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Over the last several days there have been four sightings of whale sharks in Gorontalo. The first was on Lunar New Year when our dive master spotted a fin sinking into the calm blue waters on the way to a dive sight. All the guests from Jakarta’s ODY Dive saw the six-meter long cetacean and several of them joined it in the water. At one point it turned around to take a good look at the strange yellow-finned creature persistently following it, coming within inches of our dive master. The next night a pair of them competed with local fishermen for the night’s squid catch. Then earlier today divers spotted a whale shark swimming right over them along the coral wall. So far, all memories have been in sharper focus than the photos taken by our surprised guests.
A resident pod of about 20 Risso’s dolphins entertained divers this week during a surface interval between dives. Taking advantage of the bright sunlight to sun on the surface, some of the dolphins also slowly raised then lowered their tails vertically in the water. Sunlight reflected off the white foreheads of these large dolphins, which can reach almost four meters in length as adults. Besides playing within a few meters of the dive boat, the dolphins also swam under it, their ghostly white bodies shimmering to the delight of watching humans.
While weather in other parts of Indonesia is causing problems, this is optimal diving season in Gorontalo. Today’s diving featured close pelagic encounters. An old Hawksbill turtle gave a slow turn in a deep blue sea. A young Na.polean wrasse curiously tagged behind divers while a mature one lingered below. Closer still was a freneticschool of countless large trevally (jacks) feeding within meters of divers drifting in the current. Then a school of dozens of full grown Rainbow runners streamed between divers. Sailing by in the other direction were three White-spotted eagle rays. Add in countless schools of other fishes, dense coral and 25-meter vis: that’s a glimpse of diving in Gorontalo today!
A group of dive junkies from Jakarta ended 2008 diving in Gorontalo and made some special memories that included a fly by encounter with a squadron of 17 mobula rays off Gorontalo’s Kurenai Beach dive site. Our congratulations to Jerry and Vera who got engaged on a Gorontalo beach to the delight of all their friends. New Year Day also brought the return of Maria from Jakarta who is diving here for the third time. Returning also is another Jakarta-based dive club. Happy New Year 2009 to friends both old and new.