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Indonesian Dive Internships

Indonesian Dive Internships

Diving the Best Dive Sites in North Sulawesi

If you had 12 weeks free in your schedule what would you do? Here we find out how Rich Charlton spent his 12 weeks with Murex Dive Resorts in North Sulawesi. During his Indonesian Dive Internships at Murex, Rich learnt how to dive, logged 150 dives and also took 2nd place in an International photography competition. This is Rich’s life changing story:

Rich with his instructor Dimpy during his PADI Open Water course

Rich with his instructor Dimpy during his PADI Open Water course

Reporter: Rich, how have you spent your time in North Sulawesi?
Rich: I haven’t finished here yet but when I leave in a couple of weeks I will have been here for 12 weeks; 9 weeks in Manado, 1 week in Bangka and 2 weeks in Lembeh.

Reporter: What was it like learning to dive with Murex?
Rich: The Indonesian Dive Internships was a great experience and one that has really changed my life in many ways. When it came down to the skills of diving it took me time to get used to the buoyancy side of things but I wanted to totally perfect it so I wouldn’t kick the reef, damage marine life or stir up the sand. It was after learning those skills that I started to try underwater photography – which I now have a huge passion for.

Reporter: After spending so much time with amazing marine life what is your favourite marine species to see and take pictures of?
Rich: I can’t pick just one from all of the amazing things that I have seen during this trip but my 3 favourite would be Octopus (blue-ring), Frogfish (hairy) and Nudibranch (too many species in North Sulawesi to have a single favourite).

Reporter: When you were in Lembeh you joined the Lembeh Gulen Critter Shootout, how was the experience of learning from professional photographers such as Sascha Janson and Tobias Friedrich?
Rich: It was truly incredible I learned so much practical information in such a short time and it really made a difference to my underwater photographs. I learned everything from basic camera settings including ISO, aperture and shutter speeds through to back-lighting and even using a snoot. It was an amazing experience. I can’t believe that my weedy filefish picture came second in such a big event; it took an entire dive to get the picture! Sascha was holding the strobe and I had to align my camera the fish and the strobe he was holding to get the right effect.

Backlit Filefish shot by Rich Charlton

Rich’s backlit Weedy Filefish shot that gave him his 2nd place in the competition

Reporter: What have you enjoyed most about North Sulawesi (non-diving)?
Rich: Learning about the dive business and listening to what goes on behind the scenes of a business will be something that I always remember. Also I enjoyed meeting new guests every week and learning about their different life stories and adventures they have had.

Reporter: Overall, how would you summarise the effect that your trip has had on you?
Rich: A big take away from my time spent in Indonesia is that conservation of our oceans and of marine life has been brought to my awareness. The first day I was in Sulawesi I saw two men buy turtles from the local market that were being sold to be eaten. They saved them and after buying them brought them back to the beach in front of the Murex Dive Resort and released them in to the ocean. This taught me to give back what you can to the ocean and treat marine life with respect. Among all 3 resorts that I had the privilege to stay in, not disturbing marine life when diving was the main take away, we are entering their natural habitat and we must leave it the same or if not better after we dive. Also I have been educated about the bleaching of coral because of rising sea temperatures and the illegal mining that happens in certain areas and just how much the human race needs to change to keep a sustainable planet. I’ve learned in college about conservation but this was my first experience of living it and being a part of it and listening to people that it directly effects.
This trip has been an eye opening experience and I realise now how lucky and fortunate I am. People in Indonesia have to deal with problems on a daily basis that I take for granted like drinking water, electricity, food etc. A big problem here is the lack of rain water for crops, which has never crossed my mind as a problem that I would ever experience. Just humbling myself and being grateful for every day and not sweating the small stuff has been important to me. It has made me grateful to just be alive and happy.

Hairy Frogfish shot by Rich in Manado Bay

Hairy Frogfish shot by Rich in Manado Bay

Reporter: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of learning to dive or thinking of taking long term Indonesian Dive Internships like this?
Rich: Do it! There is so much to see in the waters of North Sulawesi and so many critters that are really mesmerizing to watch and enjoy. You’ll learn a lot and have a lot of fun along the way. For me this has been a life changing event and the memories that I have created on this trip will stay with me forever. I’ve also learnt new skills, become a certified diver, found a new passion and made friends from all over the world that all have a common interest with me – diving!

Reporter: What advice would you give to a diver who is thinking about starting underwater photography?
Rich: Again – DO IT! As long as you can stay in the moment and be engaged in what is happening in front of you and not live your dive experience through the lens of your camera then you will love photography. With photography comes a sense of pride in yourself, it also helps you to remember everything you’ve seen years later and even right after the dive because you’ve seen so much during 60 minutes that it can be hard to remember every little critter. Also critter photographs are fun to show to your friends and family to get them excited about diving.

Rich and the Lembeh shootout team

Rich, bottom 3rd from left, and the Lembeh Team for the Lembeh Gulen Critter Shootout

Reporter: What are your diving and photography plans for the future?
Rich: Dive and take photos as much as possible! How? I’m still figuring that out. I am thinking of working in some form of marketing which could involve taking images for travel agents of new locations they are promoting or for events that they are organising. Anything that pays the bill for my new camera and equipment (for which I already have everything picked out from camera to focus light) and allows me to dive would be a dream job. I know that I will have to work my way up to the position I want but just seeing myself in 5 years having that kind of job is one of my goals right now.

Reporter: It sounds like you are well on the way Rich. Good luck and thank you for taking the time to share this with us!

If you are interested in exploring some of Indonesia’s best dive sites, doing Indonesian Dive Internships and experiencing all that we have here in North Sulawesi contact us on [email protected]

Three distinctive dive destinations (Bunaken, Bangka, & Lembeh) in one dive holiday? Check our famous Passport to Paradise option here.


Dive, Snorkel and Explore More with us in beautiful North Sulawesi.

+62 811 4390 0091
[email protected]
Murex Dive Resorts, North Sulawesi, Indonesia
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