Facebook pixel WhatsApp
Back to News & Blog
Taman Project

À la Cousteau: discovering a new world

SUEX DPV SF2 Rebreather Philip Christoff Manta Dive

Gili Trawangan, a diving paradise in Asia

Gili Trawangan is a small island northwest of Lombok, Indonesia, near the more famous but busy Bali. Despite its size, the island is a popular holiday destination for various target groups. Diving is central, and I was particularly attracted to technical diving in the Gilis. On August 18, 2019, I arrived on the island for a diving holiday with my buddy Stijn, partly hoping to build a career there as a (technical) diving instructor. For two weeks, we dived with Manta Dive on the most beautiful reefs of the island. What a paradise. The great variety of flora and fauna are truly breathtaking. Think of different types of sharks, rays, octopuses, and many other types of fish, but also coral. Gigantic fan corals in all colors, tables of acropora, and many other hard and soft corals.

I also quickly became acquainted with the technical divers on the island. Philip Christoff, TDI Instructor Trainer at Manta Dive, introduced me to technical diving around the Gilis. Thanks to him, I became familiar with Project Taman.

About Project Taman

Taman translated from Bahasa Indonesia means backyard. A project set up by various diving centers on Gili Trawangan to further map their own 'backyard', because a large part of the reefs around the island are still unknown. The aim was to discover new deep reef walls on the north side of the three Gili islands that can be used for training and that offer a new perspective for technical fun divers.

Manta Dive Philip Christoff Gili Trawangan TDI Technical Diving

The Cousteau feeling at its best

Manta Dive Center is perfectly equipped to accommodate every technical diver in his or her needs. There is a continuous supply of sofnolime, oxygen and helium which makes it possible to show many rebreather divers the amazing underwater world of Indonesia. It is even possible to rent rebreathers and scooters (SF2 backmount and SUEX DPVs). This equipment was therefore used extensively during Project Taman.

It is November 12, 2019, around 7 am when we are already busy preparing everything at Manta Dive. I was part of the support crew that would support the exploration divers during these dives. My job was to record locations on the GPS and assist in water emergencies. The scooters, rebreathers, bailout tanks and my open circuit tanks are analyzed, tested and loaded into the boat. When everything is complete and the dive plan has been reviewed again, it is time to leave. Philip is in charge and operates one of the cameras.

SUEX DPV SF2 Rebreather Philip Christoff Manta Dive

During the fifteen minutes of sailing to the planned drop location, the dive plan is reviewed one last time. The exploration team will scooter towards the north, based on a TTS (total time to surface) plan. In this way, depth remains variable within the limitations of the gasses carried, but it is possible to map an area for a fixed period of time. After the team has entered the water, the boat including support crew slowly sails towards the north. The divers brought delayed surface marker buoys (DSMBs) and it was agreed that each red SMB would be pinged with the GPS. This way there is no need to distinguish between success or end of dive. Based on these coordinates, exploration can easily continue.

Finding the reef

After roughly 30 minutes the first SMB’s appear. We sail over and record the location with the GPS. After another ±30 minutes we see the first divers appear above water. We calmly sail in their direction to pick them up and hoist the bailout tanks and scooters onto the boat. Once on board, there are immediately great stories and happy faces, exchanges of congratulations and a festive atmosphere. We found a steep reef wall that starts at a depth of 45 meters and continues to at least 80 meters.

As soon as we returned to the Dive Center, expedition leader Philip Christoff raced to his laptop to share the images of the find with everyone. The diving location is baptized Linda's Reef, named after his late mother. A memorable moment that we still often talk about. A new reef was born and I was allowed to be there.

TDI Technical Diving Manta Dive Gili Trawangan

I’m working now as a technical diving instructor at Manta Dive Tech and I’m always happy to take our customers to Linda’s Reef sharing very special memories. 

Exploration team: Philip Christoff, Lindsay Hull, David Soprek, Yannick Antoine, Ben Trayner

For Enquiries & reservations

Office hours 08:00 - 20:00 GMT+7

Contact us Or call: +62 (0) 81237889378