Ted (USA) spent the final days of Gorontalo’s dive season diving about 15 times, enjoying great visibility, and taking photos. Traveling from Penang, Malaysia to Gorontalo in one day allowed him to make the most of his time here. Highlights included mating sea turtles, jumping dolphins, an endemic lionfish species, and his introduction to muck diving. You can access almost 200 of his underwater photos by clicking this link. The first photo is an impossible-to-shoot string of transparent, colonial tunicates against the background of blue sea. These are actually some of Gorontalo’s pelagic (open ocean) marine life, which off shore winds blow towards the reef several times a season. Thanks to Ted for sharing these photos!
During off-season this year when contrary winds make diving impractical along Gorontalo’s southern coastline, Miguel’s Diving has been assisting the provincial government in surveying various islands along Gorontalo’s north coast. These are found in the Sulawesi Sea, which stretches from Borneo to the Philippines. Diving here has been quite different from that in Tomini Bay where we usually dive. Gone are the new and endemic species we have found at our southern dive sites. Shallow sandy bottoms predominate with numerous sea fans only rarely sited in the south. Because of the more open substrate, nudibranchs have been easy to find and in great variety. Among the rocks of Raja Island Miguel’s Diving staff saw something we had never seen before: a Twinspot blenny (Escenius bimaculatus). And for good reason: it is not found in Tomini Bay but makes its home almost exclusively in the Sulawesi Sea. Diving in Gorontalo’s northern islands will not be available any time soon because of infrastructure and distance. Raja Island, a jungle nature reserve and turtle nesting ground, takes over two hours by land and another hour by outrigger canoe to reach.