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).

Day 7 - Mola Mola Team


 

Photo by Andreas Jaschek

Day 7 -Daily Log - Mola Mola Team

Date: October 7, 2018

Boat location: Waigeo

Dive sites: Amphi Box (0730), Melissa Garden (1130), Galaxy (1500)

Weather conditions: Very sunny

Sunshine and blue skies today, the best conditions for taking in the view of Raja Ampat in all its glory. Beautiful dives as usual, the team has been spoiled rotten with our time in Raja Ampat so far. We've been surrounded by clear turquoise waters studded with lush green islands all day, and had an amazing time getting great drone footage. Equator crossing tonight, which will be a special milestone for some of our team members! Very memorable stuff.

Photo by Levente Rozsahegyi

 

 

Day 8 - Daily Log - Gaia Love

 

Sack on Coral © Cassandra Dragon

Daily Log - Day 8 - Gaia Love

Date: October 7, 2018

Boat location: Misool, Raja Ampat

Dive sites: Pele's Playground (A23), Blue Water Mangrove (A24), Microplastics Trawl (MP07), Blackwater (A25)

Weather conditions: Dark and cloudy

Highlights:

The first dive was in Pele's Playground at around 8:00AM. Because it was dark and cloudy, the visibility was estimated to be only 7-10 meters, the lowest we've had during the trip so far. Some divers went down deep despite the low vis to explore what could be in the blue. It was a good call -- they witnessed a feeding frenzy, as if a marine ecology teacher wanted to show a class the food chain. There were jacks and snappers hunting and barracudas feeding on the silver slides. They even witnessed barrel sponges spawning! It was a sensory overload.

Sponge Spawning © Emily Chan

Due to the low visibility, Gaia Love decided to cancel the second day dive and start traveling 50 miles to the next site: Blue Water Mangrove. We reached the area past 2:30PM and started gearing up. The pre-dive briefing was a bit tense due to the site's history of a crocodile attack that injured a diver years ago. Divers were informed of different scenarios and responses.

Blue Water Mangrove ©Cassandra Dragon

The waters in Blue Water Mangrove were as flat as a lake. No crocodiles were in sight, so we got in the water. It was a postcard-worthy environment, with corals growing on the mangroves' roots. It was surreal to see hard corals and soft corals right beside and beneath mangroves! We also spotted a range of critters like a helicopter goby hopping about, a wasp fish, mantis shrimp, nudibranchs, archerfish by the surface. We also unfortunately found debris like sacks and a plastic cup.

The Fish and Coral Teams got a day off today. After the dive, the Microplastics Team went out for a trawl. A visual inspection showed plastic bags and other items - including one labeled "Made in the USA." A count using the microscope will be done tomorrow.

It's also Jennifer's birthday, so the chefs baked a cake for her and we sang happy birthday at dinner.

After dinner, the divers were able to squeeze in another blackwater dive!

By tonight, we'll start a journey of 105 miles to our next site.

Glass Fish © Emily Chan

Day 7 - Daily Log - Damai II

 

Pygmy at the Passage © Jayne Jenkins

Daily Log - Day 7 - Damai II

Date: 6 October 2018

Boat location: Raja Ampat

Dive sites: Four Kings, Neptune’s Fan Sea, Barracuda Rock, Barracuda Rock (Bonfire and Blackwater)

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

General notes:

The team descended into the deep and was amazed at the majesty of the four pinnacles at Four Kings. We were instantly surrounded by a huge ball of baitfish and walls of massive sea fans.

During surface interval, we took the tender out and cruised around a nearby traditional bagan (floating fish platform) which the fishermen used light to lure baitfish into the nets. We were all wondering if it was illegal for these bagans to be bringing in those catch, the captain reassured that these boats were issued permits to do so!

Bagan's catch of the day © Jayne Jenkins

Ernie Brooks - the thinking man © Jayne Jenkins

The second dive at Neptune’s Fan Sea was stunning. The myriad of marine creatures left the divers in absolute awe. Some team members found pygmy seahorses in the deeper waters while Sam even found corals that she has not seen at other sites! Renato was so intrigued with the cleaning stations where yellow-tail fusiliers lined up to get groomed.

Grooming time for the batfish © Jayne Jenkins

The scientists decided to do their respective surveys the next dive at Barracuda Rock. Challenged by strong currents, Renato was forced to abort his survey. Sam, along with Virginia, found a pretty sweet spot and finished their tasks.

The scientists Renato Morais and Sam Shu Qin © Jayne Jenkins

We ended our day with a mix of bonfire, blackwater and reef dive at Barracuda Rock under starry starry night.

Tracey Jennings against the beautiful backdrop of soft coral walls © Jayne Jenkins