Ocean Geographic Takes a Passport to Paradise
Michal Aw & Alexandra Rose from Ocean Geographic at Murex Dive Resorts
At Murex Dive Resorts we are often lucky enough to have renowned underwater photographers, writers, marine scientists and conservationists staying with us in our resorts. Recently we had the pleasure of Michael Aw (Professional underwater photographer, conservationist and founder and publisher of Ocean Geographic Society), Alexandra Rose (Underwater Photographer and writer for Ocean Geographic Magazine) and Joanna Lentini (Editor and writer for DPG – Dive Photo Guide) staying with us and exploring the Bunaken Marine Park, the reefs around Bangka Island and the hidden treasures of the Lembeh Strait.
In this Blog we caught up with Alexandra (Alex) Rose to see how she rated North Sulawesi on her vast list of global diving destinations.
Alex’s first stop was at Murex Manado: “Not only were the grounds beautiful and the rooms spacious and comfortable, but the food was delicious. Having a great breakfast while looking out at a beautiful sea with a volcano on the horizon is a view that’s hard to beat”.
This was Alex’s first trip to North Sulawesi and her first time diving in the Bunaken Marine Park: “There are sea turtles everywhere! Green turtles were seen on at least half the dives – on one occasion there were five on a single dive and hawksbills were around too. It was wonderful to see such a healthy sea turtle population”.
Alex was diving alongside Michael Aw who began his underwater photography career more that 20 years ago in this very area with the support and guidance of Murex’s founder and fellow conservationist Dr. Hanny Batuna and his wife Ineke.
After spending 7 days at Murex Manado, Alex headed up to Murex Bangka as part of her Passport to Paradise experience and to discover another unique part of North Sulawesi famous for its stunning white sand beaches, colorful soft corals, pinnacles and drifts. Alex says that among the many highlights of Bangka, “it felt remote, secluded, and like a total break from the world. It was a refreshing location with an absolutely incredible view that could be enjoyed right from your own front porch. When it came to diving the orange soft corals were stunning and the diversity of dive sites was great. Walls, caves, sandy slopes and even a spot frequented by dugongs”.
The final leg of Alex’s Passport to Paradise took her to the Lembeh Strait which is renowned for having the best black sand, muck diving sites in the world – Alex was not disappointed and was surprised to learn that there is actually more to Lembeh than muck. “The macro was obviously great, but I was absolutely blown away by the wide angle sites. I had no idea there was anything but muck diving in Lembeh and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was completely wrong”. As for her time on dry land in Lembeh Resort, Alex says “The grounds were stunning, the food was top notch, the staff were lovely, and the views were unparalleled. It was a ten out of ten for me”.
When asked about the highlights of “Passport to Paradise” Alex commented that, “It gives you the opportunity to experience an entire area instead of just a single resort location, which fosters a greater appreciation for the diversity of a region. It’s a big picture approach that provides travellers with a much more well-rounded experience”.
Following her stay Alex plans to write and publish a story about Murex and Passport to Paradise in Ocean Geographic Magazine highlighting the opportunities for adventure and exploration which the program offers.
On a personal note, Alex says that, “I’d absolutely return. It’s not one of those places that you can check off a list because you’ve “done it”. You could go back many times and still not come close to seeing it all. I cannot stress enough how impressed I was by the incredible coral cover on some of the wide angle sites in Lembeh. It’s a hidden treasure trove. And the staff were wonderful in all three locations”.
Comments such as these coming from such a well seasoned, professional traveller and journalist make us incredibly proud – A big thank you to Alex, Joanna and Michael!
Images shown here were captured by Alex during her stay – to find out more about Alex, Michael Aw and Ocean Geographic check the official website here.
To book your own Passport to Paradise and explore three distinct dive destinations in North Sulawesi contact us at [email protected]