Several months ago I read an article in Asian Diver magazine about a divemaster named Noldy Rumengen from Manado who is so good at finding small creatures that he recently had a new species of pipehorse named after him (Kyonemichthys rumengani). Imagine my surprise when I showed up at the Oasis Hotel ready to dive one morning only to have Rantje introduce me to a guy named Noldy from Manado who would be diving with me the next day. We shook hands and then I headed off to the dock with Rantje. On the way I asked him, “That’s not the same Noldy from Manado who has a pipefish named after him, is it?” Rantje smiled and confirmed it was the very same person!
The next morning, Noldy, Hendra the photographer and another photographer friend of theirs named Michael and I climbed into Rantje’s car, off for another adventure. I was slightly star struck to be in the company of someone I recognized from a magazine and who has done tens of thousands of dives in his lifetime. But Noldy and his friends were very friendly and approachable. After our second day of diving together they invited me back for a beer at the Oasis Hotel and we sat for hours in the tropical courtyard talking about diving, underwater photography, and life. This was exactly the type of evening I had imagined last summer when I day dreamed about my future life in Gorontalo – relaxing over drinks with new diving friends at the Oasis Hotel, home of the only dive operator in town.