Thursday, June 11, 2009

Manado: Part 3

Driving out to dinner two evenings ago, we lamented about the week was passing by so slowly.

"It's only Tuesday!" I told him.

"Last Tuesday we were so happy in Manado!" he said.

It's pure torture when you think about it, going away for a dive trip and then coming back to endure the withdrawals. Why is coming back from a dive trip so painful? Why do we do this to ourselves?

I recently stumbled upon this quote from an anonymous which I can so relate to - "I dive, because to not dive is just too hard to imagine".

So I wonder, what was it like before I discovered diving?

It wasn't so long ago you know... but what was life like then?

What did I get high on?

(Yes, you have my permission to ignore the last question).




So, diving in Lembeh was K.I.C.K.A.S.S.

I'm not a big fan of macro, but was looking forward to diving in Lembeh after reading up on the dive sites including the types of unique marine life which we will be seeing.

And since I was so semangat about checking out critters and macro life, two hours before we were due to leave for the airport, went out to Popular bookstore to buy me self a magnifying glass to bring along!

So, my wishlist was nice and short -

(1) Mimic octopus
(2) Flamboyant cuttlefish
(3) Hairy frogfish
(4) Banggai cardinalfish

* NOTE: All pictures featured in this entry are courtesy of Lynette, and you can check out the full set of album at her blog!

The mimic octopus was high on my wishlist, and we saw it on our first dive at Lembeh!

With a mimic sighting on the first dive, and with 10 more to go for the next couple of days, you can imagine how excited I was!

The flamboyant cuttlefish, which we saw on our second dive, is very impressive.

The changing of colours - very elegant and almost as though there is an aura of sort surrounding the cuttlefish when the bright red and yellow appears. We saw many throughout the many dives we did after that. Always fascinating!

From pictures I found online of the hairy frogfish, they look so darn cute. Like a little monster in in need of a haircut. However, the one that we saw had really short hair, but cute factor still quite high - Look at him!

We also had the opportunity to witness another species of frogfish feeding - live - before our very eyes! Dive Master Michael caught a tiny fish with his bare hands, held the tiny thing by its tail, and wagged it teasingly in front of the anxious diner. And within moments, out came the tongue (yes, like a frog!) to zap (I call it zap, but I'm sure there's a better word for this) the prey into its mouth.

After the 'show' was over, we even clapped underwater, an ovation to the DM who gave us such a treat.

And the last on my wishlist, the Banggai cardinalfish...

Aren't they just so pretty? On a few dives, we spotted the juveniles being baby-sitted by clownfish! No other adult banggais around, just one tiny banggai cardinalfish fleeting amidst the anemone, surrounded by a group of clown. Interesting.

Then of course, came a whole lot of other stuff which I've never heard of, let alone seen!

The sea moth which is - IMHO - so weird! It has these wing-like fins, and it kinda walks on the sea floor.

coconut octopus! We saw two of them, one in a shell, and the other in a glass jar called home.

I think I have a new-found love for octopuses. We saw them soooo close, and you can really see all their features - their big bulbous eyes, the white suckers sticking onto the glass surface like a gooey, sticky piece of chewing gum!

And we also saw the peculiar looking
ambon scorpionfish.

Dude, I'm sorry, but you sure do look like an alien!

Nudibranches and pygmy seahorses (7 of them on 1 sea fan in Magic Rock!!!!) a plenty. All of us believe that the nudibranch in Lembeh are injected with steroids cos they were H-U-G-E! My favourite was an orange one - the moment I saw it's plump body, it made me think of a huge piece of citrus-flavoured gummi!

Angel's Window was a notable dive site for me. We descended to about 20ish metres, and there was a little tunnel which we had to swim through. The first tunnel was narrow - but so inviting - that I swam right in after the Dive Master, leaving my buddy outside. It was a short swim-thru, but my first going through an enclosure like that. After the first little tunnel, we had to go through another shorter one, which was also much wider, and exiting that second swim-through, we were already at 29 metres.

Looking upwards from the bottom... a towering pinnacle of life and colours.. GLORIOUS!

So happy OK! Like this...

Oh, my magnifying glass?

Well, I used it a lot. I was swimming soooo close to the bottom and inspecting every darn grain of sand that moved!

Posted by Doreen at 12:35 pm