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FOLLOW THE ADVENTURES THAT HAVE TAKEN US ALL OVER THE WORLD WHILE FILMING FOR OUR 6K AND 4K MEDIA STOCK LIBRARY.

RAJA AMPAT 2018

 All images below, are uncropped frame grabs from our 6K & 4K film stock footage.

(Please note: Active words are linked to more information and trip adviser/other reviews.)

Oh..... Raja Ampat...... with the Barker Friends & Co, on our Favourite Liveaboard, the Seven Seas and all the fabulous staff........we waited for Two years for this magical trip and boy, was it fantastic! How very fortunate have we been to be able to join the Barker Friends and Co. group once again! Yahooo! AND, we also added a few days, on land, at the stunning Papua Explores Resort

 Flying with our favourite airline, Singapore Air from Cape Town to Manado and then the final domestic leg with the very competent Garuda Indonesia from Manado to Sorong, we could not wait to be reunited with our Barker friends and all the Seven Seas friendly staff. 

Arriving in Manado, too late to catch a connecting flight to Sorong, we stayed overnight at Novotel Manado Golf Resort and convention centre and then flew off early the next morning to Sorong where the friendly Seven Seas staff picked us up and transferred us to the liveaboard boat. We spent 12 nights on the Magical Seven Seas. Do read a few independent reviews from our co divers Sonia Google, Sandy Kelly and a wonderful poem by Rob Barker.

We truly love being on the Seven Seas Liveaboard and can highly recommend it to anyone wishing to dive in Indonesia. The chef's, food was fantastic, thanks Totok Sugiharto for going out of your way to ensure that we always had a vegetarian alternative meal.

The Diving was unbelievable, as usual and with the added knowledgeable assistance of Karl, Irwan and Jefry we once again were shown so many wonderful Marine life treasures. It was lovely seeing Karl Klingeler, Captain Mr. Wahyudin Ismail and Mr. Abdul Rifai H. Djudje, and all the friendly, highly competent cruise and office staff, Candra and Guteri again.

From the time we were picked up at the airport to the time we were safely handed over to our transfer to Papua Explores Resort, we were so well looked after, it felt as though every step was taken to ensure a smooth, happy, magical time.

Thank You to you ALL! We did find that the Dive sites are much busier than they were two years ago and we congratulate Karl and his team for always booking dive sites whenever possible, choosing and sometimes changing sites to ensure we had great dives.

We hope that Raja Ampat will be closely controlled, so that it does not turn out to be another Red Sea, with far too many boats and divers in the water. This precious environment needs to be protected at all costs. We thank the Seven Seas for another mind blowing trip and have booked our next one already. Roll on the Forgotten Islands. We can not wait to share time with you all again!

Our hard working camera gear supported us all the way. Prepping, charging, filming, rinsing, data retrieval and then all over again, 4 to 5 dives a day. Our RED Dragon and Blackmagic Production camera’s, Keldan underwater lights and Dive and See monitors never skipped a beat. Not to mention their respective Nauticam underwater housings that protected the camera’s under hard working conditions, strong currents and at depths of down to 40m.

 …………..We then transferred over to Papua Explores Resort for 9 nights in a tastefully decorated water bungalow, where we so enjoyed 7 days of fantastic diving and met the truly dedicated team of Raja Ampat SEA Centre, lead by co-founders Tunc Yavuzdogan, Selen Yavuzdogan, Lynn Lawrance, Arnaud Brival, Tresye Marlessy and by the well trained Coral Gardeners Tomy Kumanireng and Yermi Mambrasar. They have been incredibly successful in Coral Rehabilitation, including rehab on unstable coral rubble. We were blown away by their success and have been so privileged to film their work. We wish them everything of the very best. Related Blog Post.

A HUGE THANKS to Arnuad and his team for such a magical dive experience!!

It was so encouraging to see how Papua Explores have embraced the local community and are continually working with them in so many wonderful ways to uplift, protect and conserve. Their use of Eco Safe shampoos, sunscreen etc. is encouraging to note and we hope that many other resorts and liveaboards in all marine areas will follow suite soon. Papua Explores also hosts two members of staff from MMF, so that they can continue to do their ongoing scientific research. Just another reason to support Papua Explores. Congratulations, we were so impressed that we will share your good vibe and encourage everyone to support you, in all your great efforts. We can not wait to return!

 Too soon and it was time to head back home again.

 Raja Ampat you hold a special place in our hearts and we do hope that your future will be protected at all costs.

 

Tips for Raja Ampat:

  1. Do not forget your Insect repellent

  2. Use ONLY Eco safe detergents and sunblock.

  3. Pick up any litter you may come across and get it disposed of correctly. Lets start making a difference...every single one of us!

  4. Booking Garuda Indonesia Flights online, even from South Africa was super easy and we received all flight changes via email promptly.

  5. Indonesian people are so warm and friendly, learn some words in their language and make a connection.

  6. Your Raja Ampat Marine park fee gives you a years access, so if you are moving around Raja you can use the same paper work and disk and there is no need to buy a new one at each resort/Liveaboard etc.

Until next time……..

This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

New Zealand 2017

(Please note links and trip advisor reports are active on highlighted words)

North Island

Travelling once again with our favourite airline Singapore Air via Changi airport, we arrived in Auckland and picked up our hired vehicle from ACE rentals.

We were not terribly impressed with Ace Car rental services, as we received a car with an unroadworthy spare tyre, the staff member who we dealt with, was not at all helpful and we had issues with their insurance policy, as described by her. We will not be supporting ACE car rentals in any of our future bookings. This was our first encounter with New Zealand service and we where shocked. Fortunately, the rest of our New Zealand encounters were extremely pleasant! So let us continue on a better note...

Our first two magical weeks were shared with our dear friends Tom Campbell and Beth Davidow in the far north reaches of the stunning North Island. Tom and Beth went out of their way to show us all the spots that made them fall in love with New Zealand and purchase property there.

The above images are all frame grabs from our 4K RAW video stock.

Filming with our DJI Inspire 4K RAW Drone, BlackMagic Production Camera 4K, DJI Osmo 4K RAW and two 4K GoPro hero4 Black cameras, we managed to capture some of the beautiful landscapes, with rolling hills, thick natural native Kauri forests, gorgeous bays and stunning sunsets and sunrises. Often visitors/tourists only go as far North as Kerikeri, but we urge you to go all the way to the picturesque CapeReinga, where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet and drive down the NinetyMile Beach (at low tide) on your way back.

The above images are all frame grabs from our 4K RAW video stock.

We were very fortunate to take a stunning boat ride on Toms boat to one of the top dive sites, namely “The Poor Knights”. How lucky were we, with perfect sea and diving conditions, good visibility, loads of fish, a few Rays, stunning surroundings, sea caves, the Blue Maomao Arch and the superb company of our hosts. Rikoriko, the largest sea cave in the world, is huge and Tom even drove the boat into it. What a thrill! I am still pinching myself!

We visited a number of locations on land, all of which were exquisite and unique. It feels like a dream....we were able to anchor in quite safe bays, pull into harbours to refill our dive tanks and had an absolutely magical time. We took the tender boat at Whangamumu and strolled around the old whaling station. From Whangaroa Harbor, to Whangamumu Harbor, Cape Bret, Opua marina, Tutukaka marina, Whangaihe bay, the stunning Bayofislands, Whatuwhi Penninsular, Kari Kari and Mauitai Bay the North of New Zealand is truly beautiful.

The above images are all frame grabs from our 4K RAW video stock.

 We celebrated our 30th wedding Anniversary while on this trip and enjoyed a wonderful dinner with our friends at the hotel Restaurant of Ramada Resort Reia Taipa Beach

Far too quickly and it was time to start heading South. Two weeks on the North Island was not enough time to even scratch the surface, but just enough to fall in love with its beauty and come to the realization, that we would have to return again. On top of it all, we were totally spoilt by Tom and Beth, driving us around, showing us all the spots they hold dear, sharing all their knowledge, time and space. We are truly indebted to them both and hope they will visit us in South Africa, so that we can return the huge favour and once again share their wonderful company.

South Island

We then drove to Hamilton, staying overnight at the Mill Lodge and the following morning, continued on to Wellington. We passed the steaming volcanic thermal vents outside Taupo and staying over night at the Ibis Hotel where we caught the Blue Bridge ferry to Picton and continued to Fox Glacier via Westford the following day. At Westford we stayed at Bazils Hostel & Surf School and we had dinner at the Denniston Dog Restaurant and Bar.

The above images are all frame grabs from our 4K RAW video stock.

We had a lovely stay at The Misty Peaks at Fox Glacier. Unfortunately, the weather for a few days was gloomy, wet and windy and made filming almost impossible, only managing a brief visit to Fox glacier between the storms. It is understandable that this area is covered in Rain Forests. As stunning as Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier are, it's quite scary and worrying that they have receded 800m in the past few years due to rising temperatures. Global warming?? We had some really yummy food at The last Kitchen while staying in the Fox area.

The above images are all frame grabs from our 4K RAW video stock.

The weather followed us on our travels from Fox all the way down the stunning Haast and Queenstown area to Fiordland and Te Anau. Here we stayed at The Fiordland National Park Lodge, We used it as a home base while visiting Milford Sound and the Fiordland district. We had a pleasant ferry trip around Milford Sound, booked with “Encounter” on the “Lady Bowen”

Do remember that there are no petrol stations to fill up your car between Te Anua and Milford. By this point, the weather had cleared sufficiently and the ferry was able to take us out into the Tasman Sea. What breathtaking scenery! Our favourite restaurant in Te Anua was Ristorante Pizzeria Paradiso Da Toni Restaurant

Driving through to Dunedin we encountered 200km of mist, that was blown away the following day by strong easterly winds which hampered our filming opportunities, not to mention how cold it was. We kept trying to warm up camera batteries close to our bodies, as the 9c air temperature kept giving us warnings. We stayed at Alcala lodge.

The above images are all frame grabs from our 4K RAW video stock.

Dunedin is a gorgeous city, filled with history, rolling green hills, scenic roads and beautiful surroundings. We visited the Royal Albatross centre, only to find that it was impossible to film these magnificent birds because the colony is very small, only 23 birds and one is viewing them from behind glass, at the observation point, which makes filming impossible. We hope that the measures taken will ensure their protection.

We spent our last day filming around Dunedin, with perfect weather conditions and stunning views. The Otago Peninsula, Dunedin was truly gorgeous!

All too soon it was time to return home with a domestic flight back from Dunedin to Auckland on Air New Zealand. Wow, we were impressed with Air New Zealand! From the very efficient telephonic booking to the fabulous airport lounge in Dunedin and the superb flight.

We stayed in Auckland, at the very convenient Jet Park airport conference Hotel, for our last night in New Zealand. Then our last leg of flights was with our favourite airline Singapore Air flying from Auckland to Singapore and finally connecting to Cape Town.

TIPS/POINTS TO REMEMBER

  1. Take layers of clothing, including a decent rain Jacket.

  2. New Zealand may not have any venomous creatures but the Sand Flies are amongst the most annoying insects in the world and their bite itches forever. Take insect repellent and wear clothes that cover legs and arms.

  3. Most B&B's Motels etc. provide all toiletries, coffee, tea and 500ml fresh milk daily.

  4. The I stores are very helpful and informative in providing information and booking accommodation.

  5. If you are not pre booking all your accommodation (we did not) take care to check for any Rugby fixture games at your destination, as these impact availability.

  6. Comparing South Africa's pricing to New Zealand we found the cost of living to be at least double and travelers from Europe and USA echoed this surprise. eg. A large pizza SA: R100 NZ: R200 to R240 , Petrol in NZ R20 -R23/l ; Diesel in NZ R10- R12....so hire a Diesel Vehicle.

  7. Do remember that there are no petrol stations to fill up your car between Te Anua and Milford Sound.

  8. A camper van is ideal for traveling around New Zealand. There are many areas to park for the night and all the camp sites, that we saw, are clean and well managed.

  9. Jet Park Airport conference Hotel, in Auckland, was very helpful as they stored our dive bags in their locked store room, while we traveled around the country. Picking them up on our final nights stay in New Zealand.

  10.  Be aware that some Hotels in Wellington do not have car parking facilities. Parking in the city center is $4 an HOUR!!

  11. If you wish to be on a quite Milford Sound ferry tour, be sure to book the earliest tour, on the smallest ferry. By 10am the buses start pouring into Milford sound with hundreds of tourists.

SPECIAL THANKS

A very Special Thanks to our Dear Friends Tom Campbell and Beth Davidow for an absolutely magical time in the far north of North Island, for your guidance, accommodation, amazing company, hospitality and generosity.

    So just to finalise... we loved New Zealand and got RAW 4K footage of the thundering Marian waterfalls, Humbolt falls, Humbolt mountains, Eglinton Valley, thermal vents, stunning aerial footage of many areas, the Rikoriko cave, Cable Bay, Cape Reinga, 90 Mile beach, Native Kauri forests, stunning bays, Poor Knights area, Fiordland area, Fox Glacier, Lake Matherson, Mt Cook, Waterfalls, the Otago Peninsula, Careys Bay, Dunedin etc. etc.

    Do contact us if you are looking for any footage.

    This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.

    All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.