17 April 2007

Dive for Earth Day

Day: Sunday, 15 April 2007 - Day Dive
Crew: Myself, Caryn, Eugene, Ing Ing, Chang, Han Peng, Toun, Ricky, Kimmy and Boatman
Dive Site: Rig Reef
Viz: So-so ~5-8m
Max Depth: ~14m
Dive Time: ~60m & 60m

Today, we participated in Project Aware's Dive for Earth Day. During the week of 22 April, divers and water enthusiasts worldwide will make a splash for water conservation. Underwater environments continue to face numerous and alarming threats including pollution, habitat degradation, overfishing, and the effects of climate change. So Project Aware together with organisers and volunteers around the world will focus attention on local shorelines, rivers, lakes and ocean environments in need of protection.

Similar to last year, we focused on Fish Survey. Kimmy, one of the dive instructors in Brunei, gathered a small group of us and headed out to Rig Reef, the reef next to oil rigs wreck. We each had our own dive slates to record the frequency of a particular family of fish we saw. And before getting our feet wet, we had a quick look at the Fish ID charts but by now i presume most of us can tell a parrotfish from an angelfish, and a shark from a whaleshark? Hehehe.

We were told to dive as we normally do, not to stress over the survey and have fun. Last year, the type of marine life recorded in rig reef was parrotfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, squirrelfish, pufferfish, anemonefish, grouper, coral shark and wrasses. This year, we continue to look out for the existence of the same family as well as others.

Just when people think women are fancy-pancy when it comes to dive gears/accessories and fuss over colour coordination, Ricky proves them wrong. He's yellow from head to toe, yellow mask, yellow snorkel, yellow striped wetsuit, yellow fins. Myyyy, you're my idol. And Caryn claims she's the chapalang one with all sorts of colour.

Caryn, Eugene and I buddied up and when we thought we could get a head start, Eugene's regulator decided to free-flow eek so we had to drift about while he climb onboard to get it changed. And in minutes we drifted away from the bouy. Reluctant to get in and out of the boat again, judging the distance, Caryn, Ing Ing, Ricky, Chang and I decided to make a swim for the bouy. Poor Judgement!. Put it this way, we finally reached the bouy huffing and panting for dear life, the boat came and the rest of 'em onboard just casually dived in, had they grin..

Again, the water's cold, and i got amused by this little fellow.
.Grumpy fart.I'm quite sure he's had a bad day.

There werent many fish during our 1st dive. This reef which is usually abundant with fishlife and schools of parrotfish appeared deserted. For Caryn and i, who loves searching for smaller and elusive creatures, it wasnt totally an unpleasant sight. For we usually have our heads glued to the seabed. But for the adrenaline divers with an eye for larger fish, even 20 minutes will seem like eternity.

We've probably only covered about 20m of the area during the 1st 50 minutes of our dive. This is the result of staring blankly at a coral, fans, rocks for minutes until something catches your eye. Time flies.

We feast on Kimmy's famous egg sandwich, watermelon, crackers, twisties, shared our sightings and exchanged photography tips during our surface interval. When you're on a boat, out on a diving trip, you become equals. Stripped off your life on land, diving is all you talk about.

The 2nd dive was more fruitful than the first. We saw a school of squids, never before have i seen a school of squids! Eugene beamed his torch at them, and one bugger flashed colour changes as a warning. Boh. Next up is a jellyfish, their delicate movement exude such grace. Some people think of jellyfish as boneless bags of goo but to me there's just some kind of alien beauty about them.

Since we are all using STI's gears, no one brought their tank banger along, so it's much harder to get ur buddy's attention so we resorted to muffled grunts through our regulator. Caryn grunt-and-point to a whip coral and introduced me to a new creature, the ghost goby or whip goby. They are about the size of my nail and at first encounter will try all means to hide from you, i.e. going round and round the whip that i had to hover vertically just to get a shot of it. They give up after a short while and obediently strike up a pose.

Are you convinced yet that there is more to see underwater than just big fish, turtles and corals?
.Yoga came in handy. That's me. Headstand (Sirshasana) while taking pictures to avoid coral damage.

At the end of our dive, back at the dive centre, we recorded our findings to be submitted to Project Aware as part of Asia Pacific Fish Survey.

Highlight of the dive: School of squids


Anonymous said...

Ching Le Hai!!

Jack. on April 23, 2007 at 1:08 PM said...

These photos are amazing.

Lee on April 23, 2007 at 3:31 PM said...

Thanks Jack :) They're taken with Canon's Ixus800IS.

Anonymous said...

Photos for both this and Sipadan trips were great. Good job. I enjoyed looking at the pictures..
it is true that the underwater world is really magical and it's totally a special experience to be underwater and just to enjoy the creatures of the sea...
Keep on diving!!

Lee on August 2, 2007 at 9:40 AM said...

Thanks Anon! Pictures dont do them justice! :)

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