The wonders of Brunei’s macros has to offer

By Irwan Ismail @ Sorte Diver (PADI Instructor)

IMG_0437
Me with PADI Divemaster Hafiz (left), embarking on a journey to Brunei from Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur, April 26: During our trip to Brunei on April 11th, we were impressed with the macros marine life. Though, the initial idea was to explore the four wrecks which is the Cement, American, Australian and the Blue water wrecks or famously known as the “Big Four”.

It begin in 2013 during the Malaysia International Dive Expo (MIDE), my dive buddy, Hafiz Azzad Zubir, a PADI Divemaster and I decided on exploring Brunei dive sites. I took the leisure package and he took the Wreck specialty course package.

Steven Ng from Oceanic Quest, Brunei.
Steven Ng from Oceanic Quest, Brunei.

So we meet up with Steven Ng (left), the managing director of Oceanic Quest, a 5-star PADI Dive Centre during the expo to arrange for the logistics.

On April 11th, we took the first flight out, Malaysian Airlines (flight MH 730) to Brunei. Upon arriving there we were greeted by two Oceanic Quest crew who is very friendly and helpful. It took us about 20 minutes drive to the dive centre.

Entrance to the dive centre.
Entrance to the dive centre.
Dive Centre Facade

Upon arriving to the dive centre, we were greeted by the friendly Oceanic Quest crew, felt more like a family. First day is more light and easy, sorting out the diving gears and cameras.

Me with Divemaster Ali Umasangadji (right), the best top macro spotter.
Me with Divemaster Ali Umasangadji (right), the best top macro spotter.

There, we met Divemaster Ali Umasangadji (left), one of the best spotter in the world, who is one of the few people who started muck diving in Lembeh, Indonesia. Exchanging notes and experience, he has taught me a lot about marine life macros habitat. Wish I could stay longer to learn more, but another trip to Brunei is already in my mind.

After few days diving in Brunei, I dare say that Brunei has a grade A macros, equivalent those find in Anilao and Lembeh.

You can join my Facebook page for trips and event here (SORTE MET STELA, SCUBA DIVERS).

Always setup your equipment a day before you dive. Check and double checks especially on the o-rings. You don't want a leaking camera spoil your trip.
Always setup your equipment a day before you dive. Check and double checks especially on the o-rings. You don’t want a leaking camera spoil your trip.

Below are some of the images I took during the 4-days trip. All of the photos was taken using the Canon G12, Single Sea&Sea YS-D1 strobe and Subsee +10 lens:

whipcoral-shrimp
Four Lobed Porcelain Crab on a whip coral. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
whipcoral-crab2
Four Lobed Porcelain Crab on a whip coral. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
Soft-coral-crab-and-cowry
Four Lobed Porcelain Crab on a soft coral. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
shrimp-unknown
Yet to be indentified, most likely a shrimp. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
sawblade3
Sawblade shrimp on a whip coral. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
sawblade2
Sawblade shrimp on a whip coral. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
sawblade
Sawblade shrimp on a whip coral. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
Red-Bornella
Nudibranch: Asean Bornella. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
porcelaincrab
Porcelain crab. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
orange-shrimp
Sea Pen shrimp on a sea pen coral. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
Nudibranch
Nudibranch: Chromodoris. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
nudi-leaf
Nudibranch on a leaf fish. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
Leopard-shrimp
Leopard anemone shrimp. I manage to capture one of the rarest shrimp in the world according to Ali Umasangadji. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
IMG_1390-brunei
Nudibranch: Doriprismatica atromarginata. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
IMG_1360-brunei
Nudibranch: Hypselodoris bullockii. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
Gobyfish2
Goby fish on a whip coral. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
gobyfish
Goby fish on whip coral. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
goby2
Goby fish on whip coral. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
emperorshrimp
Emperor shrimp on sea cucumber. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
cowry
Cowry. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
cowrie
Cowry. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
Cleanershrimp
Bruce’s Hinge-beak shrimp. – Picture by Irwan Ismail

four-lobecrab

Bruce's Hinge Beak Shrimp. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
Bruce’s Hinge Beak Shrimp. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
Leopard Anemone Shrimp. – Picture by Irwan Ismail
Leopard Anemone Shrimp. – Picture by Irwan Ismail

Also, I have made a short video of the macro life there as well, enjoy.

April 14, 2014, we took the Malaysian Airlines flight MH 731 and headed home to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Next Brunei trip is already in discussion.

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