Gili Air, North Lombok we have had had a great week of spotting pygmy Seahorses. It is not often that we come across them, a bit up and down, they seem to like to move around the Gili Islands. Our spot was on a dive site called Gili Air wall. Kuss our instructor was the one who spotted it down at 18 Meters while taking his 4th dive of an Open water course. Around the Gilis we get both the common pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti) and Denise pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus denise). The type Kuss spotted was the common seahorse. They are tiny with orange to red warts and spots. They live on sea fans the same colour as them to blend in and catch food from the water movement.
“Are the Flamboyant Cuttlefish in Lembeh Venomous or Poisonous? What about the Blue Ring Octopus, and the Spiny Devilfish: Venomous or Poisonous?”
These are commonly asked critter-questions at Two Fish Lembeh, especially during weeks like these when all of the above mentioned animals are making a regular appearance. Apparently the Flamboyant Cuttlefish is poisonous, not venomous, and the Blue Ring Octopus and Spiny Devilfish are both venomous. The difference between venomous animals and poisonous animals is how their toxin is delivered.
So there I finally was, arriving in Nusa Lembongan, to begin my much anticipated journey on the divemaster course. After planning the trip for months, and packing up everything I had in the States, I was ready to start what has so far been a delightful yet challenging adventure. The first couple of days were absolute paradise. I started with fun dives in the morning witnessing some of the most alluring marine life I have ever seen, then spent the afternoons reading by the pool, and watching the harlequin sunset over the beach. But of course, this couldn’t last forever, some work had to be involved in getting my divemaster certification.
This week in Lembongan… Our instructors have been busy teaching new students about the wonderful world of diving. We have had Rowan jumping between teaching an Open Water course with the help of Yayan, to teaching discover scuba divers. Bryce and Fred have been out panicking and screaming for help while teaching a rescue course. Yayan has popped over to Bali to teach another person Open Water course and Fred has just started a deep specialty course.
This week, we were joined by Ismail from Jakarta, who specifically travelled to our Bunaken resort to get started on the route to technical diving. So far, so normal. Asked about his diving experience to date, Ismail said he had completed just under 30 dives, prompting the question what time is the right time for a diver to start technical diving training.
We might not have been hunting for Easter eggs or chocolates, but we’ve been lucky enough to spot plenty of pygmy seahorses and ornate ghost pipefish around Bunaken this week. It’s definitely been a week for macro photography fans (thanks for the picture, Alex Schade) with our guides spotting numerous pregnant Pontohi Pygmy and Severn’s seahorses as well as ornate ghost pipefish all around the island.
We’ve enjoyed a huge variety of divers and a huge variety of life in Amed, Bali this week. With many of our guests asking to visit the USAT Liberty it was a chance for many of them to meet the resident Great Barracuda that lives there – I don’t think he has a name yet so any suggestions welcome 🙂 Other than that our guests and guides have been seeing a sample of the eclectic life that lives here.
A variety of Harlequins have made an appearance in Lembeh this week. Harlequin Shrimp, Harlequin Swimming Crabs and Harlequin Ghost Pipefish have been keeping our photographers and recreational divers busily entertained! Harlequin Shrimp (Hymenocera elegans) are a highly sought-after sight in Lembeh, and are often found near their favorite food source: the blue Linkia Sea Star. Harlequin Shrimp feed on Linkia Star tube feet; they remove each tasty foot with their tweezer-like claws before cutting into the Sea Star and consuming it further. A few lucky Sea Stars are able to shed an arm when the Harlequin Shrimp first begin to feed, but others are not so lucky. Harlequin Shrimp have been known to slowly consume a living Sea Star for many days, sometimes going so far as to feed their Sea Star in order to prolong the life of their food source!
In the North Gilis, Lombok this week we have had an overload of various types of Eels. The white eyed moray eel’s have shown themselves the most. They don’t get particularly big but then again they are not shy either. Among the white eye morays we get here the giant moray eels, usually hanging out with the banded shrimps in a rock somewhere and the beautiful but ever so shy garden eels. All 3 we truly love to see, from the small garden eels to the big giant moray eels. I have noticed that almost all divers take a good 2-3 minutes just looking at them.
Dive Zone is back to school this week with a visit from one of the local schools who paid us a visit to practice speaking English and to learn about the tourist industry and what we do here at Dive Zone. An absolutely amazing day with laughter everywhere and a good chance for us to talk to the next generation about looking after their environment. We had a great morning with the kids making conversations, talking about diving, telling them about what we can see under the water.
This week in Lembongan…. It has been a week of large creatures. The start of the week was full of manta rays enthusiast which resulted in us heading, by request, to one of the manta dive sites 6 times over the course of 5 days. We are very understanding with our dive site picks and if that is what the people want, that is what the people get. On one day, we went to a manta dive site for all 3 of the dives. With all these trips to see mantas, our guests were not disappointed and they had the chance to see lots of manta rays as well as some other large creatures.
Sometimes, what divers see from the surface can be as impressive as what we see underwater. This week in Bunaken, an extraordinarily large dolphin pod kept us company not once, but two days in a row. We estimate the pod of around 100 at times, circling both boats. And even seasoned dive guides get a little excited by that.
This week in the north Gilis, we have had an overload of turtles!!! The north gilis being Gili Air, Gili Trawangan and Gili meno have been popular for decades now, tourists from around the world come to see the beautiful landscape, underwater paradise and either party or chill out. We can almost guarantee 90% chance of turtles on a dive in the north Gilis. We often run into both the Hawksbill Turtles and the Green sea turtles, sometimes growing to a size of 4-5 feet in length.
“Do you ever see “Madonna’s Bra” in Lembeh?” a guest asked at the Two Fish dinner table this week. After finally figuring out what exactly the guest was referring to, a whole conversation about hilarious critter names ensued. As it turns out, “Madonna’s Bra” is the common name for the rarely encountered Platyctene Ctenophore (pronounced “teen-a-for”). Though it resembles a sea slug as it attaches to the seabed, Madonna’s Bra is not in fact a sea slug at all. Similar to other animals in its Comb Jelly phylum, two stinging tentacles protrude from each mound of the “bra”. When unsuspecting planktonic animals get ensnared in the tentacles of the Ctenophore, the tasty morsel is drawn into the body of the animal for consumption.
Diving with the stars this week in south lombok we have the guys from Trans TV here shooting a movie “my trip my adventure”. All the staff were very excited when the stars of the movie arrived at the dive center especially Husnul our office girl, who i thought was going to faint when i got 1 of the stars david to take a picture with her [i think she had a bit of a crush on him]. Two of our dive guides also went out with the film crew to help out with some of the diving and they were very happy hanging around with the movie stars all day.
As my PADI instructor course and internship at Two Fish Divers in Bunaken comes to a close, I can’t help but look over this past month and realize how much I’ve learned and experienced in such a short period of time. In a lot of ways, it feels like it’s been so much longer than a month. But of course in other ways it feels like it’s been only a couple days.
New: Two Fish Divers’ AMED DIVE CENTER!
Two Fish Divers are proud to announce the opening of our new Amed dive center, on the East coast of Bali, so now you can dive Amed on your Indonesian Dive Safari! Very close to fantastic scuba diving and away from the hustle and bustle of the southern Bali resorts, we couldn’t be happier to be here in beautiful Amed.
Over the last few months the team has been working hard at building our Two Fish Divers Amed dive center, one which lives up to the standard we’ve set with our other amazing dive locations and resorts across Indonesia. We are now ready for you and we are offering a discount of 20% if you book in advance with us to stay & dive in Amed, Bali throughout March/April 2016!
I finished my DMT on the 10th with one of the most memorable and insanely overwhelmingly beautiful display of manta life I’ve witnessed, or even my mentor Rowan has witness. A 65 minute dive where we undertook some unknown swim throughs, slipping in and out of overhangs as the swell ebbed and flowed, using it to our advantage. As it picked up we decided this might not be the best idea anymore as we were moving sometimes 3 meters at a time with it. Unable to hide from it, Unable to fight it, it brought us where IT wanted us to go.
This week in Lembongan… It’s been an eventful week over here on Nusa Lembongan; our divemaster trainee Eanna McAtamney, completed his 6 week course. We have had some up and down water temperatures which normally starts to happen with the seasonal change of the currents. With these changing currents, visibility at the manta dive sites has been a little low, but it has not scared the manta rays away. Some dives, divers have reported seeing 10+ manta rays and staying around for most of the dive.
Here in south Lombok we find a wide variety of Scorpion fish from the bearded to the Indian Ocean Walkman to the Ambon. Although we have so many here at times they can be difficult to find due to our abundance of reefs and places to hide.
After a few days of fun diving and completing his PADI EFR and Rescue course in Bunaken, Tristan has now embarked on his Divemaster course here at Two Fish Divers, which will also take him to our Lembeh resort in a few weeks. Until then, he’s getting to grips with dive logistics, among other things.
Two years ago, Simon completed his Divemaster course with Two Fish Divers Bunaken. This year, he returned to take the next step and become a PADI instructor. After his course, he decided to stay on for a couple of weeks and complete an instructor internship. Here’s how it went….
This week in Bunaken we had the unique opportunity to dive during the full solar eclipse. And, as a double treat, senior dive guide Fenly picked a rarely visited site which usually offers a good chance for larger marine life. But that’s not what happened on this magical dive…
To witness a full solar eclipse, you really have to be in the right place at the right time. Turns out, Bunaken was the place to be this week as we had a chance to see a 98% solar eclipse just before 9 am. Some of our guests opted to dive later, but a few hardy ones wanted to know what it might be like to dive when the sun disappears.
This week’s fascination with brooding shrimp in Lembeh caused us to look a bit more closely into shrimp relationships. It all started with one simple question from a guest: are female shrimp bigger than the males? According to our Tropical Pacific Reef Creature Identification guide (Humann and Deloach), you can often times distinguish the gender of a shrimp based on its living arrangement, but not necessarily by its size. For example, if you happen upon a single set of shrimp, such as the beautiful Coleman’s Shrimp pictured above, you can assume that the larger of the two shrimp is the female.