Day 10 - Mola Mola Team


 

Coral UV Photo by Aaron Halstead

Day 10 -Daily Log - Mola Mola Team

Date: October 10, 2018

Boat location: Dampier

Dive sites: Sauwenderek Jetty (0730), Cape Kri (1100)

Weather conditions: Sunny, clear skies

Our last day on the boat, we're all determined to make this a memorable evening! The team cleaned out the alcohol supply on the boat, all the beer, gin and whisky. We had to buy an additional supply from a friendly neighbour too (thanks Gaia)! Oh and we did some diving, on our way back south at Sauwenderek Jetty and Cape Kri. Sweetlips galore, and turtles all around. Bid our farewells to a couple of the pontohi pygmies and on our way back to dock in Sorong tonight. Until next time, Raja Ampat!

 

Photo by Andreas Jaschek

Day 10 - Daily Log - Damai II

Isopods hitch-hiking on humphead bannerfish. © Sally Vogel

Daily log – Day 10 DAMAI II

Date: 9 October 2018

Boat location(s): Batanta

Dive sites: Algae Patch 2, Algae Patch 2 / Ernie’s Corner, Algae Patch 2 (Night dive)

Weather conditions: Sunny and smooth waves (0.1 – 0.5 m high)

General notes:

“Happy hunting!” That was it from Irene, our cruise director, for our first dive briefing of the day. It was muck diving day! The visibility (about 15 m) was great and it probably made finding critters slightly easier. The team, with the help of dive guides and their satay sticks to mark out cryptic animals, managed to find many nudibranchs, sea slugs and even anemone fish eggs among the black sand!

Divers descending near area an abandoned burlap sack. © Emry Oxford

The team returned to the same dive site in the afternoon while the researchers checked out the reef next to it. Irene said the reef has not been named so the science team named it Ernie’s Corner after our photography legend Ernie! The reefscape was a surprise! We definitely did not expect such a vibrant fish and coral communities at a muck diving site. However, there were signs that we were nearing civilisation. Fishing lines, abandoned burlap bags, food wrappers were in the waters – around corals and in between reef crevices. Despite the presence of marine debris, Sam and Renato chose a nice spot and did their respective fish and coral surveys along with Emry and Sabrina. After sightings of crown-of-thorn sea stars, Sam spotted a group of coral-eating violet coral shell (Coralliophia violacea) on a Porites coral! While snorkelling, Sally and Ernie found some parasites getting a free ride (or lunch!) from the fishes. Sarah-Jo and Brett did another plastic trawl during surface interval and we are all expecting to see more debris in the analysis!

Violet coral shell, Coralliophia violacea, munching on Porites coral. © Sam Shu Qin

We then ended the day with a night dive in search for wonderpus and blue ring octopus. No octopuses to be found but there were strong currents, spanish dancers, and a frogfish!

An Acropora coral with white band disease. © Ernest Brooks

Soft coral, hard coral or Phyllodesmium? © Deon Viljoen

 

Did someone lose his shoe? © Emry Oxford

 

 

 

Day 10 - Daily Log - Gaia Love

 

Manta © Richard Meng

Daily Log - Day 10 - Gaia Love

Date: October 9, 2018

Boat location: Batanta and Dampier Strait Dive site: Pulau Dayang (A28), Cape Kri (A29), Sawandarek (A30), Channel (Blackwater - A31)

Weather conditions: Sunny and cloudy

Highlights:

Our first dive in Pulau Dayang was a shallow dive at 15-20m. The site is known to be a cleaning station for mantas, and the prediction did not disappoint: two reef mantas glided by, one mid-dive and another towards the end.

Gaia Love then travelled to the second dive, Cape Kri, famous for its school of sweetlips at 40m and infamous for its ripping and whirlpool currents. The sweetlips were there where they were expected to be. The currents changed constantly, which was an enabling environment for a wobbegong, a school of jacks and barracuda, blacktip and whitetip reef sharks, and Napoleon wrasse to say hi. Divers resurfaced far from where they were dropped off.

Sweetlips © Fabian Schorp

During the third dive, our resident artist Arica Hilton had an underwater photo shoot with other divers from Gaia Love. The other groups proceeded to Sawandarek, a dive site underneath a jetty of a village. From the boat, it looked like a sleepy, nondescript area, but the first few minutes in the site already showed off a school of sweetlips at 5 meters. There were schools of unicornfish, snappers, silver sides, and jacks. There was also a lobster hiding under a reef and a hawksbill turtle that seemed to be confused whether it would take a breath or stay down.

In Sawandarek, Cass’s strobe diffuser fell off without her noticing.

She continued taking photos and saw David swimming towards her. She thought David was trying to model for her, until she saw what was on top of his head – her diffuser!

After dinner, a smaller dive group proceeded to a blackwater dive, the fourth dive for the day and the last night dive for the trip!

When the night divers returned to Gaia Love, the transit to Mioskon began.

Blackwater Dive © Richard Meng

 

Day 9 - Mola Mola Team


 

Photo by Aaron Halstead

Day 9 -Daily Log - Mola Mola Team

Date: October 9, 2018

Boat location: Waigeo

Dive sites: Citrus Ridge (0730), Mayhem Reef (1100), Arborek (1500), Arborek (1930)

Weather conditions: Sunny, clear skies

Amazing diving at the Aerborek Jetty, teeming with marine life here so we did our afternoon and night dives at the same spot. There were electric clams, heaps of crabs and schooling bat fish. We also paid a little visit to the Arborek village before sundown, and met with the local dive shop owner and some of the locals in the village. Our drone team managed some specular sunset over-under shots by the jetty, another great day of diving and exploring for Team Mola Mola.

Photo by Andreas Jaschek

Photo by Aaron Halstead