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A flame scallop (Ctenoides ales) found on reef boulder in Tulamben, Bali

Flame Scallop atau Disco Scallop (Ctenoides ales) merupakan Bivalvia langka yang hanya dijumpai di perairan tropis.

Opportunity to make a dive trip with colleagues came this weekend. After long email communications, finally we have 4 divers for this trip. For me this is an important moment because this is the first time I dive with my own dive equipments. Our dive plan was dive for 2 days at Liberty Wreck, Drop-off, Seraya and Gili Tepekong, but then we decided to make 1 day dive trip to Seraya and Liberty Wreck – although I have made several dives at Liberty wreck but I always excited to make others, I believe that I would find something different and special at this dives and Seraya is my first dive and it has been become a topic of divers discussion as top muck dive destination in the world.

Saturday morning Denpasar has rain when I and Marthen left for Tulamben. The distance could not make us bored. I and Marthen are chatting on how we are excited to the dive to day along the way. We arrive at Puri Mada after 2 hours and half drive and meet Rudy and Putri who arrive first. We find the officer and discuss our plan today. We will dive use scuba tank with natural air – some divers use mix air to make longer dive – with G11 underwater camera so we can document our dive and also the exquisite underwater life.

After take a team photo we headed Seraya as first dive use ketinting 5 horse power engine.

a young cleaner wrasse is doing his job, cleaning mouth of a murray eel

It takes only 15 minutes to reach Seraya. The sea was calm with some clouds.  We entry from black sandy beach easily with Bagong as our dive guide. We descent slowly to the slope until 23 meter depth where Bagong pointed into something tiny on top of small rock. I kicked my fin rapidly to come closer and firstly in my dive life I meet a Harlequin shrimp (Hymenocera elegans) – an exotic underwater critter which often I seen on Television or marine guide book only. I watched the animal for moment and enjoy its behavior, its looked hungry and it was hunting for prey. This animal can eat a star fish which is much bigger than their body by turn over the prey then bring to their hole and cut the starfish’s arm by piece with their sharp “weapon”. Close to rock  there is garden of white hydroids live on black sandy bottom where a cuttle fish hunts and follow its prey. We swim slowly and gently and swept our eyes to find little critters, there were at least five different beautifull nudibranch, scorpion fish, lion fish and also murray eels.This site also speciall for shrimps. We find bright green Mantis shrimp under the rock and swim out to welcome our visit. Mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyallarus) is unique animal especially on its eyes and deathly claws. The other speciall biota we found is Durban dancing shrimp (Rhynchocinetes durbanensis) which colony stay and a rock where a couple murray eel stay for day rest. A pair of whip coral shrimp found at 60 cm green whip coral. Seraya is not paradise for little critters but also has a school of bat fish (Platax sp.) and Barracuda (Sphyraena genie). At 8 meter depth we saw a “space ship” artificial reef made for house of fish and other marine life. This dive was superb and give me new experience and collection of sea animal highlight. Harlequin shrimp!

Read also : Selam dan Lestarikan Raja Ampat

End of first dive we got shower of fresh water from rain when we went back to our base at Puri Mada. We got big lunch with watermelon juice and pindang fried rice at Puri Mada restorant. This break give us moment to re-charge our camera batterry and also look the souvenir of USAT Liberty wreck.

quite witness of war was laying on sea floor

Second dive at USAT Liberty wreck started from Puri Mada dive center. We get lucky that water so calm and clear although less of sun light. We pass the middle of ship straight to deep to find a 40 cm purple gorgonian where Bagong pointed to very tiny seahorse. The pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti) usually stay at gorgonian and make themself similar with shape of their house to hide from their predator. Satisfied with this highlight creature we swim up to see the wreck. We met a group of diver followed a big hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) when we closed to the bottom of wreck. Bagong give us sign to follow him where he arrived on part of ship with rectangle shape. He pointed to something which hide behind corals. When he back off, I come closer and see what hide behind. For second I just saw a red color but then it has blink with bright blue white color like an electric neon. This beautifull biota known as flame or disco scallop (Ctenoides ales), feed from filtering water  to get micro plankton. I was really surprised and never predicted to find the animal which has lighting bolts on this dive spot, it is become one of my best dive! As an wreck dive this spot has complete attraction for divers who come from all over the world. During exploring the wreck we felt like be inside of a historical museum.

This wreck has already become a home for hundred of marine life, such as hard corals, soft coral, fish, mollusc, reptile but it also become station for large pelagic oceanic marine fauna such as whale shark and mola mola. At the end of the second dive we swam between school of thousand of big-eye trevallies.

school of thousand of trevallies make an underwater tornado shape

It is so beautiful and remarkable dive. We go back to Denpasar with some snack from Putri, Pia Legong. Thanks to all for the support and participation on this trip especially Bagong – our diveguide who show us many little critters and new record of finding for me, Marthen for the transportation and documentation and Rudyanto and Putri as member of Laskar Pelancong. I hope I can make another dive trip in Bali next time with different experience. Please do not hesitate to send email or dive comment if you wanna joint next dive trip.

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Categories: Perjalanan

Kafe Penyelaman

The Kafe Penyelaman is managed by a marine biologist and dive instructor. He experiences in marine conservation especially on bio-physic data collection such as reef health monitoring, fish spawning aggregation site survey, marine large fauna survey, occasional observation and marine resource utilization assessment. Also experience on training related scientific diving, bio-physic monitoring, geographic information system, data analyzing and reporting, marker buoys installation, underwater photography and coral rehabilitation. He traveled the archipelago such as Weh island, Mandeh waters, Riau islands and Belitung waters, Krakatoa Marine Sanctuary, Seribu islands National Park, Karimunjawa National Park, Derawan, Sangalaki and Kakaban islands, Tanah Bumbu in South Kalimantan, Wakatobi National Park, Gorontalo waters, Bunaken National Park, Lembeh strait, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo waters, Flores, Adonara, Lembata, Pantar, and Sawu Sea National Park, Halmahera and Morotai waters, Kaimana, Raja Ampat waters and Teluk Cenderawasih National Park. He also did some regional and international visit such as Tioman Marine Park and Tun Sakaran Marine Park in Malaysia, Atauro island and Liquiça in Timor Leste, Phuket in Thailand, Kehpara Marine Sanctuary in Pohnpei, Micronesia, and Gladden Spit Marine Sanctuary and Half Moon Cay Marine Park in Belize. Experience as a scuba diver instructor with more than 5000 dives and trained more than 200 advance and open water divers.