The spice island of Ambon is nestled in the cossetting waters of the Banda Sea at the heart of the coral triangle. This is deepest Indonesia, on a straight line between Komodo and Raja Ampat, and unsurprisingly is a destination where marine life runs riot.

Weedy Rhinopias. Indonesia.

Join Alex Mustard for his Macro and Wide Angle workshop in Ambon from 20th November to 3rd December 2017 (London to London dates)! Alex has only been to Ambon briefly before, although has extensive experience photographing the subjects and scenery found in Indonesian waters (Alex’s photos on this page are from other destinations). This workshop is organised by Scuba Travel UK and is open to all.

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Ambon is a dream diving destination, particularly because the diving comes in two flavours. The protected waters of Ambon Bay are famed as a muck diving mecca, rich in rare and fascinating critters, and referred to as “Lembeh without the crowds”. This is the place that the famed psychedelic frogfish (above) turns up from time. It is also known to be a great location for Rhinopias, as well as tonnes of froggies, nudis, octopus, pipefish, seahorses and all the typical muck diving creatures. Alex says “the plan is to spend the first half of the workshop focused on critter diving and macro.”

While Ambon Bay is enclosed and mucky, the waters outside on the south coast of Ambon and the neighbouring island of Haruku are clear and coral life thrives. In fact, these waters are so rich, that rare and delicate gorgonians seem to grow like weeds and the reefs teem with fish, making for a dream wide angle destination. Alex adds “after we’ve feasted on macro, we will switch focus on head into blue water for the second part of the trip. The teaching focus will switch to wide angle, but these sites are still packed with macro subjects, if you want to stay in macro mode.”

Soft Coral Display. Indonesia

This workshop is based at Dive Into Ambon “one dive centre, two worlds”, based at the Maluku Resort & Spa. Dive Into Ambon is located outside the mucky waters of Ambon Bay, which allows the workshop to focus on both critter photography and wide angle. Alex says “The plan is to run the trip in two halves so we can immerse ourselves in macro techniques before specialising in wide angle.” Dive Into Ambon is run by Kaj (pronounced Kai) and Barb, who are well known in the underwater imaging an critter diving worlds (having spent three years at KBR, Lembeh).

A portrait of a harlequin shrimp (Hymenocera elegans) on its prey a blue starfish (Linckia laevigata). The flattened claws of this shrimp help in detach the starfish's stick tube feet. Illuminated with a snooted strobe. Bitung, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Lembeh Strait, Molucca Sea.

“We have chartered both of Dive In Ambon’s 18m boats for the workshop,” says Alex. “The group will be split across the two vessels and we will dive different sites to give everyone photographic space. I will switch between the boats each day and we will also slowly rotate the groups around so that everyone dives with everyone. The plan is to repeat the richest sites until we’ve perfect shots!”

VITALS

London to London. 20th November to 3rd December 2017. £3650 GBP for standard room accommodation, based on two people sharing.

Includes: International (with either Malaysian or Singapore Airlines) and domestic flights (Garuda). Hotel night in Jakarta. Transfers to resort. 10 nights Dive into Ambon standard room (based on 2 people sharing). The full board package includes breakfast, lunch, morning & afternoon snack, a-la- carte or buffet dinner, unlimited tea, regular coffee and drinking water. 9 days diving – 3 dives/day, (Nitrox is $15 USD per day) Alex Mustard Ambon Photo Workshop.

Maluku Resort & Spa has several classes of rooms. Room requests will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Rates for the whole trip, London to London, based on two sharing are: Deluxe Standard Room (£3650 pp), Seaview Studio Room (£3750 pp), Deluxe Cottage (£3800 pp). Single supplements for the three classes of rooms are(£395, £525 and £650, respectively.

The workshop is also as a Jakarta to Jakarta package (22nd Nov – 2nd Dec 2017) package from £2950 GBP, depending on accommodation options.

Group size: Max. 14 Photographers + Alex.

For reservations and further information, please email Caroline@scubatravel.com (email allows Caroline to deal with enquiries in the order that they arrive). A deposit of £800 GBP is required to hold your place.

Zebra Crab In Urchin. Philippines.