A happy group of dive buddies just returned home to Singapore from five days of diving in Gorontalo. Alvin has posted some of his photos, which are available by clinking this link. Despite Gorontalo’s reputation as a macro paradise, he found the wide angle opportunities bountiful including the many unique Salvador Dali sponges available only here. But his face-on portraits of a spotted Denise pygmy seahorse and a Lemon damsel make his macro shots tough to beat.
Divers today enjoyed the best of macro subjects and a startling pelagic encounter. On the tiny side is a pair of Denise pygmy seahorses, one very pregnant. Then in blue water a pod of about 10 Bottle-nosed dolphins of various sizes and ages swam by, evidently wanting to catch a glimpse of visitors to their waters.
Divers from various countries are not the only ones visiting Gorontalo these days. During a surface interval last week guests were fascinated to watch a juvenile trevally pushing a large jellyfishby nuzzling itself under the jelly’s bell. Sometimes it would dart entirely inside where it could be seen through the semi-transparent jellyfish. Shooting a picture in murky water and ocean surge was nearly impossible.
A 7.7 scale earthquake that hit Gorontalo last night. Gorontalo City was not affect and Miguel’s Diving, Gorontalo Oasis Hotel and the homes of our staff sustained no damage whatsoever. The affect area is along the remote northwest coast along the Sulawesi Sea. An earthquake is this area cannot generate a tsunami in the southern bay where we dive. Thanks to the many friends and guests who have enquired after our well being.
Diving in Gorontalo is featured in the current edition of Asian Diver. We haven’t seen the article yet but here that the picture of the coconut shell octopus looks really good. Thanks, Sol Foo and William Tan.
Miguel’s Diving just finished opening week of the new dive season with guests from USA, UK and Germany. Because of ocean conditions, dive season officially runs November to April. Each year we add improvements. This year we have our own dock built behind the new dive shop. This week we are laying sod and planting other greenery. Seas are calm, blue, warm and waiting for you.
Indonesian carrier Batavia Air has just opened a red-eye non-stop flight from Jakarta to Gorontalo. The flight departs from Jakarta at 0100 hrs and arrives in Gorontalo at 0500 hrs, then leaves Gorontalo at 0600 hrs, arriving back in Jakarta at 0730 hrs. There is a one-hour time difference between Jakarta and Gorontalo. The actual jet used arrives in Jakarta from an international flight from China. This schedule is anticipated until Gorontalo’s tarmack expansion is completed late in 2008 when night flights can resume.
Although this is not diving season in Gorontalo, Miguel’s Diving staff and several guests braved the swells and did a couple of dives in a protected area about 15 mintues travel time by speed boat. Visibility was between 5 and 12 meters, way down from what is typical during regular diving season, which begins in November. However, Gorontalo’s marine environment provided some exciting encounters, including sighting a large Hawksbill turtle and Nap.olean wrasse and swimming among all the various schools of fish. As the group was surveying a deeper flat before the lower wall, the divemaster heard dolphins. Then suddenly a school of Yellow-dash fusiliers blasted right through the group, obviously fleeing something. A bit later a school of about 20 Dogtooth tuna came in and circled the divers several times. On the second dive the divers watched in fascination as pairs of Green chromis laid eggs and spawned in a section of rubble. Meanwhile overhead, a baby four-meter long Whale shark played on the surface, the fourth whale shark sighting this year.
Miguel’s Diving web site has just been updated with changes in information on travel options. For example, Air Asia now connects Kuala Lumpur with Makassar (Ujung Pandang) and beginning in September with Manado. Gorontalo is located in between these two Sulawesi cities.
Also, we have dedicated one page for Gorontalo Oasis Hotel. Current package information in available on a separate page.
After a couple days of rain that provided a break in the stiff winds, Miguel’s Diving crew were able to venture out to do some reef cleanup yesterday. To our amazement billions of freckle-sized dots were in the water column. These turned out to be baby barnacles whose early life is pelagic. Some were visibly moving; others pumping water. After floating free in the open ocean, a baby barnacle will find something to which to attach and begin to form a hard protective shell. Many yesterday were being gobbled up my schools of fusiliers. Translucent blue jellyfish with long stingers were capturing some, pulling them slowly into the mouthpart. But according to our count, there remain far too many for the available space for barnacles in Gorontalo.