Blog Page 2019-06-06T18:55:47+00:00

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The Daintree River of Tropical North Queensland

For many months, I'd often hear Yogi exclaim "Look at this!!!" And he proceeded to show me Solar Whisper's Facebook page of photographs taken by operator David White along the Daintree River in our part of the world of Tropical North Queensland. They were, of course, extraordinary wildlife images and videos of crocodiles [...]

By | April 19th, 2016|

Far Out – Far North, a timelapse journey

Although the title sounds like some Arctic cold place, it is in fact from a very tropical Australian region. Sandwiched between two World Heritage Sites of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics, Stella and I have been living in Far North Queensland for more than 10 years now. This [...]

By | September 30th, 2015|

WILDLIFE Under the Waves

With great excitement, we would like to present our latest book by New Holland Publishing - WILDLIFE Under the Waves. This book has a collection of stunning images that showcase the full diversity of marine life -- from mighty whales and graceful turtles through to huge shimmering shoals of fish and riotously coloured corals, anemones, [...]

By | March 3rd, 2015|

Fruit Bats!

Yogi and I have been visiting the Tolga Bat Hospital in the Atherton Tablelands, Tropical North Queensland for many many years, working and becoming fast friends with a wonderful woman named Jenny Maclean. Jenny Maclean with kelpie Guirri Maclean sitting on their magnificent bat bench. Jenny owns and runs the [...]

By | November 5th, 2014|

Finalist – 50th Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Night shot of fireflies in the thousands flittering about within in a single tree (Talisay - Wild Almond). Now in its 50th year, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition provides a global showcase of the very best nature photography. The competition is co-owned by two UK institutions that pride [...]

By | October 22nd, 2014|

Life in the Great Barrier Reef

Onboard the MY Golden Shadow, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is circumnavigating the globe to survey some of the most remote reefs on the planet.  I recently joined their Global Reef Expedition, as a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers iLCP. My job was to take images [...]

By | October 17th, 2014|

Dwarf Minke Whales in the Great Barrier Reef

It's been a while since I was out diving and snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef. This time I went with the superb liveaboard "Spoilsport" of the Mike Ball Dive Expeditions during the best time of the year to see minke whales underwater. The weather was amazing with only 10-15 knot winds [...]

By | July 4th, 2014|

Stella’s Story

Stella up in the air in a heli bubble somewhere over Uluru. I’m Stella--a short, bossy half a century old Asian woman. I'm Chinese, born and raised in the Philippines, and a grateful immigrant to Australia. In 2003, my husband Yogi and I packed our entire household in [...]

By | June 15th, 2014|

The Great Sea Reef of Fiji from the AIR

16 December 2013 – Great Sea Reef Before our Great Sea Reef expedition started, we were asked by Patricia Mallam of WWF South Pacific what we wanted to photograph. #1 on our list was the most complicated, and I thought, better blurt it out now and hope for the best. I [...]

By | February 7th, 2014|

The Coral Triangle featured in GEO Magazine

A little late but nonetheless always relevant! Our big photo story on The Coral Triangle came out in German GEO Magazine last August 2013 and correspondingly, an iPad app with this slideshow below. With so many stories to choose from, our writer Dr. Andreas Weber wrote mainly about the Tubbataha [...]

By | February 1st, 2014|

Sea Cucumber Hunters of Fiji in the GSR

April 2013 - Kavewa Island, Nukusa Village, Yadua Island Sea cucumber is a high value, high demand Chinese delicacy that is sought after by Chinese traders buying dried sea cucumbers from all over the world especially in Asia and the Pacific. Sea cucumbers are flexible, elongated echinoderms belonging to the class Holothuroidea.  They live on the sea floor [...]

By | August 26th, 2013|

Yadua Turtle Monitoring and Irris

20 April 2013 Patricia Mallam WWF South Pacific Communications Manager brought her lovely 9 year old daughter Irris to rendezvous with us on Yadua Island - we, coming from Macuata Province and they, coming from Suva. They were joined by Pita Qarau, Turtle Monitor from Yadua Village in Suva and they all took the [...]

By | August 22nd, 2013|

Yadua Island and Cyclone Evan

19 - 22 April 2013 December 16 - NASA’s Aqua satellite image as Cyclone Evan spirals over Vanua Levu and Viti Levu. The 17th of December 2012 will forever be etched in the minds and hearts of Fijians and the memory is unfortunately not a good one. With [...]

By | August 14th, 2013|

WWF and University of South Pacific at work in the Great Sea Reef

April 2013 Our visits to the Fijian villages and the one resort in Macuata Province were made the richer when we were able to document the fieldwork of WWF South Pacific Marine Species Coordinator Laitia Tamata, WWF Labasa staff Koli Musudroka and University of South Pacific Laisiasa Cavakiqali. They were visiting 5 sites [...]

By | August 8th, 2013|

Udu Point – Freediving the Great Sea Reef

7 - 9 April 2013 The first time we saw the village of Nukusa from the boat, I thought how wonderfully situated it was. It is not a beachside village like the usual but one that is about 10 metres elevated from the sea. And then on second thought, I [...]

By | July 9th, 2013|

Kavewa Island – Mangrove Reforestation and the Reefs

4 - 6 April 2013 A charming activity took the children of Kavewa by storm one overcast Saturday morning. All the school children from Kavewa Village had just come back home for the weekend from their boarding school in Drua Drua (another nearby island) when they were assigned to go [...]

By | July 5th, 2013|

Kavewa Island – Turtle Monitor

4 - 6 April 2013 Emosi Time, son of Kavewa Village chief is known as a Dau ni Vonu or Turtle Monitor. Emosi used to be a turtle hunter, catching turtles for turtle meat offered in traditional Fijian celebrations. Since 2011, Emosi has turned from the dark side and is now [...]

By | July 4th, 2013|

Village Life in Kavewa Island

4 - 6 April 2013 Google Earth map of the Great Sea Reef showing distance we travelled from Mali Island to Kavewa Island. We departed Mali Island soon after our last amazing crab lunch to make it to Kavewa Island with the incoming tide, so we could dock [...]

By | July 4th, 2013|

Mali Island – Diving, Spearfishing and Sea Snakes

2 - 3 April 2013 Google Earth - Mali Island, Fiji We had a grand opportunity of checking out the Great Sea Reef underwater while in Mali Island. Our Ligaulevu Village host Leone Vokai operates a brand new dive shop called the Great Sea Reef Divers and he invited us [...]

By | June 28th, 2013|

Mali Island – Mangroves and Crabs

30 March - 2 April 2013 When we first received our shot list from Patricia Mallam of WWF South Pacific on what to document in the Great Sea Reef, one line jumped out like it was in ALL CAPS and in BOLD LETTERS. MUD CRABS!  Split level image of a mud [...]

By | June 25th, 2013|

Life in Navakasobu Village with Kava, Weaving and Fishing

30 March 2013 Navakasobu Village, Vanua Levu, Fiji Our wonderful guide and companion Koli Musudroka, WWF Field Officer for Labasa invited us to his village on Black Saturday. He had been telling us about the women in his village weaving a special kind of mat and traditional Fijian wedding costumes made of a [...]

By | April 3rd, 2013|

Happy Holi!

29 March 2013 Korowiri Village, Labasa, Fiji While the world I'm familiar with conducts solemn Good Friday activities celebrating the passion of Christ in quiet contemplation, another world celebrates a new year the Hindi way, with the festival of colours! Happy Holi! Yogi gets his first Holi colours! We had a [...]

By | March 31st, 2013|

First Day – Labasa, Fiji’s Northern Division

28 March 2013 Labasa Town, Northern Division, Fiji The incredibly efficient and fired up WWF South Pacific team in Fiji has given us a packed itinerary for our five weeks stay to document the entire length of the Great Sea Reefs of Fiji. Locally known as Cakaulevu, the Great Sea Reefs is the world’s [...]

By | March 28th, 2013|

The Coral Triangle Expedition now in YouTube!

Stella & Yogi with Panda in Tubbataha Four years ago our expedition started in April 2009. Another year and a half later, we finished an almighty big book called The Coral Triangle. And yet another year after that (as in today), we finally managed to make a short [...]

By | March 18th, 2013|

Our Backyard Rainbow Bee-eaters

Rainbow Bee-eater male (Merops ornatus) busy helping missus dig a nesting hole on the ground before flying back to his perch. Sometime mid-October, we received a series of urgent text messages from our Wednesday gardener/landscaper Kelvin: "the rainbow bee-eaters are digging a nesting hole in the sand 5 [...]

By | December 7th, 2012|

Cairns Total Solar Eclipse

With Cape Grafton and False Cape in the background and Cairns in the foreground, here's a time lapsed composition of the grand total solar eclipse in Cairns Queensland sunrise morning of 14 November 2012. Since the earlier part of the eclipse was cloud covered, the below composite is an [...]

By | November 14th, 2012|

JCU Nature Photography Masterclass 1 – Review

An entry from one of our participants from Ballarat, Victoria - Carol Hall.  This article is written by Carol for the Ballarat Camera Club newsletter. Carol with her bag of rolled oats and Mareeba Rock Wallaby mum and joey patiently waiting for a feed Masterclass in Nature Photography [...]

By | August 13th, 2012|

Tolga Bat Hospital Story in GEOlino Magazine

In the past five years, we have had two super strong category 5 cyclones visit our part of the world in Far North Queensland, Australia - Cyclone Larry in March 2006 and Cyclone Yasi in February 2011. The incredibly strong winds stripped our dense forest foliage naked and as a [...]

By | August 8th, 2012|

First JCU Masterclass in Nature Photography

29 June - 6 July 2012 Alas the dust has settled and the photo bags, tripods and cables are stored safely back into their normal place at home - the first masterclass is accomplished. And what a fun hard working 8 days it was. JCU Masterclass in Nature Photography is a [...]

By | July 24th, 2012|

Transit of Venus from Far North Queensland

At 9:43am today, the 6th of June 2012, from the third floor balcony of our home at Yorkeys Knob, we witnessed a historic astronomical event - the Transit of Venus! The next transit will be in 105 years so we're pretty lucky to see it in our lifetime! Transit [...]

By | June 6th, 2012|

Masterclass in Nature Photography by Jürgen Freund at JCU

Masterclass in Nature Photography with Jürgen Freund. Click into the picture for the full brochure. Cairns-based photographer Jürgen Freund has been pointing his camera at all creatures great and small for several decades now, and with great success. He won the 2010 PATA Gold Award for Travel Photography [...]

By | May 11th, 2012|

BBC Wildlife Magazine features The Coral Triangle

We have been working hard to promote the Coral Triangle through our pictures. The images we accumulated during our epic 18 month WWF Coral Triangle Photographic Expedition is slowly getting its proper exposure in the world. For starters, here’s a beautiful portfolio last March in BBC Wildlife Magazine. [phoenixgallery id="bbc-coral-triangle"]   [...]

By | May 9th, 2012|

GEO Magazine features Fish Faces of the Coral Triangle

Last April, we had a truly charming feature in Germany's GEO Magazine on the Coral Triangle's colourful and cryptic marine creatures - a sure sign of biodiversity in this ecoregion. Soon it will also come out in GEO International magazines all over the world in around 16 countries!

By | May 9th, 2012|

Tauchen Magazine – West Australia 2008

Tauchen Magazine - West Australia 2008 FLASHBACK - October 2008 We were boarding the fabulous diveboat MV Febrina on Yogi's birthday in 2008 when a fellow guest from Germany chased Yogi with a magazine upon finding out he was Jürgen Freund. The newest issue of Tauchen Magazine had our West Australia [...]

By | September 9th, 2011|

WildPhotos 2011

WildPhotos 2011 A photographic event happens every autumn at the Royal Geographic Society in London. It is the UK’s largest nature photography symposium. WildPhotos plays host to some of the world’s top wildlife and environmental photographers – including winners of the prestigious Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. [...]

By | September 8th, 2011|

Rolex Laureates Collaborating – Jürgen Freund on Assignment for Rolex in Ningaloo 2008

Rolex Laureates Collaborating - Jürgen Freund on Assignment for Rolex in Ningaloo 2008 FLASHBACK - May 2008 Rory Wilson and Brad Norman - two Rolex Award for Enterprise Laureates joined forces to study whale sharks of Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Yogi was given this "difficult" assignment of spending luxurious time onboard [...]

By | September 5th, 2011|

AIMS CReefs – Census of Marine Life, Lizard Island 2008

The Census of Marine Life (CoML) is a grand global project with an objective to survey and analyze changes from past to present in marine life biodiversity, distribution and abundance, and to compile the resultant data into a comprehensive database called the “Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS),” to be used in forecasting [...]

By | September 5th, 2011|

GEO Snake Expedition – Australia 2008

GEO Snake Expedition - Australia 2008 FLASHBACK – February 2008 Way back December 2007, Yogi was asked by the GEO photo editors to do a photographic snake expedition with scientist Dr. Guido Westhoff. The assignment required them to go to the Queensland outback for land snakes and Weipa for sea snakes. This [...]

By | September 4th, 2011|

Turtles! Our Marine Ambassadors are Unwell

14 – 18 May  2011 Bowen, Queensland, Australia About a year ago, we wrapped up our epic 18-month Coral Triangle photo expedition with our last leg in Timor Leste. We finished a long photographic marathon and yes, we were eager to finally see the end of it and go home. [...]

By | August 16th, 2011|

Lake Eyre 2 – Birdlife and Pelicans in the Outback

Charming Red-necked Avocet in Lake Eyre from the shores of Halligan Bay May-July 2011 A Lake Eyre photo assignment from GEO magazine got us quickly driving 3,000 km to the heart of South Australia to meet German writer Markus Wolff in Roxby Downs. Markus was flying in from Hamburg with many connecting flights [...]

By | August 2nd, 2011|

Lake Eyre 1 – Following the Water

The flooded Lake Eyre from the air. Have you ever wondered what a massive lake in the middle of the flat dry Australian desert looks like?  Can you even begin to imagine what or where this famed lake is? Lake Eyre for those who know where it is geographically conjures visions of [...]

By | August 1st, 2011|

Lake Eyre 2 – Birdlife and Pelicans in the Outback

Charming Red-necked Avocet in Lake Eyre from the shores of Halligan Bay May-July 2011 A Lake Eyre photo assignment from GEO magazine got us quickly driving 3,000 km to the heart of South Australia to meet German writer Markus Wolff in Roxby Downs. Markus was flying in from Hamburg with many connecting flights [...]

By | July 31st, 2011|

Lake Eyre 1 – Following the Water

The flooded Lake Eyre from the air. Have you ever wondered what a massive lake in the middle of the flat dry Australian desert looks like?  Can you even begin to imagine what or where this famed lake is? Lake Eyre for those who know where it is geographically conjures visions of [...]

By | June 30th, 2011|

Timor Leste Cowboys from the Maubissi Highlands

14 - 16 August 2010 S8 83.872 E125 60.340 – Maubisse Highland Maubisse was some six hours drive from Dili. It sounds like a long trip uphill but we stopped a lot along the way. One scene that definitely made us pause was the painful sight of a forest gone [...]

By | October 27th, 2010|

Making Salt – A Day in The East Timorese Life

8 – 19 August 201 Dili & Maubisse Making Salt When we were told days before that we were going to a place where salt was made, we imagined large, massive salt fields by the sea. There will be a lot of white ponds with salt crystals which could be [...]

By | October 20th, 2010|

Coastal Life in East Timor

8 - 19 August 201 Dili We hardly knew anything about Timor-Leste as we plunged in head first to photograph it. Upon arriving at the airport, we immediately noticed UN presence. There were a lot of men in uniform and loads of vehicles with the UN logo. And yet we [...]

By | October 14th, 2010|

People of Timor-Leste

8 - 19 August 201 Dili Sometime April this year, we attended ADEX in Singapore. Yogi & I were invited by John Thet, publisher of Asian Geographic Magazine as well as Asian Diver and ScubaDiver Australasia, to give a series of public slideshows on The Coral Triangle.  In one of the days [...]

By | October 10th, 2010|

Photography in the Coral Triangle – by Jürgen Freund

April 2009 - September 2010 In 1995, when I was a fresh full-time wildlife photographer - after quitting my Industrial Photography day job of many years,  I went for 12 months on my very own photographic expedition through the Coral Triangle. I first visited Christmas Island, Australia for half a [...]

By | September 5th, 2010|

Faces of Solomon Islanders

15 – 17 July 2010 Chea Village, Marovo Island Still in Chea Village, Marovo Lagoon, we concentrated in photographing people. The weather had not eased up on us and with the rains and occasional bursts of sunshine, we did mostly indoors stuff. And the Solomon Islander children were absolutely beautiful. [...]

By | September 1st, 2010|

Talented carvers of Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands

15 - 17 July 2010 Chea Village, Marovo Island After strong winds and rain throughout our stay in Tetepare, we were dreading the island crossing from Tetepare to Marovo Lagoon, New Georgia. We were bracing ourselves for big waves and made sure all our belongings were packed water tight and [...]

By | September 1st, 2010|

Tetepare Turtles, Coconut Crabs and Seaweed Research in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands

10 – 14 July 2010 Tetepare Island The wild coast of Tetepare The Tetepare Descendants' Association take their conservation work very seriously. They protect and manage the entire island most especially their 13km-long Marine Protected Area. Since 2004, they have had a dedicated roster of rangers and different marine [...]

By | August 31st, 2010|

Gizo and Ranonga After the 2007 Tsunami, Solomon Islands

6 July 2010 Gizo & Ranonga One morning in 2 April 2007, we woke up at home in Cairns. By force of habit, even before breakfast, I turned on the computer and checked BOM, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, for the day's weather. There was a tsunami warning button in red. Blink, [...]

By | August 2nd, 2010|

WWF Community Canoe in M’Buke Island, Manus, PNG

28 - 30 July 2010 M'Buke Island, Anun Island & Champoin Island The traditional sailing canoes of M'Buke Islanders Last year in February, when I was still researching WWF Coral Triangle projects to cover for our expedition, I had heard of the traditional community canoe making project of WWF [...]

By | July 24th, 2010|

The People of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea

5 - 24 June 2010 It is now 15 months that we have been non-stop on the road from Asia to the Pacific.  The diving has been spectacular but its the people we have met along the way that made our journey so much richer. The honest and open faces [...]

By | July 3rd, 2010|

Diving with Lissenung Island Resort New Ireland, PNG

5 - 15 June 2010 We have been on idyllic Lissenung Island Resort since June 5 and have spent wonderful time catching up with our friends Dietmar and Ange Amon, the owners and operators of this lovely little dive resort in the Pacific. In the past, Dietmar and Ange have house sat [...]

By | June 19th, 2010|

Malagan Tatanua Masks of Kavieng, New Ireland, PNG

11 & 14 June 2010 We met a fascinating Papua New Guinean artist by the name of Fabian Paino. He carves Malagan wooden sculptures, the ceremonial art of New Ireland's living culture. Fabian carves the wooden part of a Tatanua Mask His work is now found amongst people's collection from [...]

By | June 14th, 2010|

Critters of Kimbe Bay and Witu Islands

13 May - 3 June 2010 Restorf Island, Kimbe Bay Dickie's Place, Witu Islands The many shoals and sea mounts in Kimbe Bay are popular to many divers in the lookout for sharks, schooling fish in the blue and some tunas passing through. But one type of dive that's not [...]

By | June 7th, 2010|

Walindi Plantation Resort, Kimbe Bay, PNG

13 – 25 May 2010 Walindi Plantation Resort Australians Max and his wife Cecilie were agriculturists when they bought an oil palm plantation in West New Britain, PNG in 1969.  The Benjamins' plantation is an 800 acre property along the western shore of Kimbe Bay. Running through the property is a [...]

By | June 5th, 2010|

Beautiful Walindi, Kimbe Bay, West New Britain, PNG

13 - 25 May 2010 Walindi Plantation Resort Restorf Island is our lunch place and one of our most favorite dive sites. it is muck heaven as well as having awesome underwater landscapes This is Yogi's fourth and my third time in Walindi Plantation Resort. Needless to say, we [...]

By | May 25th, 2010|

So Long Asia, Hello Pacific!

13 - 25 May 2009 Our first Pacific country in the Coral Triangle is Papua New Guinea (PNG). As soon as we stepped into the Air Niugini flight to PNG while in the Manila airport, we felt closer to the Pacific. We were homeward bound! We have four months to go [...]

By | May 25th, 2010|

Fish for the Millions – Milkfish Aquaculture, Sarangani, Philippines

29 April - 2 May 2010 We made a most interesting and educational trip to Sarangani Bay in Southern Mindanao to photograph aquaculture or aquafarming.  Alsons Aquaculture Corporation is the producer of Sarangani Bay Prime Bangus or milkfish, which in the Philippines is food for the millions! A full cycle aquaculture facility, Alsons operates from having milkfish spawners capable [...]

By | May 9th, 2010|

Club Paradise – A Special Place in the Sun

18 – 22 April 2010 Dimakya Island, Club Paradise Night shot of Club Paradise restaurant. Right in front of this is the house reef where the dugong was waiting for us in the seagrass bed! Some thirteen year ago, Yogi already had a very special relationship with people working [...]

By | May 5th, 2010|

A Dugong in Club Paradise, Northern Palawan, Philippines

18 – 22 April 2010 Dirk Fahrenbach is a dear old friend of Yogi’s. He owns and runs Dugong Dive Center in Club Paradise and we met him in Singapore during ADEX 2010.  Upon finding out what we’ve been up to, Dirk immediately asked when we were visiting him in Club Paradise. Still [...]

By | May 1st, 2010|

ADEX 2010 Singapore

9 – 11 April 2010 The dynamic ADEX organizing team of Publisher John Thet and his editors Asian Diver Jonathan Meur, Asian Geographic Lunita Mendoza, ScubaDiver AA Diego Garcia join us pose with our lovely WWF flag on stage. Editor Lunita Mendoza hugs the Panda Mascot! It was a [...]

By | May 1st, 2010|

Good Friday in Bulacan, Philippines

2 April 2010  Kapitangan & Baliwag The Philippines is predominantly a Catholic country with a minority of Muslims living in southern Mindanao. The Catholic faith is strong and thriving and Folk Catholicism finds its major outlet during Lent, where traditional Philippine style rituals can be observed in different towns and provinces throughout the [...]

By | April 26th, 2010|

Club Ocellaris in Anilao, Batangas, Philippines

27 – 31 March 2010 The charming clownfish finds a symbolic home out of water in this quaint dive resort by the sea in Anilao, Mabini, Batangas.  Club Ocellaris is where I first entered the water with a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus and Boy Venus was there to teach and introduce me [...]

By | April 26th, 2010|

More Anilao, Mabini, Batangas Critters

27 - 31 March 2010 The province of Batangas has more than a 30-kilometer long coastline – Balayan Bay in the west and Batangas Bay in the east. To the north is the town of Bauan, and on the south is Maricaban Strait. Known to scuba divers as Anilao, the [...]

By | April 25th, 2010|

Nudibranchs of Anilao, Batangas, Philippines

27 - 31 March 2010 Anilao Batangas was where I learned diving in 1997. I had been coming here camping on the rocks when I was still in college in the 80's! Anilao was where Manila divers went for diving because it was closest to Manila and we all thought [...]

By | April 17th, 2010|

Newest Dive Resort in Mindoro – Apo Reef Club

15 - 22 March 2010 Sunset illuminates this charming dive resort in Mindoro Guenter Taus was my dive instructor for my PADI advance course many years ago. He also is part owner of Occidental Mindoro's newest dive resort called Apo Reef Club. Michi Roos is the founder and operations [...]

By | April 7th, 2010|

Apo Reef with Apo Reef Club, Mindoro, Philippines

15 - 22 March 2010 The colors of Asia comes out with this bright outrigger boat turned liveaboard Apo Reef Club I. Diver about to surface after a good dive With the expedition team complete with our writer Alya Honasan, our first Philippine journey for this leg was [...]

By | April 7th, 2010|

Dry Lands and Effects of Climate Change in Mindoro, Philippines

18 March 2010 We spent a whirlwind day traveling Mindoro on rocky roads from Concepcion to Mamburao to Sablayan back to Concepcion. It was from an early tuna festival activity at 7 in the morning to visiting Sablayan villages affected by climate change. Mindoro is the seventh-largest island in the Philippines. It is located southwest [...]

By | April 1st, 2010|

Coralline Triangle – Pun Intended!

9 March 2010 Sometime August last year, during our trip on the Seven Seas diving around Komodo National Park, we met Jack Shargel, an animated American jeweler based in Bali.  Jack, upon hearing what it was we were doing, showed us a somewhat different coral triangle!  He opened his magic jewel pouch [...]

By | March 23rd, 2010|

Hasta La Vista Papua Diving

8 – 28 February 2010 Sorido Bay Resort A panoramic view of one of the most comfortable and elegant lounge and dining areas we've been to here in Indonesia! High end Papuan art of tapa bark cloths, woven Papuan bags and intricate highland wood carvings tastefully decorate this place [...]

By | March 5th, 2010|

Landscapes and Seascapes of Raja Ampat

8 - 27 February 2010 While we were in North Raja Ampat, we were incredibly fortunate to have professional photographers and videographers Claudia & Leon Joubert document our stay and experience in what is arguably the epicenter of marine biodiversity. Claudia Pellarini-Joubert and Leon Joubert of the Bittenbysharks.com fame work with Max Ammer to [...]

By | March 4th, 2010|

Seeing Magnificent Raja Ampat from the Air

27 February 2010 After days of grumbling about the weather, Yogi finally found his smile again. Max Ammer was bringing him along as co-pilot to his truly photogenic yellow aircraft. Yogi finally smiling from ear to ear. Finally sunny after overcast days with heavy rain Conservation International needed [...]

By | March 3rd, 2010|

Marine Life of North Raja Ampat

8 - 26 February If I may, I would like to lift a few bits and paragraphs written by Dr. Mark V. Erdmann, Senior Advisor Conservation International Indonesia Marine Program in his introduction of a new fantastic coffeetable book The Raja Ampat.  "Reefs on Steroids", "The Kingdom of Coral", "Heart of the Coral [...]

By | February 26th, 2010|

Papuan Folks of Raja Ampat

8 - 25 February In 1526, Jorge de Menses, the first Portuguese governor to the Moluccan "spice islands" was swept ashore by a storm to the Bird's Head Peninsula (West Papua) even before he reached his post. He named the country Ilhas dos Papuas (Islands of the Papuans) derived from the Malay [...]

By | February 25th, 2010|

Mantas of North Raja Ampat

8 - 23 February 2010 Manta Sandy Manta Slope How do you describe the feeling of utter happiness you have to pinch yourself underwater to remind yourself it's happening? Our artist friend Robert Strachan sees me as a hobbit about to be engulfed by a ringwraith . [...]

By | February 22nd, 2010|

Misool Eco Resort

16- 30 January 2010 MER Full moon night scene of this wonderful resort in Batbitim Island. See the milky way on the right sky? Loads of divers dream of owning a resort in an island paradise in the tropics surrounded by pristine coral reefs and lots of fish. [...]

By | February 6th, 2010|

Misool Rangers At Work

25 January 2010 Yellu Island What originally started as a 200 square kilometer no-take zone has now been increased to 425 sq. km. Misool Eco Resort MER take their conservation work very seriously. They have set up a UK charity called the Misool Conservation Centre to raise funds for the all important work of [...]

By | February 6th, 2010|

WWF CT Business Summit Photo Exhibition in Manila

19 - 20 January 2010 Sometime early November last year, we got an email from Dr. Lida Pet-Soede, WWF Coral Triangle Programme Leader to discuss an idea of having a photo exhibition of our expedition in Manila during the first WWF Coral Triangle Business Summit in January 2010. We knew [...]

By | February 5th, 2010|

Life Forms

22 January 2010 Fiabacet Misool Eco Resort When Yogi starts singing, I have all reason to stop and listen to his song as he seldom does this. Whereas I break into a song at a drop of a hat, even if I don't know the lyrics. Well, Yogi repeatedly sang [...]

By | February 5th, 2010|

Misool Eco Resort, South Raja Ampat

11 - 16 January 2010 Almost TOTALLY built from salvaged wood, not a single tree was cut to construct this enchanting resort situated at the best diving sites of south Raja Ampat It feels like such a great reward to be here in Misool Eco Resort, after our tuna [...]

By | January 18th, 2010|

New Year and Renewed Attention to the Blog!

16 January 2010 After  the busy Copenhagen Conference last year and the holiday season break, our friends in WWF International On-line & Communications Department have now the time to add new things into our blog and have put it in the main Panda.org homepage! Whoopy! Thanks guys for pushing more readers to [...]

By | January 16th, 2010|

Sick Boys and Tuna Underwater

December 27 With hardly any sleep for both of us, by 5:30am with still very faint light in the horizon, our boat crew caught a yellowfin tuna. I woke Yogi who by this time was an angry bear. We had been waiting for this - for our boat crew to [...]

By | January 9th, 2010|

Let’s Catch Some Tuna!

December 26 Four out of six outrigger boats already in the fishing grounds when we arrived The crew on our ship went fishing by 9:30am. As in all of them! We just got here! They tethered our boat to the rakit and the other smaller outrigger pump boats [...]

By | January 9th, 2010|

Working Christmas

December 25 Gorontalo Harbour Stella & Yogi in Kuala Lumpur's KLCC, the six level shopping mall of Petronas Twin Towers! We're soaking in a CITY!!! What?! Working on Christmas? Sadly, yes.  But we had our fill of pre-Christmas in the 3 days we spent with friends in Kuala [...]

By | January 9th, 2010|

Edi Frommenwiler, Pindito and Raja Ampat

Edi Frommenwiler Movie "Wild Eye of Raja Ampat" on YouTube 15 years ago, when Yogi quit his office job as industrial photographer of MTU in Munich and became a fulltime freelance photojournalist, he embarked on a one-year self-funded expedition to Christmas Island and the Coral Triangle - Indonesia, Sabah & [...]

By | January 1st, 2010|

North Raja Ampat with Mantas!

15 December - Tuesday Jef Fam Woke up at 5am to look if our Panda flag was still flying on the mast of the Pindito. Yup, still there. It did a long night trip through from the south to the north. Hope there are no holes by now . . . [...]

By | December 31st, 2009|

Diving the Famed Misool, Raja Ampat!

12 December Boo Windows The Pindito steamed all of last night till 10am this morning to Misool. The first dive site at 11am was in Boo.  The landscape of limestone islands and outcrops is similar to Coron and El Nido, Palawan in the Philippines. Beautiful! This is finally my introduction to Raja [...]

By | December 31st, 2009|

More Banda Neira and Seram, Moluccas

10 December Banda Islands is historically known as part of the Spice Islands of the Moluccas. It belongs to  a string of islands south east of Ambon. It has an old Dutch fort and there is a volcano here called Gunung Api (mountain of fire) which erupted in 1988. The [...]

By | December 31st, 2009|

Diving Banda Neira, Moluccas

9 December 2009 I woke up to a nice porthole view of a small islet called Suanggi. Red Pindito dingy takes off for Suanggi Islet diving The birds were all over the islet - brown boobies, red footed boobies, frigate birds . . .  Yogi wondered if there [...]

By | December 31st, 2009|

Diving Twilight Zone – Ambon, Moluccas

8 December 2009 We finally got on board the lovely Pindito and an old friend of Yogi's  Edi Frommenwiler, Pindito owner and Raja Ampat pioneer made it to be with us with his brand new RED camera and Gates housing. Our first and second dives were in Ambon in what is famously [...]

By | December 30th, 2009|

Coral Triangle Expedition Cover Stories

Happy makers like these go a long way in keeping us company during our travels from site to site, boat to boat, hotel room to hotel room all throughout the Coral Triangle. Stella snorkeling the shallow reefs of Komodo National Park Please read all about The Jakarta Post [...]

By | December 5th, 2009|

WWF in Kei and Lebaran Hajj

24 - 28 November 2009 The leatherback conservation efforts in Kei is implemented by WWF-Indonesia through a local, community-based NGO (SIRaN) since 2003. In July this year, a one-man all around staff from WWF, Marthen Leuna aka Ateng, started his full time work here. WWF Indonesia Ateng Leuna took GPS data [...]

By | December 5th, 2009|

Kei Island Turtles

19 - 26 November 2009 After zooming around the many islands in Wakatobi, it was a relief to finally stay put in one community and concentrate in one thing and one thing only - leatherback marine turtles. Kei is the only location in Indonesia we can hope to photograph leatherbacks underwater. [...]

By | December 2nd, 2009|

Center of the Center

3 November 2009 Hugua - Regent of Wakatobi We had a very enlightening afternoon with the Bupati (Mayor) of Wakatobi, Pak Hugua. He was very aware of the Coral Triangle and the efforts of WWF, TNC & CI to help in the conservation efforts of this all important [...]

By | December 1st, 2009|

Being with WWF in Wakatobi

2 - 12 November 2009 The hour we arrived in Wanci, we immediately had a meeting with WWF Indonesia Wakatobi Project Leader Veda Santiadji in their Wangi Wangi office.  He offered us different travel scenarios and we got really excited when the first option was to do initial diving on 2 snapper Spawning [...]

By | November 15th, 2009|

Coral Miners

2 - 12 November 2009 We noticed from early on how different the sea gypsies from Wakatobi lived compared to their Bajau relatives from Sabah, Malaysia and the Philippines. The Bajo from Wakatobi reclaimed land and had sturdy houses on top of their new land. We heard from Sugi how [...]

By | November 15th, 2009|

Faces of Wakatobi

2 - 12 November I cannot write enough about the people we met along the way. Their faces have left an indelible mark on us. Here is a gallery of the look of Wakatobi. Young Bajo maiden with bedak or traditional sunblock on her face Muslim lass [...]

By | November 15th, 2009|

Muslim Mosque in Binongko

2 - 12 November 2009 You cannot mistake the religion  of this area. Five times a day, we would hear the Imam sing from loudspeakers of nearby mosques. I loved it. This young man walks to the mosque for his noontime prayers Our WWF companion Sugiyanta or Mas [...]

By | November 15th, 2009|

People of Wakatobi

2 - 12 November 2009 To many divers around the world, Wakatobi South Sulawesi is an underwater destination. Wakatobi, which is short for its many islands, stands for Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia & Binongko. We went to all these islands and beyond with WWF Indonesia and its partner agency TNC. We didn't do much diving here. [...]

By | November 15th, 2009|

A School in North Sulawesi

24 October 2009 We spent a most interesting day with Simone Gerritsen and her kids from her school Kehidupan Anda or "Your Life." The goal of Project “Kehidupan Anda” is to improve the education of the children in the village Tongkeina and the surrounding villages. Three year old school Kehidupan Anda's [...]

By | October 29th, 2009|

Funae Fishing Skipjack Tuna

23 October 2009 This day was a walk down memory lane. Eight years ago, when we were finalizing our shoot for our book Sulu Sulawesi Seas for WWF, we spent five midnights to mornings with the funae fishermen of Bunaken Island. Their hard work started when they bought live anchovies in Tanawango [...]

By | October 29th, 2009|

Diving Bunaken and Mucking Around Manado

20 - 24 October 2009 Off we went with the tireless Simone Gerritsen of Thalassa Dive Center in Manado to explore  Bunaken and the surrounding islands as well as the under-appreciated mainland Manado. We knew to expect the steep wall dives of Bunaken National Park and the beautiful coral cover of Bunaken's [...]

By | October 29th, 2009|

The Batuna Family

18 October 2009 About 15 years ago, Yogi dove and dove and dove for two straight months with Murex Dive Resort and Liveaboard in North Sulawesi. During this period, he contracted dengue fever and got a special visit from Murex's very owner, the gentle, soft-spoken Dr. Batuna. His verdict was, "You'll live." [...]

By | October 29th, 2009|

The Coral Reefs of Buyat Bay

15 - 17 October 2009 A relatively unknown dive destination not far from Lembeh is slowly getting its share of the limelight. Buyat Bay is about five hours from Manado located south of Lembeh. It used to be a gold mining operation that shut down recently. Now the mining facility's [...]

By | October 29th, 2009|

Singapore Slideshow!

If you happen to be in Singapore on October 27 with nothing to do at 7 pm, join us at the Botanical Gardens, as we shall be presenting our expedition so far through a 40-minute slideshow. Here's WWF Singapore's leaflet-invitation to announce the event!

By | October 26th, 2009|

Circle Hooks and De-Hookers

10 October 2009 This is the day Yogi turns 50! Happy half-a-century, Yogibear! It is also the day we learned about the circle hook and de-hooking tuna longline vessels' by-catch. Circle or C-hooks versus traditional J-hooks for tuna longliners Hafizh Adyas of WWF Indonesia oversees the By-catch Programme, and Rudy [...]

By | October 13th, 2009|

Say Tuna!

5 - 10 October 2009 Skip jacks - one of the many monuments in Bitung. The others are a mini Eiffel Tower and a cement bag monument. Go figure After intensive diving in Lembeh, it was again time to shift gears and swing to the other extreme of [...]

By | October 13th, 2009|

Indonesian Dive Guides and Beach Clean-Ups

23 September – 4 October 2009 As much as we appreciate the diversity of creatures crawling about Lembeh Strait, we appreciated more our guides who led us to them. Ronald giving a dive brief. All guides ended each brief with "thank you for your attention, enjoy your dive!" And [...]

By | October 6th, 2009|

Fish That Stared Back

23 September - 4 October 2009 An insanely fantastic artist friend of ours by the name of Robert Strachan has, for years, barked out an order everytime we went on a dive journey. "Will you photograph fish faces for me? Not side view. Not quarter view. I want full frontal in-your-face fish [...]

By | October 6th, 2009|

Muck Babies of Lembeh Strait

23 September - 4 October 2009 What the heck is muck? We have been diving in the Lembeh muck for the past 12 days and finding it so interesting we could hardly tear ourselves away from it. We must be mad, you'd think.  How can diving silt and sand be interesting? Well, it [...]

By | October 5th, 2009|

Second and third dive – Lembeh Strait

23 September 2009 Our second dive today is in Jahir I, named after the one of the pioneer Indonesian dive guides, Jahir! It was spectacular. I'm running out of superlatives here and pretty soon, I'm going to sound boring. Too much of !!!!! Third dive was in Airbajo I. Here [...]

By | September 23rd, 2009|

Twittering “24 Hours in the Life of WWF” from Lembeh Strait

23 September 2009 I am now enlightened on the world famous place called Lembeh Strait. I'm no longer a Lembeh virgin! Hurrah! We're here in Lembeh Resort to show what biodiversity is all about. Coincidentally, we're also here to Twitter our activities, joining in the worldwide celebration of WWF Founder Sir Peter [...]

By | September 23rd, 2009|

Fish Life – Tulamben

12 - 18 September 2009 Two normally elusive creatures, a red grouper and a mantis shrimp, posing for the camera at a cleaning station While in Tauch Terminal, the easy access to the Liberty Wreck and a house reef made us dive and dive and dive till we couldn't [...]

By | September 18th, 2009|

Diving with Tauch Terminal, Tulamben – North Bali

Tauch Terminal Dive Resort - 100 meters walk away from fantastic diving in the Marine Protected Area of Liberty Wreck 12 - 19 September 2009 First I have to pay tribute to the women porters of Tulamben. They literally risk their necks for us, and it's quite embarrassing [...]

By | September 18th, 2009|

Mantas and Mola Mola in Nusa Penida

10 September 2009 After five months of straight shooting, we had to slow down and work on the thousands of images. The WWF Global Photo Network had been patiently waiting for their hi-resolution images but we could feel their itchy fingers wanting to get hold of the files! 🙂 So [...]

By | September 13th, 2009|

Live Reef Fish Trade and People of Pulau Mesa

20 August 2009 We got off our 12-day liveaboard on the Seven Seas and hired ourselves a local floating home named Merannu, or Bajo language for “happy.” Our four-night floating hotel - Flores style We swung again from luxury to basic and as always, found ourselves pleasantly surprised. [...]

By | September 6th, 2009|

Komodo Topside, the Pet Family and The Seven Seas

6 - 18 August 2009 A panoramic shot of the upper deck of the Seven Seas We spent 12 wonderful days diving with the entire Pet family and their friends onboard The Seven Seas, a super luxurious dive live aboard operating all over the best sites of Indonesia. [...]

By | August 31st, 2009|

The Different Marine Habitats of Komodo National Park

6 - 24 August 2009 It is very interesting that mangroves and seagrass beds do not hold as much tourist attraction as flamboyant coral reefs. Fair enough as coral reefs are magical and full of variety of shapes and animals. But there is beauty in each ecosystem - so much [...]

By | August 31st, 2009|

Underwater Wilderness – Komodo National Park

6 - 22 August 2009 It was both Yogi and my first time to see the underwater world of the World Heritage Site Komodo National Park. About 15 years ago Yogi spent time here on land, photographing Komodo dragons. Not much was known about underwater Komodo, and there were few dive [...]

By | August 31st, 2009|

Mr. Linder

In the beginning of our journey, we knew part of this expedition was going to be about food. About eating. But it was far from our minds to eat well in Jamursbamedi. In fact, we thought we were going to survive on instant noodles or instant anything, as this was [...]

By | August 29th, 2009|

Bali, Indonesia: Hope in Paradise

By Alya B. Honasan IT was serendipitous that an important meeting of Coral Triangle partners was going on in Bali at the same time we visited, as scientists, conservation experts, and government representatives from all over the world gathered to work out plans of action. That meant that a whole [...]

By | August 27th, 2009|

More Leatherback Turtles and Faces of Papuan Kids

24 - 29 July 2009 Our Warmamedi tent beside the WWF turtle hatchery For the next four nights, we consistently saw two leatherback turtles laying eggs. We didn’t have as many companions now as the first night, and we developed some sort of nightly ritual.  A long boat [...]

By | August 5th, 2009|

Leatherback Turtles

23 July 2009 We arrived in Batu Rumah sometime 3 pm of July 23.  Immediately our WWF leaders Mr. Bas and Franki called for a meeting with all the site monitoring staff and some local Papuan patrol volunteers. WWF Sorong staff photo in Warmamedi. They loved our flag! [...]

By | August 5th, 2009|

Remote Expedition to West Papua, Indonesia

23 - 29 July 2009 Um Island Batu Rumah We have been planning this part of our expedition since before we left Australia for Asia four months ago. When we found out that WWF Indonesia had a project site for leatherback turtles, we zeroed in on what we needed to [...]

By | August 5th, 2009|

Kudat, Malaysia: The Faces of a Marine Park

By Alya B. Honsasan Trawler catch being sorted into baskets in Kudat Bay In the Kudat-Banggi Priority Conservation Area (PCA) in Sabah, Malaysia, fish is a big deal. You see it everywhere, from the fish cages outside settlements like Tampakan and Sibogo, to the dozens of trawlers and purse seiners docked [...]

By | July 30th, 2009|

WWF Malaysia in Kudat-Banggi Priority Conservation Area

25 – 30 June Kudat Harbour Pulau Banggi The efficient WWF Malaysia machinery was immediately felt when I started getting a series of text messages regarding transport, hotel accommodations and our overall visit to Kudat from Betty of the WWF KK office. Then Sofia Johari, the CEPA or Community Education, Protection, and Awareness [...]

By | July 15th, 2009|

Seven Days of Bliss in Sipadan

16 - 25 June 2009 Sipadan Mabul Resort- SMART Yogi nagged and nagged me about Sipadan. “I need time underwater!” he says. “Don't cut short my diving time!” He needed to nag because I have a habit of prioritizing land shoots.  Listening to the demanding husband, I booked [...]

By | July 15th, 2009|

Turtle Love – Sipadan Malaysia

By Alya B. Honsasan 23 - 25 June  2009 N4 07.051 E118 37.655 I SHOULD have gotten the hint when I did my check-out dive the afternoon I arrived at the Sipadan Mabul Resort (SMART) on Mabul Island, one of the two islands within view of Sipadan. On that relaxed 40-minute dive in [...]

By | July 2nd, 2009|

Beautiful Bajau

11 - 15 June Sibuan Island Eight years ago, while on a mission to photograph people who lived with the sea for our WWF coffee table book Sulu Sulawesi Seas, we lived with the Bajau Laut for three straight nights in a little houseboat in Pulau Gaya. This experience is indelibly [...]

By | June 21st, 2009|

WWF Malaysia in Semporna

11 – 15 June Semporna Bumbum Island Sibuan Island We met the WWF Malaysia Semporna team in their quaint office on stilts at the end of Dragon Inn, by the marina. They were busily preparing several community activities when we reached their office. It was all girl power, with Myezana Ismat and [...]

By | June 20th, 2009|

Giant Clams Spawning, Seaweed Farming, Fisheries

11 – 15 June Pulau Bohey Dulang Seaweed farming community Purse Seiner fishing grounds Maybe it was our good vibes and positive aura.  We got lucky this time in Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia. On to the second leg of our expedition, we visited, with our WWF Malaysia companions, Pulau Boheydulang.  The [...]

By | June 19th, 2009|

Whale Sharks of Donsol

30 May - 2 June 2009 We have not been back to Donsol in six years, and the many tight, long hugs we received were enough proof that we had left good friends there. It was truly a heart-warming "Welcome Back Home." But Donsol has changed. It has bloomed. We [...]

By | June 6th, 2009|

Donsol Here We Come

29 May 2009 Whale shark made from bamboo and rice-sack cloth paraded along the coast From summers 2000 to 2003, we prided ourselves in being the first to organize tours for European tourists to see whale sharks in Donsol. We stopped when we immigrated to Australia. We have [...]

By | May 29th, 2009|

The Magic of Pearls

11 – 15 May 2009 The miracle of the golden pearl When we saw mariculture listed amongst the subjects WWF wished us to document, my first thought was Jewelmer. For many years, we have longed to photograph a pearl farm to see how the famed South Sea Pearls came to be. An organic [...]

By | May 26th, 2009|

More Underwater Life in El Nido

9-10 May 2009 Palm-fringed beaches, bright white sand, turquoise waters and, of course, a little sunbathing cabana in Pangalusian Island Lunch in a resort such as MIR and LIR means you are spoilt for choice. When asked, “Where would you like to have your lunch, ma’am?” I'd scratch my head [...]

By | May 25th, 2009|

WWF Philippines in El Nido

7 May 2009 We first visited the El Nido Town to pay a visit to the dynamic Woman Mayor Leonor Corral. Mayor Corral took the time to give us an overview of her conservation efforts and initiatives and reiterated more than once the value of collaboration with NGOs such as [...]

By | May 25th, 2009|

El Nido’s Miniloc Island Resort

6 – 8 May 2009 Miniloc Island Resort - El Nido's idyllic haven amidst limestone cliffs Shifting gears from on-the-ground land subsistence activities to first class tourism, we travelled from eastern Taytay islands to the posh Miniloc Island Resort in the western part of Northern Palawan. We have had to [...]

By | May 24th, 2009|

Live Reef Fish Trade

2 – 4 May 2009 The need or want to consume live reef fish is enormous for a Chinese. I talk from experience as I am Cantonese and have uncles and cousins who own Chinese restaurants in Manila.  Growing up, every lauriat or Chinese feast attended was a full meal of at [...]

By | May 21st, 2009|

Typhoon, Fishing, Capiz, and Manny Pacquiao

2 – 4 May 2009 Tropical downpour! Typhoon Crising went past the Western side of Occidental Mindoro, causing a downpour in Taytay, Palawan. These were unusual times, the locals said. The town fiesta on May 1-4 had always been graced with sunny weather and Amihan (or northeast tradewinds) in the [...]

By | May 4th, 2009|

Irrawaddy Dolphins of Malampaya Sound

2 – 4 May 2009 Finally, we have good Internet connection! We're back in Manila, and can backtrack and report on the last three weeks of our Palawan adventure. We'll start with rare dolphins . . . We could not imagine going to Malampaya Sound for just a few days, thinking we [...]

By | May 4th, 2009|

Reef Mother

By Alya B. Honasan Angelique Songco manages the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan with a lot of passion It's late one summer morning, the sun is illuminating the crystal-clear waters of the magnificent Sulu Sea—and it’s a fierce war zone in the 4,737-hectare lagoon of the North Atoll of  the Tubbataha [...]

By | May 2nd, 2009|

Out in the Blue: Tubbataha Reefs, Sulu Sea

2 May 2009 By Alya B. Honasan The sting Expedition writer Alya Honasan (middle) with the Freund Factory It's been over a week since I got back from the first leg of the WWF Coral Triangle Initiative Photographic Expedition of J�rgen and Stella Freund to Tubbataha in the Sulu Sea, but [...]

By | May 2nd, 2009|

Life in a Fishing Village

27/28 April 2009 We spent an enlightening day and night on Green Island, Palawan. About 2,000 people, children included, live there. There are 360 households, and if you do the math, that’s about an average of 5.5 people per household.  One family has 14 children! Underwater flashlight! You could walk this [...]

By | April 28th, 2009|

Roxas Fisheries

26 April 2009 Many thanks to Boy Bonoan and Ofie Rondina of the Palawan Provincial Government, our land transport to Northern Palawan was all organized. Once in Roxas, a scenic two-hour coastal ride north from Puerto Princesa, our guide Albert Ladica met us at our Pension.  Albert is the Fisheries [...]

By | April 26th, 2009|

Jacana Tuna Fish Landing

22/23/24 April 2009 Now back on land with all our gear full of salt, we shifted gears and spent slow quality time cleaning and maintaining our stuff. We also had to re-energize and plan our next Palawan trips to Roxas, Taytay and El Nido.  Still with swollen fingers, Alya flew [...]

By | April 24th, 2009|

COTS Once More and So Long Ranger Station

21 April 2009 Luli Arroyo infected with our COTS quest The guests onboard Oceana Maria joined in gathering COTS. Among them was Luli Arroyo, the Philippine President’s daughter and Southeast Asia Policy Officer for WWF Coral Triangle Programme. The fervor did not abate and as the stabbing sticks [...]

By | April 21st, 2009|

Rangers and Crown-of-Thorns Starfish

20 April 2009  The rangers, Angelique and the WWF expedition team Order of the day was an early morning group picture of the rangers with manager Angelique and WWF expedition visitors Alya, Yogi & I. After breakfast, we photographed WWF ranger Choy and TMO ranger Manny diving a [...]

By | April 20th, 2009|

Oh no! Rain!

19 April 2009 Woke up at 5:45am – gee it’s overcast. By 6:30, while I was using nature’s toilet, the heavens opened. We all thought it was a good thing the rains didn’t happen at night! Equipped with raincoats, we continued shooting after breakfast. Secille and Choy found a dead [...]

By | April 19th, 2009|

Finally, Tubbataha Bird Islet

18 April 2009 Woke up at 3 am. Outside the station, the sky was bright with stars and a quarter moon. It was peaceful to spend a few minutes outside with Yogi and the rangers creating a cacophony of snores inside. After half an hour, the winds picked up. It [...]

By | April 18th, 2009|

Re-scheduling Tubbataha Bird Islet

17 April 2009 Flat calm seas and sunshine as summer should be Today was a day of helplessness and frustration. It was flat, calm, and full sunshine yesterday. We left the boat Stella Maris with all the guests and crew wishing us a not-so-scorching hot visit to Bird [...]

By | April 17th, 2009|

The Tubbataha Rangers

16 April 2009 Rangers – NAVY  Team Leader: Elmer “Jhing” F. de los Santos Jhing mans the radar and radio 24/7 Secille G. Balot Secille tills their little garden for the ranger's vegetable needs  Romeo “Romy” O. Bellezo Romy assists in catching a baby booby [...]

By | April 16th, 2009|

Dive Tales Tubbataha Reefs – Day 5

15 April 2009 Dive 1, 7:30, Black Rock N8 47.868 E119 50.440 Hmmm -- 6:30 morning rain. We’re going to be rained on in Bird Islet in a few days! Not a nice thought. Before the dive, our German dive group mates ordered pygmy seahorses, and guess what -- our [...]

By | April 15th, 2009|

Dive Tales Tubbataha Reefs – Day 4

14 April 2009 Dive 1, 7:30, Delsan Wreck We went a way back from the wreck, to the point where our boatman said it was a different dive site altogether! But the drift was so strong, we ended up in the wreck at the end. Saw long lines, and coral [...]

By | April 14th, 2009|

Dive Tales Tubbataha Reefs – Day 3

13 April 2009 Dive 1, 7:30am, Malayan Wreck Blue water hang at 20 meters, waiting for schooling hammerhead sharks to pass by. This was a test of patience. We have never been lucky with hammerheads and often have to explain to the dive masters that we bring bad hammerhead luck. [...]

By | April 13th, 2009|

Dive Tales Tubbataha Reefs – Day 2

12 April 2009 Dive 1, 7:30 am, Bird Islet’s Washing Machine Schooling jacks - LOTS Hardly any current, but this dive was fantastic. Our dive master Omer Alanis already pre-checked where the huge school of jacks was, and made us go down exactly where they were. The water [...]

By | April 12th, 2009|

Dive Tales from Tubbataha – Day 1

11 April 2009 Dive 1, 7:30am, Malayan wreck Malayan wreck with jacks in the shallows It was the first dive of the trip, and it started with very slight current and some fan corals. The highlight of the dive came towards the end, when we reached the wreck [...]

By | April 11th, 2009|

Box Jellyfish Hunt

10 April 2009 Puerto Princesa Pier Again had lovely breakfast with Angelique, Norman and their son Nathan Songco. Their house is just so lovely and a squirrel decided to pass us by hopping from tree to tree. Not everything with four legs gets eaten in the Philippines, as is the [...]

By | April 10th, 2009|

Maundy Thursday in Puerto Princesa

9 April 2009 Puerto Princesa Wet Market We arrived Puerto early evening of the 8th and immediately after checking in, were whisked away by our friend Angelique Songco, boss woman of Tubbataha Marine Park, to dinner at Ka Lui’s. Our host for the evening was Rolando "Boy" Bonoan, the Palawan [...]

By | April 9th, 2009|

Hong Kong Eating

6 April 2009 Live Reef Fish Trade It was simply glorious to finally go to sleep without worrying about storage. We can now start working. Working in Hong Kong meant starting our day looking for the nearest busiest “Yam Cha” or dimsum breakfast. It is after all, all about FOOD. [...]

By | April 6th, 2009|

Goodbye Yorkeys

03 April 09 (22:09) At the eve of our departure, the neighbor's music blares and we think to ourselves, good riddance.  This is the last night we will sleep in this house and we're so happy.  Can't wait to get out of here and we are off tomorrow!  This expedition [...]

By | April 3rd, 2009|

All packed up and places to go

25 March 09 (02:21 am) Ugly job of packing a whole house into storage The house is empty. Well, almost. The removalists efficiently packed our furniture into their truck, and in two hours flat, had everything in storage. It pays to hire the experts and not have to [...]

By | March 25th, 2009|

Yorkey’s Knob, Cairns (home)

3 March 09 (00:15 am) This is the second night in a row I could not fall asleep.  The clock is ticking and the days are rushing and before I know it, it’s time to leave. We are preparing to pack our entire household and put everything in storage for [...]

By | March 3rd, 2009|

August 2007 – Nautilus

Chambered nautilus (Nautilus pompilius) Now how did these beautiful deep-sea living fossils become so vulnerable? Our untiring quest to get them protected is unwavering. We must learn more about them before we can fight for their preservation. Guests help out Undersea Explorer marine biologist Qamar to engrave, photograph and [...]

By | August 31st, 2007|

July 2007 – Mike Ball Spoil Sport

Minke whale passing Lighthouse Bommie Mike Ball Dive Expedition in Pixie's Pinnacle - split level Mike Ball's luxurious liveaboard Spoil Sport brought us to the Great Barrier Reef's famous Ribbon Reefs to interact with the playful minke whales. Moored in Lighthouse Bommie, minkes [...]

By | July 31st, 2007|

June 2007 – The German Invasion

Lars and Carolin jetlagged and walking 2km Nandroya Falls Lars and Carolin walking Mossman Gorge's hanging bridge Somehow friends and family often make it to visit us during Aussie winters. This year was no different with Lars & Carolin Abromeit visiting first. Jet-lagged [...]

By | June 30th, 2007|

May 2007 – Sharks, Nautilus and Planktons

Undersea Explorer crew collect tissue samples of a grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) at Osprey Reef North Horn on the UE back deck. Karl measuring a nautilus as part of the marine research done onboard the Undersea Explorer And yet another exciting trip [...]

By | May 31st, 2007|

April 2007 – Daintree Slideshow

Yogi's Daintree EcoLodge slideshow flyer We were invited to give a public slideshow in a wonderful place called the Daintree EcoLodge & Spa. With our brochure nicely done and announcements in the Port Douglas Gazette, the turnout was pretty good and it was an altogether fantastic 2 hour affair [...]

By | April 30th, 2007|

February 2007 Glowing Fungi

One of the best-known bioluminescent fungi in Australia possibly Pleurotus nidiformis. This large, irregular-shaped fungus with a small stem often grows in dense clusters at the base of living or dead eucalypts. Bioluminescent mushroom light is created by a chemical reaction with a substance called luciferin which reacts with [...]

By | February 28th, 2007|

January 2007 – Stingers and Cassowaries

Yogi and our first 4WD Carla in the red outback We often tell friends how we need to rough it in the wild to be able to be at our shooting best. Roughing it means camping - sometimes sleeping in our van Carla sometimes pitching tent and camping [...]

By | January 31st, 2007|

December 2006 – box jellyfish

Associate Professor Dr. Jamie Seymour or the “Jelly Dude from Nemo land” showing Irukanji jellyfish swimming around the Kreisel tank in the James Cook University aquarium facility. Irukandji box jellyfish feeding on; catching fish (Carukia barnesi). The deadly Irukandji jellyfish is found in north Australian [...]

By | December 31st, 2006|

November 2006 – Western Australia

Split level coral reef shallows and snorkelling Stella with Kimberley Escape in the Rowley Shoals, Western Australia Colourful gorgonian fan and soft corals with diver in the Rowley Shoals Stella drift snorkelling in Clerke Reef channel of the Rowley Shoals November [...]

By | November 30th, 2006|

August 2006 – Remembering Ambrose

Remembering Daddy - Ambrose Chiu August came the emotional task for Stella to finish and launch the Chiu Family book, Remembering Ambrose - a commemorative memorial book of heartfelt stories from family and friends on her father Ambrose Chiu, 30 years after his passing. The quick two-week trip [...]

By | August 28th, 2006|

June 2006 Minke season

The LEGENDARY Undersea Explorer Undersea Explorer's minke girl Susan Sobtzick and Stella Undersea Explorer's Rosco, Debbie and guest Bennet pointing at minke direction and helping out with minke research in the Great Barrier Reef Finally home in June and just recovering [...]

By | June 30th, 2006|

March 2006 – Kimberleys

Kimberley Escape against the magnificent King George Falls backdrop Kim and Allan Wilson with a fresh caught barramundi!  End March to early April were 13 fascinating days on board a liveaboard, the Kimberley Escape. We experienced the spectacular Kimberley coast's stunning waterfalls, barramundi filled rivers and [...]

By | May 31st, 2006|

February 2006 – The New Australian

Yogi attended a dive show in Dusseldorf and just got back home in February in time to attend Stella's citizenship ceremony at the Cairns City Council.  Presided by Cairns City Mayor Kevin Byrne, this special occasion was co-celebrated by good friends John and Linda Rumney of the Undersea Explorer and [...]

By | February 28th, 2006|

Life in 2005

Barron Falls the day after a passing tropical cyclone It is incredible that the year is over again. We had the worst anticipation of a category 5 cyclone named Ingrid. Although used to typhoons from the Philippines, we were ill prepared for an inconceivable hit. Ingrid moved northwest [...]

By | December 31st, 2005|

Life in 2003-2004

June 2003. We emigrated from the Philippines to North Queensland, Australia. Now based near Cairns: the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree National Park (the world's oldest rainforest), we concentrate on Australian subjects as well as Asia and the Pacific Island region. Stella & Yogi's first years in Far [...]

By | December 31st, 2004|

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