Indonesia Declares Protected Zone Around Mola Mola Grounds

November 23, 2010

Here’s a bit of [hopefully] good news from Indonesia: the AFP reports that the Indonesian government has declared a large area around Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan a special protected zone where destructive fishing practices like cyanide and dynamite will be prohibited, as will be the dumping of raw sewage and other damaging practices.

The Nusa Penida area is a popular dive destination for people hoping to spot the elusive Mola Mola – the world’s largest bony fish.

The project will be supported by donations from The Nature Conservancy and USAID, as well as the local government.

Filed under: News — Michael @ 9:21 am

Give me [the] Liberty!

August 25, 2008

I’m back in Bali for the first time since learning to dive, so naturally I’m anxious to try out my new skills here and see something new and different. I contacted Aquamarine Divers to see what they could offer, and they suggested I start with the relatively easy Tulamben Bay. The van picked me up promptly this morning for the two hour drive to the bay. As it’s the high season in Bali, there are no shortage of fellow divers, and there are five of us in the group. It’s a relatively scenic drive up the east coast, and as we traverse the pass between Mounts Agung and Seraya, the sky clears, becoming bright and sunny, while the south of the island is rather overcast.

The base of operations for the group is the Paradise Palm Beach Resort, one of a small handful of dedicated dive resorts in Tulamben Bay. The bay itself is rather pretty and wild looking, as aside from the few resorts, there’s not much else here. The thing I’d heard about diving here was that it was a “beach entry”. What I hadn’t heard was that the beach wasn’t sand, but large stones around the size of a fist. It’s a hard surface to make your way over, even without more than 20 kilos of weight on your back.

Fortunately, you don’t have to haul your tank and BCD the 100 yards up the beach for the entry. No, that job is left to some rather dainty ladies, who carry the tank, BCD and Octo assemblies up the beach for you, on their heads.

Of course, like almost all dives, once you’re in the water, all is forgotten. Oddly, once you get to deeper water, the stones give way to sand. We follow the bottom directly away from shore for a while. I’m such a newbie, I’m distracted for a moment adjusting my strange BCD, and suddenly when I look to my left, I find the stern of the Liberty looming over me. My guide and diving buddy Dendra motions for us to proceed down and around the wreck.

The old ship is almost completely covered with corals, and alive with many different fish. A large bannerfish is nicely framed by part of the superstructure. Not far from here, Dendra swims up close to a large fan coral and begins looking closely over the delicate veins. He seems to find what he’s looking for, and hands me a magnifying glass, point to a spot on the coral. It takes me a while to see what he’s trying to point out, but I finally make it out: a pygmy seahorse. It’s not much bigger than a flea, and exactly the same color as the coral it has its tail wrapped around, which is why it’s so hard to spot.

Not long after this, it’s time to start heading back. It’s always disappointing having to call an end to a dive, but I’m especially left wanting for more this time. So, I’ll definitely be back to dive on the Liberty again.

See the Liberty Shipwreck dive site page for all the specifications and other details.

Filed under: Dive Log — Michael @ 10:14 am