This week in Lembongan… We spotted a mantis shrimp at Manta Point calmly sitting out in the open, even if they look gorgeous, some call them the nightmare of the ocean, as they can be powerful killers, but maybe it’s why we love them!
It has been an elasmobranch week at Bunaken. In particular our deep divers Danny and Rachel were lucky enough to have sharks and rays on almost every dive this past week. Danny even lucked out and had an encounter with a scalloped hammerhead at 50m.
All the action wasn’t happening down deep though, we had an unusual visit from a brown banded bamboo shark, which had found a nice hole to hide out in on Lekuan Dua. Also the usual suspects of white tips, black tips, eagle rays and the abundant blue spotted ribbon tail rays kept everyone happy.
Belongas, South Lombok this week we have once again had a successful advanced course.
Andrew from Canada but living in Bangkok was so eager to see some outstanding pelagic fish that he enrolled himself and chose Peak Performance Buoyancy, Drift Dive and Boat Dive.
In the picture is our PPB dive. Conditions were good, a little difficult at times for some skills but all in all it was a success!
This week in Bali: Our guest were lucky enough to spot not just one but a pair of Robust Ghost Pipefish in the Padang Bai Area. Credits to Petra for this picture who had spotted these guys on another trip just a couple of weeks ago.
Time has come for me to move to Bunaken (North Sulawesi), which is the next location of my Divemaster internship. I actually chose to do my Divemaster internship with TwoFish Divers because of the fact that it can be done in several fantastic locations in Indonesia. Another clear benefit of this multi location approach is that it also allows the trainee to interact with, and profit from the experience of, a larger pool of instructors, as well as to experience the day-to-day activities of dive centres with different characteristics. Therefore, after my first two weeks in Lombok, I will continue now my training in Bunaken. My third, and last, training location will be Lembeh!
This week I, Jake, went for my first tech dive on Bunaken wreck with Dom and was feeling pretty special with all my tanks. I had an amazing dive its a really cool wreck with lots of swim throughs and a whole bunch of nudibranchs.
Also diving in to the blue on the walls of Bunaken with Barry and Louise from the U.K. almost immediately we were greeted by 2 pontohi pygmy seahorses we were all very excited and lots of pictures were taken. As for the rest of the dive we saw green turtles, orang utan crabs, boxer shrimp and many many more.
The first two weeks of my Dive Master course went by in the blink of an eye, can’t believe I’m halfway through already! To give you an idea about this 2-week-blink I’ll tell you about my experiences so far.
The first half of my Divemaster was in Sanur, Bali mainland, where I started with 4 days of theory and skills practice in the pool with my instructor Reuben. During these days I learned that performing a skill and demonstrating one is a whole different story and how much control in diving I have yet to gain.
This week in Belongas, South Lombok Blue Spotted Stingrays galore once again at our dive Site “Gili Sarang”.
We have often seen more than 25 stingrays hanging around the same spot, some swimming, some resting but all in within a 10 meter radius and to this day we are still mesmerized by it. It is truly wonderful to just hover and watch. I can’t get enough of it and the divers we have come to visit Belongas are the same often voicing the fact that they have never seen so many.
This week in Lembongan… A new young diver explores the reefs of Lembongan. Jack, a 10 year old, who completed his junior open water course with instructor Gwen, had a lot of fun getting his certification. Jack is an active snorkeler and surfer back in his home country of Australia but decided that that was not enough and wanted to get down underwater to explore the reefs.
We have had some great dives this week and have even found a new wreck at Bunaken! Not that I think it will be attracting many divers, just out of recreational range Naomi and myself spotted two pretty new looking engines and long tail props along with some bamboo outriggers, whilst on a tech dive. Possibly the mission for a future search and recovery dive? This was just one of many highlights on a beautiful Mandolin dive; mating big eye trevally, sharks, stingrays, moray eels, massive maori wrasse as well as the reef bustling with life. All of this in beautifully mild conditions; warm water, great viz and a nice drift taking us along the reef. The picture attached shows the lovely scenery that we have to enjoy during our shallow stops; no boring blue water hangs for us.
Belongas, South Lombok this week has been the rise of Great hammerheads.
Down here in Belongas we have the opportunity to see both the scalloped hammerheads and the great hammerheads. The scalloped form in schools where as the great are known to be more solitary.
When we encounter the great hammerheads we usually only see 3-4 on a dive if we are lucky but this week on individual dives we have been spotting 8-10!
This week in Sanur Bali: We managed to get up close and personal to the resident Great Barracuda at the USAT Liberty. Almost close enough to count those big teeth of his.
This week in Lembongan… Our guests have had some pretty amazing encounters with these special creatures. Annie who spent 5 days diving with us, saw a mola every day and on some dives she saw up to 5 molas, swimming, cleaning and even jumping. One of the most special moments of the week was with Annie’s son, Neils. Neils is only 8 so he is yet to become a scuba diver like his mum, but that did not stop him from getting the chance to see a mola!
I always appreciate it when one of our guests asks to undertake the peak performance buoyancy course; in my eyes that is diving.
Once again here in Belongas, South Lombok our conditions have been up and down with temperatures ranging from 19ºC-24ºC, visibility from 5-25 meters, waves from .5-4 meters and current from small to strong washing machines and still our season has not ended.
We have been seeing hammerheads, mobula rays, white tip reef sharks, barracuda, devil rays, trevally, tuna and more and more schools of squid mainly at the dive site “Gili Sarang”.
This week in Lembongan… The waves have picked up in the south, so the manta sites have been unreachable but this means we have spent the week drifting over the colourful soft corals of the slopping reefs on the north coast of Nusa Penida. Although the south coast does bask in the glory of the manta rays, the south is mainly covered with sponge coral that does not hold the bright colours like soft coral does. This is due to the changing wave conditions that effect the coral spore moment, meaning soft coral find it hard to grow. This is quite different on the north coast, it seems with the magic of nature, the slopping fringing reefs provide the perfect environment for coral spores to settle and process the beautiful colours that cover these slopes.
These hairy squat lobsters at Bunaken remind me of one of the characters from Street Fighter; Blanka. I have been looking around the innumerous barrel sponges here for the past few days and have finally found some!
This week in Bali: We had one of our busiest weeks here and we have seen everything from Molas to baby Frogfish, each day our divers have been coming back saying that they have seen stuff that they have never seen before.
This week in Lembongan. It’s that time of year again. On the fourth full moon of the Balinese calendar Nyepi Laut is celebrated on the islands of Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan. This year this day falls on September 29th. On this day the inhabitants of the three islands pay homage to the Dewa Baruna who is the ruler of the seas. This ritual has been performed in the region of Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan since 1600 during the reign of Dalem Waturenggong. The ritual practice of that day includes meditation and quiet contemplation on the importance of the watery environment that surrounds and sustains the islands.
A prize find for shrimp geeks was finally captured on camera at Bunaken by our in house shrimpophile Robyn. Robyn has spent the last week doing night dives around Bunaken amazed by the amount of life that comes out to play only once the sun has gone down. The basket stars have been a firm favourite as they swarm over the reef, especially once she found they were full of their own little critters.
This week in Belongas we have been seeing big schools of Great Barracudas on every dive!!
The Visibility has been changing all week from 2 Meters to an astonishing 25 Meters towards the end and that didn’t stop our groups of divers seeing the barracudas circulating overhead like a flock of birds.
We have been in Lembeh since 2007, in fact we were the 3rd operator in Lembeh after Lembeh Resort and Kungkungan Bay Resort! Over this time we have come to consider that October is probably the best time to dive Lembeh, here are some of the reasons why we think this is so.