visits

Share on Facebook

Final Dives Vietnam 8/30-31/11

Picture
It's nice to have my last dives with good pals and finally, found some Ghost pipefish which I've never seen under the shores of Nha Trang. Water was unusually warm and visibility was great, averaging 10-15mtrs at both Madonna rock and Mushroom Bay.

Checked my log book and did 104 dives total in Vietnam. Its' sad I've missed seeing the huge marble ray at the Lighthouse and recently, a huge school of unicorn fish have been sieen frequently at Fisherman's Bay. All in all, it was a good run and I think I've seen almost everything there is to see in Nha Trang. From yellow-tail Barracudas, good cavern swim throughs, deep dives at the lighthouse and a gamut of nudis and critters, It was a wonderful run, diving Nha Trang Vietnam. 

Below are some final pics, and everyone got a shrimp in mouth shot :D

Dive 7-23-11 Mushroombay (avg 13mtrs), Madonna Rock (20 mtrs), Nightdive Beach front (avg.5 mtrs)

Picture
Forlorn is the operative word to describe this trip... Izwar's set up met camera heaven. If it was me I would have gone berserk and started knocking my head on any wall the whole day (drowning a USD4k set up) but he as always was calm, collected and cool during the mishap. Flooded underwater cameras are never a pretty sight, and this one was a major one. Personally didn't enjoy the dives much since we had everything planned out already and then the accident on the very first dive. What to do after flooding? start point http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=10887

What to report, On the nightdive with Dima and Jerome by our secret place, Mr. Hairy frogfish was still there, a crocodile pipefish I think (have to recheck), less cowfishes but a box fish appeared and spotted a Bobtail squid which was the critter highlight of the dive. Also a host of new flatworms seen at Madonna Rock while the Shrimp congress are still there at Mushroom Bay (we had it all planned out, another shrimp in mouth shot) but sadly, RIP Nikon D200 and 100mm. Very interesting for me in this trip was seeing around 8 partner shrimps of different shades and colors and seeing a worm on a chromodoris reticulada

Supposed to do 2 dive days, but after the flood, the interest just wasn't there. Not much fun shooting without you're buddy, but night diving with Dima and Jerome proved to be great. 

Dive 7-16/17-11 Mushroom Bay 2 aka Lobster Beach (avg. 10 mtrs) , Madonna Rock (avg. 25 mtrs), Moray  Beach (avg. 8 mtrs)/ temp 23-25C/ viz 5-10mtrs

Picture
Thuan  is now employed with Amigo Divers and is on his way to be an 'official' instructor (finally) Congrats Thuan. This weekend, went diving with Angel Dive where I'm glad I did. 

Apparently there's this site at Mushroom Bay, aka Lobster Beach which was a 10-15 meter swim from the main site where there were hundreds of shrimps, from banded boxer shrimps, hingebeak shrimps, glass shrimps, anemone shrimps, sexy shrimps (all sorts), blennies, plus a host of friendly goby's on wire corals. It was a Shrimp fiesta down there plus a few feet away there's a resident blue ribbon moray plus a black one a few meters out. It was so good spent two 70+ minute dives on the coral bed area of mushroom bay/lobster beach. Also we were lucky enough to see a huge octopus vulgaris, arms unfurled probably 5-6 ft, sadly, viz was quite poor that day but this site is a must do. Will post a video soon as it captures more vividly the immense congregation of shrimps.

Madonna Rock was incredible this time of year, seeing 20+ Nudis- one dive, variety not as special as those found at the lighthouse dive site but they were scattered everywhere. Saw 6 pairs of Hypsolodoris Bullocki's, A juvenile spanish dancer Hexabranchus sanguineus who lost a rhinopore, a gigantic Discodoris boholiensis flatworm, a bearded fireworm Hermodice carunculata, and a host of other nudibranch (the usual chromodoris annae, magnifica, phillidia pustolosa, elegans)

Also, the Juvenile Painted frogfish was present at Moray beach, nice highlight to end a good dive trip. Skipped the green giant frogfish as I've seen too much of it already :)

Angel dive was kind enough to let their resident spotter Huy (he's super good, funny as hell, he shared Thuan was his teacher, in bed too?..) to dive just with me, so we really got to explore the outer rims of the main sites. 

Also met lots of new buddies on this trip, Jineffer, of course with beau Jerome, Chip and his GF, while Eric Buu threw a party for us, free flowing beer at Rocky's and we went home close to crawling...

Here's just a few photos what we saw doing 4 - 75/79/60/72 minute dives in Nha Trang...plus Eric,s blowout

Night Dive 6-26-11- Hairy Frogfish in Nha Trang (8 mtrs max)

I have been hunting for the elusive Hairy Frogfish for almost a year. After three dive trips this year to the Philippines, I was most unfortunate to have missed seeing what everyone else in the Philippines has apparently seen (the resident Hairy frogfish at Basura site in Anilao). My French friend instructor Jerome Carlier came back to Nha Trang from a holiday in Paris and thanks to him, decided to tag along to Nha Trang from Saigon. He has been an instructor for a local Vietnam dive op. for several months but has never done a night dive (was shared it took special permits which was more fiction than fact, just to deter peeps from doing so)... so off we went.

We actually were expecting to find Sea Horses and Octopus as we've seen pictures from Hamit Arslan, another dive master friend  having photos posted on Facebook of both on a night dive made two weeks prior our night dive. 
First minute we were greeted by a Cowfish, then another, there were roughly 10+ of them, was a dairy farm down there,... lots and lots of crabs typical of a night dive, then boom, Binh was calling us franticly flashing his lights and banging his tank repeatedly and low and behold- A hairy frogfish by a sand mound. Finally, my first encounter of a Hairy frogfish, not in Anilao, not in Lembeh, of all places, Nha Trang Vietnam? Was waiting for it to yawn but sadly, it was in a hunting mode the whole night. 

Aside from our Hairy friend, we also spotted various cornetfishflatfish, flying gurnards, a bearded fireworm, a nudi- eusenelops luniceps, several juvenile cuttlefish and a host of gastropods. I've actually seen more interesting critters on this night dive compared to the 70+ dives I've made at Hon Mun Island. We could have seen much more but spent over 40 minutes with the Hairy Frogfish as this critter was denied me for so long then Eureka... of all places, Vietnam. Below are some pics taken of the 99 minute night dive which I must say is very comparable to Night dives in Anilao Philippines. I'm definitely doing more of this. What site you may ask... secret, for now, Maybe we may call it Secret Bay (bí mật bay)...Nha Trang?

Heres a video link too.. for me a very special find, proof enough we did see one, In Nha Trang Vn.
Hairy and Friends
grounded

what we missed, but these were the photos on Facebook taken by Hamit, May 30, 2011, proof of life,  (octopus kaurna)?? sand octopus with pointed head and hippocampus kuda (common seahorse) .. more to find next night dive

Dive 6-12-11 New Dive Site christened Paradise 1 and 2 (15 meters)
Was unfortunate two of us had to go back to Saigon as we wanted our Sunday to recuperate from a combined 16 hour round trip bus ride to Nha Trang and back,  as Luis, Iz and Yusmar pushed through as planned exploring a new dive site East of the NT pier/jetty discovered by Thuan and Minh. They shared the site was again crawling with nudis and flatworms plus a few other critter favorites such as the Porcelain Anemone crab, A White Mouth Moray and a friendly Flying Gurnard who seems to enjoy being a star (almost impossible to capture a facial shot as it is usually a very shy creature). The guys also shared at one point they heard fish bombs some km's away during one of their dives. Nha Trang would have surely been a great site but illegal fishing has obviously cut down the marine life through the years. The site had generally tolerable current, viz was good at the time, around 15-20 mtrs. There were not much coral fauna at this discovered site, which was described to be a huge rock, underwater mound similar to the divesite Lighthouse at 30 mtrs. Despite the absence of corals, the site was prolific in terms of macro life, hence christened the names Paradise 1 and Paradise 2 by the guys. 

Below are some photos shared by Iz and Luis of the macro life at these sites. Flatworms are still being researched as they dont appear on the available online id sites.  

Dive 6-11-11 / Sites Lighthouse (2) Max Depth 32mtrs, Vis 20 mtrs, Madonna Rock (1) Max Depth 15 mtrs, Vis 15mtrs

Another astounding dive day with Thuan in Nha Trang Vietnam. We were rewarded with 20+ Nudis (25-30mtrs down) plus a bonus Octopus, a giant Map Pufferfish, a Giant Jellyfish and Three Mantis Shrimps in our first two dives at the Lighthouse. Visibility was an exceptional 20-30 mtrs and currents were manageable as we went to dive early in the day but water temperature was still at 23C with thermoclines coming in one after the other. Must wear at least a 3mm wetsuit when diving here. On our second dive, 3 out of the 5 divers had deco'ed from 12-17 minutes due to the depth of where the Nudibranches are located. Ensure to check you're air and computer regularly while shooting here to ensure a safe dive.

Our last dive at Madonna Rock wasn't as great but we were able to spot some tiny squat lobsters inside the feather stars around the area followed by a delightful swim through through the caves and ending the dive with resident juvenile Yellow fin Barracudas swimming alongside us. We were a group of 5 during this trip and while the two of us went back to Saigon by night, our three other buddies stayed on to explore a new site/shoal East of Hon Mun which as shared by Thuan is as prolific as the Lighthouse in terms of number and variety of Nudibranches. Will be posting their pictures soon of Dive 6-12-11-New Dive site.

Dives Feb-Apr 2011

These are some photos taken within various dive sites around Nha Trang Vietnam with Thuan as our guide. Enjoy

Picture
Glossodoris Pallida- Lighthouse Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
ceratosoma gracillimum- Lighthouse, Nha Trang Dive with Thuan
Picture
Lighthouse, Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Hypselodoris bullocki- Madonna Rock, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Risbecia tryoni- Small Wall, Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Bornella Anguilla- Lighthouse Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Chromodoris Geometrica- Fisherman's Bay, Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Chromodoris Magnifica- Madona Rock Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Lighthouse- Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Chromodoris Hintuanesis- Small Wall- Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Cuttlefish- Small Wall Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Octopus Vulgaris- Madona Rock Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Bubble Coral Shrimp- Mushroom Bay Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
White Mouth Moray- Fisherman's Bay Nha Trang, Dive With Thuan
Picture
Firedart Goby, Fisherman's Bay Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Devil Scorpionfish- Madonna Rock Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Squat Lobster on Featherstar- Small Wall Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Flying Gurnard- Mushroom Bay Nha Trang, Dive With Thuan
Picture
Flabelinna- Lighthouse Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Pegasus sea moth- Mushroom Bay Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Giant Frogfish- Fisherman's Bay Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Clown Frogfish- Fisherman's Bay, Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Rusted Coral Guard Crab- Small Wall Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Conch- Bao Dai Muck Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Decorator crab- Bao Dai Muck Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Reef squid- Bao Dai Muck Nha Trang, Dive with Thuan
Picture
Picture
Thuan understands the needs of Underwater Photographers, from Point and Shoot to more serious underwater photographers, you get the best opportunity to capture those spectacular critter shots with Thuan
Picture
full assistance, in and out of the water
Picture
Full care of you're expensive underwater photography gear. Thuan knows well how to protect you're precious buddies
Dive Vietnam, Dive Nha Trang, Dive operator Vietnam, Critter Diving, Nha Trang diving, Vietnam diving