• Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

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Category Archives: News

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.

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.

BOOT 2017 Features Gorontalo

BOOT 2017 in Dusseldorf, Germany, included a large delegation sponsored by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism.

Destination Gorontalo

BOOT 2017 with Indonesia
Wonderful Indonesia delegation

The booth for the tourism ministry at BOOT 2017 proclaimed the theme “Wonderful Indonesia.” Marine tourism operators from all over the country accepted the invitation to promote their various destinations. Miguel’s Diving exposed visitors to Gorontalo, Indonesia’s hidden paradise. A large map of major dive destinations nationwide covered a third of the back wall. The biggest hit with visitors was the coffee shop, specializing in fine Indonesian coffees. Made with a flare by a professional Indonesian barista, all coffees and teas were free.

 

In addition to the ministry booth, three international underwater photographers displayed their photos from Gorontalo. Imran Ahmad promoted Gorontalo exclusively at two photo lectures at the Underwater World stage in Hall 4. Patrick Neumann included his stop in Gorontalo in his travelogue of several Indonesian dive destinations.

Finally, Dusseldorf resident Volker Lonz created a dramatic and beautiful short film. This film ran continuously at the Gorontalo table during BOOT 2017. For those who did not get a chance to see it, please access video below. The resolution is low because it is on Youtube.

BOOT 2017 – an International Marine Expo

BOOT is the famous boat show of Europe. Mega yachts and ships take up the largest hall. Also included in the expo are dive destinations. They were located in Hall 3. For BOOT 2017, a myriad of destinations world-wide packed into the large hall. The expo stands as the longest one in Europe. This year the dates were 20 to 29 January 2017. As usual, the location was MESSE in Dusseldorf, Germany. Exhibition floor space totaled 22,000 square meters.

BOOT 2017 marked the 48st year. The theme “Play Now!” could be seen throughout the halls. Sailing and motor yachts celebrated 70 world primeres. Exhibitors numbered over 1,800 and came from 70 countries. That included the great dive destinations found in Indonesia. In addition to scuba diving, fishing and holidays on the water plus trend sports enjoyed dedicated spaces in various halls.

Manado Gorontalo Flight on Garuda Indonesia

Manado Gorontalo is Garuda Indonesia’s newest destination This represents a regional expansion for Indonesia’s premier airline.

Manado Gorontalo Daily Flight

Garuda’s new Manado Gorontalo flight began on 6 January 2017. The flight leaves Manado’s Sam Ratulangi International Airport at 1530 hrs. Then it arrives in Gorontalo at 1605 hrs. The return flight leaves Gorontalo’s Jalaluddin Airport at 1645 hrs. Then it arrives in Manado at 1735 hrs. Moreover, flights are daily.

The aircraft used is a Bombardier CRJ1000. This plane seats a maximum of 96 passengers. The flight provides economy seats only. As a result, there are no business class seats available.

Manado Gorontalo flight on Garuda
Garuda Indonesia’s office in Gorontalo

Garuda Indonesia has an office conveniently located in the business wing of Gorontalo Mall. Look for it on the south side of the mall.

In its promotion of the new Manado Gorontalo flight, Garuda Indonesia’s website says, “Enjoy the sensational comfort of a private jet from Gorontalo to Manado.”

Good News for Divers

Garuda Indonesia provides 20 kilos of free baggage on its new Manado Gorontalo flight. In addition, divers can ask for an another 23 kilos of free baggage for sports equipment. Divers should do this upon check-in at the Garuda counter at the airport.

Since the flight schedule is in the late afternoon, divers can enjoy three dives on the day prior to flying. The recommended dive-to-fly waiting period is 18 hours.

Mannequin Challenge by Miguel’s Diving Crew

Mannequin challenge! That’s what Miguel’s Diving staff did one day after work.

Happy Crew, Happy Divers

Guests of Miguel’s Diving notice that our crew love diving and hanging around each other. One of our secrets to have happy divers is to have a happy crew. After work, they like to watch funny videos together on their phones. Or maybe they will play a game of chess on the dock. All these activities require lots of laughter. On the spur of the moment, they decided to do a mannequin challenge. Since most such videos have hip hop music playing, we decided to keep with the trend.

Mannequin Challenge: What Is It?

doyens Yuli & Feby of mannequin challenge
Another mannequin challenge

A mannequin challenge is a viral Internet video trend. Participants freeze in a group pose. A friend travels through the group with a video camera. Consider this challenge a modern form of still life portraiture. For popular social media forums like Instagram or Twitter, the hashtag #MannequinChallenge is popular.

This social phenomenon started by students in Jacksonville, Florida on 12 October 2016. At least that is what Wikipedia says. Who are we to argue with that? Others who have participated in a mannequin challenge include sports teams. Some are very complicated.
Perhaps you and your friends would like to try a mannequin challenge here. Our staff are ready to help and laugh along with you. Please contact with us for a dive package booking.

Karawo Fashion Show 2016

Karawo Fashion Show 2016 delighted an international audience recently in Gorontalo.

Traditional Meets International

Karawo Fashion Show 2016
Ladies evening wear

Karawo is the name for Gorontalo’s traditional embroidery. Local demand for this cloth is very high. Orders mostly come for women’s matching suit and skirt outfits, for men’s shirts, and for tablecloths and napkins. Women’s fabrics detail vibrant floral patterns and colors. For men, geometric shield designs and pastels traditionally dominate for men.

That was until recently. Gorontalo’s provincial government seeks to develop local designers for the international market. Hence, that is the driving force behind Karawo Fashion Show 2016.

Karawo Fashion Show 2016 Design Competition

As part of the annual festival, Karawo Fashion Show 2016 included a design competition. Categories included casual wear, office wear, and evening wear. Also, women’s Muslim wear was another category.  This is in keeping with the culture of the area. Most designs were for women. A few were for men.

The Karawo Fashion Show 2016 featured models parading on the catwalk. Audience members came from all over the world. This included observers from Egypt to Norway.

Drawn Threadwork

Karawo Fashion Show 2016
Traditional meets modern in menswear

In other areas of the world, the seamstress embroiders directly on a piece of cloth. However, karawo involves removing, tying off, and replacing certain threads to create traditional designs. The embroidery is actually inside the cloth. Designs for Karawo Fashion Show 2016 were spectacular.

The seamstress receives the design on paper with grid lines. It must show the position of each thread in the piece of cloth. The paper design shows which threads must be replaced. It also indicates what color the replacement threads will be. Based on the design, she will first begin by drawing out or removing the parts of the threads. This process is called drawn thread work.

In doing this, she creates a grid work. Any thread that is partially removed must be tied off at each end. Otherwise, the cloth will unravel. A pattern measuring two centimeters will typically require the removing of ten threads in each direction. Of course, that will depend on the thread count of the cloth.

Now Sew Colored Threads into the Grid to Make a Design

After creating the grid, she will embroider the design into the cloth. Colored threads can be solid or two-tone. Some designs call for metallic thread.

Karawo Fashion Show 2016
Designer with her creations

Not all the drawn thread is replaced by colored thread. Otherwise, the new pattern would simply be a box shape. Some places where the thread has been drawn still have the threads that form the grid for the design left exposed and loose. Each place where a horizontal and vertical thread meet must be tied together. That way the integrity of the fabric remains. This means that each empty box of the grid must by tied off at each of its four corners. How complicated!

After you book your dive trip with us, please remind us to point out karawo clothing worn by locals.

Lady divers in Indonesia form new community

Lady divers recently formed Indonesian Women in Diving Community in Jakarta. Attending its official opening was Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya.

Positive Economic Impact

Mr. Yahya referenced data collected by the Ministry of Tourism. Diving contributes about 15% of total income generated from water sports in Indonesia. So, he would like for that to grow four times.

“Currently, income from water sports generates one million US dollars. I project growth of four times, making four million dollars. Malaysia itself already generates eight million dollars.”

Those attending the event included Miss Scuba Diver Indonesia. Attendees received a gift of a small mesh bag. Its purpose is to provide a place for lady divers to place rubbish found while diving. Trash collecting makes a great environmental action for this new community.

Growth in PADI dive certifications

Abi Carnadie is PADI Industry Consultant for Indonesia. PADI is Professional Association of Diving Instructors. It is the world’s largest dive certification association. Ms. Carnadie indicates that growth of dive certifications in Indonesia is significant. Furthermore, that is especially true among lady divers. During 2015 alone, PADI certified around 35,000 divers in Indonesia. 41% of those were women. This marks a very positive trend. Annual growth over the last couple of years has increased. Specifically, it has been between six to twelve per cent.

Lady Divers in Gorontalo

lady divers community
Lady divers form new community

Miguel’s Diving is an excellent choice for lady divers. We are the only dive operator in Gorontalo that provides changing facilities. We have a roomy toilet on board the large speed boat. In addition, we also have a large toilet and changing room at our dock.

Many women divers are return guests. Included is PADI Dive Instructor Lily Wasitova. She appears in the photograph here. Mrs. Wasitova attended the opening of the new Indonesian Women in Diving Community. Look for her dressed in white. At Miguel’s Diving, lady divers have a great time and are treated with respect. So, ladies, for a great dive experience, please book your dive trip with us.

Certificate of Excellence 2016 from TripAdvisor

Certificate of Excellence 2016 for Miguel’s Diving Gorontalo was just announced by TripAdvisor®.

Certificate of Excellence 2016

Now in its sixth year, the achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence 2016 recipients are not only dive centers. They include accommodations, eateries and attractions. Locations are l all over the world. Recipients must continually deliver quality customer experience.

certificate of excellence 2016
Award for Miguel’s Diving

“We are delighted to receive this recognition from TripAdvisor,” says Rantje Allen. He is marketing consultant for Miguel’s Diving. “This makes our second year in a row!” In 2015 Miguel’s Diving also received a certificate of excellence.

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 2016 accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews. These are submitted by travelers on 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. It must have a minimum number of reviews. It also must be listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

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. 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.

Thai Dive Expo 2016

Thai Dive Expo 2016 marks its 11th anniversary this year. Also PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) marks its 50th anniversary. Miguel’s Diving will be in Bangkok to help celebrate! We have been operating for over 13 years now.

Indonesia Pavilion

TDEX dancers
A Dayak dance from Indonesia
Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism has an entire pavilion. It is located next to the Speakers’ Stage. The Ministry of Tourism has invited Miguel’s Diving to represent Gorontalo. Other dive operators and resorts come from across Indonesia. This year’s theme is “Wonderful Indonesia.” For Thai Dive Expo 2016 a troupe of dancers will attend. They will perform various traditional dances from across Indonesia. The schedule is available at the pavilion. Performances are four times daily.

Thai Dive Expo 2016

Thai Dive Expo 2016 delegation
Indonesian delegation at TDEX
As in many previous years, Thai Dive Expo 2016 will be held at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. It is located in Bangkok, Thailand. The dates are 12 to 15 May. This dive expo coincides with Thai Golf Exhibition, as well as Wonderful Thailand Travel Fair. At Thai Dive Expo 2016, we are offering discount dive packages. Drop by to see us!

Love of the Sea

The theme for Thai Dive Expo 2016 is “Love of the Sea.” An underwater photo competition seeks to illustrate this theme. An underwater photo from Gorontalo won First Runner Up prize in the compact plus category. The many photo entries are available for viewing. They are displayed outside the exhibition hall.

Thai Dive Expo 2016 also has a series of speakers. They include Imran Ahmad. He is a well-known underwater photographer from Singapore. He will speak twice. Recently, he spent a week in Gorontalo for a magazine photo shoot. His photo of twin Salvador Dali sponges will be on display.

Miguel’s Diving wishes to express its thanks to the team of Indonesian’s Ministry of Tourism for this opportunity to participate at Thai Dive Expo 2016.

If you are unable to attend this expo, please book your dive trip on-line.

Whale Shark Encounters in Gorontalo

Whale shark sightings have always been common in Gorontalo. But this month we are encountering these giants daily.

Sightings in Gorontalo

Since beginning operations in 2003, whale shark sightings with crew and guests have been numerous. On average, we encounter these giants twice per month. Any month will do. In other places in the world, whale sharks are seen on the surface. That is true in Gorontalo, also. However, we also see them while scuba diving. Oceans depths off dive sights here plunge to over four kilometers. No wonder divers encounter whale sharks in Gorontalo!

New Site for Whale Shark Encounters

young whale shark
A young whale shark visits our dive boat

In April 2016 a video from Gorontalo was uploaded onto social media. It was an instant hit. Seven whale sharks were seen congregating. To local fishermen, this was not news. The giant fish had been gathering in the same spot for two years. A nearby shrimp factory had been throwing its unwanted shrimp shells and heads into the ocean. The whale sharks love to eat them. This means that whale shark sightings occur daily in April at this location.

Protection Efforts

Miguel’s Diving staff, POSSI Gorontalo and government officials met together the week following the discovery. Under the direction of Gorontalo’s governor, Drs. H. Rusli Habibie, MAP, a conservation area is being established. This includes zonation.

Responsible Contact with Whale Sharks

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has published guidelines for whale shark encounters. This includes the call not to touch the whale shark. Certainly, no one should ride one or grab a fin. A safe distance is two meters from the whale shark’s head. Stay three meters from its tail.

Schooling whale sharks is a new phenomenon for Miguel’s Diving. We are still studying how to conduct scuba diving that is safe for guests and whale sharks alike.

Below the feeding area is a series of coral pinnacles. Divers descend and wait near the pinnacles. The depth is around 15 meters. This provides an appropriate distance for safe viewing whale shark silhouettes as they circle above. After eating some shrimp heads, they swim down to inspect the divers. Oftentimes, they swim very close.

Taking pictures or video of the whale sharks is easy to do. WWF guidelines indicate that a flash should not be used. Divers also should not chase them. The whale sharks will pass by divers waiting patiently by the pinnacles.

For your chance for a whale shark encounter, please book your dive trip with us.

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