• Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

Loading content - please wait...

Author Archives: rantje

Illegal Fishing has No Room in Gorontalo

Illegal fishing has no room in Gorontalo, according to Gorontalo’s governor.

A New Task Force Inaugurated

no illegal fishing in Gorontalo
Governor Habibie establishes a task force against illegal fishing

On 21 April 2018, Governor Rusli Habibie established a new task force to fight illegal fishing. The Indonesian Navy, the Marine Police and provincial prosecutors compose this task force. Representatives of these institutions received their official commission from the governor. He gave special hats to team members.

“I do not want people here involved in illegal fishing. If they are, they will be arrested and prosecuted,” stated Mr. Habibie. Illegal fishing wrecks the environment, negatively affecting marine life, especially coral and fish. Thousands of local people attended the ceremony. Libuo Beach in Pohuwato Regency served as its location.

Gubernatorial Decree Number 83/24/II/2018 forms the legal basis for the new task force.

Insya Allah with the existence of this new task force, fish stocks will be protected for the future welfare of the people,” concluded the governor. The governor charged the team to give maximum effort to guard Gorontalo’s marine ecosystems. They must prevent any fish bombing, the use of long tiger nets and the theft of fish by international agents.

The team also must provide education to local fishing communities. This includes fishing within a certain distance from the shoreline. Distance helps guard areas closest to shore for environmental reasons and for marine tourism. The team has six prime tasks. Two are providing guidance and education to local fishing communities. Also, they must increase community awareness of marine fisheries laws. Additionally, they must patrol and identify any illegal fishing activities. Finally, they must analyze and evaluate all relevant data.

Destructive Fishing Practices

Certain destructive fishing practices are illegal. Bombing is one form of illegal fishing. A person will use fertilizer composed of nitrate to fill a small bottle. Inside is a small fuse. If it is lit, it will quickly explode. When thrown into the ocean at the right time, many fish will float to the surface. However, most of the fish fall dead to the ocean floor. The coral is blown to smithereens. No bombing has occurred in areas where Miguel’s Diving takes guests for diving.

Sometimes, a fisherman will put cyanide poison into a plastic bottle. He will often then use a surface compressor to dive. This allows him to find prize fish like Napoleon wrasse. A squirt of poison in its face will cause the fish to lose consciousness. That way the fish can be caught alive and transported to a holding tank. However, smaller fish will die after contact with the poison.

illegal fishing with compressors
Compressor fishers in Gorontalo

The use of a surface compressor is also an illegal fishing method. A team of compressor divers will drag a long net along the reef. They are able to catch almost all the fish in a certain location in a couple of hours.

The Public’s Role in Fighting Illegal Fishing

Miguel’s Diving has long played a role in protecting the marine environment in Gorontalo. We have conducted awareness campaigns on the necessity of protecting coral reefs. These took place in schools, village meeting halls and front porches in fishing villages all over Gorontalo Province.

Miguel’s Diving continues to form friendly relationships with local fishermen. We agree not to allow fishing from our boats, including spear fishing. We buy fish from fishermen at the local market. Our guests can easily confirm this positive relationship by seeing all the waves to and from local fishers.

Social media posting proved a crucial factor in prompting the governor to form the new task force. Several times during the current dive season, guests of Miguel’s Diving witnessed first-hand large teams of compressor fishermen at several dives sites. Guests uploaded photos and live videos of the illegal fishing. This prompted official action, including arrest and confiscation.

To dive with a socially responsible and environmentally aware dive operator, please book your dive trip with us.

Pyrosome video debuts in Gorontalo

Pyrosome video that a guest of Miguel’s Diving shot receives many gasps and questions from those watching it. What is this creature?

Pelagic, Colonial Tunicates

Actually, the strange cone is a colony of Pyrosomes. They are colonial tunicates found floating in the open ocean. As such, they are pelagic. They live and move within a few meters of the ocean surface.

Tunicates are a marine animal with bodies basically shaped like a tube. Some live as single individuals attached to the reef. Others float freely in oceanic waters; these are the pelagic ones. Others live as colonies in a jellylike cloth or tunic. Colonial tunicates can live attached to the reef or to another hard object. Other colonial tunicates live in the open ocean. So, Pyrosomes are pelagic, colonial tunicates.

A Rare Pyrosome Video

Should any scuba diver chance to see a Pyrosome colony, that would be considered an extremely rare event. A Pryrosome video is even more remarkable. As you watch the video, notice that the Pyrosome colony looks fuzzy. Actually, each tiny bump is an individual tunicate. Watch as the colony swims past the sunburst. Each of those black dots is an individual Pyrosome. All are embedded in a common gelatinous body.

A single Pyrosome measures only a few millimeters in size. As with all tunicates, one tiny Pyrosome pulls ocean water inside its body from an outside opening. It filters out plankton to eat. Then it pushes the used water out its other opening. In Pyrosomes, all the expelled water goes into the center of the Pyrosome cone. Then the water is expelled out its common, large opening.

Also notice in the video some holes in the Pyrosome cone. Evidently, a predator has nibbled some of it.

Clones of the Ocean

A colony of Pyrosomes are actually a collection of clones. Tunicates can reproduce sexually. A tunicate born in this way will float as a single larvae in the open ocean. Among colonial tunicates, the single new animal will then start to reproduce asexually. Basically, it makes a clone of itself. As the colony grows, the reproduction process by cloning continues.

A Pyrosome colony begins small. In fact, the day before this video was shot, guests of Miguel’s Diving encountered a small colony. It looked like a fuzzy thimble. Over time and in favorable conditions, a colony can grow to over ten meters in length. Its opening can expand to over two meters – large enough to enclose a human! However, remember that Pyrosomes only eat plankton filtered through those hundreds of thousands of tiny individuals.

Light and Movement

The scientific name of this genus is Pyrosoma. That comes from two Latin words pryo “fire” and soma “body.” Pyrosomes are famous among sailors on the open ocean for their bioluminescent abilities. Unlike other creatures that can bioluminesce, Pyrosomes can emit sustained light that can be seen for up to ten meters away. This is particularly notable at night. One Pyrosome can emit light, which in turn triggers a response from its neighbors in the colony. This looks like flashes of light. The entire colony can also light up. Their blue-green light can be seen up to 30 meters away. Moreover, one floating colony that lights up can elicit a light response from other Pyrosome colonies floating nearby.

Each individual Pyrosome has tiny hairs. These are called cilia. They move to create a current that brings plankton inside its body. All the individual Pyrosomes expelling used water through the colony’s opening also creates a current. Consider this motion as jet propulsion. Members of a colony can coordinate these motions and move itself through the water column.

Although any diver’s chance to encounter Pyrosomes is rare, guests of Miguel’s Diving can see wonderful marine life. To make arrangements for your trip to Gorontalo, please book your dive trip with us.

Lunar Eclipse of a Super Blue Moon in Gorontalo

Lunar eclipse of a super blue moon was an event not to be missed by anyone in Indonesia on 31 January 2018.

Triple Celestial Event

supermoon
Super moon rises at 1855 hrs

On 1 January 2018 a full moon appeared in the world’s night skies. A second full moon during the same month rose on 31 January. Astronomers call this rare occurrence a blue moon. Hence the expression in English of a rare event, “once in a blue moon.”

Usually, the moon is 384,400 kilometers from the Earth. However, its orbit is not uniform. Sometimes the moon can be merely 358,993 kilometers away. That means it is more than 25,000 kilometers closer. At that time, the moon appears up to 14 percent larger. Additionally, it can appear 30 percent brighter to the naked eye. This rare occurrence is a super moon. On 31 January 2018, the super moon coincided with the blue moon.

Moreover, on the same date, the blue super moon also turned red. This happened when it became a blood moon as it eclipsed.

Eclipse of a Rare Moon

lunar eclipse begins
Lunar eclipse begins: 2032 & 2047 hrs

A lunar eclipse happens when a full moon travels into the shadow of the Earth relative to the sun. During a lunar eclipse, the moon turns red. Hence the name blood moon. The red is actually the projection of all the sunrises and sunsets onto the surface of the moon.

Gorontalo’s Total Lunar Eclipse

blood to super moon
From Blood to Super moon: 2212 & 2232 & 2333 hrs

In Gorontalo, the super moon appeared over the mountains at 1855 hours local time (WITA). Miguel’s Diving enjoyed night diving under the full moon. After the divers surfaced, the lunar eclipse began. The first photo sequence shows the view of the night sky at 2032 and 2047 hours. The total eclipse lasted for over an hour. The second photo sequence shows the blood moon at 2212 hours. When the moon is in eclipse, it is indeed red! At 2232 the moon began to emerge from the shadow. By 2333 hours the super moon had returned. The last time there occurred an eclipse of a super blue moon was 152 years ago.

Don’t wait until the next super blue lunar eclipse to dive in Gorontalo. We encourage you to book your dive trip with us before then!

PADI Divemaster Staff in Gorontalo only with Miguel’s

PADI divemaster staff in Gorontalo can only be found at Miguel’s Diving.

Trained, Skilled & Certified

PADI divemaster Gorontalo
PADI divemasters of Miguel’s Diving

Miguel’s Diving is not only Gorontalo’s pioneer dive center. We are also the only dive operator in the area to have PADI divemaster staff. Actually, five of our full time staff are PADI divemasters. Our only international staff member has been a PADI divemaster for almost 20 years now. Our Gorontalo staff all recently completed their PADI training. As a result, guests of Miguel’s Diving feel safe with our trained, skilled and certified staff.

PADI Divemaster Training

Becoming a PADI divemaster requires successful course completion. Water skills are an important component of the course. Naturally, our four candidates loved this part of the course. They are all long time dive guides.

Classroom sessions require different skills. Included in this part of the course are important topics. These include supervising diving activities, assisting student divers and diver safety. A PADI divesmaster candidate will also study risk management and environmental awareness. Moreover, participants must pass both water skills and theory components of the course.

Special Opportunity

PADI certification cards
PADI divemaster certificaton cards

Our dive staff received an invitation from Mr. Frans Rattu to complete their PADI divemaster training. PADI Asia Pacific and Politeknik Negri Manado teamed up to offer a special opportunity. Only long time dive guides in the area received an invitation. Also, they must already be certified Rescue Divers. Additionally, candidates must have Emergency Response training or update within two years. All of our staff already had these PADI certifications.

They enjoyed the two weeks in Manado and the study time with friends in the dive industry there. Fortunately, one of their wives came along and helped keep everyone fed. During the required reef cleanup exercise, they found a sun hat accidentally discarded by a visitor. It had a decorative band around it. On the band was some writing in Chinese that said “blue ocean, beautiful day.” So, they decided it would be a great souvenir to bring back to Gorontalo for Miguel’s senior PADI divemaster. All it needed was a quick wash in fresh water!

To make arrangements to dive with our certified PADI divemaster staff, please book your dive trip with us.

Orca Video from Gorontalo, Indonesia

Orca video by one of Miguel’s Diving staff is now available for viewing.

Orca Video from Gorontalo

Waters off most dive sites in Gorontalo plunge to hundreds of meters. These deep waters bring large cetaceans close to land. Miguel’s Diving staff have discovered the ocean paths that large sea creatures use.

For the first time this dive season, Miguel’s Diving staff watched a pair of orca cruise just off the wall. Judging by the height of the dorsal fin, the one seen in the orca video is a young male. Watch as he passes the dive boat, breathing and sending spray into the air. Not visible in the orca video is his companion. She is more timid than the male. Perhaps they are in Gorontalo’s calm blue waters for a honeymoon.

Miguel’s Diving staff have actually seen them during several months of 2017. Those sightings were in January, February, June and now December. However, this is the first time that someone was able to shoot a nice video. The original orca video is complete with the sound of the orca breathing and excited human voices in three languages.

Distinctive Form

orca video still
A male orca surfaces to breathe in Gorontalo

Orcas are also called killer whales. Their scientific name is Orcinus orca. They are mammals and the largest member of the dolphin family. Male killer whales are easy to identify. Their dorsal fin is very tall and straight. The body color is jet black with the familiar pure white patches. Females have smaller, curved fins but retain the white patches. Usually orcas swim together in pods.

Marine Predator

Orcas are active marine predators. Orca will eat many things, including squid, fish and sea turtles. They also will eat birds, seals and dolphins. A pod of orca often coordinate their hunting. They will even kill and eat large whales. There are no reported killer whale attacks against divers in the wild.

Diving in Gorontalo is exciting because of the unusual marine life found here. For your chance to experience the beauty of Gorontalo, please book your dive trip with us.

Plastic Bottle Recycling with Miguel’s Diving

Plastic bottle recycling is part of Miguel’s Diving company ethos. It is both environmentally and socially proactive.

Safe Drinking Water on Board

To ensure safe drinking water on board our speed boats, Miguel’s Diving provides bottled water for its guests. The water comes in a 600 milliliter plastic bottle. The water itself comes from the mountains around Manado in North Sulawesi Province.

Avoiding Plastic Bottle Wastage

plasticbottle refill
A guest refills his bottle

Miguel’s Diving also has a strategy for avoiding plastic bottle wastage. Before diving, guests often want a quick drink of water. We provide a marker in the coffee and tea tray. A guests writes his or her name on the plastic bottle. After enjoying the reefs of Gorontalo, divers see several plastic bottles on the benches of our dive boat. The water in these bottles is only partially drunk. However, divers immediately know which ones are theirs. This avoids wasting the contents of those water bottles.

Moreover, we provide filtered water on board. Divers can refill the plastic bottles. This is local, Gorontalo water. Numerous depots provide refills for 19 liter bottles.

Go Green with Recycling

plastic bottle recycling
Giving away a sack of used plastic bottles

Despite our careful use of plastic bottles, every day the dive boat arrives at our dock with many empty ones. These we give to people looking to supplement their income. Although a single plastic bottle is not worth much, avid recyclers can collect and sell them. The local recycling center buys them by the kilogram. Our neighbors also like them. They reuse the plastic bottles as containers for home-pressed coconut oil, which sells for a good price.

The way Miguel’s Diving handles the need for clean drinking water is both environmentally and socially proactive. We encourage our divers to support this Go Green strategy by writing their names on their water bottles. Please contact us for your diving booking.

Tiger Cowrie on the Move in Gorontalo

Tiger Cowrie can be found occasionally along Gorontalo’s coral reefs.

A Tiger with Spots

Cowries are a family of marine gastropod mollusk. They are basically large snails that live in the ocean. The cowrie pictured here is called Tiger Cowrie because of the original Latin name Cypraea tigris. The famous scientist Linnaeus named it in the 18th century. The shell pattern is not striped like feline tigers but spotted. However, the pattern of a Tiger Cowrie mantle does have striping.

The shell is shaped like an egg and is quite heavy. As with other cowries, the exterior of the shell is very slick. When the snail comes out from the inside of its shell, its mantle wraps around the exterior of the shell. This action keeps its shell clean and polished. In fact, both left and right side of the snail’s mantle extend all the way to the upper half of its shell. This way both sides meet half way, covering the entire shell.

tiger cowrie mantle
Posterior portion of a Tiger Cowrie mantle

More often than not, the mantle of the Tiger Cowrie is completely hidden inside its shell. It only comes out to feed or to move. It usually does so at night. During the day, it usually sleeps under corals or in rubble or sand.

The mantle has dozens of short projections called papillae. These look like many swaying fingers. Also, the tips are white in color. No one knows the function of these papillae.

Life and Habits of Tiger Cowrie

Tiger cowries are found throughout the Indo-Pacific region. This includes Gorontalo. They prefer coral reefs or nearby sandy or rubble bottoms. They are usually at depths between ten and forty meters. The juveniles eat algae, but the adults are carnivorous. Adults eat soft corals, sponges, bryzoans and other invertebrates.

tiger cowrie shell
A shiny sight on the reef

A Tiger Cowrie is either male or female. The mother will guard her eggs with her muscular foot until they are ready to hatch. The larvae then swim away and drift with plankton while they develop.

A cowrie also has a head with eyes and tentacles. Its mouth is like a tube. Its internal organs are kept safe inside the shell.

The Tiger Cowrie is considered threatened in some locations. For example, in Singapore, it is endangered. Direct threats include habitat destruction and shell collecting for souvenirs and the aquarium trade.

For your chance to a spot a Tiger Cowrie in Gorontalo, please book your dive trip with us.

Drone Videos of Gorontalo’s Dramatic Coastline

Drone videos made in Gorontalo make for excellent memories.

Gorontalo’s Dramatic Coastline

The best locations for brilliant drone videos are in place with steep profiles and good color. That makes Gorontalo’s southern coastline an excellent choice. Steep mountains and cliffs plunge directly into the deep blue waters of Tomini Bay. Divers with drones get the best opportunities to visit coastal sites where land access is nearly impossible.

Drone Videos: The Latest Trend

Actually, a drone is a class of unmanned aerial vehicles. By the definition, clearly the human pilot is not on board. Someone on the ground – or on a dive boat – controls the craft. Sometimes, UAVs operate autonomously via computer programing. Clearly, there is a communication system between the hovering UAV and its remote controller.

Although initially made for military purposes, nowadays most UAVs are civilian owned. The name “drone” comes from the craft’s resemblance to a male bee. Listen to its sound and wing movements.

Classic Aerial Shots

Aerial shots have long been part of major films. With the emergence of commercially available UAVs, ordinary people can now make this type of video. In the three videos shot from a Miguel’s Diving speed boat, you can see classic aerial shots.

Pan shots are great for capturing dramatic scenery, such as the cliffs along Gorontalo’s coastline. The pan shot can be from left to right or right to left while the drone is hovering in a stationary position. Sometimes, this is called an aerial or high pan. For a more exciting shot, the pan can be done while the drone is in motion.

Skilled UAV users can also make an orbit shot. Notice how the camera makes a 360 degree spin above the dive boat in the Tjenderawashi Wreck video.

Flyer over shots bring a focus object into view while giving a clear context. Notice the flyer over shot of a Miguel’s Diving speed boat.

The Fly by shot is actually a bit different than the fly over. The focus object is parallel to the camera rather than below it. One shot of the dive boat on the Olele Marine Park video represents this type of shot.

Another great technique is the reverse shot. The drone pulls the camera in reverse and away from the focus object. This shot makes a great finish to the Buffalo Head Point video.

Additionally, Pedestal shots are great for capturing a towering object, such as a mountain. The shot usually moves from bottom to top. To achieve this effect, the drone rises in elevation.

Want to make your own drone video along Gorontalo’s coastline? Bring your UAV and have some fun above water during your dive surface intervals. To make arrangements, please book your dive trip with us.

Citilink Gorontalo Makassar Flights Available

Citilink Gorontalo Makassar flights are now available.

Gorontalo Welcomes Citilink Flights

citilink aircraft
A Citilink flight arrives at Gorontalo airport

Gorontalo’s new terminal welcomes yet another airline with the arrival of Citilink. Flights from Gorontalo depart at 1100, arriving in Makassar at 1230. Also, flights from Makassar depart at 0845, arriving in Gorontalo at 1015. This is the present schedule. Divers should always refer to Citilink’s official website for current flight times and options. This new flight began in mid 2017.

Divers will also want to note that this airline provides for a free bag of dive gear. The limit is up to 20 kilos. This is addition to its normal free baggage of 20 kilos to economy passengers.

The ticketing code is QG. The code for Makassar is UPG, reflecting its previous name, Ujung Pandang. Gorontalo remains GTO.

A Low Cost Airline

Garuda Indonesia established a low-cost subsidiary in 2001, naming it Citilink. Its main purpose is to offer shuttle services within Indonesia. If travelers need more than the Gorontalo-Makassar flight, they can check connections on-line or with an agent.

Additionally, this airline uses mainly Airbus A320s.

International Safety Standards

In June 2016, the European Union lifted its ban against Citilink flying in its airspaces. Although the airline does not fly there, the vote of confidence from the EU gives European citizens and others peace of mind. The decision recognizes that the airline operates according to international standards for safety and management.

Should you need suggestions on flights for your upcoming dive trip to Gorontalo, please contact with us.

Certificate of Excellence 2017 for Miguel’s Diving

Certificate of Excellence 2017 for Miguel’s Diving Gorontalo was just announced by TripAdvisor®.

Certificate of Excellence 2017

TripAdvisor celebrates achievements of hospitality businesses. Its coveted Certificate of Excellence is awarded to those that earn great travel reviews on its website. TripAdvisor has been doing so for seven years now. Certificate of Excellence 2017 recipients are not only dive centers. They include accommodations, eateries and attractions. Locations are all over the world. Recipients must continually deliver quality customer experience.

Certificate of Excellence 2017
TripAdvisor recognizes Miguel’s Diving

“We are truly thankful for the great support from our guests. They are the ones who take time to send their impressions to TripAdvisor. We are delighted to receive this recognition from TripAdvisor. Actually, this marks the third year in a row for us to receive this recognition” says Rantje Allen. He is marketing consultant for Miguel’s Diving.

High Service Standards

“With the Certificate of Excellence, TripAdvisor honors hospitality businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travelers,” said Heather Leisman, Vice President of Industry Marketing, TripAdvisor. “This recognition helps travelers identify and book properties that regularly deliver great service. TripAdvisor is proud to play this integral role in helping travelers feel more confident in their booking decisions.”

The Certificate of Excellence 2017 accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews. Travelers submit their reviews to TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, there are several measurements. A business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five. Also, it must have a minimum number of reviews. Additionally, its TripAdvisor listing must run for at least 12 months. #CertificateofExcellence

About TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor® is the world’s largest travel site. This is according to comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, February 2016. It enables travelers to plan and book the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers advice from millions of travelers. Also, it has a wide variety of travel choices and planning features. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world. Its sites reach 340 million unique monthly visitors. This is according to TripAdvisor log files, Q1 2016. It has 350 million reviews and opinions. These cover 6.5 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 48 markets worldwide.

For your chance to enjoy excellent service, please book your dive trip with Miguel’s Diving.

mgd-logo-block
Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On YoutubeCheck Our Feed