This week we ventured to the north part of Bunaken Marine Park on the first Two Fish Divers Bunaken day trip of 2020 and we weren’t disappointed by what we saw. Hunting for sharks, in particular hammerheads, was not so successful but we did see 12 or more spotted-eagle rays and a huge Black-spotted whipray made a surprise appearance!
The Black-Spotted Whipray
The black-spotted whipray we saw was easily 80cm across, it looked about 1m wide but everything seems bigger underwater and 80cm is apparently as big as they get. Himantura astra is the Latin name for this species of stingray and they feed mostly on crustaceans. Most of the black-spotted whipray’s range lies within Australian waters, where it faces minimal conservation threats since the widespread deployment of by-catch-reducing measures on commercial trawlers. It is caught in small numbers for meat, skin, and cartilage by Indonesian fishers but luckily for this species when counted with the brown whipray, it is listed as of least concern by the IUCN. This doesn’t mean we want to see it caught as we definitely prefer to see these magnificent creatures underwater.
Joining us on our day trip to Nain Island was Martin, Doug, Derek, and Dany, as well as Divemaster trainee Yolanda, Divemaster intern Bastien and of course all of our dive guides wanted to come for the first trip of the year. Divers Doug, Derek and Dany were in search of big fish and they weren’t disappointed with the eagle rays, whipray, and schools of big eye trevally. Martin is just happy to be on the amazing dive sites of Bunaken again, he is a frequent visitor, but it was a treat for him too to dive new sites and be surrounded by stingrays dancing in the sun’s rays. On the way back we dived two spots on Mantehage Island and saw a school of big-eye trevally and rainbow runners. We had lunch on the boat followed by a snorkel in the endless mangroves around the island, the scenery on a clear day is breathtaking.
If you are coming to Two Fish Bunaken Resort then you will want to see the most famous spots, including our deep wall dives around Bunaken Island, but if you like exploring, then a day trip further afield might be just the thing. Batu Kapal is where we saw lots of rays, and it is rumored to be a schooling ground for hammerheads at certain times of the year.
If you are not experienced in deep diving yet, why not sign up for the PADI Deep Diver Specialty Course while you are here? This 2-day course covers the hazards of deep diving, safety precautions, gear requirements, and deep dive planning and preparation. You’ll make one dive to 40m during the course as well as dives to 30 meters. This is the perfect way to prepare for a day trip away to deeper reefs and dive sites!
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