Day 9 - Daily Log - Damai II

 

Crown-of-thorns sea stars spotted at the bay. © Jayne Jenkins

Daily log – Day 9 DAMAI II

Date: 8 October 2018

Boat location(s): Farondi

Dive sites: Blue Hole, Two Trees, Three Sisters, Wag Mag Bay (Night dive)

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

General notes:

At Blue Hole, the team slowly faded away as silhouettes against the waters as we swim through the cave. As we exited the hole, we were pleasantly surprised by the vibrant reefscape at the other side! Sam, Emry, Joshua and Renato spent some time on the transects as the others went around hunting for their best footages.

The mysterious Blue Hole. © Tracey Jennings

We descended into a huge pinnacle at our second dive at Two Trees. The team was rewarded with a feeding frenzy of the jacks hunting the baitfish. We even managed to spot a huge wobbegong shark resting in its cave!

The wobbegong shark was so well camouflaged! © Emry Oxford

“It’s medium currents!” exclaimed Irene. With almost an unanimous vote (except Renato!), the team chose to head into the currents at Three Sisters and crossing our fingers that we will meet the giants upon descend. And we did! We saw a couple of bumphead parrot fish, giant groupers and even a giant clam! We even found so many different nudibranchs too! Renato and Joshua hid behind the currents and teamed up for another fish survey.

Stonefish with such pretty colors! © Sarah-Jo Lobwein

The team launched the CCROV at a back reef of Three Sisters. Albeit challenging conditions (strong currents and poor visibility!), we successfully sent the CCROV down to 90m in a bluewater dive.

CCROV in action! © Jayne Jenkins

The rest of the day was spent with Sabrina hunting the team down for interviews footages. Lastly, the team called it a day after a bonfire dive. The team even saw crown-of-thorns sea stars at the bay (we have not seen any on the reefs so far)! We are headed to Batanta with another crossing through the night.

Look at the ridges of the Pachyseris coral! © Deon Viljoen

Heart of the (Acropora) coral © Emry Oxford

Wobbegong shark shots before (right; Sam the scientist) and after (left; Emry the photographer) photoshop! © Sam Shu Qin

Sabrina’s interviewing the team on their experiences on ‘sciencing’! © Sam Shu Qin

Day 8 - Mola Mola Team


 

Photo by Levente Rozsahegyi

Day 8 -Daily Log - Mola Mola Team

Date: October 8, 2018

Boat location: Wayag

Dive sites: Wayag (0730), Pelagic Rock (1030), Figure 8 (1500), Two Hump Rock (1930)

Weather conditions: Strong winds, current

Very strong current today on most of our dives, what a ride! The group decided to ascend after 35 minutes on the second dive, the current was so intense. We did have amazing visitors right by the boat today while docked, four reef sharks came by to check us out. They circled a couple of times and the team tried to get some footage of the curious visitors. Coral and fish teams went for their surveys a little later, which yielded quiet results at the selected depth, although there was bountiful marine life at depth. For sunset, the team went on a little jaunt to the beach and did a little rock climbing before setting off for our night dive. Time sure passes quickly when you're having a blast!

Photo by Aaron Halstead

Photo by Aaron Halstead

 

 

Day 9 - Daily Log - Gaia Love

 

Barracudas © Emily Chan

Daily Log - Day 9 - Gaia Love

Date: October 8, 2018

Boat location: Penemu and Yangeffo, Raja Ampat

Dive sites: Melissa's Playground (A26), Citrus Ridge (A24), Microplastics Trawl (MP08)

Weather conditions: Sunny

Highlights:

After traveling for several hours, we arrived in Penemu after breakfast. Divers on board Gaia Love explored Melissa's Playground, which was covered in diverse types of hard corals. The visibility was very good, enabling us to watch the schools of fish and other creatures with glee. The currents ranged from mild to moderate to strong to mild again. A blacktip shark swam by during the safety stop. We resurfaced at 11AM to give way to another group.

Melissa's Garden © Yew Kuan

Melissa's Garden © Cassandra Dragon

After lunch, we commenced our journey to Yangeffo, so there was no time for a mid-day dive. In Yangeffo, we went in Citrus Ridge. During the pre-dive briefing, we were told that we would see a lot of orange corals. We were in for a treat: in addition to orange corals, one group spotted a wobbegong - the first one for the entire trip! There was also a walking shark wedged under a coral, a leaf scorpionfish, a school of barracudas, hawksbill turtle, and sea krait.

A Microplastics Trawl was done after dive 2, but no analysis just yet. 

The night dive was cancelled due to strong currents. We began traveling to our next site immediately after the cancellation.

Tomorrow, we're aiming for four dives.

Citrus Ridge © Emily Chan

 

 

Day 8 - Daily Log - Damai II

 

Having fun on our tender with the Damai Boat crew © Jayne Jenkins

Daily log – Day 8 - DAMAI II

Date: 7 October 2018

Boat location(s): Tamuloo

Dive sites: Goa Keramat Cave, Jellyfish Lake, Three Sisters, Wag Mag Bay

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

General notes:

The team started the day early (6am!) as we were hoping to catch the best light at Jellyfish Lake. After a pretty rushed breakfast, we hopped into DAMAI II’s tenders and made our way to Goa Keramat. We passed by rows and rows of cultivated oysters from the pearl farms before entering the passage. With crystal clear waters and beautiful reef against the majestic limestone karst, this place is a paradise for water babies! It started to drizzle as we approach the cave. “Torches! Snorkels! Mask! Fins! Life vest!” The boat crew reminded us again as we disembarked from the tender. Yes, all of us took a life vest as a float for our cameras! The cave was a spectacular nature’s work of art – filled with interesting rock formations and bats. Renato was even trying his luck to find any signs of fish on his snorkel!

The stunning formations of Goa Keramat Cave © Jayne Jenkins

Finally a break from all the expedition members © Tracey Jennings

We hiked a short distance and found ourselves at the Jellyfish Lake. It was so tranquil. We hopped in and enjoyed our dip with the jellies. A closer look at the jellies revealed three different kinds – Spotted jellies, moon jellies and upside down jellies. The rest of the time was spent exploring the underwater scene of the hidden gem.

Reflections of the Spotted Jellies © Virginia Bria

A Spotted Jelly Cruising along the lake © Brett Lobwein

Finally, it was time to dive! We headed to Three Sisters, one of the top dive sites in Raja Ampat. The team experienced waves of cold and strong currents but yet had a fulfilling dive with sightings of whip corals, pygmy seahorses and an epaulette shark! Renato did his fish survey with Sam’s help. Sam was thrilled to find corals that she has not encountered in past dive sites.

Trumpets in the Sea  © Brett Lobwein

During surface interval, some of our team took a ride out to Wag Mag Beach to help Sarah-Jo with her microplastic assessment. Upon arrival, the team saw a lot of plastic water bottles labels and food packaging in the water. Four of the team (Brett, Jayne, Joshua and Sam) then spent the next hour picking up and sorting macro plastic debris including plastic PET bottles, flip flops, marine ropes, polystyrene and plastic bags. With only 8 hands, we retrieved 12 bags of trash, 113 flip flops and shoes in just 60 minutes! Meanwhile, Sarah-Jo did a quick microplastic survey halfway between low and high tide. Sieving the top 2 centimetres of the one-tenth of a metre quadrant, Sarah-Jo will then compare the data with the sea surface trawl.

The team ended the day with a night dive (both bonfire and blackwater).

This is all our loot, but there is so much more behind us :( © Jayne Jenkins

Plastic Debris on the Soft Corals © Tracey Jennings

Guess how many flip flops on just one small beach  © Jayne Jenkins

 

 

Daily log – DAMAI II

 

Date: 7 October 2018

 

Boat location(s): Tamuloo

 

Dive sites: Goa Keramat Cave, Jellyfish Lake, Three Sisters, Wag Mag Bay

 

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

 

General notes:

 

The team started the day early (6am!) as we were hoping to catch the best light at Jellyfish Lake. After a pretty rushed breakfast, we hopped into DAMAI II’s tenders and made our way to Goa Keramat. We passed by rows and rows of cultivated oysters from the pearl farms before entering the passage. With crystal clear waters and beautiful reef against the majestic limestone karst, this place is a paradise for water babies! It started to drizzle as we approach the cave. “Torches! Snorkels! Mask! Fins! Life vest!” The boat crew reminded us again as we disembarked from the tender. Yes, all of us took a life vest as a float for our cameras! The cave was a spectacular nature’s work of art – filled with interesting rock formations and bats. Renato was even trying his luck to find any signs of fish on his snorkel!

 

We hiked a short distance and found ourselves at the Jellyfish Lake. It was so tranquil. We hopped in and enjoyed our dip with the jellies. A closer look at the jellies revealed three different kinds – Spotted jellies, moon jellies and upside down jellies. The rest of the time was spent exploring the underwater scene of the hidden gem.

 

Finally, it was time to dive! We headed to Three Sisters, one of the top dive sites in Raja Ampat. The team experienced waves of cold and strong currents but yet had a fulfilling dive with sightings of whip corals, pygmy seahorses and an epaulette shark! Renato did his fish survey with Sam’s help. Sam was thrilled to find corals that she has not encountered in past dive sites.

 

During surface interval, some of our team took a ride out to Wag Mag Beach to help Sarah-Jo with her microplastic assessment. Upon arrival, the team saw a lot of plastic water bottles labels and food packaging in the water. Four of the team (Brett, Jayne, Joshua and Sam) then spent the next hour picking up and sorting macro plastic debris including plastic PET bottles, flip flops, marine ropes, polystyrene and plastic bags. With only 8 hands, we retrieved 12 bags of trash, 113 flip flops and shoes in just 60 minutes! Meanwhile, Sarah-Jo did a quick microplastic survey halfway between low and high tide. Sieving the top 2 centimetres of the one-tenth of a metre quadrant, Sarah-Jo will then compare the data with the sea surface trawl.

 

The team ended the day with a night dive (both bonfire and blackwater).