• Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

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Author Archives: rantje

Orca Video from Gorontalo, Indonesia

Orca video by one of Miguel’s Diving staff is now available for viewing.

Orca Video from Gorontalo

Waters off most dive sites in Gorontalo plunge to hundreds of meters. These deep waters bring large cetaceans close to land. Miguel’s Diving staff have discovered the ocean paths that large sea creatures use.

For the first time this dive season, Miguel’s Diving staff watched a pair of orca cruise just off the wall. Judging by the height of the dorsal fin, the one seen in the orca video is a young male. Watch as he passes the dive boat, breathing and sending spray into the air. Not visible in the orca video is his companion. She is more timid than the male. Perhaps they are in Gorontalo’s calm blue waters for a honeymoon.

Miguel’s Diving staff have actually seen them during several months of 2017. Those sightings were in January, February, June and now December. However, this is the first time that someone was able to shoot a nice video. The original orca video is complete with the sound of the orca breathing and excited human voices in three languages.

Distinctive Form

orca video still
A male orca surfaces to breathe in Gorontalo

Orcas are also called killer whales. Their scientific name is Orcinus orca. They are mammals and the largest member of the dolphin family. Male killer whales are easy to identify. Their dorsal fin is very tall and straight. The body color is jet black with the familiar pure white patches. Females have smaller, curved fins but retain the white patches. Usually orcas swim together in pods.

Marine Predator

Orcas are active marine predators. Orca will eat many things, including squid, fish and sea turtles. They also will eat birds, seals and dolphins. A pod of orca often coordinate their hunting. They will even kill and eat large whales. There are no reported killer whale attacks against divers in the wild.

Diving in Gorontalo is exciting because of the unusual marine life found here. For your chance to experience the beauty of Gorontalo, please book your dive trip with us.

Plastic Bottle Recycling with Miguel’s Diving

Plastic bottle recycling is part of Miguel’s Diving company ethos. It is both environmentally and socially proactive.

Safe Drinking Water on Board

To ensure safe drinking water on board our speed boats, Miguel’s Diving provides bottled water for its guests. The water comes in a 600 milliliter plastic bottle. The water itself comes from the mountains around Manado in North Sulawesi Province.

Avoiding Plastic Bottle Wastage

plasticbottle refill
A guest refills his bottle

Miguel’s Diving also has a strategy for avoiding plastic bottle wastage. Before diving, guests often want a quick drink of water. We provide a marker in the coffee and tea tray. A guests writes his or her name on the plastic bottle. After enjoying the reefs of Gorontalo, divers see several plastic bottles on the benches of our dive boat. The water in these bottles is only partially drunk. However, divers immediately know which ones are theirs. This avoids wasting the contents of those water bottles.

Moreover, we provide filtered water on board. Divers can refill the plastic bottles. This is local, Gorontalo water. Numerous depots provide refills for 19 liter bottles.

Go Green with Recycling

plastic bottle recycling
Giving away a sack of used plastic bottles

Despite our careful use of plastic bottles, every day the dive boat arrives at our dock with many empty ones. These we give to people looking to supplement their income. Although a single plastic bottle is not worth much, avid recyclers can collect and sell them. The local recycling center buys them by the kilogram. Our neighbors also like them. They reuse the plastic bottles as containers for home-pressed coconut oil, which sells for a good price.

The way Miguel’s Diving handles the need for clean drinking water is both environmentally and socially proactive. We encourage our divers to support this Go Green strategy by writing their names on their water bottles. Please contact us for your diving booking.

Tiger Cowrie on the Move in Gorontalo

Tiger Cowrie can be found occasionally along Gorontalo’s coral reefs.

A Tiger with Spots

Cowries are a family of marine gastropod mollusk. They are basically large snails that live in the ocean. The cowrie pictured here is called Tiger Cowrie because of the original Latin name Cypraea tigris. The famous scientist Linnaeus named it in the 18th century. The shell pattern is not striped like feline tigers but spotted. However, the pattern of a Tiger Cowrie mantle does have striping.

The shell is shaped like an egg and is quite heavy. As with other cowries, the exterior of the shell is very slick. When the snail comes out from the inside of its shell, its mantle wraps around the exterior of the shell. This action keeps its shell clean and polished. In fact, both left and right side of the snail’s mantle extend all the way to the upper half of its shell. This way both sides meet half way, covering the entire shell.

tiger cowrie mantle
Posterior portion of a Tiger Cowrie mantle

More often than not, the mantle of the Tiger Cowrie is completely hidden inside its shell. It only comes out to feed or to move. It usually does so at night. During the day, it usually sleeps under corals or in rubble or sand.

The mantle has dozens of short projections called papillae. These look like many swaying fingers. Also, the tips are white in color. No one knows the function of these papillae.

Life and Habits of Tiger Cowrie

Tiger cowries are found throughout the Indo-Pacific region. This includes Gorontalo. They prefer coral reefs or nearby sandy or rubble bottoms. They are usually at depths between ten and forty meters. The juveniles eat algae, but the adults are carnivorous. Adults eat soft corals, sponges, bryzoans and other invertebrates.

tiger cowrie shell
A shiny sight on the reef

A Tiger Cowrie is either male or female. The mother will guard her eggs with her muscular foot until they are ready to hatch. The larvae then swim away and drift with plankton while they develop.

A cowrie also has a head with eyes and tentacles. Its mouth is like a tube. Its internal organs are kept safe inside the shell.

The Tiger Cowrie is considered threatened in some locations. For example, in Singapore, it is endangered. Direct threats include habitat destruction and shell collecting for souvenirs and the aquarium trade.

For your chance to a spot a Tiger Cowrie in Gorontalo, please book your dive trip with us.

Drone Videos of Gorontalo’s Dramatic Coastline

Drone videos made in Gorontalo make for excellent memories.

Gorontalo’s Dramatic Coastline

The best locations for brilliant drone videos are in place with steep profiles and good color. That makes Gorontalo’s southern coastline an excellent choice. Steep mountains and cliffs plunge directly into the deep blue waters of Tomini Bay. Divers with drones get the best opportunities to visit coastal sites where land access is nearly impossible.

Drone Videos: The Latest Trend

Actually, a drone is a class of unmanned aerial vehicles. By the definition, clearly the human pilot is not on board. Someone on the ground – or on a dive boat – controls the craft. Sometimes, UAVs operate autonomously via computer programing. Clearly, there is a communication system between the hovering UAV and its remote controller.

Although initially made for military purposes, nowadays most UAVs are civilian owned. The name “drone” comes from the craft’s resemblance to a male bee. Listen to its sound and wing movements.

Classic Aerial Shots

Aerial shots have long been part of major films. With the emergence of commercially available UAVs, ordinary people can now make this type of video. In the three videos shot from a Miguel’s Diving speed boat, you can see classic aerial shots.

Pan shots are great for capturing dramatic scenery, such as the cliffs along Gorontalo’s coastline. The pan shot can be from left to right or right to left while the drone is hovering in a stationary position. Sometimes, this is called an aerial or high pan. For a more exciting shot, the pan can be done while the drone is in motion.

Skilled UAV users can also make an orbit shot. Notice how the camera makes a 360 degree spin above the dive boat in the Tjenderawashi Wreck video.

Flyer over shots bring a focus object into view while giving a clear context. Notice the flyer over shot of a Miguel’s Diving speed boat.

The Fly by shot is actually a bit different than the fly over. The focus object is parallel to the camera rather than below it. One shot of the dive boat on the Olele Marine Park video represents this type of shot.

Another great technique is the reverse shot. The drone pulls the camera in reverse and away from the focus object. This shot makes a great finish to the Buffalo Head Point video.

Additionally, Pedestal shots are great for capturing a towering object, such as a mountain. The shot usually moves from bottom to top. To achieve this effect, the drone rises in elevation.

Want to make your own drone video along Gorontalo’s coastline? Bring your UAV and have some fun above water during your dive surface intervals. To make arrangements, please book your dive trip with us.

Citilink Gorontalo Makassar Flights Available

Citilink Gorontalo Makassar flights are now available.

Gorontalo Welcomes Citilink Flights

citilink aircraft
A Citilink flight arrives at Gorontalo airport

Gorontalo’s new terminal welcomes yet another airline with the arrival of Citilink. Flights from Gorontalo depart at 1100, arriving in Makassar at 1230. Also, flights from Makassar depart at 0845, arriving in Gorontalo at 1015. This is the present schedule. Divers should always refer to Citilink’s official website for current flight times and options. This new flight began in mid 2017.

Divers will also want to note that this airline provides for a free bag of dive gear. The limit is up to 20 kilos. This is addition to its normal free baggage of 20 kilos to economy passengers.

The ticketing code is QG. The code for Makassar is UPG, reflecting its previous name, Ujung Pandang. Gorontalo remains GTO.

A Low Cost Airline

Garuda Indonesia established a low-cost subsidiary in 2001, naming it Citilink. Its main purpose is to offer shuttle services within Indonesia. If travelers need more than the Gorontalo-Makassar flight, they can check connections on-line or with an agent.

Additionally, this airline uses mainly Airbus A320s.

International Safety Standards

In June 2016, the European Union lifted its ban against Citilink flying in its airspaces. Although the airline does not fly there, the vote of confidence from the EU gives European citizens and others peace of mind. The decision recognizes that the airline operates according to international standards for safety and management.

Should you need suggestions on flights for your upcoming dive trip to Gorontalo, please contact with us.

Certificate of Excellence 2017 for Miguel’s Diving

Certificate of Excellence 2017 for Miguel’s Diving Gorontalo was just announced by TripAdvisor®.

Certificate of Excellence 2017

TripAdvisor celebrates achievements of hospitality businesses. Its coveted Certificate of Excellence is awarded to those that earn great travel reviews on its website. TripAdvisor has been doing so for seven years now. Certificate of Excellence 2017 recipients are not only dive centers. They include accommodations, eateries and attractions. Locations are all over the world. Recipients must continually deliver quality customer experience.

Certificate of Excellence 2017
TripAdvisor recognizes Miguel’s Diving

“We are truly thankful for the great support from our guests. They are the ones who take time to send their impressions to TripAdvisor. We are delighted to receive this recognition from TripAdvisor. Actually, this marks the third year in a row for us to receive this recognition” says Rantje Allen. He is marketing consultant for Miguel’s Diving.

High Service Standards

“With the Certificate of Excellence, TripAdvisor honors hospitality businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travelers,” said Heather Leisman, Vice President of Industry Marketing, TripAdvisor. “This recognition helps travelers identify and book properties that regularly deliver great service. TripAdvisor is proud to play this integral role in helping travelers feel more confident in their booking decisions.”

The Certificate of Excellence 2017 accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews. Travelers submit their reviews to TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, there are several measurements. A business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five. Also, it must have a minimum number of reviews. Additionally, its TripAdvisor listing must run for at least 12 months. #CertificateofExcellence

About TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor® is the world’s largest travel site. This is according to comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, February 2016. It enables travelers to plan and book the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers advice from millions of travelers. Also, it has a wide variety of travel choices and planning features. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world. Its sites reach 340 million unique monthly visitors. This is according to TripAdvisor log files, Q1 2016. It has 350 million reviews and opinions. These cover 6.5 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 48 markets worldwide.

For your chance to enjoy excellent service, please book your dive trip with Miguel’s Diving.

European Union Flight Ban Lifted

European Union flight ban against all Indonesian airlines no longer applies to seven national carriers. This is great news for international travelers wishing to dive in Gorontalo. Additionally, divers residing in Indonesia can have greater confidence to fly on certain airlines.

Approved Indonesian Airlines

Currently, airlines certified as meeting international safety and management standards are Garuda Indonesia, Airfast Indonesia, Ekspres Transportasi Antarbenua, Indonesia Air Asia, Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air. The European Union website contains the official list.

Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air and Batik Air fly to Gorontalo’s Djalaluddin Airport (GTO).

History of European Union Flight Ban

In June 2007, the European Union blacklisted all domestic airlines in Indonesia. At that time, no Indonesian airlines actually flew in European airspace. Most of all, the European Union flight ban was a response to a series of high-profile aviation accidents. Jacques Barrot served as EU vice president in charge of transport. He announced the European Union flight ban. In clarification, he stated,

“Once more, the EU blacklist will prove to be an essential tool, not only to prevent unsafe airlines from flying to Europe and to inform passengers traveling worldwide, but also to make sure that airlines and civil aviation authorities take appropriate actions to improve safety.”

The ban also required travel agents in Europe to inform those traveling to Indonesia. Most noteworthy, the EU ban had an immediate, negative impact on the tourism sector in Indonesia. This included dive operators in Sulawesi.

Indonesian Airlines Work Hard to Improve

european union flight ban
Garuda Indonesia parks in Gorontalo

Two years later in July 2009 came the lifting of the European Union flight ban against Garuda Indonesia. Garuda Indonesia received its air safety certification from the International Air Travel Association the year before. Furthermore, IATA’s standards are very strict.

A year later in 2010, Indonesia Air Asia gained EU permission to fly there. Actually, this airline had not yet begun operating at the time of the original European Union flight ban.

In June 2016, the EU lifted its flight ban on three additional domestic carriers. Those were Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air.

Strict International Standards

In order to pass an IATA Operational Safety Audit, each airline must fulfill numerous technical and safety standards. The check list totals more than one thousand items. The audit itself takes about three months to complete with on-site inspectors. Issues include organizational and management systems, departure flights, aircraft and engine maintenance, cabin procedures, ground handling, cargo and operational safety.

EU’s commissioner for transportation Violeta Bluc announced lifting the travel ban against Lion Air and Batik Air. She said, “We are pleased to improve the air safety level for EU citizens and the world. We are also pleased to expand flights worldwide.” As a result, those approved Indonesian airlines are looking at expanding internationally.

Should you need flight information when coming to Gorontalo for your dive trip, please contact with us.

Blacktip Shark Mating in Gorontalo

Blacktip shark mating is a rarely witnessed event. But that is just what happened one dive day in Gorontalo.

The Tell-tale Fin

blacktip shark drawing
The Blacktip Reef shark

The Blacktip Reef shark is the most common shark sighted in Indo-Pacific waters. Its scientific name is Carcharhinus melanopterus. Divers can easily identify this shark by its distinctive, black-tipped dorsal fin. Additionally, its anal fin is also black tipped. It can grow to a maximum length of less than two meters. Actually, another shark also has a narrow tip of black on its dorsal fin. However, this other shark has a pale anal fin. It also can grow to over two and a half meters in length. This oceanic blacktip shark is named Carcharhinus limbatus.

The Blacktip reef shark prefers shallow waters close to shore. Divers should look over reef ledges and flat sandy areas. Two dives sites in Gorontalo often have this shark patrolling sandy flats. That is where we witnessed a rare event.

Blacktip Shark Mating

One fine dive day Miguel’s Diving staff and guests watched two Blacktip reef sharks mating. Two guests had their GoPros ready and we created a combined video. Please watch it on our YouTube site.

You may notice that the male bit the female behind her gills. The love bite does not leave a deep wound. It should heal completely within a month or so. Also, notice that there is much thrashing about. At the end of the video, the sharks end up turning up-side-down and falling into a trance.

Tonic Immobility in Sharks

Some species of sharks become motionless and generally unaware of their surroundings when turned up-side-down. This is called tonic immobility. Once up-side-down, the shark will quickly become catatonic. This strange state can last up to fifteen minutes, as long as the shark remains undisturbed. The shark will eventually snap out of its trance and resume normal activities.

Sharks susceptible to tonic immobility include Whitetip and Blacktip reef sharks, as well as Lemon, Silky, Sandbar and Tiger sharks.

Notice in the video that that ecstatic pair of Blacktip sharks flip up-side-down and become catatonic. They fall together down the reef slope to a deep sand flat below.

For your chance to witness rare marine events in Gorontalo, please book your dive trip with us.

Unterwasser Magazine Discovers Gorontalo

Unterwasser magazine discovers a new dive destination in its March 2017 edition.

Unknown Diving Locations of Sulawesi

The leading dive destinations in Sulawesi have long been located in the Manado area. The Indonesian government established Bunaken National Marine Park in 1991. Muck diving was born in 1994 with the exposure of Lembeh Strait. These two locations have become international hot spots for divers in the know.

Unterwasser Magazine double page
Imran Ahmad’s double-page spread

Although Miguel’s Diving opened diving here in 2003, many international divers have yet to hear of Gorontalo. To many, it remains a hidden paradise. Now is the time for Gorontalo’s wider exposure. Hence, the article in Unterwasser magazine by Imran Ahmad in its March 2017 edition.

The editor of Unterwasser magazine mentions, “Our author has set off for the unknown places in North Sulawesi’s diving paradise and still found untouched underwater worlds.” Gorontalo has gained fame among Indonesian and Asian divers for its surreal Salvador Dali sponges, incredibly dense hard corals and, more recently, whale sharks.

Imran Ahmad, World-Class Photographer

unterwasser magazine with Imran
Imran Ahmad with his annual calendar

The author of the article in Unterwasser magazine is Imran Ahmad. His first, rushed visit to Gorontalo was over a decade ago. He is much sought after as an underwater photographer and journalist. His work assignments range from Asia to Mauritius to Iceland. Recently, his busy schedule allowed for several weeks in Gorontalo. Some of his many photos from Gorontalo appear in the eight-page spread in Unterwasser magazine.

In his article, he writes, “The underwater world in Gorontalo impresses you with its unique sponges, sometimes in surreal forms. Colors appear before your mask and add to them soft corals, overhangs and countless marine life forms – impressive.”

Unterwasser Magazine

This magazine has long been a leading voice in marine sports for the German-speaking market. It has been published monthly since 1995. Its typical length is about 170 pages. Articles in it feature underwater photographs and travel reports on international dive destinations.

Miguel’s Diving provides a web page for German speakers. Any diver can book your dive trip to Gorontalo with us. Please contact with us for a dive package booking.

DEEP EXTREME Indonesia 2017

DEEP EXTREME Indonesia 2017 marks its 11th anniversary this year. Miguel’s Diving will be there to help celebrate! We remember the first DEEP expo. We have been operating for 14 years now.

Booth C27

DEEP Extreme Indonesia 2017
Miss Scuba Indonesia 2017 visits Miguel’s Diving

Gorontalo Province has invited Miguel’s Diving to join its booth. The booth location is C27. This year’s theme is “Gorontalo Luar Biasa.” That is Indonesian for “extraordinary.” Two of Miguel’s Diving staff attended this year’s expo. They are Yunis Amu and Ispan “Boka” Habuge. Other dive staff remained in Gorontalo to take guests diving.

DEEP EXTREME Indonesia 2017

As in many previous years, DEEP EXTREME Indonesia 2017 will be held at the Jakarta Convention Center. The dates are 30 March to 2 April. The expo combines scuba diving with EXTREME sports, such as rock climbing. It is now the largest expo of its kind in Southeast Asia. At DEEP EXTREME Indonesia 2017, we are offering discount dive packages. Drop by to see us!

Friends Old & New

Imran Ahmad
Mr. Imran Ahmad with his whale shark photo

The Gorontalo booth for DEEP EXTREME Indonesia 2017 contains a dramatic whale shark photo from Gorontalo. It is courtesy of Mr. Imran Ahmad. He will give a special presentation of his photograph work from Gorontalo on 1 April at the Mini Stage. His whale shark photo, called “Destiny,” received over 11, 000 likes on our Facebook page. Gorontalo is a great place for underwater photos, whether wide angle or macro.

Also part of the Gorontalo booth is the wall of friends. Over 40 photographs of some of our Indonesian guests are featured. Some international divers also joined. Finding your photo or those of friends makes great fun.

If you could not meet us in person, please book your dive trip with us.

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