I woke up to a nice porthole view of a small islet called Suanggi.
Red Pindito dingy takes off for Suanggi Islet diving
The birds were all over the islet – brown boobies, red footed boobies, frigate birds . . . Yogi wondered if there were tropic birds but didn’t see any. Had a nice chat with Edi. The night before, he showed us the historical video of the making of Pindito (name short for Pinisi Dive Tourism) – purpose designed and made entirely by hand with ironwood by Edi himself and traditional Indonesian Pinisi boat builders from Kalimantan. Ironwood is so heavy it sinks soon as it hits water. Building the Pindito in 1990 was an amazing feat and this beautiful boat is totally constructed with the proper maritime industry classification, apparently a rarity in Indonesia.
The first dive in Suanggi was clear waters, lovely reefs with gentle current flowing to and fro.
A cluster of barrel sponges in the deep
It was really nice in the shallows and some cool barrel sponges at 30 meters or so.
Now how strange is this fish with a goatee?
There was an interesting fish with some sort of a beard coming out of its chin. I thought it was injured! Part of the grouper family, it’s called a soapfish and is apparently a Banda species. Then towards the shallows, I saw a bumphead parrotfish first, then followed by about 15 animals! The current was just a bit too strong for us to take its picture.
Second dive at 11:30. That was a superb dive. When I back rolled, I already saw them. Bait ball in the shallows. First, through the bait ball, I saw blue and yellow fusiliers that Edi was filming. He was surrounded and the fusiliers were really close to him. I called Yogi but the fusiliers didn’t come close enough like with Edi. So most of the dive was concentrated in photographing the massive bait ball.
It was a shoot out with Edi filming Yogi amidst the bait ball and Yogi photographing Edi
A whole dive in this fish soup! Glorious!!!
The current was ripping and the fish were just all around us, hardly moving at all. Then Yogi followed a banded sea krait for nearly 20 minutes. It had its head poking around inside the coral crevice and finally when it was about to surface and started its ascend with Yogi poised to shoot, a swarm of divers flew with the current above the sea snake!!! They were so happy, but Yogi not. I on the other hand was laughing underwater! Murphy’s Law.
Stella was born in Manila, Philippines in 1965. She studied anthropology but ended up in advertising, producing radio and TV commercials for 7 years. After quitting advertising, she ventured into the freelance world in Manila producing video documentaries for a publishing house, government agencies, non govenmental organisations, and the academe. She moved on to producing books and had a stint at working with foreign production companies visiting Manila. Stella, now based in Cairns, produces photo stories with her husband Jürgen Freund.