. I wore my 1.5mm Pinnacle Shadow jumpsuit and a 1mm Tilos hood. But I felt like I was getting just slightly chilled by the end of our hour-long dives. Rather than go to a thicker wetsuit - and have to re-do my weights as well - I simply swapped out my 1mm hood for a 3mm one. That made all the difference in the world and didn't affect my buoyancy at all because the added neoprene was minimal. So if you don't already have a couple of different hoods in your arsenal (I also travel with a 5mm and a 7mm as well), give some thought to adding them. They're small and they pack easily and if you're only slightly chilled, going to a thicker hood may be all you need. (The same principle applies when you're diving cold water as well.)

WHO'S UP FOR INDONESIA THIS FALL? - Among the places I'm eager to get back to once they re-open is Indonesia. The diving is spectacular and we have a very close relationship with our good friends at Murex, who not only take wonderful care of us, but who also used the downtime of the pandemic to make numerous improvements to their rooms and property. Because it takes a while to get there (roughly 24 hours), we do this as a 9-day trip rather just just a week. It's 8 days of diving with 3 boats dives each day (plus an optional late-afternoon shore dive if you like), all meals included (the food's REALLY good), plus a day side trip to dive Bangka Island as well as a day side trip to dive the mighty Lembeh Straits. I'm still working on pricing for the land portion but I believe, including tips, this will come in under $3,000. Airfare right now is running just under $1,500. The tentative overall dates are leaving LAX on Monday evening, October 17, and returning the evening of Friday, October 28. (There's also an option to add a couple of days in Singapore on the way back.) We aren't locked in to these dates yet so if you're interested in joining, let me know (1) That you want to go, (2) If those dates work for you, and (3) If they don't, give me dates that do work. My plan is to keep the group relatively small (as we usually do) with no more than a dozen people total. Shoot me an e-mail or call us at 310/652-4990 if you're interested. To whet your appetite, take a peek at the pix from our last trip: INDONESIA 2019.

DON'T POISON THE ANEMONES - Make sure you know what's in your sunscreen. Turns out there can be some ingredients that will actually harm some of the animals on the reef. If yours has Oxybenzone, it can actually hurt some of the corals and other reef creatures if you use it and then dive and it comes off. There's a good article in Nature about this: SUNSCREEN TOXICITY ISSUES.

THE PHILIPPINES DROPS COVID ENTRY TEST REQUIREMENT - They're the latest country to drop the requirement for vaccinated folks. In fact, the U.S. is one of the last holdouts among countries that have required a negative test to pass through Immigration. Many travel groups are trying to exert pressure on the U.S. government to drop the testing requirement, but so far, to no avail.

BONAIRE REPORTS - In case you missed the e-mail I sent earlier, I've got the Bonaire trip report, video, and pictures ready for consumption. Here are the various links:


DR. BILL MEMORIAL NEXT SUNDAY - June 12th would have been Bill's 75th birthday, so what more fitting day to have a public tribute to him? Its open to the public, will be held at the Avalon Underwater Park near the flagpole, and starts at 11AM. Some of Bill's family will speak, I'll give an update on the efforts to rename the MPA for him, and there will also be a memorial dive in his honor following. (I'm not planning on diving, just speaking . . . and then getting in a round of miniature golf.) Boats out of both Long Beach and San Pedro will get you there on time.

CBS SUNDAY MORNING REPORT - There was a really good piece on CBS Sunday Morning this past weekend on explaining why the ocean is so critical as a heat absorber and how that all relates to climate changes and the rising oceans. Many of you are likely already sympathetic to the issue but if you have friends who aren't as educated about this as you might be, or if you want to hear a rather simple elegant way to explain things, the video is worth the seven minutes of your time it will take to view it: CBS SUNDAY MORNING: WARMING OCEANS.

And that'll do it for now. Have a great week and let's go diving soon!!!

- Ken​
 

drrich2

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Because it takes a while to get there (roughly 24 hours), we do this as a 9-day trip rather just just a week. It's 8 days of diving with 3 boats dives each day (plus an optional late-afternoon shore dive if you like), all meals included (the food's REALLY good), plus a day side trip to dive Bangka Island as well as a day side trip to dive the mighty Lembeh Straits. I'm still working on pricing for the land portion but I believe, including tips, this will come in under $3,000.
While it's not practical for me now, a few follow up questions might be of interest.

1.) Is that 8-days diving in total, or 8-days boat diving at the main place + 1 day diving Bangka Island + 1 day diving Lembeh Straits (10 days total, which of course is more than a 9-day trip...)?

2.) Not counting the optional late afternoon shore dive option, how many total dives do you anticipate this trip will likely offer?

3.) Do you guys stay at Murex Resort's Manado Resort or Bangka Resort (or both)?

4.) Looks like the rooms are air conditioned (Manado Resort says 'air conditioning,' but Bangka Resort just says 'AC throughout the night'). Manado Resort says 24-Hour electricity and hot water, and ensuite bathrooms; Bangka Resort says there are 2 classes of cottages; the Deluxe Hillside have 24-Hour electricity (reduced to one socket from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.), the Oceanfront have electricity during evenings and nighttime, and ensuite 'indoor-outdoor' bathrooms.

5.) It's noted beds have mosquito nets; how bad have mosquitos been there in your past experience?

For hopefully under 3 grand and including tips and all meals, plus an option for shore diving, sounds like a great price. Airfare doesn't sound too bad, considering the distance traveled. Just curious about some of the fine details. Hope you guys have a great trip.
 
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Ken Kurtis

Ken Kurtis

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Location
Beverly Hills, CA
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5000 - ∞
While it's not practical for me now, a few follow up questions might be of interest.
Then a few answers might be in order . . .

1. 8 days total including one day boat trip to Bangka (with lunch there) and one day driving/boat to Lembeh (with lunch at Lembeh Resort).
2. 24 guided boat dives, assuming you do all 3 each dive day. (You could also tack on as many as 8 house reef shore dives &/or a night boat dive as well.)
3. We plant oursevles at Murex Manado. I'm not a fan of moving once I'm settled.
4. Murex Manado rooms all have AC, 24-hour electricity, and decent (free) Wi-Fi.
5. Mosquitoes have not been an issue for me personally nor I recall it being an issue for anyone else. The place isn't mosquito-free but every night they light mosquito chaser/burners in front of each room.

- Ken
 
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