Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bali Blue!

Hello everyone. There is some breaking news coming out of Bali that I would like to share. One of the largest marine fish exporters in Indonesia is up for sale. The company I'm talking about is called Bali Blue and has been in business for 13 years. The pleasant and fish guru owner of BB is a French gentleman by the name of Bernard Bruguier. Bernard started out in Indonesia back in the days as a consultant for one of the founding pioneer companies in this business, called Banyu Biru of Jakarta. With expertise on fish care from Bernard, Handoko (owner of Banyu Biru) ended up making a branch in Bali to further business expansions in marine ornamental fish export. Bernard eventually took over the Bali operation and really made a huge positive impact on Indonesian ornamental fish trade.

Mr. Bruguier also ran a Vanuatu station for years. All the many cool Vanuatu fish that we have seen in the past years were coming out of Bernard's operation. There's even a beautiful new wrasse species that was named after him. As a matter of fact, one of my Filipino divers that I brought in to Tonga actually worked for Bernard's Vanuatu station for years. Bernard has sold his company since and has been focusing on his Bali operation.

I had the priviledge of recently meeting Bernard and checked out his operation. Actually I met him at a restaurant in Bali last year and he invited me to his facility, but I finally got the chance last week to go see him. I have heard of him before many times during my adventures overseas in the past. And I have to say that I heard nothing but good things about the gentleman. One of the reasons why I went to see him was to ask "why was he getting out of the business?" And the answer was very simple, just tired and want to move on to other adventures.

One of his passion is collecting (and recently dealing) ancient old Indonesian carvings and statues. A very interesting hobby as I found out. Some of these wooden works of art are 200-300 years old! And there are buyers (both museums and private collectors) that are eagerly looking to pay big money for these things. It is kind of like a treasure hunt, looking all over the place for that one special piece. Some are in the hands of private wealthy Indonesians, while others may be just in plain site that nobody knows the value. It is kind of like corals in the reefs. It has value to us, but to people that are not in the trade, it is just there and of no importance. I can understand Bernard's passion for these ancient art. After hearing some interesting stories about these wooden works of art , I was ready to put my Indiana Jones hat and start cracking my whip! Something about looking for lost treasure brings out the kids in all of us.

The facility is beautiful and below are some pictures. Bali Blue is for sale at $2.8 million US. It is not bad considering you are acquiring all assets of the company, including some prime Bali realestate. Add to this the fact that BB makes verifiable $50,000 US a month in profits, makes me drool, man I can't even count that high! If I had the money, I would be telling you about my new adventure. For more details, send me an e-mail at

Here is a picture of me and Bernard in his office. Note the antique wooden carvings in the background.

Here is the packing station. The tub of water is for packing and an airstone keeps it aerated at all times!

Here is Bernard again checking out his fish.

Everywhere you see are these floating cages to house the fish.

Sorry for the blurred picture but even small fish are kept in containers. This is a common method to hold the fish before shipout. This keeps the fish from getting injured and keeps them from becoming too agressive.

As you can see, the facility is very modern and kept very clean. Believe me I've seen what the "normal holding systems" look like at other exporter's facilities.

Typical of holding systems here in Indo, the sumps are below ground. Note the UV sterilizer to the right. Not too many exporters have such things to keep fish extra healthy!

This is the acclimation area. New fish are selected and quarantined here before entering the main system.

Here is a picture of Bernard's office from the main warehouse.

The crew (usually ladies) preparing plastic bags.

Along the warehouse outside is this system that houses inverts, including anemones.

So there is quite bit of land in the premises.

The place even has a place to park the vehicles in shade, a big advantage because of the blistering sun!

Ok so here are some pictures of Bernard's collection of his collectibles! Each one has a story behind it and believe it or not, it is very interesting.

This statue belongs to a friend in Florida!

Feels like a museum in Bernard's office!

A piece like this would be found at the pillars near the roof of a super old house or a temple.

I don't think this crazy wooden carving is that old, but certainly is beautiful!

Here is a close up shot. Check out the details, Balinese are excellent craftsmen!


Ok guys that is it for today. We will go back to posting coral pictures in a few days.

But seriously, Bernard runs a top operation and someone lucky will end up taking over Bali Blue!


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Zoas and Palys!

Hello everyone. For today, let's have a look at some of my zoanthids and Palythoas from a recent shipment. Just so you know, I have to buy 200 pieces and pick out the best 100 to get this quality. Finding good zoas and palys has been one of my greatest challenges here in Indonesia.

But before getting into the pictures, I'd like to share a joke that was sent to me by a dear friend. Just too funny and cute! - enjoy.

A mother is driving a little girl to her friend's house for a play date.

'Mommy,' the little girl asks, 'how old are you?'

'Honey, you are not supposed to ask a lady her age,' the mother replied, 'It's not polite.'

'OK', the little girl says, 'How much do you weigh?'

'Now really,' the mother says, 'those are personal questions and are really none of your business.'

Undaunted, the little girl asks, 'Why did you and Daddy get a divorce?'

'That is enough questions, young lady, honestly!'

The exasperated mother walks away as the two friends begin to play.

'My Mom won't tell me anything about her,' the little girl says to her friend.

'Well,' says the friend, 'all you need to do is look at her drivers license. It is like a report card, it has everything on it.'

Later that night the little girl says to her mother, 'I know how old you are, you are 32.'

The mother is surprised and asks, 'How did you find that out?

'I also know that you weigh 140 pounds.'

The mother is past surprised and shocked now. 'How in heaven's name did you find that out?'

'And,' the little girl says triumphantly,'I know why you and daddy got a divorce.'

'Oh really?' the mother asks. 'Why?'

'Because you got an 'F' in sex.'!

Check out this special red Makassar zoos. This one is very cool because of the green ring inside. Never seen before and probably will never again!

Pink paly with white mouths and yellow skirts!

Cool pink zoas.

The green is not so special but the pinks make it look nice!

Pink paly with white mouths and green skirts!

Yellow palys anyone!

Cool looking teal zoas, some of these look very close to actual "blue"!

Purple zoas, kind of rare but very nice!

Pink paly with green mouths and yellow skirts!

Another teal zoanthid.

Ok this one almost passes as blue, like to see how it looks under halides.

Green zoas with white mouths, very nice for a green zoa!

Orange - red paly with white mouths!

Another cool looking pink paly colony!

Sorry for the bad picture, but this zoa is purple with green skirts!

How many frags can you get from this large pink paly rock?

The pictures really don't do justice, these are very nice palys!

Purple zoa with bluish- whitish mouths!

Another nice pink paly with green skirts!

Blue - green zoa with white mouths, must see in person to appreciate!

Yellow - pink palys!

Pink paly with yellow - green skirts!

Dark orange zoa with white mouths!

Green palys with white mouths. These are very nice and must see them in person to appreciate them.

Another orange - red paly with white mouths!

Here is one of those purple zoas taken with a flash.


Ok guys that is it for today. Coming up next are more pictures of corals from a recent shipment. And oh yah, did you like the joke?


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Nha Trang - Vietnam Part 4

Hello everyone. Sorry for the late posting, internet has been up and down lately. So lets finish up my final story of this tropical paradise town in Southeast Asia. Below are random pictures of this beautiful little city.

This is a view from our hotel room of Nha Trang Bay.

Here is a view of the main street by the ocean side. Our two star hotel is on the left side.

A poster of a fishing day trip at a tourist booking place. Next time I'll try one of these things.

One of many local dive operations in Nha Trang.

Paradise on the beach!

Me and Anne standing on the hot sand.

Looks like Kuta beach in Bali!

We hit the local market to see what we can find. One of the first things I noticed were vendors selling these coral skeletons as decorations, hopefully these weren't deliberately killed for this purpose.

All kinds of sea shells by the sea shore for sale. Note the giant dried red starfishes for sale.

Dried seahorsed for medicinal use. Vietnam actually has farms to grow out these things. Also Vietnam is one of few countries where sea horses can legally be exported using cites.

Dried sea cucumbers anyone?

Bottles of cobra snakes and other strange creatures for drinking.

Here is a close up of the snakes in the bottles. People actually drink the alcohol in these things - supposedly good for your sex drive!

Do I look like a dork or what?!

View of the market.

Dried toke geckos anyone? I'm not sure how you would eat these things, maybe roast over fire?

Dried pipefish to along with the dried sea horses.

Here is one dried sea creature I would eat - squid!

Large lobster skeletons for sale.

Even little shark jaws were for sale!

Check out the monster mantis shrimp! A super delicacy in Asian countries.

Can you guess what is in this bag?

Oh man, just not cool!

More coral skeletons for sale.

Polished green snail shells. The Tonga fishery brought some in from Australia to start aquaculturing these. It was only a slight success. I did see one large specimen in the wild though.

Me and Anne at night on a bicycle rickshaw in town!

Here is Anne buying steamed corn before heading back to the hotel.

Beachfront of a 5 star hotel!

Some locals taking a break from the hot sun under a coconut tree. These local sell anything from fruits to jewelry to sea foods on the beaches.

Billboard of my hero Jet Li posing with San Miguel beer at the airport.

A picture of the Vietnam planes.

Goodbye Nha Trang!


Ok guys that is it for this series. Nha Trang will be one of the hotspots to visit in Vietnam in the future. There is a lot of money being pumped in to make this a world class vacation spot.

Coming up next are coral pictures from a recent shipment. We will start with awesome zoos and palys.


Aquaculture Northern Bali

November Corals Collection Part. 1

November Corals Collection Part. 2

Aquaculture - November Shipment

Coral Showcase - September 2008 Inventory

Holding Facility's Corals Collection Showcase 2007