Saturday, 26 April 2008

Bunaken Island, Sulawesi

Date: 26 Apr 08 - 27 Apr 08 [2D/1N]
Location: Bunaken Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia
No. of dives: 3

Accessibility to dive sites: 8.5
Marine Animal Density: 7.5
Dive site terrain Quality: 9.0
Marine Animal Diversity: 7.7
Visibility: 8.5
Overall Score: 8.2

Entry: Boat
Difficulty: OW-AOW
Dive Sites: Walls/Fringing reefs

Camera: Canon Powershot A80
Underwater casing: Canon Waterproof Case WP-DC900 for Powershot A80 by Canon
Strobe: NIL
Oraganizer: Dan
Members: Lilian, Sam, KL Tan, Choon Wai, Kok Leong, CS Law, Doreen, Lucy and Kiki

Remark: We were there for only 2 days, we did just 3 dives before leaving for Lembeh Island on the other side(East) of North Sulawesi. Wall diving is the main attraction of Bunaken with many vertical cracks and canyons. Reef top sheltered from waves, with many differently shaped hard corals. I find diving at Bunaken pleasant. However our main purpose there was Lembeh straits, so without wasting to much time there, we headed for Lembeh Straits on the afternoon of day 2.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bunaken is part of the Bunaken National Marine Park, which has some of the highest levels of marine biodiversity in the world. Scuba diving attracts many visitors to the island. Bunaken is located at the north of the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. It belongs administratively to the municipality of Manado.

The Bunaken National Marine Park was formally established in 1991 and is among the first of Indonesia's growing system of marine parks. The park covers a total surface area of 890.65 km², 97% of which is overlain by sparkling clear, warm tropical water. The remaining 3% of the park is terrestrial, including the five islands of Bunaken, Manado Tua, Mantehage, Nain and Siladen. Although each of these islands has a special character, it is the aquatic ecosystem that attracts most naturalists.
The waters of Bunaken National Marine Park are extremely deep (1566 m in Manado Bay), clear (up to 35-40 m visibility), refreshing in temperature (27 to 29 °C) Pick any of group of interest - corals, fish, echinoderms or sponges - and the number of families, genera or species is bound to be astonishingly high. For example, 7 of the 8 species of giant clams that occur in the world, occur in Bunaken. The park has around 70 genera of corals; compare this to a mere 10 in Hawaii. Although the exact number of fish species is unknown, it may be slightly higher than in the Philippines, where 2,500 species, or nearly 70% of all fish species known to the Indo-western Pacific, are found.

Other sides of Bunaken.Oceanic currents may explain, in part, why Bunaken National Marine Park is such a treasure trove of biodiversity. Northeasternly currents generally sweep through the park but abundant counter currents and gyros related to lunar cycles are believed to be a trap for free swimming larvae. This is particularly true on the south side of the crescent-shaped Bunaken Island, lying in the heart of the park. A snorkler or diver in the vicinity of Lekuan or Fukui may spot over 33 species of butterfly fish and numerous types of groupers, damsels, wrasses and gobies. The gobies, smallish fish with bulging eyes and modified fins that allow them to attach to hard surfaces, are the most diverse but least known group of fish in the park.
Biologists believe that the abundance of hard corals is crucial in maintaining the high levels of diversity in the park. Hard corals are the architects of the reefs, without them, numerous marine organisms would be homeless and hungry. Many species of fish are closely associated with particular types of corals (folious, branching, massives, etc.) for shelter and egg-laying. Others, like the enormous Bumphead Parrotfish, Balbometopon muricatum, are "coralivores" and depend on hard corals for their sustenance. Bony mouth parts fused into an impressive "beak" allow these gregarious fish to crunch corals like roasted peanuts.
Some 20,000 people live on the natural resources of Bunaken National Marine Park. Although there are inevitable conflicts between resource protection and use by people, the Indonesian government is taking a fairly unusual and pragmatic approach to park management. The idea is to promote wise resource use while preventing overexploitation. Local communities, government officials, dive resort operators, local nature groups, tourists and scientists have played an active role in developing exclusive zones for diving, wood collection, fishing and other forms of utilization. Bunaken Marine Park has become an important example of how Sulawesi, and the rest of Indonesia, can work to protect its natural resources.



Date: 26 Apr 08 - 03 May 08 [8D/7N]
Location: Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia
No. of dives: 15

Accessibility to dive sites: 8.5
Marine Animal Density: 8.8
Dive site terrain Quality: 8.8
Marine Animal Diversity: 9.5
Visibility: 7.0
Overall Score: 8.5

Entry: Boat
Difficulty: OW
Dive Sites: Muck/Rubble bottoms

Camera: Canon Powershot A80
Underwater casing: Canon Waterproof Case WP-DC900 for Powershot A80 by Canon
Strobe: NIL
Oraganizer: Dan
Members: Lilian, Sam, KL Tan, Choon Wai, Kok Leong, CS Law, Doreen, Lucy and Kiki

There are over 30 dive sites around the Lembeh strait, most of them are either sandy areas or small reefs. Don't expect spectacular walls or huge reefs, here you are doing so called muck diving - searching for the rare and the unusual.
We did 15 dives in Lembeh Strait. Almost all my dive bottom time were >80 mins, a few even went way over 90mins hehehe … well as long we don’t go too deep, do multi level, maintain long de-com period at the shallow end, it will be just fine.
I have so many favorite dive sites I cannot remember them all, to name a few;

Nudi Retreat - is very nice coz it has lots of nudibranch, an electric scallop, frogfish, coral reef, pygmy seahorses and sandy muck bottom where flying gurnards and seamoths move around freely.

Hairball I & II – coz I saw the black hairy frog fish, coconut octopus, Mimic octopus, wonderpus, stargazer, etc. It is gentle slope covered with black sand and algae. Since most of the dive is sand you need a bit of patience, you might dive for a couple minutes and not find anything and then you get surprised by truely rare animals. There are occasional patch of sponges - those are the places to look for hidden animals.

Police pier I & II – coz I got lost and found a shipwreck together with Swiss – Mischa, This dive site is a real muck dive! There is a lot of garbage lying around, but among this garbage are real treasures.

Jahir I & II - A dive site with a large sandy area and coral blocks, calm and protected. I like this dive site coz I never know what I’m going to find here…. It is just a huge area with black sandy bottom.

Teluk Kembahu TK I & II – same as Jahir, same impression…lots to see.

Air Perang – I think this site is superb for night dives, lots of coral blocks.

Tanduk Rusa – This is another garbage dive site, there is a lot of garbage lying around, plastic bags, tin cans, tires, dead fish parts from the market. But among this garbage are little little surprises …. Such as the snake eels, stargazers, pipefish, sea horses…

Magic rock – can be done together with Nudi retreat when the current flow south, lots of healthy nice corals here..

I have so many good picture from this trip I had to split them into several albums...

SLIDESHOW - Critters


SLIDESHOW - Nudibranch

SLIDESHOW - Shipwreck

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Baha’s camp, Kelantan

Date: 12 Apr 2008 - 13 Apr 2008 [2D/1N]
Location: Baha’s camp, Kelantan / Jelawang Waterfall
Altitude: 450-550m ASL
Difficulty: 1.5/10 (
Camera: Canon EOS 350D
Lens: Tokina AT-X 124 AF Pro DX 12-24mm f/4
Filter: none
Post editing: PS CS3
Organizer: Dan
Members: Winnie, Shoan, Doreen, Rockson, Kah Fai, KL Tan, Jac, Lucy, CS Law and Khai Chern.

The day has come for humans to walk the tallest waterfall(Jelawang) in South East Asia again…. :P

This is my 3rd time there ... but this time is just purely Baha's camp, no Gunung Stong, no Gunung Ayam. .... 

My reason to go there: Bring my friends there

12 Apr, 2008
0930 Left Butterworth
1130 Lunch Break at Puncak Titiwangsa
1400 At Mt Stong State Park Entrance
1420 Gear Up and Start Hike
1540 At BAHA campsite
1600 Set up tent and shower 
1730 Prepared dinner
1930 Dinner & chit-chat
2130 Celebrate Kah Fai's Birthday
2200 Star watching
2330 zzzZZZZZZZ

13 Apr, 2008
0645 Wake up call
0640 Sunrise watch
0745 Prepare simple breakfast
1000 Head for Telaga Tujuh and Y Waterfalls
XXX Back to camp site
XXX Hike down to car park and clean up
XXX Tea break at Puncak Titiwangsa
0800 Dinner at Grik
1030 Home
Y waterfall is where Gunung Stong and Gunung Ayam meets. About 30 min walk from Baha’s camp.

- Guide Fees: NIL
- 4WD: NIL
- Entrance fees: RM3/pax
- Camp site fees: RM3/pax
- Food: RM18.00
- Transport: Passangers AA share petrol + tol cost - Drivers don't pay
Rewards of this trip 
- All of us in O2P could camp togather, that's the most important thing
- Easy and short trail, so all of us could go
- Nice campsite
- Nice waterfalls
- Nice sunrise view
Challenges of this trip 
- This place has been declared "Gunung Stong State Park", that means entries are controlled. You will be forced to take a guide, it will cost RM90/day if I'm not wrong. Well I argued that we have been there several times, and is a very short trail like and evening hike up to Bukit Mertajam, so we escaped the extortion this time.