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Weh out there! 1 Jun 2009

Posted by cat64fish in Tales from the N2 bar.
Tags: , ,

Our little adventure to Pulau Weh, located off Banda Aceh, at the northern tip of Sumatra, was a big surprise! Despite the two-boat dive limit, the dive guides there were more willing than willing to tough it out with us one-and-half-hour divers, and I must say that even though we didn’t spot as many “critters”, the dive spots were so full of other things to occupy your time that we had a hard time leaving the water!

Batu Tokong was probably my favourite dive site for this trip – upon entering the water, we were greeted with clouds of fish – fairy basslets, red-tooth triggers, sergeant majors, fusiliers … it took our breath away to see the symphony of colour and form before our eyes.

Clouds of fish, especially the anthias, greeted us on almost every dive!

Schooling Collare butterflyfish …. so brilliant!

Even in the depths, reef life thrived, as the rows and rows of seafans spread out, and down, before us to more than 30m. Whip gorgonians were also plentiful and for once, the water was clear enough for me to capture a decent enough image to show how extensive they were.

Seafans, many even larger than this one, were common on the reefs.

Even the house reef, just a hop-skip-step-and jump away from the dive centre, was full of interesting creatures. Staghorn corals were everywhere (as were the urchins), and on the sandy flats in 18m of water, we chanced upon well-camouflaged seamoths and flying gurnards; but we missed the elusive mimic octopus and the “ambon” scorpionfish.

A cloud of cardinalfish covers what I called the “magic” rock.

Urchins aggregating on the sea floor at the house reef.

These two rabbitfish were usually hanging out by the anchor of the guide line that the dive resort used to guide its boats into shore.

Usual creatures roam the house reef, like this eel (not sure if it is a moray or a snake eel).

Some of the sites were not so friendly, however – Panting Penutung and The Canyons (on the western side of the island), for example, were difficult to get to due strong winds and rough seas. Some hearty souls tried for three days to get to Panting Penutung, succeeding on the third try, and rewarded with (besides the seasickness) with the sighting of a hammerhead. At another site, aptly called Arus (strong current in Bahasa), a few of the divers saw a manta.

We learned later, over an iced tea, from Aris, one of the more experienced dive guides, that whale sharks and mantas used to be fairly common before the tsunami, but nowadays, only the mantas have been spotted, and not too many at that.

Our stay was far too short to get a good feel of the dives sites. What we saw of the place was good enough that we are now planning a second trip (hopefully in July) there.

More photos can be seen at my and mermate’s Flickr.



1. Getting A-Weh « Compressed air junkie - 2 Jul 2009

[…] my previous entry for a short write up on the diving, and mermate’s and my flickr accounts for what can be […]

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