Barrel sponge. Weda Bay, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

Weda Bay: underwater beauty

#Halmahera # Indonesia

  Indonesia: Weda [Halmahera] + Bangka [Sulawesi] - March 2013

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

Going back to Indonesia to dive... An obsessive desire, which has been nagging me all winter long! So, in mid-March, I flew to Halmahera.

My destination: Weda Bay. Good choice, again. The underwater world, in Indonesia, is just... amazing !!!

Diving in Weda Bay. Halmahera, Maluku, Indonesia. March 2013.

Halmahera, North Maluku Islands

Halmahera, archipelago of Moluccas...Indonesia... Names that are already transporting, even before the departure !

To situate, it is there, in the eastern part of the archipelago, between Sulawesi (in the west) and Papua (in the east) :

Once there, I confess, I did not move at all, and therefore did not see much of the island of Halmahera itself...

Just the beautiful road which connects the city of Sofifi on the west coast to the village of Kobe in the east. Then the stretch of coastline mixing beach and mangrove in Weda Cove. And last but not least, the splendid reefs a little further off.

Map of Halmahera. From Sofifi to Kobe.
Map of Halmahera. From Sofifi to Kobe.

I didn't go that far, to Weda Bay, quite randomly... No need to set up a whole expedition, I simply booked at the Weda Resort, held by Linda and Rob Sinke, who are also the owners of Divers Lodge that I already knew, in the Lembeh Strait in Sulawesi (see my previous trips to Sulawesi, in 2007 and in 2010).

I wanted a week of relaxation, far from everything. To dive every day on virgin reefs, in the middle of an exuberant coral. I was also curious to see what Weda Bay looked like, still little known and little dived, of which several traveler-divers had told me the best.

Verdict: superb! I came back enchanted.

Under the sea of Weda

The different sites accessible from the Weda Resort are full of gigantic gorgonians, huge barren sponges, and immense coral tables. The reefs are teeming with color and life.

Underwater, I usually take my wide angle lens underwater, the Tokina 10-17which is wonderful with such subjects.

Barrel sponge. Weda Bay, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

Diving in Weda Bay. Maluku, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

Diving in Weda Bay. Maluku, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

Diving in Weda Bay. Maluku, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

Between the play of light and the colors of the coral, I enjoy ...


Diving without stress

In addition, the dives are rather quiet, in the corner, conducive to contemplative walks ...

Diving in Weda Bay. Maluku, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013. Unlike other beautiful places where I was able to dive in Indonesia and Malaysia (Komodo, Raja Ampat, Nusa Lembongan or Sipadan, to cite some famous diving spots), Weda Bay offers all its beauty without furious current.

The visibility is remarkable some days. The dives are varied, without stress, ideal to refine your photographic settings without haste. No need to choose between palmer or photograph... In short, I recommend without hesitation this place to beginners as well as to underwater photographers!


The Weda ResortThe only diving operator in the area is the "Bungalows", where I stayed for a few days. A handful of bungalows between the jungle and the sea. So we are not many underwater...

Especially since there are not only divers: the tourists who come here also come for To watch the birds. As for cruise-diving boats, they are still rare to come in the area.

On each dive, we are in a very small group. Our Indonesian guides are passionate and attentive. We are alone with our bubbles, happy to be there.

To the binomial lotteryI have the chance to be with Michael, a very nice Dutchman, who dives like me, in a peaceful and contemplative mode. No speed race or depth contest... I appreciate it. Admiring the beauty of the reefs is enough to make us happy.

Michael even ends up acting as a model for my lens, alternating with our guides Radyal and Jimmy, when I need a little silhouette of a diver in the background.

Diving in Weda Bay. Maluku, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

Diving in Weda Bay. Maluku, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

Diving in Weda Bay. Maluku, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

Weda, I love it!!! 😎

  Indonesia: Weda [Halmahera] + Bangka [Sulawesi] - March 2013

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Hello,
    I went in November and loved it! The richness of the sites from the point of view of fixed fauna and fish, the tranquillity of the area, the impression of being a little at the end of the world... We went especially to the Elmoo Reef sites; a little far from the resort, but so beautiful and interesting to explore!
    That makes me want to go back!

    1. @Malène: yes, I had gone to read your posts on Weda before leaving... 😉 Elmo Reef is huge, there's plenty to do, indeed...

      Ah, you too, want to go back ???

    2. Always the same dilemma: return to the places we loved or discover new ones! With 5 weeks of vacations, 4 of which are diving holidays, the choice is difficult! But yes, Weda is still on my list... On the other hand, for my next Indonesian vacation, I'll be going to Ambon because, in addition to the mucks, I hear there are some beautiful coral sites there too.

    3. @Malène: what dilemmas, eh? 🙂 Ambon and the rest of the Moluccas, I admit, I'm thinking about it too. But for July (not the right season for Ambon), I have other Malaysian-Indonesian projects that are maturing...

  2. @Corinne: whaaoooo! More beautiful photos! And when I see all your work, I tell myself that I still have a lot of work to do 🙁 as a beginner in underwater photography....Bon, I start with basic equipment (as you did too it seems) and then voilà...I'll learn as I go along...But I must admit that my first images encourage me to persevere.... 🙄

    1. @Didier: thanks for the note!!! 🙂
      Yes, I'm having fun now with my "big fancy camera". But I was already having fun with my compact. All the pre-2010 sub photos on this blog were taken with... If you're pretty happy with the initial results, the rest looks promising!!!!

  3. I'm dying of jealousy, you could seriously consider organizing a photo exhibition at the next diving show.... with VIP journalist access, even if you're doing it as an "amateur". Your shots are magnificent, especially when you capture the light on the surface with the mirror effect and the divers above you! Are these photos retouched or was the vision really as it was without particles? I really need an external flash, but I'm happy with what I'm doing with my Canon G12 and admire your talent, because it's not all about the camera, it's all about the eye, capturing a subject and making it sublime. Bravo again...

    1. @Lisemet: thank you, very flattered by your compliments!!! Bah, l'expo, je la fais ici, sur mes Petites Bulles d'Ailleurs, c'est très bien comme ça...

      I don't retouch my photos much. If there are visible particles in the image, I just leave them. I'm not going to have fun erasing the little specks one by one, that would be a crazy job... No, the visibility was good and when the sun's out, you have to play with it!

      The only real retouching I allow myself in sub photos is cropping, as well as minor color and contrast readjustments. I like it when the image that "comes out" is good as it is and doesn't need too much reworking.

      The camera isn't everything, of course, but for atmospheric shots like the ones I've chosen here to give an idea of what the reefs look like in Halmahera, the Tokina 10-17 fisheye lens is fabulous.

      The rest is a matter of composition and light, as always in photo, underwater as terrestrial: you have to learn how to play with flash light and natural light, and balance the two ...

      With an external flash on a G12, you can already take some very nice atmospheric photos... As an example, this photo of me, below, taken a few years ago by a photographer called Phil North, was taken with a G-I-don't-know-which-number and an external flash.

      The flash allowed her to illuminate the coral in the foreground, which here was also shaped like a heart... Really pretty!

      I have to admit, though, that for every successful photo I take, I throw out ten or more... Underwater photography is like oil painting: it's more fun, but it requires patience and a lot of time. Little by little, by dint of shooting, shooting, shooting, you end up picking up the tricks that work and improving...

      In any case, I'm happy to see that I'm making progress, since acquiring my 7D and the housing in 2010. Now I'm at the stage where I'm thinking more and more about investing in a second external flash... 😈 (But what a mess to lug around!!!)

  4. Thank you Corinne for this report, which almost makes me regret having already booked the Wallacea cruise to Rajat Ampat! But I'm following your advice and I think we're in for a treat!
    Bravo pour les photos d'ambiance , c'est vraiment superbe !!! I really like the colors and the light ....
    Is it as expensive as Papua?
    Thanks to your expert advice, we have our plane tickets from La Réunion to Sorong and will be staying in the area for 3 weeks, 2 on a cruise and one on an island to finish off the last shots we're missing ....
    thanks again

    1. @Yves: oh, no, you have absolutely nothing to regret about Raja Ampat! Weda is very nice, but Raja Ampat is wooooooooowwwwwwww !!!!
      Weda is not particularly cheap, but much more affordable than Raja Ampat...

      Enjoy, you will hallucinate underwater !!!!

    2. Do not regret especially. Raja is much more impressive than Weda.
      If I had to make a ranking, not necessarily subjective, I would put as ranking (for Indonesia) :

      Corinne, your ranking?

    3. @Steph: when you say "Maluku", do you mean that you've never been to the Moluccas, so you've never been to Weda in Halmahera (a large island in the North Moluccas), which is however on your list? Or am I misunderstanding?

      For the question of the top dive sites in Asia (and not only in Indonesia), I had already raised the question in a comment, I don't remember where, in another post... Not knowing Wakatobi or the muck sites in the rest of the Moluccas (Ambon, for example), I would be hard pressed to list them in any personal ranking...

      But anyway, I'll do an article on that one day soon, that's for sure. Still, it's a tough choice, except for my top three, which for now would be :

      1 - Raja Ampat (Indonesia, West Papua)
      2 - Sipadan (Malaysia, Borneo)
      3 - Komodo (Indonesia, Small Islands of Sunda)

      After that, it's more difficult. Places like Bangka Island (North Sulawesi), Bunaken (North Sulawesi), Weda Bay (Halmahera, North Moluccas), Tulamben (Bali), Pemuteran and Menjangan Island (Bali), certain sites around the Derawan archipelago (Indonesia, Borneo), or Richelieu Rock (Thailand, Andaman Sea), and even the Perhentian Islands (Peninsular Malaysia) seem to me quite worthy of a place in this kind of ranking... But I haven't yet taken the time to look into the matter seriously.

  5. Thank you Corinne for your reply, we're already sharpening our cameras, Chantal has just bought a Sony rx100 and everything to enjoy making images too! This summer we'll be going to the Red Sea for a week of training, combining kitesurfing and diving. Bonne continuation .

  6. Hi Corinne, don't you remember, the screwdriver operation with Régis in Ko Lipe was in my bungalow. I returned to Ko Lipe in 2012, and although the diving is still as pleasant as ever, apart from the currents, the island has become absolutely unliveable, with too many people and even golf cars. The stay ended badly for me, my kidneys suddenly decided to go on strike, so I left for a hospital in Hat Yah, returned to Bangkok for three dialysis sessions and was repatriated to Switzerland by air ambulance. But I'm not giving up, and in March of this year I spent a month diving in La RÉUNION, which wasn't great, but I had to start again from scratch. Your trip to Weda Bay is very tempting, can you give me more information, and how do you get there from Manado or Makassan?

    1. @Serge: Hi Serge, what a nice surprise! Oh, yes, I remember very well... I even mentioned it here, on this blog:

      Since then, I've made a lot of progress in photography and have equipped myself with more substantial equipment...

      As for Koh Lipe, yes, I wasn't very impressed by the underwater world at the time, so I didn't really want to go back. Given the speed at which the island was already developing in 2009, I can't imagine what it must look like today...

      I'm sorry to hear about your health problems. I hope you've recovered since then, and that you'll be able to continue diving and traveling in spite of everything...

      As for Weda Bay, it's nothing like a well-known tourist spot like Koh Lipe. There's really nothing around, except jungle and a few villages.

      The easiest way to get there is via Manado. There are flights from Manado to Ternate with Lion Air. Personally, I flew Paris-Jakarta then Jakarta-Manado-Ternate. But there should be information on possible flights on the Weda Resort website:

      Kisses too, good preparations!

    2. Hi Corinne,
      yes, that's it, you've made me want to go, I'm going to Weda between January and February for 4 weeks, no need to wiggle my toes, I'm having a check-up at my doctor's and then, hop, I'm not as dashing as I used to be, it's age too, great blog, keep it up, and you never know, always keep a Swiss Army knife by your side.
      Kisses Sergei

    3. @Serge Junod: Four weeks? There's not much there, apart from the small villages, the sea and the jungle. Don't forget to take along some reading material, it might be more useful than a Swiss Army knife... 😉