• Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

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Monthly Archives: October 2003

President Megawati Visits Gorontalo

President Megawati visits Tomini Bay
President Megawati’s October 2003 visit

On October 11th when President Megawati Soekarnoputri visited the waters off Gorontalo, she viewed underwater photographs. Miguel’s Diving staff felt honored to be invited by Fadel Muhammad, Governor of Gorontalo Province, to display two frames of photographs aboard the Indonesian navy vessel Tanjung Dalpere.

Photos from Friends

Several months ago, Paola Bearzi had eleven amazing photographs printed from the slide originals. She and her husband Massimo took these in Gorontalo earlier this year. They are actually the first underwater photos ever taken in Gorontalo. These beautiful prints were arranged in two large glass frames with subtitles in English, Latin and Indonesian. Both were displayed on the naval warship when everyone came on board. These included the president, her husband, three governors and several cabinet ministers, as well as other government officials and the press. Ceremonies were held in the waters of Tomini Bay off the Togian (Togean) Islands in in Central Sulawesi Province. The president inaugurated several government programs related to fisheries and coastal development. One new program is a vessel monitoring system. Its purpose is to insure that large fishing vessels have legal permits and are operating according to Indonesian law.

President Megawati’s Historic Visit

The presidential party actually arrived by helicopter. They landed on the flight deck of the navy vessel. After ceremonies on board, the president and other dignitaries boarded a smaller vessel to greet local people on the islands. The digital photo of President Megawati and her husband disembarking from the naval ship to return to Gorontalo is courtesy of Michel DeJean of Collecte Localisation Satellites. Merci beaucoup, mon ami!

One of the frames of underwater photos viewed by President Megawati is on display at baggage claim at Jalaluddin Airport in Gorontalo. The other is at the branch office for Miguel’s Diving in Gorontalo City.

Salvador Dali sponge identified

The strikingly beautiful sponge we here at Miguel�s Diving call the �Salvador Dali� sponge is Petrosia lignosa. Samples from two sponges were sent to Nicole J. de Voogd of the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, Zoological Museum, University of Amsterdam. After looking at the maze of spicules under a microscope, she was able to identify it. Nicole says that the genus name Petrosia actually means �stony hard.� When compared with other sponges, all Petrosid sponges are hard and rock-like. So far, this sponge is known only from vertical walls in Indonesia. Friends say that this sponge does not occur in Bunaken (North Sulawesi). Nicole, however, disputes this. We at Miguel’s Diving suspect this means that it is not present in the most common Bunaken dive sites. Its presence in most current dive sites in the Togian (Togean) Islands remains uncertain. But it is often seen here in Gorontalo on walls in Tomini Bay. This unforgettable sponge was first described in 1925 from the Togians.

The extensive vertical walls of Gorontalo host many fine examples. The samples Nicole saw were taken from the Traffic Jam dive site. Both sponges live at 20 meters on a wall exposed to the open ocean. The smaller sponge is shaped like a squashed vase, measures about 40 cm tall, and has light colored skin. The other one forms a long tube or funnel and is almost one meter long with dark skin. Advanced divers can see a huge one at about 40 m at the Jinn Caves dive site. Sponge samples were taken in such a way as not to be noticed by passing divers.

Divers in Gorontalo can be sure to see this surrealistically carved sponge. Thanks, Nicole, for your help. And our prayers for the safe delivery of your baby!

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