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My wonderful trip was happened in the end of 2018 when I got an opportunity as part of marine biology diving group. The trip was conducted in eastern Indonesia, namely Obi Island, South Halmahera, North Maluku. I would tell about my trip, my first impression, and of course the underwater experience at one of undiscovered place in the planet.
The journey to the location is taken with quite a long time. I departed by using various types of transportation such as land, air, and sea transportation. First I had to drive a car that I ordered from an online application to take me to the Ahmad Yani International airport in Semarang. The journey begins by plane to Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport for transit, as well as joining the team departing from Jakarta.
Then we flew to Sultan Babullah International airport in Ternate for another transit and this was my second transit. Here we met one of the survey team members who departed from Bali. Ternate is a city that is not so big but has amazing natural scenery, this is the first time I set foot in Ternate. We had time to visit several places to fill the void waiting for the next flight. There was one alumni who worked there and he was happy to take us to visit several places.
After visiting several places in Ternate, we returned to the airport. The next trip is still by plane to Oesman Sadik Airport in Bacan, South Halmahera. It was my first time in an airport which was pretty quiet because there was only the plane we were on when we got there, there were no other planes.
The Airport is located in a small island called Labuha. We stayed here one night because the trip to Obi Island was taken by boat the next day. The team were using public boat from Bacan to Obi Island and takes approximately 3 hours.
The diving activity was carried out using a boat. There 4 locations were visited, Tanjung Soligi, Mangrove, Pasturi atoll and Tanjung Akelamo which are located at south west of Obi island. The group were diving using scuba unit which filled by air to able observe the reef and reef fish conditions. The divers are qualified and were experienced on underwater marine biology observations. The locations we’ve observed have good biodiversity and in the good condition. The reef were observed have various coral shape, such branching coral, foliose coral, table coral and even brain coral. We also found gorgonians, sea fan and other colourful substrates. Coral conditions are also in good condition but we noticed that there were the sedimentations in Soligi, Mangrove and Akelamo. I hope that the coral can tolerate and makes adaptation to this condition. The coral condition in Pasturi island has good water visibility but we found some damages from destructive practise.
The reef inhabitant has good variety, many fish groups were found during diving at four locations. The most common are damselfish, wrasses, butterflyfish, angelfish, fusiliers, snappers, grouper, goat fish, sweetlips then also parrotfish, rabbitfish, surgeonfish, trevallies and also the rainbow runners. The other marine living can be found are shrimps, crabs, sea cucumbers, nudibranch, starfish and also sea turtle. These locations shows the potencies as marine tourism activities such as fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving.
After dive, we stopped at a nearby village during surface interval and have lunch. The village in my opinion is very beautiful, peaceful, and quiet. The name of this village is Solihi. Villages that have no land access anywhere, the only way for them to access the outside world is by ship. In this village there is no internet signal at all, not even Telkomsel. So that the children’s activities after school are to gather and play on the pier, there are also those who fill their time while fishing on the pier. The thing that impressed me the most was the first time I tried to ride a canoe (I don’t know how they call it), a boat made of whole wood that was split open and made a hole in the middle.
My friends met dolphins during their trip to Soligi village. Lots of endemic terestrial species such as bats, birds found in the mangrove. This trip is still one of the favourite trips in my life. Getting to know the outside world, meeting new people, and trying local specialties is an unforgettable part. Hopefully there will be an opportunity to explore other parts of Eastern Indonesia.
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