21 June 2007

Small is beautiful

.Dive manics.

Day: Wednesday, 20 June 2007 - Night Dive
Crew: Myself, Angel, Andrew, Caryn, Caroline, Eric, Elvin, Amsyari, Hassan, Eng (Instructor), and Jessie (Captain)
Dive Site: Brunei Patches
Viz: Good
Max Depth: 10m
Dive Time: 117m (Record!)

Weather wasnt too promising in the afternoon, but a phone call from Eng to her source, a fisherman, and the Brunei Meteorological forecast centre gave the 'good-to-go'. Someone who's coming from Gadong was supposed to bring Jollibee's chicken strips but failed to do so 'cos he didnt want to wait 5 mins! 5 mins! Hmppff

Tonight, we requested for a part reef part sand dive again at Brunei Patches. Maximum depth was only 9-10m, this means we could possibly dive up to 2 hours on one tank! Weee..I was one of the last to descend... diving into a realm of darkness with rings of light scattered around the reef is just so.damn.cool. Everyone was already busy doing their own thing; inspecting seafans, looking under crevices, peeking at burrows, some armed with big camera housings and strobes, flashes going off, i feel like we're scavenging for underwater treasures. Muhuuhuu.

My heart was set on seeing something extraordinary like a flambouyant cuttlefish or a mimic octopus by the sand patch. Wishful thinking, i know... but i know never say never too. Tonight, i saw 3 different bobtail squids, also known as stubby squid. I put my finger next to them to approximate their size, all 3 ranged from 2-3cm. There's a fascinating short story about them!

.Meet Bob - Now you see me. Now you dont.

And they can certainly make you laugh. First i see Bob jetting past me, i tried like a mad woman to adjust my shutter speed, but my fingers gave way. When i've focused in on Bob, my hand and fingers start trembling.. i have no friggin' idea why, hungry kali. Up till now, i still dont have a facefront shot. Then it settled, 8 out of 10 times, into a small opening of a coral rock where there's no possible way your camera can fit in. A few snaps later, Bob starts burrowing into the sand, lifting sand and gravel with its suckered arms and dumping it all over himself until he thinks i cant see him nomore. But i still can, Bob! Muhuuhuu. Now since he is out and about looking for food at night, so are others.. others way bigger and much more macho than he is, others with calamari nyam-nyam on their mind.

When Bob's out cruising for prey, others could see him from below, as a tasty dark blob against the brighter ocean surface. So how does he escape his otherwise doomed fate? Bob came up with a brilliant idea. He gathered a bunch of hooligans, the bioluminescent bacteria (Vibrio fischeri) and made them a deal. "You feed on my sugar and amino acid, in return you make light for me." Bob has proteins in its belly that reflect light given off by the hooligans, this way it hides his silhouette when viewed from below by matching the amount of light hitting the top of his mantle. It's a deal called "symbiosis". Cool, isnt it.. human beings can certainly learn from them.

And the real big deal about Bob and his kind is that scientists believe they may have inspired a new generation of high-tech miniature gadgets. How geeky is that!!

Enough of Bob, this ghost goby was the best poser of the night. All it did was switched position, front to back, back to front at the very same spot whilst her baby did not move a single inch. I think it's a mother's instinct to take the attention away from her baby. "Eat me, eat me but dont eat my baby"

.A mother's love.

.Weeee.. i've got capes. Baby lionfish.

.I can crawl, and i can fly. (Flatworm)

At the end of our dive, it was left with Caryn, Caroline and myself. We did a 3min safety stop at 5metres. Try this - get your bouyancy right and close your eyes. All you hear is your breathing and then thoughts of something creeping up beside you starts clouding your head. It's freaky, adrenaline-pumping freaky! Muhuhuu.

Amsyari made it through his 1st night dive - well done dude!


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