Swimming in the rubbish
Luckily I actually slept from 8pm until 2am when I had to get up. I was feeling ok.
And I was just a few paces away from the airport terminal. Awesome.
I dropped my bags and had a wander around the airport. It is huge. And despite being about 2.30am, it was busy everywhere, it could have been the middle of the day.
We left at 3.30am for the 2 hour flight over to Ambon.
I tried to sleep but wasn’t very successful. There is another time change, forward another hour! So we landed at 6am.
It took so long for my bag to arrive. I was starting to worry that it hadn’t made it. But it finally came, nearly 45 minutes later!!
And then it was only a 10 minute drive to the dive centre that I am staying at, at Laha beach.
I wasn’t expecting breakfast when I arrived. But they gave me a plate of fruit and mee goreng!
And I went to my room. So nice. I have a bungalow, right on the beach. It’s huge and comfy. Love it.
I missed the first dive, so had a couple of hours to wander around. I walked down the beach to Laha village. Every single person I passed stopped to say hello, or wave at me or start a conversation (in Indonesian). They were all really nice. But I did end up with 3 marriage proposals, 2 people said they loved me. And 1 persons mum tried to get their son to talk to me! The village was similar to most sea villages. Houses are small wooden and corrugated metal sheds. The main activity is fishing, so each man has a small boat, which many were out washing this morning. The women were sat outside the houses washing and holding babies.
I went diving at 11am. I was promised rhinopia. These are so cool and I’ve never seen them. And it didn’t disappoint. 1 paddleflap rhinopia. And 1 weedy rhinopia. So cool!! Plus lots of other things – cuttlefish, frogfish, fighting scorpionfish, seahorse, pink leaf scorpion fish and some cowries. And lunchtime! Rice, tempeh and green vegetables – my favourite.
The next dive was at 3pm. Again just so good, more frogfish, harlequin shrimps, coconut octopus, huge nudibranches, tiger shrimp (pretty rare) and other different shrimps. I was so tired and didn’t fancy going out diving again. But I was told today was going to be the only day I could night dive (as it wasn’t possible tomorrow due to tides). So I guess I have to.
At 7pm I was ready in my wetsuit (I hate wetsuits). It was good. We saw lots of things. Stargazer, lots of snake eels, cockatoo waspfish, nudibranches, marbled octopus, and Donald Duck shrimp. Although a distinct lack of cuttlefish, small squid and octopus. The food here is just so good.
For dinner I had sweet tofu, with rice and vegetables. And then straight to bed.
Thursday 17 November 2016
I was diving on my own today. All the others had gone to another area around the other side of the island to some reefs. I’m only here for a few days and going reef diving next week. So I wanted to stay on the muck sites. So I had the boat to myself for the morning!
We went to some sites just by Laha village. The guide was intent on finding the psychedelic frog fish. These frog fish are only found here in the world. And are super rare. Until a few weeks ago, they hadn’t been seen for nearly 5 years. So we searched. And searched. Even in the surface interval, he dived again, searching. But no luck. Our dives were 100 minutes each too. Which is very long. (Standard is 60 minutes, but often places won’t even let you do that). Really it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. They are about 2cm big and live in bushy halimeda grass. When you have a reef that goes for several hundred meters, and from 1m down to 30m plus, you have a rather large area to search.
But what we did see: some cool nudibranches, octopus, pipefish, leaf scorpion fish, seahorse. Lunch was amazing. Gado gado (vegetables in a peanut sauce), with rice, sweet tofu and vegetables. So good. This afternoon we went back to a similar place, alongside Laha village.
Again no psychedelic.
I wasn’t planning on diving again this evening. But the day had been a bit disappointing with nothing particularly new. So I went sunset diving. And it was great. Bumblebee shrimp, a few different stargazers, zebra crab, frog fish, seahorse.
I was so hungry by the time we got back at 7.30pm. And dinner was good again – sweet corn fritters, rice and vegetables.
I spent just over 6 hours diving today. Crazy.
Friday 18 November 2016
This morning we went over to the opposite island.
The first dive was a sandy light sand slope. Very similar to first beach in Siamil. And there was just so much stuff.
Dropped straight onto some harlequin ghost pipefish. After that so many things followed – frogfish, flambos (4 of them…!), zebra crabs, seahorses etc etc. Plus some things that I have never seen before. First a hairy shrimp. Which looks like like a tiny piece of algae fluff, about 3mm long. Next a winged pipefish, which whilst I’ve seen the baby ones before, never a larger one. It looked like a cross between a pipefish and a seahorse.
And lastly a mototi octopus. These are incredible rare and poisonous.
They have a blue ring on each side of their faces. So cool. One of the best dives ever.
We sat around on the boat, next to some really pretty beaches before going again. This time wasn’t as good, but still saw lots. Baby ghostpipefish, baby seahorse, frog fish, more flambos, a baby slipper lobster, giant mantis shrimp, nudibranches. Was good.
Lunch was delicious as always. A salad with mango sauce, with some rice, vegetables and tofu. We went out again at 3pm for my last dive here. The guide was determined to find the psychedelic. So we searched again for another 100 minutes (!) but no luck. We did see lots as usual – cuttlefish, a tiny frogfish, a few different nudibranches, another hairy shrimp and some frog fish.
Sad it’s all over.
We got back at 5pm and I was tired!! And hungry. Although dinner wasn’t until 7.30pm. So I sat around, watched the sunset Dinner was disappointing. They gave me pasta covered in oil and garlic. I don’t eat pasta. Or garlic. Or oil. I asked for a plate of rice instead. And they gave me rice with the same oily garlicky vegetables…. disappointing for my last meal here, when the food has been so good.