This week we have been lucky enough to see stingrays on a few of our favourite dive sites. During the day they are mostly taking shelter and hiding from predators under coral shelves or in sandy patches beneath the rocks but we can sometimes see them peeking out of their hidey-hole. At night they are usually a bit more active and swimming around and then you can really see how graceful and beautiful they are. Our guests are spoiled when ribbontail rays in Bunaken are seen night and day.
Blue Spotted Ribbontail Rays in Bunaken
The bluespotted ribbontail rays in Bunaken are not to be confused with the bluespotted stingray, which is common throughout the tropical Indian and western Pacific oceans in nearshore habitats, close to coral reefs. They are a fairly small, and a very cute ray, with protruding eyes and a relatively short and thick tail with a deep fin fold underneath. It can be easily identified by its striking color pattern of many electric blue spots on a yellowish background, with a pair of blue stripes on the tail. At night, small groups of bluespotted ribbontail rays in Bunaken follow the rising tide onto sandy flats to look for small invertebrates and bony fishes in the sediment. Even though we see these wonderful creatures fairly often when diving Bunaken, like a lot of marine species, they are listed as near threatened on the IUCN list of marine species due to habitat degradation and fishing.
Our guest Bohan wasn’t sure about doing his first ever night dive with us as part of his PADI Advanced Open Water course because of the unknown and nervousness about the deep, dark water, but the bluespotted ribbontails in Bunaken put him right at ease when he saw them gliding across the sand on popular night diving site, Lekuan 3 here in the national park. At night we normally stay shallower and keep close to the reef to avoid currents so everyone can have a nice relaxing dive. Well done Bohan for completing the night dive and your PADI Advanced Open Water Course, and well done to your partner Belinda for completing the PADI Open Water Course.
Alex our PADI Divemaster Trainee was also glad to spot one hiding under a rock whilst completing his mapping project the very next day! Hopefully, the footage looks good and we can upload it onto Facebook soon. Alex has also been loving the night diving which Bunaken has to offer after a bad experience a few years ago, I think it is safe to say he didn’t expect to enjoy diving at night as much as he has. Completing the PADI Night Diver Specialty last week has given him the skills and confidence to dive in the dark, even if your light fails, which is one of the simulated problems you have to learn to manage if you want to master the night diving spec.
Everyone else here at Two Fish Divers Bunaken must have been worried about getting their beauty sleep, as they stick mostly to day dives. Dragon and Renee from China spent 5 nights here before heading to Two Fish Divers Lembeh (which is just a short ride away) and means you can enjoy an amazing combo of walls in Bunaken and muck diving in Lembeh.
Nigel tried to dive one-day-on, one-day-off but couldn’t resist and ended up diving nearly every day. Elaine and Nicola from NZ and UK respectively, booked with PADI Travel and didn’t want to leave. Jeff went with Dragon to Lembeh but made the most of the turtle madness here first and Jennifer from USA has been practicing with her new camera rig. With Erwan finishing the Advanced course, Steffi completing the Open Water course, Alex continuing his Divemaster training, Lucy finishing Open Water, Pinak’s family starting their confined water training and more… It’s never a dull moment, especially if Ribbontail Rays in Bunaken are seen night and day!
Would you like to join us for phenomenal wall and coral reef diving in Bunaken? Why not combine your stay with Two Fish Divers in Lembeh for world-class muck and critter diving while you are here? See the best of North Sulawesi and experience both muck and reef with Two Fish Divers!
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Photo Credit: Wilfried Kirschenmann