Scuba Diving, Dive Travel and Underwater Photography in the Indo-Pacific

Don Silcock at the Crystal River

Don Silcock at the Crystal River in Florida

Welcome to – the website of Bali-based underwater photographer and photo-journalist Don Silcock

The concept behind this site is to provide a comprehensive portal into the Indo-Pacific region and it’s best diving locations, with interesting and factual descriptions of what is there, what you will see, when to go and how to get there.

I have been to all the dive locations at least once, but often 2-3 times, and only use images from those trips to illustrate it.

So what you see is what I saw when I was there.

Some of my trips are supported by dive operators, but my descriptions of their operations are as I found them and I try very hard to provide a factual and balanced viewpoint.

What’s New: Diving Papua New Guinea – Kimbe Bay, the Coral Crucible. X-Ray Article

Kimbe Bay, The Coral Crucible - X-Ray Article

Kimbe Bay, The Coral Crucible – X-Ray Article

There is a line of thought in the scientific community that this is where it all began and the first corals originated… a large sheltered bay, roughly one third along the north coast of the island now called New Britain.

The bay is called Kimbe and the country is Papua New Guinea — the wild and exciting nation crafted together in colonial times from the eastern half of the huge island of New Guinea and a string of other islands stretching out in to the Bismarck and Solomon Seas.

Surveys have shown that Kimbe Bay is host to around 860 species of reef fish, 400 species of coral and at least 10 species of whales and dolphins. To put that in a global perspective — in an area roughly the same as California, PNG is home to about 5% of the world’s marine biodiversity.

Just under half of those fish and virtually all of the coral species can be found in Kimbe Bay, which means that the bay can be considered as a kind of fully stocked marine biological storehouse.

X-Ray dive magazine has just published a 10 page article of mine that documents the incredible diving in Kimbe Bay and the extensive efforts being made to protect and conserve it.

You can download it on this link to Papua New Guinea, Kimbe Bay – The Coral Crucible

What’s New: Diving Indonesia – 2015 Raja Ampat Photo Worksops

Raja Ampat Photo Workshops

2015 Raja Ampat Photo Workshops

2015 is really shaping up to be a big year for me and I have been asked to lead two photo workshops in Raja Ampat for City Seahorse Charters!

City Seahorse is run from Dallas in the USA by Deb Fugitt, one of the real pioneers of diving in Raja Ampat and somebody who started out running group diving trips at dive camps on one of the islands of the Dampier Strait back when there was virtually no tourism infrastructure or liveaboards working the area.

I have been assisting Deb for the last two years with her Raja Ampat liveaboard trips and acting as the resident “photo pro” for her guests. The customer feedback received convinced her that the City Seahorse 2015 liveaboard program should be expanded to include two, fully dedicated, 13 day photo workshops.

The trips are scheduled for the 4-17 April 2015 and the 16-29 November 2015 and you can read some more about them on this LINK, plus full details, prices, travel itinerary, inclusions, exclusions for both photo workshops are available on this link to City Seahorse:

If you have specific questions about the learning objectives, agenda and instruction methodologies please contact me at

What’s New: Diving Indonesia – The Rich Currents of Raja Ampat

Nuigini Blue Raja Ampat article

Nuigini Blue Raja Ampat article

High on the “bucket list” of most divers and underwater photographers is Raja Ampat, in the remote far east of the vast Indonesian archipelago.

It is that very remoteness, and the rich currents that surge down from the deep oceanic basins to the north, through the Dampier Strait and in to Raja Ampat that have helped make the area so incredibly biodiverse.

In November 2013 I completed my 6th trip in 8 years to Raja Ampat, and my 3rd as the photo guide with Deb Fugitt’s City Seahorse charters.

My first trip with Deb was in 2005 and I went back again in 2006 and 2008. Then in 2012 Deb asked me to be her assistant and photo-guide on that year’s trips, which was a great way to learn more about the area from someone who was one of the early pioneers of diving there and has probably led more trips to Raja Ampat than anybody else.

I have since documented my experience on the fantastic sites we dived in the Dampier Strait, Misool, Batanta and Waigeo in various magazine articles and have just had another seven page article published in Nuigini Blue.

If you are interested in diving Raja Ampat you can download the full article on this LINK, plus check out the numerous new pages on my Raja Ampat location guide which has lots of information on the area plus detailed dive site descriptions and image galleries.

What’s New: Diving The Solomon Islands – Uepi Island and Munda in New Georgia

X-Ray Magazine Solomon Islands article

X-Ray Magazine Solomon Islands article

Like a series of random punctuation marks, the many islands of the Solomons archipelago lay along the southern section of the Pacific Ring of Fire, in between the countries of PNG to the north, and Vanuatu to the south.

An independent country since 1976, the Solomon Islands are a quite special blend of Pacific Island Melanesian culture and phenomenal tectonic forces, which have created a chain of mountainous islands that are rich in native rainforest, spectacular volcanoes and incredible lagoons.

Underwater there are rich reef systems and an amazing variety of marine life together with one of the highest concentrations of WWII wrecks in the Pacific.

In mid 2013 I finally made it to the Solomons – but where to go in a country that consists of nearly 1000 islands? I decided to start with Uepi Island and Munda in New Georgia and spent three weeks diving the great sites there.

I documented the whole experience in a 12 page article that has just been published in X-Ray magazine, with one of the images from Su Su Hiti near Munda getting the highly-prized front cover! The full article can be downloaded on this LINK.

What’s New: Underwater Photography With Mirrorless Cameras

Frogfish at Secret Bay in Bali, taken with the Panasonic 20mm Lens

Frogfish at Secret Bay in Bali

Updated Equipment section with a series of pages on using the new mirrorless cameras for underwater photography.

The new pages explain the mirrorless technology, sensor formats, which camera to choose plus housing choices to take it underwater.

There are also pages on wide-angle, macro and “pseudo-macro” lenses for underwater photography.

This new technology offers much of the functionality of DSLR’s but without the size, weight and cost…

But is it as good – or even close to the capability of DSLR’s?

I wanted to find out and bought the Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera – principally for underwater macro photography and I am now in the process of upgrading to the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera, so watch this space for updates going forward.

What’s New: The Sharks of the Marovo Lagoon – Solomon Airlines Article

The Sharks of the Marovo Lagoon

The Sharks of the Marovo Lagoon

The sharks of the Marovo Lagoon hold a special place in the local culture of this part of New Georgia, in the Solomon Islands.

Reef sharks, rather than being feared, are regarded almost like dogs in that their behavior is generally docile and non-threatening, but they can quickly sense unease and can be potentially dangerous to those who fear or provoke them.

You will see sharks on virtually every dive, but the best place to see a lot of them is the welcome jetty at Uepi Island resort.

Here they gather in significant numbers and the in-flight magazine of Solomon Airlines recently published an article of mine on the sharks of Marovo Lagoon which you can download on this LINK.

What’s New: An Insider’s Guide to Tulamben’s Liberty Wreck

The Insiders Guide to the Liberty Wreck

The Insiders Guide to the Liberty Wreck

The Liberty wreck at Tulamben on the north-east coast of Bali is the island’s most famous dive.

People travel from all over the world to dive the Liberty and to a some degree the wrecks popularity is killing it – so is it still worth diving, or should we just move on and leave it to the backpackers?

Last year I decided to try a spot of immersion therapy on the Liberty and instead of the usual 1 or 2 dives a day on the wreck when I stay in Tulamben, I did 4 to 5 a day for 6 days!

The whole experience was documented in an article that is in the latest issue of Australia’s SportDiving magazine plus I have added several pages to my site as a kind of “insiders guide to the Liberty Wreck”… You can download the full article on this LINK.

Alternatively you can check out the pages and image galleries on my site and here is the LINK to the starting page and then just follow the links.