Day 3 - Daily Log - Damai II - Manuk


Day 3 - Daily log – DAMAI II

Date: 2 October 2018

Boat location: Manuk, Banda Sea

Dive sites: Northwest Ridge, Northeast Ridge, Southwest Ridge (W04, W05, W06)

Weather conditions: Sunny and slight waves (0.5 – 1.25m high)

General notes:

The team started our day bright and early with a first dive at Manuk. As explained by our cruise director Irene, Manuk is a volcanic island where sea snakes roam around the coral reefs. As we approach the dive site on a tender, we were enthralled by the sight of frigates and boobies soaring high around the island. Tracey Jennings even saw the birds fighting over a sea snake in the air! The dive was amazing, we had many close encounters with the sea snakes. Renato even had a surprise visitor along his transect during his fish survey with Deon! Sam conducted her coral survey with Josh and was pleasantly overwhelmed by the huge diversity of corals.

The scientists teamed up with Joshua and Virginia for a second survey while the rest of team continued their hunt with sea snakes and general photographs of coral reefs. After with our last dive at Manuk, plastics team leader Sarah-Jo and Brett did a trial run with the plastic trawl and sieving of retrieved trawl contents.

The sea was rough today, the dinner table felt a bit empty as some of the team decided to rest early. We are currently sailing overnight to Koon and is expected to reach at 1000 hrs.

Photo Credits:

Sea snake cruising along the coral reefs at Manuk. © Renato Morais

The sea snake was checking out Renato’s transect line! © Renato Morais

Sam encountered a strange-looking coral. © Sam Shu Qin

Team DAMAI’s first plastic trawl deployment. © Sabrina Inderbitzi

The Damai Plastic team figuring out the best way to sieve the trawl contents. © Sabrina Inderbitzi




Day 3 - Gaia Love Team - Banda Islands

Day 3 - Daily Log - Gaia Love

Date: October 2, 2018

Boat location: Banda Islands

Dive sites: Tanjung Noret (0730), Tanjung Noret (1130), Lava Flow (1500)

Weather conditions: Sunny with strong winds


It’s hammer time! We reached the first site, Tanjung Noret, early in the morning. By 7AM, divers were on the dive deck ready to look for hammerheads.

The search did not disappoint: eight minutes into the dive, the first group saw a shiver of hammerheads between 30-32m. Other dive groups spotted hammerheads between 30-40m. Temperature dropped between 21-22C and currents were going in different directions, but no complains! Everyone was thrilled to see hammerheads.

After exchanging hammerhead stories over breakfast, the microplastics team deployed the net to trawl for plastics. A rapid visual inspection revealed fewer large plastics than Ambon, but a closer count will be conducted to identify microplastics

For the second dive, we went back to the same site, Tanjung Noret, in hopes of finding hammerheads again. No sharks greeted us the second time around, but the current was calmer, the visibility was better, and there were diverse schools of fish and coral to keep all divers entertained.

After lunch, we set sail back to Lava Flow to dive in the middle of the afternon.  Paul Muir, our resident coral scientist, says the site as "very high cora cover and moderate/high diversity." The day ended with and easy dive in Lava Flow and a beautiful sunset by the volcano Gunung Api. 



Day 2 - Mola Mola Team

Day 2 - Mola Mola Team

Sorong - Matan Reef

After a calm first evening docked at the port, the Mola Mola set out from Sorong on her maiden voyage with the research crew of 16 on the Elysium Epic expedition. Our first dive was at Matan, full of vibrant coral and marine life. There were shrimp hiding in sand dunes with gobies standing guard, and cuttlefish playing hide and seek with divers among coral reefs.

Team captain Andreas Jaschek Raised the expedition flag when we left port, together with the crew members. We are off to a great start with sunshine and blue skies over the horizon, more updates to come. 

Photo Credits:

Matan Reef - photo by Alex Rose

Orange Shrimp - photo by Marco Steiner


Day 2 - Damai Team


Daily log - DAMAI II

Date: 1 October 2018

Boat location: Nil Desperandum

Dive sites: Southwest Ridge, Northwest Ridge, Southwest Ridge

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

General notes:

The team finally arrived at Nils and started their expedition dives after a long and rough night. Our first dive at Nil Desperandum was rewarding, the sight of the school of hammerhead sharks made everyone's morning. Renato Morais, our principal fish scientist of the expedition, and Sam Shu Qin, coral team leader briefed their respective team to take a general visual of all fish or corals encountered during the dives for a baseline survey of animals within Indonesian waters.

Feeling pretty impressed with the dive site, the team decided to explore the Northwest Ridge. While waiting for the next dive, the boat crew pulled up a huge pile of long line! We were all so glad that no animals were found entangled or harmed by the retrieved debris.

For the second dive, Renato, Sam and Joshua teamed up to conduct a combined fish and coral survey. Renato and Sam located a sweet spot at 6m and laid their respective transect tapes (50 m) in opposite directions. Joshua assisted Renato with the fish survey using a specially designed set-up.

With this set-up, Renato is hoping to overlay videos of both cameras with photogrammetry technique. Sam tried out Paul Muir's (principal coralscientist) line-intercept transect method of coral survey and complementing the results with a video along the transect.

After the dive, documentary lead Sabrina Inderbitzi conducted an interview with Renato against the picturesque backdrop of the ocean.

During the third dive at the Southwest Ridge, the team continued to take general photographs of fish and corals. Some of the team were greeted by hammerhead sharks (again!).

We spent the night uploading photographs and analysing trial survey results.

The team has a 14 hours sail heading overnight to Manuk and is expected to reach at 0700 hrs.

Photo Credits:

SamShuQin laying transcet line - photo by Jayne Jenkins

SamShuQin taking photos of coral - V Bria

Longlines on Reef - Renee Capozzola

Joshua Phua using fish survey camera Setup - Jayne Jenkins 

Renato Morais explaining setup for the doumentary - Jayne Jenkins

Coral Reef at Nils Desparado - Emry Oxford

Diver in the black water - Jayne Jenkins