This week has been fantastic for both large and small marine creatures in Bunaken with a particularly lucky group seeing a pod of ten eagle rays on one single dive! All around the island we’re seeing plenty of ornate ghost pipefish on many of our favourite dives. And there is a new face around as well!
First things first: there is a new PADI instructor in town! We’ve been joined by Markus Reinhardt who will be helping our dive manager & instructor Dion with teaching recreational courses as well as taking tech divers to the deeper parts of Bunaken’s walls when Yvonne leaves for our Amed centre in a few weeks. Having previously worked on mainland Sulawesi, Markus is very knowledgeable when it comes to our local dive sites and marine life and, following a stint in the Caribbean, he is very happy to be back in Indonesia.
At the same time we said good bye to our divemaster trainee Marissa. After nearly three weeks with us she is off to Lembeh and we miss her already. As Marissa’s last night here coincided with Earth Day, we asked her to do one last project for us to mark the day: she created a game of Earth Day Jeopardy that was fun for everyone here.
But back to the marine life: our guides have been treating guests to numerous ornate ghost pipefish sightings recently. Also known as harlequin ghost pipefish, these small creatures (up to 12 cm long) are fairly common in these waters. However, due to their incredible camouflage they’re hard to spot. What’s even harder is taking picture full of detail like the one Alex Schade kindly allowed us to use. These fish come in colours ranging from black to red and yellow and even transparent. Unlike seahorses, ornate ghost pipefish do not have a brood puch, but the female carries the eggs in her ventral fins which are greatly enlarged when necessary. We’ve yet to get a picture of that!
Last, but not least, eagle rays! Seeing even one of these majestic creatures drifting by has to be the highlight of a dive, but seeing ten at the same time is quite simply outstanding. Our lucky guests couldn’t stop talking about the encounter. Let’s hope we’re this lucky again soon!