Guests diving in Gorontalo during December have enjoyed a special bonus, thanks to the sharp eyes and knowledge of Miguel’s Diving staff. In addition to encounters with pods of both Bottle-nosed and Risso’s dolphins, there have been multiple sightings of whales. On December 4th, a False Killer Whale surfaced alongside the dive boat. Then on December 17th, a pod of Melon-Headed Whales escortedthe dive boat back to the river mouth. A 10-minute video is available for viewing on our Facebook page (Miguel’s Diving Gorontalo). The pod had great fun bow-riding. Then on December 24th, three False Killer Whales entertained guests with a performance of their own, including doing a head stand by lifting its tail and flukes out of the water vertically. Happy divers…and happy whales!
Miguel’s Diving has three guides ready to assist our guests in the water. They are not only there for safety, helping with equipment and those sorts of things, but also to show divers the hidden paradise of Gorontalo that others miss. Yesterday for instance, those diving in the group with our divemaster were shown a school of about 30 tuna that swirled past three times in blue water. Not to be out done, our senior dive guide found about 100 rare skeleton shrimps for those diving with him. Ironically, the pelagic encounter and the rare macro find were on the same dive and within 50 meters of each other. That is Gorontalo diving!
Although some areas of Sulawesi have experienced coral bleaching, Gorontalo has not. Those diving here sometimes see white on coral and think something is wrong. Coral bleaching is generally associated with water temperatures that are too hot for the symbiotic bacteria that provides both color and food supplements to hard corals. As a result of the hot water, bacteria dies, leaving the corals white in color and lacking sufficient food. If temperatures do not drop quickly enough for bacteria to return and provide needed nutrition, the corals will die. This phenomena hits many or all corals in a particular area, leaving the reef looking ghostly white.
Divers in Gorontalo marvel at the highly dense and diverse coral reefs here. But they also notice corals with white edges, particularly Acropora table corals. This is not bleaching, but an indication of healthy and rapid growth. Acropora corals always expand and grow along the edges. So in Gorontalo many edges are white since bacteria have not had time to develop inside this new growth.
Notice the white new growth in this photo of the edge of healthily Acropora table coral. The white coral polyps, looking like hairs, are out feeding in the current.
With its complicated geology, diving in Sulawesi brings divers into contact with unexpected phenomena. Diving in Gorontalo is known for its warm waters, usually 29 – 30 degrees Celcius. However, during the last dive yesterday everyone’s computers registered 26 degrees! During the ten years plus that we have been diving here, this is the coldest ever recorded temperature. This is great for the coral reefs. Once the full moon starts to wane, we expect temperatures to return to their normal range.
Miguel’s Diving has just finished renovating the office in time of opening of diving season. However, our construction work at the dock is still in progress. So we ask for everyone’s patience and hope everything will be clean by early December.
Thanks to friends across the world, Miguel’s Diving now has basic information about diving in Gorontalo in German, Indonesian and Italian. We have also added a “LIKE” feature and “SEND” so that fans can send our link to friends. Please check out these new features and let us know of any problems.
Two days ago a whale shark appeared at Olele village where Miguel’s Diving frequently takes guests diving. August is the height of wave season here in Gorontalo, so we are still closed until mid October. Whale sharks are not aware that this is wave season. Perhaps he was looking for one of his dive buddies. Would that be you?
Because of Sulawesi’s twisted, orchid-like shape, diving in various locations differs greatly throughout the year. In Gorontalo the month of August is the height of wave season, with east winds blowing constantly. Miguel’s Diving staff generally stay out of the water during this month. However, other Sulawesi locations are great for diving in August, such as Bunaken in Manado or the Togian Islands in Central Sulawesi.
Miguel’s Diving would like to invite you to visit our booth at the upcoming Malaysia International Dive Expo (MIDE) in Kuala Lumpur. The event will be held from 1 – 3rd July 2011 at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) from 10:00am – 7:00pm. The Gorontalo booth will be #B19, all the way in the back. One wall of our booth will feature underwater photos mostly taken by Malaysians.
During the exhibition we will be launching our “Gorontalo Hidden Paradise” T-shirt. These high-quality Hanes cotton shirts were custom-printed using silkscreen technique for longer lasting colour. The cost for you during MIDE would be RM30. The model for the design is Julianne who used to teach at a local university in Gorontalo and became an enthusiastic promoter of diving here. Her blogs are quite interesting! Click this link to see!
William Tan’s beautiful photos from Gorontalo are features in the on-line Le Petit Journal for francophone ex-pats. Try this link.