A Ray Hope Exhibition

July 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Exotic South East, General Fun, Nature

Photo credit - Six Senses Soneva Fushi

Photo credit - Six Senses Soneva Fushi

The manta ray is a beautiful creature that is well loved by all. This graceful and peaceful fish, in its natural habitat, is one of the most spectacular sights in this wide ocean of ours. However, the manta ray is one of a number of species that are threatened by over-fishing. These species, including several species of sharks, are in danger of extinction and we need to start getting the word out about them to save their plight.

The collaborative duo of “olly and suzy” hopes to do exactly that. The British artists have taken part in more than 50 expeditions since 1993 to exotic locales from all over the earth to paint these predators and their prey at close proximity from their natural habitat. Their collaborative work has been exhibited in various galleries in New York, London and more.

The duo has decided to focus on manta rays and sharks as their next subject, and Soneva Fushi in the Maldives is proud to be their host as the government in the Maldives understood the importance of these species in attracting visitors. They are always on the lookout for ways to protect and preserve these graceful creatures.

Photo credit - Six Senses Soneva Fushi

Photo credit - Six Senses Soneva Fushi


olly and suzi will be at the Soneva Fushi from 8 to 19 July 2011, to work closely with Kate Wilson, the resort’s full time marine biologist. To them, this is an exciting opportunity not to be missed. They first worked underwater with whale sharks in 2000 in the northern Galapagos. The sight of these gentle, silent and majestic giants have inspired them ever since.

They are keen to understand the threats and challenges facing these creatures and their fragile aquatic habitat. The hope is that the local community and resident conservationists and biologists can share a thing or two about the challenges these two indicator species face.

Eva Shivdasani, co-founder of Soneva Fushi, is also a keen campaigner against the tragic loss of sharks due to shark fishings. Plenty of these species are butchered simply for their fins, which are highly prized in China and on some other Asian countries as a culinary delicacy. She has been actively driving campaigns to get as many restaurants around the world to stop serving shark fin soup and played a big part in getting the Maldives governments to agree to ban shark fishing.

Photo credit - Six Senses Soneva Fushi

Photo credit - Six Senses Soneva Fushi


“The big fight now is to save the whale shark and mantas. Unfortunately, shark fin soup has a horrible status in Asia, and it’s devastating for the shark population. But we are seeing signs of hope with the younger generation in Asia. 15 years ago we also worked hard on a ban on catching turtles. I’m so happy that olly & suzi are helping us raise awareness for the plights of such beautiful creatures. The whale sharks and mantas in particular are so majestic,” shared Eva, the Creative Director of Six Senses.

olly and suzi’s manta ray and shark art will be on display in 2012, with 30% of the sales to be given to Blue Marine Foundation. The foundation will be sponsored by Six Senses’ Maldivian Resorts for the next three years.

Check out the attractions of Cyprus holidays online. There are short cruises setting off from Cyprus on most days, so it is easy to explore exotic locations nearby.

Raja Ampat, Diving’s Holy Grail

June 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Exotic South East, Nature

Deep in the hearts of Papua, lies the Holy Grail of scuba diving. Back in our very first issue of the magazine we shared about the eco-conservation efforts being undertaken in Raja Ampat to ensure this paradise would last as long as it can. Here we’d like to showcase the amazing photography of Scotty Graham, which was featured then in our print magazine. Enjoy this photographic journey through Raja Ampat’s marine beauty!

Raja Ampat, scuba diving's Holy Grail

Raja Ampat, scuba diving's Holy Grail

Eco-resorts in Raja Ampat strive to balance nature and development

Eco-resorts in Raja Ampat strive to balance nature and development

White sandy beaches, azure blue sky. Truly you are in paradise!

White sandy beaches, azure blue sky. Truly you are in paradise!

Oh, did I forgot to mention the crystal clear water?

Oh, did I forgot to mention the crystal clear water?

But enough about the beach, we came here to dive!

But enough about the beach, we came here to dive!

Marine beauty at its best, beautiful corals and colorful fishes!

Marine beauty at its best, beautiful corals and colorful fishes!

And more fishes!

And more fishes!

A group of Manta Rays passing by.

A group of Manta Rays passing by.

Underwater Macro shot.

Underwater Macro shot.

Finally, time to call it a day. Sunset in Raja Ampat.

Finally, time to call it a day. Sunset in Raja Ampat.

The archipelago of Indonesia boasts plenty other diving attractions. Be sure to check out our list of amazing dive spots in Indonesia before you book your trip here!


Unearthing Asia is a travel zine focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. Don’t miss out on the best travel ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of divers paradise in Indonesia.

Diving in the 3 Pearls

June 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Exotic South East, Nature

Indonesia is the widest archipelago in the world, with more than 80,000 km of coastline and 3.1 million square km of marine area. With such a large marine area, it’s no wonder Indonesia is often described as a diver’s paradise. There are plenty of attractions for all kinds of marine lovers, but this time around, we will focus our attention on three small gleaming pearls – North Sulawesi’s Gangga Island, Bali’s Candidasa, and Lombok’s Gili Trawangan.

Photo credit - Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten

Photo credit - Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten

The Gangga Island, North Sulawesi

The Gangga Island arises from the depth of the ocean north of Sulawesi, in the Bangka Archipelago, just off the National Marine Park of Bunaken. A volcanic island, Gangga is adorned with lush tropical trees and colorful flowers. There are several diving areas within reach from Gangga Island, suitable for beginners and experienced divers. The diving spots available in Gangga offers an astonishing kaleidoscope of life forms in more than 25 first-class dive spots in its central position between Bunaken and Lembeh Straits, which also happens to be one of the major playgrounds of paradise for macro-photographers.

Another island paradise bound to attract scuba divers is the renowned Raja Ampat, long heralded as scuba diving’s Holy Grail. Be mesmerized by the crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and pristine marine beauty in this jewel in the ocean!

Photo credit - Hagwall

Photo credit - Hagwall

Candidasa, Bali

Towards the south of the Indonesian Archipelago is Bali, the Island of Gods. At the Eastern coast of this island, far from the crowd, lies the small village of Candidasa, a key location where your choice of tours in the water, and out, begins. Bali has a superb reputation as a diving destination, and overal there is as much diversity of dive sites and marine life here than anywhere else in the region. In the eastern coast of Bali, the feature is on the Mantas, mola mola (sunfish) and tiny pigmy seahorses.

Candidasa is also home to the Bat Cave Temple (Pura Goa Lawah), an important temple to the religious locals which is home to thousands of bats hanging on the rock of cave walls. Legend has it that the cave extends all the way to Pura Besakih up at Mount Agung, more than 30 kilometres away. During various holy days, thousands of pilgrims would visit Pura Goa Lawah to join in sacred ceremonies, before heading up towards Mount Agung.

From water-sports at white sandy beaches to first-class shopping, to luxurious gourmet treats and a relaxing escapade at a hillside cafe, Bali has it all. Here are some of the must-do things in Bali, the Island of Gods.

Photo credit - Jos Dielis

Photo credit - Jos Dielis

Gili Trawangan, Lombok

Last but not least on our quick island hopping is Gili Trawangan, one of the three small islands off the coast of Lombok. Here, visitors can experience the serenity of a small island, the excitement of the underwater world, and the energy of island nightlife all at once. The island was renowned as a backpacker mecca in the 90s, and while it is still true to some extent, there is now a range of luxury and glamour on the island, and especially so on Gili. On one hand, you have a multitude of relaxing laid-back beach-side cafes serving home-made drinks and local delicacies, but on the other end you also seafood buffets, gourmet treats and luxurious stays.

The diving on offer is excellent, and the island is well-known as a teaching center for diving newbies. There are however, spots with strong currents and drifts better suited for the experienced, with the focus on barracudas, manta rays, sharks and hundreds of turtles.

Other than the above three gleaming pearls, the archipelago of Indonesia boasts plenty other diving attractions. Be sure to check out our list of amazing dive spots in Indonesia before you book your trip down South!


Unearthing Asia is a travel zine focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. Don’t miss out on the best travel ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of top attractions in Ho Chi Minh City.

8 Diver’s Paradise in Indonesia

More than 5 million square meters of water surrounds the island archipelago of Indonesia. Undoubtedly, it is a grand settlement for hundreds if not thousands of underwater species and beautiful, colorful coral reefs. At once, this country offers plenty of spots that many diving enthusiasts can only dream about.

Thanks to the unusual political turmoil and usually exaggerated travel warnings, you’ll rarely find this country on the average traveler’s itinerary. Fortunately for the brave and adventurous, that means less tourists, more peace and quiet, and a better chance of enjoying all the serene beauty on your own sweet time. Here’s a list of Indonesia’s 8 Amazing Dive Spots for you to dream about, and one day try on your own!

Bintan Island. Photo credit - jensen_chua & Roro Fernandez.

Bintan Island. Photo credit - jensen_chua & Roro Fernandez.

Bintan Island, Riau

Probably the most accessible island from outside Indonesia, this diving hotspot is less then an hour away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore. The island boasts of 18 km of pristine white beaches with rich marine life, and various dive spots for your enjoyment and perusal.

Not far from the northern coast line there is a small gorge 8 meters deep with a flat bottom, a perfect site for those trying out scuba diving for the first time. Another unique site here is Ship Wreck Point, where you can explore the remains of an old tanker boat sunk years ago in the depth of the sea.

Pulau Seribu. Photo credit - tjhinn & Ria Qorina Lubis.

Pulau Seribu. Photo credit - tjhinn & Ria Qorina Lubis.

Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands), Jakarta

This unique area consisting of over a hundred small islands (thus the exaggerated name), has always been the playground for divers from Jakarta. From the various islands, a few of the more popular ones are Pulau Kotok Besar, Pulau Kotok Kecil, Karang Bongkok, Pulau Sepa and Pulau Pantara.

Pulau Seribu is very accessible, you can simply rent a speedboat from the Marina, or a fisherman’s boat from one of the various piers. About one to two hours worth away from Jakarta and you’ll be able to dive to your heart’s content. Some of the larger islands provide better accommodation such as resorts and villas, but you’ll have to rent a boat to visit the smaller islands – that’s where the beautiful corals are!

Karimun Java, Central Java

Another side of Java Sea that’s also a diver’s paradise is the island across the sea at Semarang, Central Java. This area, called Karimun Java, is a collection of 27 smaller islands surrounded by ocean water rich with blue coral Acropora reef. Divers can explore the remains of Indonour, an ancient merchant ship that sank long ago in 1955. An additional treat here is the various sea turtles that hatches in the conservation park.

Derawan Island. Photo credit - degi.

Derawan Island. Photo credit - degi.

Derawan Island, East Kalimantan

About 50 miles away from the Tanjung Redeb, Berau Province’s capital, is an area covering several smaller islands. Its filled with spectacular corals and underwater caves for adventurous exploration. Derawan has more than 17 dive spots across the area, each with its own unique attractions for you to consider. Some of the more popular sites are at Pulau Sangalaki, Pulau Kakaban and Pulau Maratua.

At Sangalaki, you can find eagle rays, sting rays, leopard sharks and cuttlefishes as well. It is also the preferred hatching spot for giant green turtles, which you can view every night. The main attraction at Pulau Kakaban is the 5 square meters saltwater lake filled with stingless jellyfish and goby fish. And finally, at Pulau Maratua, you’ll find plenty large-sized fishes such as barracuda, tuna and mackerel. Sightings of hammerhead sharks, and up to eight species of whales are also often reported here.

Scuba diving enthusiasts should also check out our photographic journey through the marine paradise of Raja Ampat, long renowned as the Holy Grail of Scuba Diving.

Komodo Island. Photo credit - smulan77 & thejerk.

Komodo Island. Photo credit - smulan77 & thejerk.

Komodo Island, Flores

This island is usually associated with the Komodo Dragons, with it playing host to these fiery gigantic lizards species. But in regards to scuba diving, this area also plays host to a score of dive spots that are known to be some of the best in the country. From Sebayour Kecil, Pulau Tengah Kecil and Pantai Merah, various underwater attractions are on offer, such as various mackerel, cod and grouper fish.

At Pantai Merah, or roughly translated as Red Beach, you’ll find not far from the coast a 5 meter drop-off filled with colorful fishes. There are more dive sites at the western coast of Flores, such as Pulau Tatawa, Pulau Tatawa Kecil, Pulau Rinca and Pulau Nusa Node.

Nusa Penida. Photo credit - Saylow's & whitecat-singapore.

Nusa Penida. Photo credit - Saylow's & whitecat-singapore.

Nusa Penida, Bali

Pulau Nusa Penida, located east of Bali, is a popular dive spot amongst both local and international divers. About one hour away from Bali, this island has some of the healthiest coral reefs, with exceptional visibility of 15 to 35 meters.

For beginners, there are various dive spots at the northern coast of the island better suited for exploration. At the southern coast, there is also Blue Corner, Nusa Lembongan and Gamat, for those more experienced divers looking for a challenge. The sun fish is often sighted at Crystal Bay, while manta birostris are common occurrences at Manta Point.

Diving at Bunaken. Photo credit - naturemandala & Erwin Kodiat.

Diving at Bunaken. Photo credit - naturemandala & Erwin Kodiat.

Bunaken, North Sulawesi

This is another hotspot that is better known internationally compared to the rest, consisting of the smaller islands of Pulau Sialdoen, Gangga, Mantehage, Nine and an old volcano in the middle of the sea, Manado Tua (Old Manado). Snorkeling and diving are both extremely popular, with up to 16 dive spots spread amongst the islands in the area. Bunaken features a slope with up to 30 meters drop-off housing various species of fishes and marine life. Sightings of shark are not uncommon, so beware!

Indonesia is home to so many amazing diving destinations, its simply impossible to write about them all at one go! Here’s another diving-related article – Diving in the 3 Pearls in Indonesia.

Diving at Lembeh Straits. Photo credit - CW_Ye.

Diving at Lembeh Straits. Photo credit - CW_Ye.

Selat Lembeh (Lembeh Straits), North Sulawesi

Still at North Sulawesi is another icon of the diving world, Selat Lembeh (Lembeh Straits). This dive site is famed internationally with its diversity of marine life, some unique to the site. Here you can find the mimic octopus, pygmy seahorse, flamboyant cuttlefish and hairy frogfish among others. It’s a haven of underwater photography, and is often called the “Mecca of Macro Photography”. Be warned however, that the delicate nature of Lembeh Straits means it is only appropriate for experienced divers.

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