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Critters @ Yap

Dec. 8th, 2008 | 09:58 pm
location: Home
mood: indifferentindifferent
music: My 10' Fan Whirling

Creepy Crawly Critters

I love Critters, and when you refer critters in diving terms, they normally mean crabs and shrimps. 

This are some of my encounters in Yap. Plenty of hermits around to keep divers company at the Manta cleaning stations where I think, they too are looking at us in AWE.

Mighty Hermit...

The reefs in Yap, although damaged by a hurricane 2 years ago, is recovering quite well with plenty of crabbys seen in finger and stag-horned corals. Good Sign. :)

Coral Colony...

My favorite crabby, the Porcelain Crab, running away from my flashes, it tried to hide underneath the sea anemone while still trying to get a glimpse of what is going on. Maybe its still hungry.



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Nubra Valley, India

Dec. 2nd, 2008 | 05:16 pm
location: Home
mood: lethargiclethargic
music: Collide, Howie Day

The Traveler Within, My Photographing Dad

Just stumbled upon this picture taken by my dad of me in our trip to the highlands in Northern India, which borders the Tibetan and Pakistani Borders.

Nubra Valley is 150km from the town of Leh in the region of Ladakh which I had visited and posted pictures on earlier. This place is rarely visited and it required us to go over the world's highest motorable pass which is named 'Khardung La', we were unable to take pictures as the pass is heavily guarded by armed soldiers.

The average altitude is 10,000ft but that did not bother my dad which I was mostly worried about, having never experience high altitude travels before. 

But more importantly, I am glad that my dad had fallen in love with photography and no longer thinks I am spending too much on my camera equipment. haha. 

Morning Walk...

Great Job Dad. :P


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Shark Feed Dive @ Vertigo, YAP

Dec. 2nd, 2008 | 04:33 pm
location: Home
mood: lethargiclethargic
music: Smashing Pumpkins

Startle Stark Sharks

This is one of the special dives where we had to get sufficient divers to go so that its more 'cost effective' with food being prepared the day before.

Sharks are a diver's dream, and for others a nightmare, but with this dive, I had never seen so many at one go and never seen them in such a frenzy with the bait being kept up with a bouy.

Here is one of my favorite shots.


This shark was not more then 2 meters overhead. I was really close man... phew.



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Yap, Island of Stone Money & Mantas...

Sep. 28th, 2008 | 09:31 pm
location: Mnuw (Eagle Hawk) Restaurant
mood: contentcontent
music: Waves Crashing

Magnificent Manta Moments

"The manta ray (Manta birostris), is the largest of the rays, with the largest known specimen having been more than 7.6 m (about 25 ft) across, with a weight of about 2,300 kg (about 5,000 lb). It ranges throughout all tropical waters of the world, typically around coral reefs."

We made our 'Manta Dives' in the Goofnuw Channel where the site is named 'Valley of the Rays on the north eastern side of the island.


There is a cleaning station in which this big fishes, including Mantas, come to look for smaller fishes to clean and feed on the parasites that are on their skins and gills.

My first close encounter with 'Zorro', a Manta about 3.5 metres from wing tip to wing tip, was named by resident researchers in YAP's most reputed dive centre, YAP Divers.


The identification is from the markings under their soft bellies and the vis was not great so this was the best pic of our hero that got as close as 1 metre from me while drifting in the current.

Its just a moment of awe that I cannot put down in words.

Nature here speaks to you in so many ways in which I can only imagine. One such instances was when we were on the boat travelling to the dive sites, we would be accompanied by spinner dolphines on some occasions which just elates the child in you.


Will post more pictures of our encounters with silver tip and grey reef sharks, and bottom lying critters.

Hopefully the water will be clearer and the Mantas will come again to see us before we leave this little island in the pacific.

Just visited a rural village and witness a little piece of micronesian culture which I will share with you in a later post.



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Makansutra Episode 4

Sep. 24th, 2008 | 09:13 pm
location: O Keefe's Waterfront Inn, YAP
mood: curiouscurious
music: Americas' Got Talent on Cable

Dragon Tei, Koror (Palau)

Okinawan comes to the south pacific island of Palau and decides to setup shop and serve up japanese cuisine with a twist of the pacific.

The walk from the downtown Koror was a 15min uphill struggle after a long day in the Rock Islands.

Dragon Tei...

Here are some of the food that we tried and come to love.

Naturally Sweet Mangrove Crab...

Grilled Baby Squid...

Salty Bittergourd with Pork...

Amazing Fried Rice...

I love my wife for her time, her company & her portion of her food too. :P

Tell you more about YAP and our experience with our first Manta Ray (a very big Sting Ray) encounter but the waters were a little murky due to the recent Typhoon Hagupit's formation that had made it's way towards China.

We are experiencing light rain as we feeling the remaining effects of Typhoon Hagupit.

Hopefully the day will clear up and we have some sunshine again.


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Sep. 23rd, 2008 | 10:01 pm
location: YAP, Federated States of Micronesia
music: Nothingness

Pristine Palau Pitstop

As like any journey, there is always a first step, and for us before arriving in YAP(Federated States of Micronesia), PALAU was our humble beginning for our honeymoon.

Definition of Honeymoon (as I have checked from an dictionary):
1.a vacation or trip taken by a newly married couple.
2.the month or so following a marriage.
3.any period of blissful harmony.

Arriving 2.00am on Saturday and leaving o1.10am on Sunday from PALAU did not stop us from having one of the most awesome 24hours in PALAU.

Although a little jet-lagged and tired with the travelling from Manila, we engaged the Famous Fins & Fish that set us up for our Jelly Fish Lake tour in PALAU.

Fish & Fins...

Bottled Emotions...

Rock Islands...

Twists and turns made within the rocky outcrops and percarious flora hanging dearly to the cliffs in the area called the rock islands, stands the prehistoric jellyfish lake that was isolated for ages from the Pacific Ocean.

With the isolation, comes the lost of natural predators, this jellyfishes within this lake had also lost their natural ability to sting with time and formed a symbiosis with a yellow algae that gives them their color in this strange partnership. (Please be warned, it still stings but its just a tingle, please be forewarned!!!)

Sunlight gives the algae energy that produces food for the Jellyfish, which in turn, the Jellyfish sun themselves in the lake during the day to assist the algae to photosynthesise.

The Jelly Fish Lake's local name is "onkeim'l tketau".

Fifty Fifty...

Sun Tanning...


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Jellies...

After having a mesmerising time in the lake, we were dropped off at a beach called 'shark city', a place where Open Water Divers were learning how to dive while sharks with an average size of about 1.5metres swim along the fringe of the sand banks.

Black Tips...

We are finally in YAP and have been here for 3 days.

In YAP, Manta's are the main attraction and we hope that we can see them soon.

Tell you more of what we did in PALAU and YAP once I get my camera out of my underwater casing tomorrow.

Till then. Use your time wisely, its been a while since I updated my photojournal and its just been amazing spending time doing this again, spending time with Esther and spending time with nature.



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PSA... My First Port of Call...

May. 10th, 2007 | 03:34 pm
location: Dad's Place
mood: calmcalm
music: Alice in Chains, Down in a hole

Port People Presently

There's been a whirlwind of activity that has swept me off my feet ever since I touched down from the sunny islands nesltled within the vast southern Indian Ocean. 


Before I complain like everyone would about their jobs (not all I suppose), here is a little glimpse of what I see each day. From a captain's point of view that is, coming into the world's busiest port. 

Please put on your seat belt when in flight...

Aboard the launcher, I crusied with the pilots of singapore waters to board a commercial containerized vessel, the APL CAIRO, at the western boarding ground. This is the usual procedure before she can navigate safely into port.

Onboard, I spoke with the Indian born and bred Bombayian Captain whose warm hospitality allowed me to take photos from the vessel's bridge. 

Along with the pilot (a master of Singapore's seas, someone who is employed by vessels that call into Singapore so that they can navigate the internal seas safely), I was treated kingly. The (mainly Indonesian) crew greeted us with Diet Cokes and cakes which I ain't complaining about.

Dead slow ahead... Dead slow ahead, Captain...

Channel movement ahead resulted in the vessel being slowed to a speed called "dead slow ahead" as the vessel ahead of us was making an about turn within the port.

The Captain then became chatty as he saw that there was a delay ahead which was to be expected. 

He told me in a cheeky Indian accent: "I love my job, 3 months out at sea, 3 months back on land and you get a girl, get happy with her and you leave. When I am sailing, I can put out my sun deck chair and enjoy the sea as if I own it.

"And for a whole week when travelling from India to Singapore, there is little chance that I will spot another floating object for miles." 

I then said to him: "I know how it feels to be just drifting and not have a thing to worry about."

He turned to me and patted me on the back: "You a sailor too ai?"

I said, in response: "For a while in the Navy, Cap."

He then said: "Only if you are the Captain and you have officers that run the ship for you." :P


After jumping subjects from the life of a sailor to properties, to casinos, to good hangouts, we managed to squeeze into the channel and into the B03 berth where the Captain's ship will stay alongside to take supplies for a day. The ship will stay till the next day before she sets out back to India. 

A 12-hour port stay to move 1000 containers on/off the vessel, a crew of 24 that man this 200 meter behemoth, 1 captain that made it so enjoyable for me to meet new people and see new things.

I need to do more of this - see new things and meet new people . Can you imagine that I almost forgot how to use my camera? Work is important but one must remember not to lose oneself in it.

Priorities set right and focus,

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Indian Ocean

Jun. 29th, 2006 | 12:13 am
location: Esther's
mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
music: CNA

Male Mild Maldives

There are many things said about Maldives and many speak of Mantas and Whale Sharks. But for us, it was a milder affair as there were none on show this time round as we drift in observation.

This with the occasional drizzles with strong monsoonal fronts that rocked the palms and made us umbrella needy, did not dampen our time at the prisitine waters of the White Sands Resort was really an experience no matter the season.

We took an international flight and as well as a local mode taxi with a difference before reaching the shores of our secluded resort where we camped for a comfy week.

Food Menu or Flight Manual...


The food was well prepared, the cottage was well kept and the diving (although is the low season), featured astronomical numbers of XL-sized fishys shoal which cling the thousand or so atolls in the maldives.

I saw in one dive, not a 'garden' of garden eels. but there was a 'amazon' of garden eels that popped on the reef of many of the reefs.

Flying Above...


Shark Buddy...

And there we met and made new friends who were both keen to discover another side of Indian Ocean by submerging themselves into the depths.

New friends found. :)

Matthew and Dad... 

Will post up on our new addition soon with photos of our young puppy named rusty... 


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Taipei Recalled

Jun. 13th, 2006 | 12:13 am
location: Esther's Place
mood: draineddrained
music: BBC World

Touring Taiwan Taipei

Finally back home from India and Singapore is a refreshing and welcome experience all over again. 

Less Climate...
Less Cars...
Less Chaos..

Here is a little look back to my Taiwan visit before embarking to India on my pilgrimage to the State of Jammu & Kashimir, in the land of passes, Ladakh Leh.

Taipei 101...

Martyr Shrine...                                       Main Hall...



Change of Guards...

Now for the finale of TIM (Taiwan India Maldives)... 

Cant wait to just...

Hang Out on the silky white sand beaches
Dive Deep in pristine clear blue sea
Sun Bathe and bask in the mid day sun

and enjoy the little island that we are going to be getting lost in 
before coming back recharged and rearing to go in the next important lap of ones life.


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Jun. 3rd, 2006 | 06:20 pm
location: Leh, Ladakh - Jammu & Kashmir
mood: anxiousanxious
music: Generators Running

Landed Ladakh Leh

Over the pass few days, visiting monastries in the area east and south of Leh reminded me of the time I visited Tibet. The influence here is very much alive and is like a distant outpost to the motherland Tibet. 

Photos of the Dalai Lama and his visits to the monastries brought back memories of how buddism is so profound in the people living in Tibet. 

In Leh, there are about a third of the population being muslims and therefore the influence is much lesser. The kashmirie influence is also quite strong in some monastries as wood carvings and frescos are very much similar as seen in Srinagar. 

During the visit to Likir Monastery, we had a chance to dine with the small monks, or students I was told, and although the food was just rice and mixed vegetables, It was very much tasty.

Here are some of the things I managed to take. Hope you like them... 
Not sure why some are a bit blurred, but will pick better photos when I get back home.








Makan Siapa???

Dining Companion...

Tomorrow will move further up north towards the China, Tibetan border called the Nubra(Green) Valley. 

Will also get a chance to go up to the world's highest motorable road at 5500m at the Khardum La Pass and will try to snap more and post pictures when I get back to Leh as Nubra is a little more remote. 

Hope you all enjoy the photos. 


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