my dive buddies
I met Max and Cecilie at Walindi in 1990 when we were living in the Highlands. Max is a real pioneer in the industry and stands amongst the most famous divers on the planet. Walindi was one of our favourites and we went often. After diving much of the region, I can say that Niugini, and Walindii in particular, is the best dive location on the planet. Even today, Walindi and Papua New Guinea are off the beaten path but I hope it stays this way. The oceans are far too crowded today. Diving should be as I remember it in New Guinea,
Khun Aoy is the behind the scenes organizer of the Panunee and the new Velocean liveaboards. He's got a great crew and has organized a wonderful dive experience that allows him to focus what he loves; diving and photography.
We met Glenn on the Panunee while diving in Raja Ampat. It was Jonathan's first big trip. We both had cameras, I was using RX100MKIV and and Jon the TG4. We were fortunate to be in the same dive group with Glenn and Khun Aoy. I can recall the most amazing experience with a school of sweetlips at 40m. Even though we were new to photography, Glenn was friendly and helpful and spent a lot of time with us in the photo room on the boat reviewing our photos and videos.
Nofri is a great divemaster and guide. We first met in Komodo on the Panunee, Matthew's first big trip. I remember our first dive at Castle Rock, all holding hands and spiraling down in the current. what a rush! Matthew was 11 years old and Nofri took great care of him. He's excellent at finding interesting subjects and so patient as you wait to get the perfect shot....even as we are approaching our decompression limits. Nofri is from Lembeh and we started going to Lembeh to hone our photography and videography skills. We thank Nofri so much for his help filming a series of videos in Lembeh critters and crawlers, and for his friendship.
NYellow is a a colorful character, resident on the Island of Banda. He goes the extra mile to try and find the creatures you may be desperate to encounter. After a day of diving, NÝellow softens the evenings with the sounds of his guitar.
I first met Bo on a divesite in General Santos. We were in a group organized by my business partner, Ryan Alegre. I guess it was Bo who inspired me to start with photography. In my early years, I was against carrying cameras and missing the dive, peering through a small view finder. But Bo made that all look easy underwater and his photos are amazing. I started with a Canon G6 and a single Inon strobe. It took some great pictures. I didn't realise until later that Bo is quite a famous diver. We dive together in the Philippines and we meet at the diver expositions where Bo is often speaking and hosting events.
I remember, meeting Alan for the first time, the quintessential Aussie. I was used to Aussies by then and a bit Aussie myself - I just wanted to be like Alan! We dove a few times on the Febrina. We were on the Febrina's inaugural trip in 1991 and we went to the Witu Islands to visit Dicky (another character!) We were pretty fresh divers at that time. I remember a small reef that Alan caught on his radar crossing over to the Witu Islands. Just to get in the water was a challenge, the boat rocking and everything breaking and banging on the boat. The top of the reef was 130Ft. It was one of those dives that remain indelible in my mind along with Captain Alan Raabe, hope to dive with you soon Alan!