THE CHALLENGE OF PACKING
One of biggest challenges when traveling as a diver (and underwater photographer), is how to safely get all your equipment from A to B. I’ve only recently returned from a dive trip and would like to share some of my tips – preparing and packing for your dive trip has never been easier!
UNDERWATER PHOTO EQUIPMENT
This is the trickiest part of packing for your trip: you want your expensive toys well protected so that everything arrives in one piece at your dive destination. The priciest option is to go for a Pelican case which you then can check-in. But not only is the case itself expensive, you will also end up paying a little fortune for the excess luggage.
Instead, I got myself a hand luggage size photo trolley/ backpack from “Think Tank Photo”. I’ve had this bag (the Airport Take Off) now for several years. It’s travelled all over Indonesia with me and is still in mint condition – well worth the money I’d say.
In line with most airline hand luggage restrictions and a size of 35.5 x 53 x 22cm, I easily manage to pack my Panasonic GH4 within my Nauticam housing, port, Nauticam WWL-01, Olympus 14-42mm lens, Nauticam CMC-01 diopter, 4 arms, 10 clamps, 2 INON Z240 strobes, 2 Light&Motion VideoPro 9600, 1 x Light&Motion Spot 800 and 2 INON float arms into it.
Unlike most divers, I use a regular soft case suitcase to pack my dive gear. Soft cases are very lightweight. They will also give you enough of a buffer to squeeze in that extra wetsuit you might need for colder water.
Fins including booties go in the bottom. Then my regulator gets wrapped inside of my wetsuit and placed inside of my BCD. Fill the little gaps in-between with your dive hood, rash guards, pointer, any smaller items and done!
With a ~80 liters soft case, I usually even manage to squeeze in my diving holiday “outfits”. You will only need a few pairs of shorts, shirts and bikinis for a week. Check with your airline for special deals in terms of sports/ diving equipment. The Indonesian airline Garuda for example allows for an additional 23kg of diving equipment free of charge on top of the regular checked baggage.
PACKING CHARGERS & CABLES
All my chargers, together with my underwater photo equipment and mask as well as dive computer, travels onboard with me as carry-on luggage. There’s nothing worse but arriving at your destination and not being able to charge your batteries or video lights! I travel with an international power strip including a surge protector, available at the local hardware store for a couple of dollars.
I pack all my chargers and batteries ready to go into a regulator bag. It keeps all those little gadgets and cables organised, compact and easy to be taken out for security checks at the airport. With an oversized handbag to fit the regulator bag itself and my laptop, all the valuable items are traveling safe with me on the flight.
TIPS WHICH CAN HELP AVOID “LOST LUGGAGE”
I guess we’ve all been there before and there’s nothing worse but finally arriving at your destination – without your luggage. A few easy tricks will at least help finding your bags as quickly as possible!
Generally speaking, I find soft cases handier compared to hard case suitcases, not only because of the weight of the suitcase itself. Dedicated dive bags are great but they immediately scream “expensive”, same goes for camera and Pelican cases. Most of my suitcases are from the department store around the corner and I usually buy them in bright colours like pink or yellow – should anyone attempt to walk out of the airport with your luggage “by accident”, he will be very easy to point out.
Once I finish packing for my dive trip and before heading off to the airport, I print a couple of flight itineraries and leave them inside of the bags in case they get lost in transit. Same goes for my passport btw: I carry a digital PDF copy with me at all times, on my phone and laptop.
Also, I take a picture of each bag which can be extremely handy if you have to describe to someone what brand your suitcase is and what it looks like in the worst case scenario that you’ll have to deal with “lost baggage” at your dive destination. If you have to check in your Pelican case, get a cheap bag and “hide” the case itself inside – that way it because less obviously that all your expensive gear is in that case 😉
THINGS WHICH CAN STAY AT HOME WHEN VISITING NAD
I normally carry spare parts for my housing, basic regulator tools and things to fix minor issues with my camera like duck tape, super glue or cable ties. With a wide range of cameras and housings on site, we all have these things here at NAD for you. In case you’ve forgotten something at home, here’s a few examples which we carry in our gift shop: diopters, clamps or float arms. So save yourself the extra weight and ask for assistance, we’re happy to help!
Why Dive with NAD-Lembeh Resort?
NAD-Lembeh Resort is a small, owner-operated, photography-oriented dive resort in the Lembeh Strait. We are situated in a private bay on Lembeh Island, away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. We guarantee a 2:1 guest to guide ratio as standard, which makes for a private dive experience and lots of time to take pictures.
ROOMS & BUNGALOWS
All our rooms (10 Beachfront Rooms, 5 Seaview Bungalows) offer ocean view, air conditioning, hot water, wifi, including full board. Our resort has only few steps, which makes our layout extremely convenient to get from your room to the restaurant, camera room, bar and floating jetty.
Our dive team consists of 15 full-time guides, with over 100 years of combined experience! Air as well as Nitrox and various cylinder sizes (both DIN and Yoke are available onsite).
BOATS & FLOATING JETTY
NAD-Lembeh has 4 large, purpose-built dive boats. Each at around 15m long, they offer lots of space and comfort for the divers. Boats feature onboard toilets, towels, drinks and snacks and first aid/ oxygen
Our jetty allows our guests dignified and quick boat entries – all our dive boats can be moored simultaneously, so there is no wading through the shallows to get on the boat for the dive!
Our focus at NAD is to take your underwater photography to the next level. We offer 1:1 photo classes and our guides are all proficient with photography, using our rental equipment for fun dives when not diving with guests.
We shoot video up to 8K, along with Nikon/ Canon SLR and mirrorless setups. This gives us a rounded knowledge of all cameras. We are also the go-to location for natural history filming in the Straits.
Our newly renovated, huge camera room offers one work space for each and every guest. The spacious, individual benches with lots of power points were purposely built for underwater photographers. NAD’s dedicated camera room is also the perfect place to work on and edit your pictures.
Several rental cameras and strobes are available onsite. We have basic tools and spare parts in our gift shop in case of minor camera problems as well as a drying cabinet, and computer for you to work on and edit your photos.