Menado, 2009

IMG_5883This was my second diving trip in Menado. I dove with my two buddies, Denada and Ronny Rengkung, and also with our aunty, Mustika Quartina.

We stayed at Tasik Ria Resort, approximately 1 hour from the airport (although we made it in 40 minutes when we were late heading back to fly to Jakarta :) ). This time we dove with Tasik Divers, as Ecodiver wasn’t the operator anymore (although all the people looked like the same). It was a pretty good deal that I got, Rp 3 million for 4 night and 3 days diving in Bunaken. Plus additional Rp 450 thousand for our Lembeh trip. Quite a bargain.

I always loved diving in Menado. It has good infrastructure, nice hotel (much better than Gorontalo and Palu), good dive operators, and most of all, nice dive sites. Well, if you are a food lover, count it in too. My buddy Ronny Rengkung has a restaurant downtown, Ayam Kalasan it’s called, although I am not sure where it was. It served many Menado food too. Simply said: awesome! I mean it. We also tried Ria Rio Restaurant. Another yummy experience. I sometimes can’t make up my mind, which one is better, the food or the diving.

In my experience, Menado always provides easy dives. That’s why many of the new students get certified there, while enjoying their vacation. But it was pretty quiet. Good. It was perfect to try my new underwater housing, this time with Canon 5D mark 2 in it.

Talking about camera, I was not very happy with the operator though. My buddy Denada rented a pocket camera, a Sea&Sea, 7 mega pixel. After the second dive, I saw the ‘low battery’ warning. She took it back, but they convinced her it was fine. So she dove again, but only to find the camera could only shoot another 3 frames. She then brought it back again, get the operator open the underwater case, and apparently the lens could not retract. They said they could have asked her to pay $500 although they preferred not too. This was a situation where a decision was about to made based on poor knowledge. First of all, the whole camera would only cost half of the amount mentioned. Secondly, how could a diver harm the camera while it’s securely operated in its housing and it didn’t even leak a bit? Thirdly, if the lens mechanism failed, it’s really an easy job to fix by a basic camera shop. I would rather make them pay her $500 for refusing to check it although the low battery warning already blinked and made her losing her opportunity to shoot great moments.

Special thanks to Noldy and Benny, our dear guides. And also to Ronny for the lovely food.

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