S2 13.223 E130 36.471 Boo
The Pindito steamed all of last night till 10am this morning to Misool. The first dive site at 11am was in Boo. The landscape of limestone islands and outcrops is similar to Coron and El Nido, Palawan in the Philippines. Beautiful! This is finally my introduction to Raja Ambat as Yogi has been here many times on the Pindito about 15 years ago!
Actually, could not concentrate in looking for the small things as there was just an over abundance of everything.
There were so many batfish, groupers, triggerfish, fusiliers, damselfish, groupers, wrasses, I can go on and on. I found a muricela fan and decided to look for a pygmy seahorse. I didn’t find one because I got really distracted by a small blue cleaner wrasse nibbling at my bare leg as I was in shorts! This has never happened to me before. Imagine that!
13 December – Sunday
S2 12.917 E130 33.574 – Fiabatcet
Was ready and waiting by 7am. Gunung Ajaib, a submerged reef near Warakaraket Island was supposed to have BIG 5 meter mantas at 20 meters. But there was current and we stayed in front of the current, protected by the reef behind us. No mantas unfortunately. The reef was covered with soft corals and fans, and there was so much fish action in the blue green waters. It was actually green.
There were loads of fusiliers, surgeonfish, batfish, barracudas, so much fish. But what was really interesting is the number of different soft corals. On a small rock, there were 7 colors – 6 soft corals and 1 fan. This is just on one rock!
Second dive was in Fiabatcet that was beautiful at 20 to 10 meters full of giant fans. It was a little hard work with the current but once we got to the best part of the dive site, which was the tip, the current sort of disappeared a little bit.
Third dive was in Jamur in Wajil Island. There was a fan at 19 meters with at least 10 pygmy seahorse Denise. No kidding! But it was Edi’s fan and he was there for a LONG time. No chance to get any pictures. There was also some current so forget it.
We had an afternoon drive on the speedboat around the many islands of Misool. WOW.
The limestone islands and the plants that grew on them, the wild palm trees, the pitcher plants, the inner lagoons, the clear waters that showed how corals grew to meet the surface – incredible! It was stunning.
It was so remote and quite a privilege to be there, to be engulfed by perfection.
14 December – Monday
S2 12.661 E130 27.360 – Walib
S2 11.507 E130 36.406 – Jilliet
First dive was in a great wall in Dinding Rene in Walib Island. It was fan after fan after fan to no end. At 23 meters, it was sandy bottom and there was no current. How to tell too that no current was running were the soft corals on the sandy bottom. They were all limp and seem to be resting, waiting for the current to run again to be plumped up.
Second dive was great same dive site as the first but different part of the wall. Yogi first stayed like 15 minutes shooting the shallows. Mike, our guide motioned to me with his torch. When I went to the sandy bottom at 20 meters, he showed me the red pygmy seahorse with white dots! Whoopy! What a treat. Now I had to get Yogi down to this area, which was good timing as Edi filmed it for a while.
What a wall! It really was a stunning wall.
The third dive was in a site not visited by Edi for many many years Jilliet. There was a big cave and could have made a nice pictures except for the visibility. Mike found us 2 colors of pygmy seahorse Denise- the common peach one and the super cute red and white.
Still can’t think why the red and white is not its own species. It looks so different . . .
Started steaming north towards Waigeo. Will reach there by morning tomorrow. Watched a Swiss documentary on our friend – Edi’s Paradise II. Lots of sea snakes in Snake Island Gunung Api south of Banda. Yikes. There were about 20 in one frame!