Scenes from around town in Bima
The Diving and Excursions
August 29th, Wednesday - Sangeang Island
Dive #1 site - Black Magic
Very little current with 100+ vis for a 55 minute check out dive on a wall with a max depth of 84 feet. We saw lots of Anthias, some Clown Triggerfish, Moorish Idols, Shrimp Gobis, Spearing Mantis Shrimp, Anemonefish, Bird Wrasse and lots of Butterflyfish. No camera on this dive as it was the check out/weight check dive.
Dive #2 site - Tekno Reef
A little more current on this dive but great visibility for a 1 hr and 2 minute dive with a max depth of 69 feet. Saw several Spadefish, Parrotfish, some Puffers, an Octopus in his hole, some Coral Banded Shrimp, beautiful Anemones and Anemonefish, a small Leaf Scorpionfish, lots of Gobis and Blennies. A large Emperor Angelfish and Moorish Idols as well as Butterflyfish. Some Nudibranchs, Tube Worms, Bubble Coral and Tunicates everywhere.
Dive #3 site - Bubble Rock
A bit choppy on the surface, visibility still pretty good. This dive was in volcanic rock that had bubbles rising every once in a while for a very unique experience. It was an hour and 3 minutes long with a max depth of 71 feet. Here we saw some big Bumphead Parrotfish, our first Pigmy Seahorses, Scorpionfish, Lizardfish, Huge School of Moorish Idols, lots of juveniles in the beautiful corals of vivid greens and oranges. Got a great picture of a Spotted Porcelain Crab. There were lots of Anemones and Anemonefish and a fun dive with all the fish life.
Dive #4 site - Black Magic
We went back to Black Magic for a dusk dive but didn't take the camera on that dive. It was 1 hour and 10 minutes at a max depth of 65 feet. There was a bit of surge as we searched the shallows. Looking for small stuff we found 2 mini Frogfish, some nice Nudibranchs, several Sea Pens. There was a big Hairy Crab and a lot of small shrimp. Startled a Flounder and saw a few Flying Gunards.
August 30th, Thursday - between Gili Lawa Laut and Gili Lawa Darat and on to Komodo Island
Dive #5 site - Crystal Rock
Very little to no current and great visibility on this hour long dive with a max depth of 87 feet. Saw a few big White Tip Sharks right away. Its a pinnacle site and full of very large Six Banded Angels and schools of Triggerfish, including Clown Triggers. Saw some big blue colored Black Spotted Pufferfish, Moorish Idols, Bannerfish, two different Moray Eels and lots of misc juveniles and Damselfish. Some large Sweetlips and even some Trumpetfish. A tiny Spotted Porcelain Crab posed for some photos. A very nice dive.
sharks at a bit of a distance
Sit time between Gili Lawa Laut and Gili Lawa Darat
Dive #6 site - The Calderon
A dive through a channel with a super sweeping heavy current where various Rays including Mantas are known to hang out. We dropped in at The Aquarium and swam across a strong current to the edge of the channel where we dropped down, swimming along to the outer edge mostly against current. The Russian group had reef hooks and Rex and Katy pulled themselves along the rocks on the bottom. Bill and I swam it and found out that contrary to what you would think the current was quite a bit stronger at the bottom. Once I rose up a bit the current changed and pulled me along nicely. While in the channel we looked up to see a school of ten Mobulas passing over us. They came around twice before heading off. We did a 48 minute dive with a max depth of 80 feet. Also saw some White Tip Sharks and a big school of Circular Spadefish.
Dive #7 site - Pantai Merah / Pink Beach (off Komodo Island)
A nice sloping Coral covered reef for an hour long dive with an 80 foot max depth. Lots of fish at this site and huge Anemones with their accompanying Anemonefish. Several different kinds of Nudibranchs. Some big Rabbitfish, big Sweetlips and schools of Sergeant Majors, Fire Urchins and tiny Coral Crabs. Saw some Trunkfish, Squirrelfish, Tunicates and Tube worms as well.
Komodo Island - The Dragon Excursion
We hurried over to the Komodo Natl Park for a shore excursion to see some Komodo Dragons and have a little visit with the rangers. It was a bit late and they don't let you hike around after dark so we didn't go off into the woods but rather had a short tour with Johnny. We didn't have to go far to see several large Dragons.
click on the Komodo Dragon above to see a dragon walking along the path.
August 31st, Friday - Rinca Island and diving at Horseshoe Bay
Dive #8 Site - Cannibal Rock
I slept in (feeling congested) and Bill did this dive with Sam and Brigitte. The camera locked up and he had to resurface, hand up the camera and then find the group. He got in an hour long dive with a max depth of 62 feet. Noted that he saw tiny shrimp and snails, big Spadefish and Angels and there was tons of fish life up toward the top of the reef.
Dive #9 site - Cannibal Rock
Pretty cool water at 73 degrees for this one hour and ten minute dive with a max depth of 95 feet. It was calm and the visibility was good. We saw large Angelfish and yellow Trumpetfish. A big Spearing Mantis shrimp and lots of pretty Anemones and some Sea Apples. Beautiful brightly colored Crinoids, Soldierfish, Surgeonfish and Mimic Filefish were spotted. There were lots of Starfish, Cardinalfish, Anthias and Butterflyfish on the reef as well.
Rinca Island - Dragons Part 2
We arrived at the park at Rinca Island in time to do a nice hike around the island. We saw several Dragons and were shown several nesting places.
Dive #10 site - Name your site (Rinca Island Near the Ranger Station)
We did a dusk dive not far from the Rinca Island Ranger Station. It was a nice protected bay and gave us a chance for a night dive of 1 hour and 7 minutes with a max depth of 62 feet. Iman wanted to explore the site for future diving so we all went in rather not knowing what we would find. Bill didn't take the camera on this dive so of course we saw some new and unusual things. There was a lot of rubble hiding Hermit Crabs and small Coral Crabs. Saw several Lionfish including a Spotfin Lionfish and some Ringed Pipefish swimming around a stand of rod like coral. A big Yellow Spotted Burrfish was trying to sleep and we even saw a Bearded Botula, a rather weird looking fish. There was a lot of Staghorn coral full of juveniles and small fish.
September 1st, Saturday Tatawa and Sabolo Kecil
Dive #11 site - Batu Bolong
Lots of heavy whirling currents going on around this pinnacle off Tatawa Island. We dropped in and stayed to one side of the Pinnacle, zig zagging up trying to avoid the worst of the currents. The dive was 46 minutes long with a max depth of 94 feet. Another site for large White Tip Sharks as well as a couple of really big Turtles. Some big Napoleon Wrasse and Trivally as well as lots of Butterflyfish and some Emperor Angels were spotted. Also saw several Lionfish and beautiful coral as a home to a Moray Eel and schools of Damselfish.
Indonesian Islands and the Sea
Dive #12 Site - Tatawa Besar
The current started off strong for this 1 hour and 7 minute dive with a max depth of 72 feet. It leveled off to become easily managable and we saw quite an abundance of life at this site. A very large cuttlefish (no pic of this guy), several big Sweetlips, Angels and Triggers. Had a nice Turtle encounter and saw lots of juveniles, Damselfish and Anthias. Very pretty dive with lots to see.
Dive #13 Site - Sabolo Kecil
The site name means "Little Island" and since there was a fairly strong current we dropped in and just drifted our way around the island for a 1 hour and 6 minute dive, going a max depth of 74 feet. Saw lots of Angels, Triggerfish, and a school of HUGE Bumphead Parrotfish hanging with a school of Spadefish. Saw some more Ringed Pipefish and an assortment of Pufferfish as well.
September 2nd, Sunday - Out in the Blue and Kayupangang Island
Dive #14 Site - Marianne's Reef
This dive took us to a reef literally in the middle of nowhere. The reef barely broke the surface of the ocean. The visibility wasn't great in the strong current for this 1 hour and 7 minute dive with a max depth of 81 feet. There was a great deal of particulate but we still managed to see quite a bit. Spotted a huge Pufferfish, several Lionfish, some big Spadefish ,Bannerfish, Angels and Triggerfish. A nice Scorpionfish posed for some pictures and we found a big swarm of Striped Catfish. It was raining when we surfaced.
Dive #15 Site - Karang Kayupangang
Still had some low visibility on this steep vertical wall dive with a pretty brisk current. The dive was 1 hour and 11 minutes with a 92 feet max depth. Saw some Lionfish, Unicornfish and a nice little Juvenile Bicolor Parrotfish. A big Turtle, small Pufferfish, a Moray Eel and a Trumpetfish were spotted. Some Trivallys or Tunas swam by in the distance and there were lots of juveniles, Butterflyfish and those wormy looking White Sea Cucumbers.
September 3rd, Monday - PasarWajo, Buton Island
Dive #16 Site - Bianca 2 and Magic Pier
The Bianca 2 is a small wreck in a shallow area near the Pier. We started at the wreck and headed toward the pier for a 1 hour and 12 minute dive with a max depth of 78 feet. The water wasn't very clear though in the muck diving near the pier we found juvenile Ribbon Eels, Razorfish (Shrimpfish?), Lizardfish, lots of small Pederson Cleaner Shrimp and some Burrfish trying desperately to hide from us. Near the wreck was an old fishermans cage where a Cuttlefish and a Crocodilefish were trapped. The Cuttlefish was obviously agitated and it was quite the endeavor to free them and render the bamboo cage useless.
Dive #17 Site - Cheeky Beach
This was muck diving on a sandy slope for 1 hour and 16 minutes with a max depth of 64 feet. We saw several small Octopus, a couple of large Seahorses, some pigmy Cuttlefish and lots of Pipefish. There were several small Lionfish and tiny Anemone Crabs sharing their home with the Anemonefish. Blennies living in bottles and three Eels all clustered together. There were lots of miscellaneous juveniles and Nudibranchs around. Saw some Flying Gunards and Spearing Mantis Shrimp as well. Great site for a variety of muck diving critters.
Dive #18 Site - Cheeky Beach Dusk/Night Dive
Another dive at Cheeky Beach during the night to see who would come out. A one hour dive with a max depth of 55 feet. We didn't see as much but still saw some Octopus, some Flying Gunards, several Lionfish and Eels. Saw a small Juvenile Cowfish and small Pufferfish. Brigitte found the tiny Anemone Crab again and Sam spotted us a Shrimp riding on a Fire Urchin. A couple of Banded Sea Snakes came out to visit and were hanging around the Skiff when we were ready to climb in. Brom shooooo'd them away with the lights so we could climb aboard and leave them in the water.
Dive #19 Site - Magic Pier Late Night dive
Bill, Iman, Vladimir and Irina did a late night dive at Magic Pier where they saw Pufferfish, Coral Shrimp, Octopus, schools of Razorfish and Flounders. They spotted a nice juvenile Pinnate Spadefish as well. Bill said there were lots of fish carcasses along the edge of the water as if they had been filleted and thrown in. Hmmmm glad I missed that. Their dive lasted 1 hour and 3 minutes and had a max depth of 34 feet. He didn't take the camera.
September 4th, Tuesday - Wangi Wangi Island
Dive #20 Site - Alice in Wonderland
It was a little windy and rainy as we headed down for this wall dive. Starting at our max depth of 92 feet we made our way up the wall for a 1 hour and 14 minute dive. Saw some Banded Sea Snakes, small Crabs and lots of Butterflyfish, Longnose Butterflyfish and various juveniles. There were a lot of Triggerfish, including Clown Triggers, a Turtle, Scorpionfish and some fat brown Jawfish. Lots of Fusiliers, Anthias, Anemones and Anemonefish. Also saw Nudibranchs and Blackfin Dartfish all over the place.
Dive #21 Site - Blue Mosque
A nice hour and 13 minute long wall dive with a max depth of 91 feet. The wall was covered in Barrel Sponges with lots of fans and beautiful corals. Saw Trumpetfish, Wrasse, lots of Peach Anthias and Fusiliers. There were schools of Butterflyfish, Longnose Butterflyfish and Moorish Idols. In the deeper water there were several large Snappers, some Sweetlips, another Banded Sea Snake and some Triggerfish. Pretty reef in the shallows with lots of fish life.
Dive #22 Site - Wangi Wangi Bay
A nice long hour and 9 minute dive with a max depth of 83 feet. Good visibility on this wall dive. Dove along the wall first seeing a BlueSpotted Ray racing down the wall and lots of sponges and coral teaming with fish life. Saw a big Turtle, the fattest/longest Banded Sea Snakes ever, an Orangutan Crab in an Anemone and topped over the rim and into the bay shallows at about 7 feet. The Bay was full of Anemones and Anemonefish, Lionfish, lots of Eels, Shrimp Gobi's with their Shrimp and Lizardfish.
Dive #23 Site - Rolling Stone
A night dive with a max depth of 55 feet for 1 hour and 7 minutes. I spotted my first ever Halimeda Pipefish and once I showed it to Brigitte we started seeing many more of them. A big Spider Crab that was covered in 'stuff' was making its way along the rubble. Saw a great juvenile Pinnate Spadefish, some Lionfish, Coral Banded Shrimp and BristleStars. Saw Fireworms and Flatworms, Trumpetfish and Sea Urchins. There were lots of those white Sea Cucumbers that look like giant worms.
September 5th, Wednesday - Hoga and Kaledupa Islands and on to Tomia Island
Dive #24 Site - Outer Pinnacle between Hoga and Kaledupa
A nice long hour and 17 minute dive with a max depth of 93 feet. Spiraling up the Pinnacle were Sea Fans all along the edges and some large Trivally near the surface. Looked for Pigmy Seahorses but no luck on this site. There were big schools of Fusiliers and Pyramid Butterflyfish, lots of Anemonefish and Juveniles. Spotted a Turtle and several Nudibranchs.
Dive #25 Site - North Wall of Hoga
Heavy surging waves on and near the surface. This 1 hour and 2 minute dive was on a steep/deep vertical wall and we had a max depth of 90 feet. Saw some large Bumphead Parrotfish and a small BlueSpotted Ray. First time we saw a big Lobster and the usual schools of Pyramid Butterflyfish and Fusiliers as well as several Moorish Idols. Saw a Scorpionfish with a Triggerfish hanging out of his mouth. Also saw as a Clown Triggerfish that wasn't being eaten.
Dive #26 Site - North West Point of Kaledupa
The reef here has many fingers leading out away from the wall. We followed the wall and one finger reef out and back for a 1 hour and 10 minute dive with a max depth of 80 feet. Saw a couple of Blue Spotted Rays, some large Snappers, several Scorpionfish and some Parrotfish. There were lots of Anemones and Anemonefish and schools of Fusiliers and Anthias
Dive #27 Site - Dunia Baru Night Dive
This night dive location was just down a ways from the Wakatobi Resort. Sam led the dive and he and Brom had a bit of 'discussion' on where to drop in. We swam against current for an hour with a max depth of 64 feet. We arrived at the actual dive site just as we ended the dive. Bill didn't take the camera on this dive but we did see many odd new things. A very large PluraBranch about the size of a dinner plate oozed along the reef. There were lots of Flatworms and large Shelled Mollusks. Saw a big Lobster and several tiny Salon Shrimp. The water was filled with strings of Salp and Jellyfish. Saw a big Spadefish and a small Reef Squid that inked under the glare of the flashlights and ran off. Though it was a work out to swim against the current for an hour, we saw some of the most unusual critters yet.
September 6th, Thursday - Wakatobi Area near the Resort
Dive #28 Site - Blade
Blade is a series of small sea mounts that supposedly resemble the blade of a serrated knife, hence the name of the site. We did a 1 hour and 12 minute dive with a max depth of 83 feet. The seamounts slope off into deep water and are of varying heights, covered in Sea Fans, Coral, Sponges and Anemones. There were many schools of Fusiliers, some Parrotfish, Moorish Idols, Longnose Butterflyfish, a very big Bumphead Parrotfish and some big Angels. Saw a lot of Nudibranchs. Sam found three tiny Pigmy Seahorses on a fan and the big draw at Blade is the Painted Frogfish on the middle sea mount right next to a big Anemone.
Here is the Frogfish (mouse over to find)
Dive #29 Site - Wakatobi House Reef (Tanjung Patok)
For the last dive from the Pelagian everyone wanted to dive the House Reef at the Resort. We were the only passengers staying on at the resort and even though we would have many more opportunities we were as keen to dive this reef as everyone else. Turned out to be an adventuresome decision. The dive lasted 1 hour and 13 minutes and the max depth was 77 feet. There was a ripping current and we were doing well just to see anything while moving that fast. By turning our back to the current and finning we could stay still long enough to get a look as long as we hugged the reef. Saw a Cuttlefish right away along with several Scorpionfish, a hermit crab and at least four large Turtles. There were large Parrotfish and Angels. While Bill was taking a picture of a Crocodile fish I bent to pull up my fin strap and the current caught me. I went flying along the wall with Sam right in front of me. We hugged a corner and looked around to find we were the only ones around. After a minute Brigitte showed up and motioned for me to buddy up with Sam while she went to check everyone else out. Bill surfaced after he turned around to find me gone and then came back down and flew down the reef to the second gully where Sam and I were hanging out with some Turtles and Nudibranchs waiting for everyone to show up. Apparently the rest of the group flew on past the gully and were quite a ways out away from the reef. That strong of current was a bit frightening at first but once Bill showed up we spent quite a bit of time checking out all that the gully had to offer, from Sea Snakes to Fireworms. It was quite an introduction to the House Reef.
Dive #30 Site - Wakatobi House Reef (Again-this time with Alex)
It was the last day for the Pelagian group and most were done diving. Since we weren't flying we decided to go dive the house reef again. The Wakatobi dive master, Alex, was so happy to get his new regulators that we had brought in our checked luggage that he was happy to guide us through another dive on the house reef later that afternoon. What a difference a few hours can make. We made a 1 hour and 15 minute dive with a max depth of 52 feet and there was virtually NO current. There was so much to see we only made it half way down the reef and exited the water at the jetty. We saw several Pigmy Seahorses, big Stonefish, couple of Scorpionfish, Crocodile fish and lots and lots of Nudibranchs in many different colors. We watched a big Grouper getting his teeth cleaned and Alex pointed out tiny, tiny Crinoid Squat Lobsters every few feet. There were Bumphead Parrotfish, Fusiliers, Lionfish and Turtles. Alex pointed out the 'disco clam' with all its flashing lights and just as we were exiting a pregnant Pipefish. A beautiful dive.
Can you find the Scorpionfish? (Mouse over to find)
And so we say good-by to our Pelagian friends
Sam and Brigitte
Rex and Katy
Vladimir and the 'girls' Vasilya, Ekaterina and Irina
And now for another week of diving at Wakatobi......