Leaving Bunaken after 7 weeks was quite hard, I have to admit, but the warm welcome in Lembeh made up a lot and feeling comfortable is very easy as well.
The first week has been full of several exciting days and after my arrival I went fun diving for the first day. On the first 2 dives with Lewis and Matt we already saw many weird creatures and the highlight was probably a tiny little blue ringed octopus that moved around the coral, trying to hide and making all the divers quite happy. We also saw lots of very nice nudibranchs, many different kinds, all kind of colours, shapes and sizes. Scorpionfish, cuttlefish, painted frogfish, morays and flounder perfectly camouflaged, trying not to be found, but the guides are so experienced that they spot every little critter that is down there. Very impressive I have to say. I was also able to do those dives on sidemount, which made it all the more fun.
In the afternoon Lewis who is a Divemaster and is working on the build up of the house reef currently took me out to see what has already been growing on the structures he and other DM’s have placed there during the last year. Pretty impressive what kind of fish, corals and sponges gather around there and it is nice to be able to contribute to the growth of the reef, creating a new home for many corals and fish. We additionally took down 2 structures that were created by Sylvie and Joep before they left to Bunaken. We have also built a pyramid that has to be completed by attaching some chicken wire on one side and that we will probably bring down within the next couple of days.
Another skill for my DMT was to guide a certified diver which I did with Lewis on his Nitrox course at a dive site called police pier. With Dani and Matt checking up on us every once in a while we made our way through the sandy bottom up to some corals beyond 2 big ships that are stationed there. Again, frogfish, many kinds of nudibranchs that were found by Dani mostly, razorfish, lionfish, boxfish and shrimps and crabs we had another wonderful dive.
A great dive Lewis and I had to the Mawali wreck. The 2nd world war Japanese freight ship lies between 16m on the top and around 31m on the deepest part and is quite spooky due to its massive size, its open parts on the sides where you could swim inside, all the big batfish that seem to be the guards of the ship, lionfish around each corner and big scorpionfish that are very hard to not be seen. Additionally to that it is home to many giant oysters that compete with each other in shape, size and color. Simply beautiful.
“Shadowing” of 2 guides was quite exciting for me as well. Rein and Rayen took me with their groups and I was trying to find out how they guide their guests and of course I will be trying to find all those weird creatures they are finding in the sandy patches. Very interesting and challenging as there is no reef where fish, crabs or shrimp are just waiting to be detected, it is much more work to find a 1cm big nudibranch or a tiny little crab that is hiding underneath a coral. But a good challenge is always a good thing.
This morning was rescue morning. Again, poor Lewis, was victim and probably got more sea water than he admitted during all the rescue practice. Searching for him doing a circular pattern search, bringing him to the surface, giving rescue breaths and finally bringing him to the beach. Everything went fairly good and the final part was to tow him on the surface for 100m. Big thanks to you, Lewis, you are a great victim
For the next couple of days the plan is to complete the second part of the DM exam, doing some more shadowing and organizing an afternoon cleaning the housereef as part of the project AWARE. Guests will be invited to help and of course all the staff will support. But more about that next week….