Monday, September 22, 2008

The Cheapest Way to Enjoy Diving across the Coral Reefs of Indonesia

by Charles Roring

Diving in Indonesia can be cheap if we know the ways. Indonesia has more coral reefs than any other countries in the world. Many of them haven't been explored. Famous diving sites such as Bunaken, and Bali are visited by tens of thousands of visitors every year. If you are interested in diving in those places, you can go there during the low season. At that time diving centers or diving resorts give discounts. You can ask for more discounts if you come with your friends. If you can bring up to ten divers, you will be able to get free service.

Experienced divers like to explore new diving sites. Indonesian islands have plenty of such places. There are more than 13,600 islands. There are a lot of coastal towns in Indonesia. Most of unexplored diving sites are located in Moluccan and Papuan islands. Budget travelers like to travel across these islands by PELNI’s passenger ships. It is the largest state owned shipping company in Indonesia. You can choose economy class, tourist class, up to first class. The rate is very cheap according to Western standard.
When you and your friends have arrived in an island, you can stay in a lodge that is run by a family. It is considered cheaper than hotels which are run by corporations. Unfortunately, most of the lodges and small hotels do not have diving centers. You have to bring your own diving equipment, (including air bottles, wetsuits, portable compressors, lights and etc.)
The cheapest way to locate diving sites in certain islands is by asking fishermen. They know the unexplored coral reefs around their islands. You can even rent their boat and use the boatmen as your guide. Ask hotel or lodge owners if they know a guide who speaks English to help you communicate with the locals.
In remote villages, electricity is not always available. If there is electricity, it might be available for one or two hours. So, it is better to bring more rechargeable batteries or portable generator. Fuel price is subsidized in Indonesia.
You can spend many weeks diving across Indonesian coral reefs if you sail with your own boat or yacht. Many coral reefs in remote islands are still in pristine condition.