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An update from Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort…

Asia DTA Team

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The team from ‘Indonesia’s Leading Dive Resort’ let us know what they’ve been doing during lockdown:

On Friday March 20th 2020, we waved goodbye to the last guests to leave us before Covid-related travel restrictions were introduced the following day. We suspected that global tourism would be effectively shut down for the rest of that year, but here we are over twelve months later, with no certainty as to when we can welcome our first international clients back to Bunaken.

We have not, however, been idle.

Our primary concern was for our staff. Having over 80 staff on contract, together with no revenue, gave us a dilemma. We immediately told all our employees that no one would be losing their job. To achieve this, we put everyone except senior managers on 50% salary in return for their working 50% of their contracted days. But with no guests and 40 employees present at any one time, how would they fill their days?

Easily.

Having been voted ‘Indonesia’s Leading Dive Resort’ by the World Travel Awards for the last three years, we knew we couldn’t simply close our doors and wait for the world to return to normal. We’re a jungle-based, coastal resort, and what we know for sure is that sea air and jungle encroachment (however good it smells and pretty it looks!) are no friends of ours. For the last year there’s been constant activity: painting, deep-cleaning, polishing, trimming, pruning, overhauling, servicing – so that when we’re ready to open, every aspect of the resort is in first-class condition

In addition to maintenance and refurbishment work, and with our new General Managers Ed Regeer and Shu Ming Chueng leading the way, we embarked on a comprehensive schedule of projects to improve and upgrade the infrastructure of the resort: re-roofing cottages, rebuilding walkways and bridges, reinforcing the jetty, refurbishing our dive boats, enlarging our organic garden, and rebuilding perimeter fencing.

Ed & Shu

As well as improving the resort and keeping our staff employed, this has also provided benefits to the local economy; we regularly employ additional craftsmen on a week-by-week basis, and nearly all raw materials are bought in Bunaken or nearby Manado.

But there are other ways that the resort has continued to support the island and the local community: because we make our own fresh water (the only fresh water on Bunaken), we supply it to the local villagers, and we also provide electricity and fresh water to the nearby Balai ranger station. We have devoted labour and materials to assist the repair and ongoing maintenance of the main arterial road (albeit it’s a motorcycle path, as there aren’t any cars on Bunaken!) that links the three major villages on the island, and we have expanded our mangrove planting programme.

We also continue to provide emergency medical evacuation to the mainland for anyone who needs it, and our Emergency First Responders are occasionally called upon to administer first aid to islanders who have been involved in motorcycle accidents in the vicinity of the resort.

Finally, and like any other diving resort anywhere in the world, we are fighting a continuous battle against the garbage which so thoughtlessly ends up in the ocean, and which then sometimes washes up on our doorstep. As well as cleaning up our own beach and mangroves, we assist other resorts in cleaning up theirs, and we contribute regularly to the brilliant efforts of Trash Heroes Bunaken.

While we may not have had any guests for the last year, we’ve certainly been extremely busy, and this means that Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort will be in fantastic shape to welcome new and returning guests as soon as restrictions are lifted, and international travel begins to return to something like normal.

We’re operating an extremely flexible reservations scheme, with currently only 10%deposit. For more information, please visit www.bunakenoasis.com or contact info@bunakenoasis.com.

On behalf of the owners and managers of Bunaken Oasis, we’d like to say a huge thank you to those guests who had booked with us but have had to rearrange their holiday plans because of the pandemic. Given the ongoing uncertainty, we’re happy to reschedule your dates as needed, and we look forward to offering you the warmest Bunaken welcome just as soon as we’re able to!

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Book Review: Secret Seas

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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Secret Seas: Discover Oman’s Unique Underwater World by Paul Flandinette and Michel Claereboudt 

I do not usually agree to review a book without having a physical copy in my hands, as it is impossible to judge what the quality of the final product is going to be. However, in this case I made an exception, as the book is going to be printed and distributed based on pre-orders. What I can say is that if the publishers put as much care into it as the authors clearly have, it is going to be well worth a look. The book will be a 240 page hardback containing 295 beautiful photos of the 160 marine species featured within.

I have never considered diving in Oman. It has just never come up in conversation before. And yet the opening pages of this book have moved it right up my wish list of diving destinations. I was delighted to read that Oman is an important turtle sanctuary, protesting the 4 species of nesting turtles that visit its pristine white beaches. After introducing the readers to the country, a little of its history, and some information on the marine environment, the book dives right into its main trust which is to show you the beauty and diversity of Oman’s underwater world.

The chapters within cover a range of marine life from macro critters to sharks and are packed with excellent underwater images. You can really get a feel for what it is like to dive there. Whether you love looking for tiny crustaceans or you prefer looking out into the blue for pelagics to cruise past, it seems that Oman has something for everyone.

I was delighted to see that the authors have put in a chapter about ocean conservation and the risks these precious habitats are already facing. It was also good to see a chapter on underwater photography and how to take images like the stunning images in the previous pages, without harming the marine life.

All in all this looks to be a well thought out book filled with beautiful photographs of Oman’s underwater world. You can sense the authors passion for this place as you read and peruse the images.

To learn more visit the website by clicking here

It is available for pre-order by emailing the author Paul directly:

Price is GBP36.85
plus shipping –
GBP 6.50
EUROPE – GBP 16.95
REST OF THE WORLD – GBP 31.95

About the Authors

Paul Flandinette is an award-winning film maker, professional underwater photographer, author and artist. His film making career has included productions for some of the world’s leading companies and government organisations as well as a number of broadcast documentaries.

He is passionate about the underwater world and has dived extensively in the in the Far East, Red Sea, Caribbean and the UK. He has been living in Oman since 2013 and has spent the last seven years photographing Oman’s underwater world.

Michel Claereboudt is Professor of Marine Ecology at the Department of Marine Sciences and Fisheries at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat. He is an internationally recognised authority on corals and echinoderms and continues to research the ecology and biology of corals and other reef invertebrates.

Michel has been living in Oman since 1997 where he has made thousands of dives and has an intimate knowledge of Oman’s underwater world that few can equal. He is also an underwater photographer.

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Bunaken Oasis wins Global Tourism Award

Asia DTA Team

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Bunaken Oasis, the award-winning destination on Bunaken Island, North Sulawesi, has been recognised as Indonesia’s Best Boutique Resort by Global Tourism Awards 2021.

For a resort that opened just four years ago, winning Indonesia’s Best Boutique Resort is a massive accolade. With the Global Tourism Awards being recognised globally as one of the travel industry’s most prestigious hallmarks of quality, owners Elaine & Simon Wallace are thrilled to have won such a high-profile award.

“We are delighted to announce that the Global Tourism Awards have voted us the ‘Best Boutique Resort in Indonesia 2021. Given the number of amazing resorts in Indonesia, this is an accolade of which we are hugely proud!

“We have also been voted ‘Indonesia’s Leading Dive Resort’ by the World Travel Awards for the past three years, so now to have Bunaken Oasis recognised by the Global Tourism Awards solely as a resort is really exciting, as it demonstrates the all-round excellence which awaits divers and non-divers alike.

 “We’re especially pleased for our team, who’ve worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure that Oasis is a safe and luxurious retreat which is fully ready to welcome guests as soon as they are able to travel”

Bunaken Oasis Dive & Spa Resort is situated on Liang beach, on the edge of Bunaken’s National Marine Park which is an underwater paradise for divers & snorkelers alike. Bunaken Oasis has redefined diving within Indonesia and helped to put Bunaken on the map as an internationally recognised dive destination.

The luxurious resort prides itself on being an ecotourism destination, with a zero single use plastic policy, and is proud of the extensive infrastructure designed to minimise any impact on the environment.

Offering 12 sumptuous cottages, all with spectacular ocean views and a long list of amenities including beautiful traditionally handcrafted four-poster beds and organic shower products, as well as the latest in room tablets and coffee makers, it is no surprise that Bunaken Oasis has been recognised for its luxury and world-class service.

For more information about Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort & Spa visit www.bunakenoasis.com.

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