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Nurul Yazid: Professional Photographer and now co-owner of Triton Bay Divers

Administrator’s note:  I have been blessed to dive Triton Bay (one of the Bird’s Head Seascape’s triad of destinations) numerous times since 2005.  It is less known and even harder to access than Raja Ampat but those who have been there know it is a very special and unique place.  For those that haven’t heard, there is now a wonderful land-based resort in the area, Triton Bay Divers.  Their slogan; “It’s Remote…and worth it!”

Building a resort at the end of the earth is a challenge, especially in an area unknown to tourism!  Triton Bay Divers (TBD), is located on Aiduma island and opened in 2015.  Its founders were Lezza English, Jimmy Thai, and the Kamakaula family, owners of much of the land around the island of Aiduma who have been there for many generations. Since opening, the resort has steadily grown, not only in size but reputation. Jimmy left the company last year (2023).  But now it has new blood!  We are excited to introduce you to Nurul Yazid, a professional marine life photographer and a new co-owner.  She joins the team along with new co-owners Vincent Chew (owner of the White and Blue Manta liveaboards) and Joel (Jack) Sumantry.  Jack brings many years’ experience of working at resorts and on liveaboards to the mix. This new lineup injects fresh energy and knowledge into TBD and I am confident that their guests will benefit.

I will let Nurul introduce herself.

“I am from Kuala Lumpur, the capitol of Malaysia, and learned to swim at the age of three. Happily my family would often go snorkeling. I was just always happy to be near the water; be it the ocean or a swimming pool. When the kids at my school wanted to become firemen or doctors, I wanted to be a dolphin trainer.

I longed to be a part of the ocean but coming from a traditional Asian family, it was not acceptable. Studying Marine Biology was not the norm either. So, I did what any good daughter would do. I studied Economics at University and then worked in the corporate world as a Market Researcher. I gave it 3 years and then finally told my parents, that world was not for me. They finally accepted it (not like they had a choice, LOL). So I quit my job, packed my bags and moved to the Perhentian islands (0ff the NE coast of peninsular Malaysia) to become a PADI dive professional. That was 15 years ago and I’m still very much in the dive industry, although I have since evolved into an underwater photographer. Nothing makes me happier than being able to dive every day.

I was in Perhentian Islands for 2 seasons before deciding to move to Sabah to work at insular Malaysia’s famous Sipadan island (off Borneo island). I was a divemaster then and was so happy to be able to guide divers to Sipadan everyday. It was there that I saw my first whale shark, first hammerhead and even first manta. Sipadan will always have a soft spot in my heart. It was also where I met Lezza (Lisa) English (a co-founder and still co-owner of Triton Bay Divers). She was an instructor working for another resort on nearby Mabul Island.”

Schooling trivially, Sipadan Island, Malaysia

“Anyway, not long after that, I moved to a small island north of Semporna called Pom Pom Island where I was co-owner and manager of a tiny resort. I was based there for 7 years and this was where my underwater photography journey started. I bought a small compact camera to document the marine life we had in the area and I became instantly hooked. Within 5 short years, I had gone from a small compact camera to a bigger compact camera to a mirrorless camera and then to a DSLR. The addiction and obsession was real.”

Green turtle, Pom Pom Island, Malaysia

“Over time, my photos improved and slowly magazines were asking to publish them and before I knew it, people were requesting me to teach them photography. But after 7 long years, I felt it was time to leave the resort business and dive more. So once again, I packed my bags and ventured to Mexico, Bahamas, Maldives. I even spent a whole year just diving around Indonesia.”


Mating Mandarinfish, Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Crinoid Clingfish, Alor, Indonesia

“I had heard that Lisa had just opened TBD, so I booked a spot and spent 2 weeks there. I loved every minute of it. The diving blew my mind. The amount of healthy corals and vast number of fish was second to nowhere I had ever been. TBD quickly became my favourite place.”

Pygmy Seahorse, Triton Bay, Indonesia

Endemic “walking” shark, Triton Bay, Indonesia

“I was happy being a freelance photographer – going wherever the job took me but after being away for so long, the itch to run a resort came back. The first person I thought of was Lisa. She had asked me to join her a few years before but I was not ready then. So when I contacted her, she immediately said yes and the rest I shall say is history.”

Whale shark, Triton Bay

Reefscape, Triton Bay, Indonesia

“I’d like TBD to be a widely known resort with a reputation like Misool resort’s. One that everyone celebrates and looks up to. They’ve managed to grow while being a complete eco-resort running (almost) fully on solar power with their very own vegetable garden. The challenge will be for us to grow and become recognized without having a negative affect on the ecosystem around us while engaging with and improving life in the local communities.”

Triton Bay Divers, Aiduma island, Triton Bay, Indonesia

“I have seen destruction in areas of Raja Ampat, and other areas around the world, where coral reefs are slowly deteriorating. It would devastate me to see that happen in Triton Bay. I also like that we now have a relationship with the local villagers. A long-term plan would be to work more with educating them about reef conservation. Lisa is already heading in the right direction by trying to improve the school infrastructure in Namatota (the largest nearby village).”  For more about their education initiative, visit the TBD website.  “Hope to meet you soon in Triton Bay!”

Note: Nurul will be at TBD for the next few months.  She has kindly promised to share new images with us.  I can’t wait! 

Want to see more of Nurul’s imagery? She’s working on a new website (we’ll share that link asap).  But she does spend time on Instagram. Nurul Yazid (@nurul_yazid) • Instagram photos and


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