15 December – Tuesday
Jef Fam

Woke up at 5am to look if our Panda flag was still flying on the mast of the Pindito. Yup, still there. It did a long night trip through from the south to the north. Hope there are no holes by now . . .

First dive was in Batu Burung near Jef Fam. We were not far from Mansuar and Kri and hope we can see mantas in the afternoon. I wish. But visibility was really not the best. It was crystal green. Lots of hard corals, featherstars and hoped to see the super giant clam as Edi said and the wobbegong, but no luck yet. Maybe the next dive. But saw this really interesting worm colony . . .

Worms hiding . . . found this strange looking rubble which was really interesting. They were a colony of tubeworms!

Worms hiding . . . found this strange looking rubble which was really interesting. They were a colony of tubeworms!

Worms out and filtering plankton to feed

Worms out and filtering plankton to feed

Second dive was awesome. Same dive site but more on the rocks. The current and surge was still strong but we managed to stay in one spot that had them all, in our opinion. A massive tridacna giant clam, a barrel sponge with crinoids as foreground and the rock outcrop as background, and the best of all, in the rubble, an assortment of wrasses, goatfish and bream came to feed on the critters in the rocks. Wow, Yogi was in heaven.

Indeed a giant clam more than a meter long

Indeed a giant clam more than a meter long

And as the song goes . . . "The boys are back in town, the boys arre back in town."

And as the song goes . . . “The boys are back in town, the boys are back in town.”

Third dive was dark. There was no sun on this wall and for the first time, I felt chilly in my shorts. Yes, I’ve been diving all the time in my shorts and my sharkskin rashies. It was so warm and pleasant and I could pee to my hearts content without worrying about stink in my wetsuit :)

16 December – Wednesday
Karma, Mansuar

“Karma” the dive site is named – the manta cleaning station in Pulau Mansuar not far from Cape Kri. We were in manta heaven. It was just 4 of us, Edi, Yogi, me and Helli (Helmut) and the second dive with Clay. A solid hour with mantas! Wonderful! The most mantas that came for cleaning were 11. The normal was 6 – 7. The minimum was 3. But for a solid hour each of our two dives here, we had mantas. If they went away for a short time, I could still see them from the distance and they came back not long after being away. Twice, Edi had the manta’s wingtip touch his dome.

Green wrasses cleaned the gills of these mantas. With open mouths, the wrasses went in and out, in and out!

Green wrasses cleaned the gills of these mantas. With open mouths, the wrasses went in and out, in and out!

They were mesmerizing as they glided in front of us

They were mesmerizing as they glided in front of us

Just can't get enough of mantas!

Just can’t get enough of mantas!

They flew above Edi . . .

They flew above Edi . . .

They flew above me!

They flew above me!