Friday, May 24, 2013

Indonesian Wedding!


Right after we returned from our amazing scuba diving trip to Bunaken, Tim and I were lucky to be invited to an Indonesian wedding!   The daughter of one of the drivers working for Tim's company, Sumijan, was getting married and we were lucky to be able to join in on the festivities.

We took a cab to the wedding, which was held in a large tent in a residential neighborhood not too too far from us...  our cab driver had to stop about a block away from the address on our invitation because the party basically took over the whole street.  As we walked towards the music, we saw the big tent, the Indonesian greeting cards (below) and the balloon sellers taking advantage of the crowds (above). Streams of people came and went from the party.


 We actually showed up post-ceremony, which is quite common in Indonesia.  The philosophy at Indonesian weddings is the more, the merrier, in the sense that you invite everyone you know, no matter how much of an acquaintance they are.  My understanding is that it's socially acceptable to "crash" a wedding, too, if you go in with someone who was formally invited.  In any case, most people don't actually show up for the ceremony, which is mainly for family members (although I kinda wish I was there to see it...). Apparently the Indonesian wedding ceremony is known for a rather long series of speeches by family members.

The wedding set-up was basically an elaborately decorated stage where the bride, groom and their parents received guests, a long buffet line with all sorts of food, and rows of chairs and a few tables for the guests.  And a bandstand.  See above.

When we arrived, we went through a barrage of handshaking... ushers, groomsmen (or their equivalent), other family members, until we were ushered to the stage to shake hands with the bride and grooms themselves.  And look how beautiful they were (despite my camera's fuzzy lens, which I blame on apartment + AC + cab + AC + tent + not AC... but don't get to frustrated, the photos improve):

I am still in awe of how amazingly elaborate their wedding outfits were.  Look at the bride's hair!! She literally has a 4 foot long ponytail made from flowers! And the groom has some golden elf ears (these I find harder to explain):

Here's me and Tim with the bridal party... we got to wear our formal batik (including the batik dress I made a couple weeks ago!!):

The bride and groom with the bridal party, all in matching batik sarongs and lovely lacy and sparkly kebayas:

And the groomsmen, in matching batik shirts:

Tim and I were a little sweaty, which is par for the course (and makes me really respect the bride and groom, who were wearing approximately one thousand heavy layers):

Luckily, the party favor was a personalized batik fan (Ade & Atika, 12 Mei 2013):

A big group of Tim's coworkers joined the party not too long after we did:

Lots of hand shaking:

The proud father of the bride (and a good side view of the bride's amazing hair-do):

Some of the posed photos... beautiful!:

Congratulations, Ade & Atika!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bunaken Diving Day 4

Dudes, the diving on our fourth day was pretty fabulous... relaxing, completely rife with fish, and just generally beautiful.  The videos are also by far our best of the trip, mostly because of the good lighting and camera un-shy fish.  Definitely worth watching (here's looking at you, Mom) and definitely worth watching full screen.

First dive: Again, sadly, I can't remember the name of the dive spot.
Here's the video:

Highlights(so many of them!) from the above video:
- Our descent... the light, the thousands of fish off the reef. Amazing.  I love the tiny, gorgeous orange and pink anthias.
- Tiny electric blue and yellow fish, also gorgeous (0:33)
- An absolutely ridiculous amount of pyramid butterfly fish and red tooth trigger fish swarming everywhere
- A cool close-up of the red tooth trigger fish... I love their coloring and the weird way their fins move (1:00)
- A blurry, but pretty nudibranch, doing some prairie dogging (1:10)
- A couple of masked bannerfish (1:28)
- a beautiful anemone with residents (1:45)
- more magical swarms of pyramid butterfly fish and red tooth trigger fish
- a pyramid butterfly fish getting cleaned on the reef by a couple of smaller, striped cleaner fish (you can see them circling him and kinda poking at him until they all get spooked) (2:14)
- a couple of big trevally in the distance (2:30)
- a couple long-nose butterfly fish (2:36)
- a surgeon fish of some sort (2:46)
- a couple vagabond butterfly fish  (2:54)
- surgeon fish again, plus a darkly colored trumpetfish (3:00)
-  another cool anemone and skunk anemone fish (3:09)
- a couple lattice butterfly fish (3:23)
- a fish that was eating stuff off the reef and then spitting it out (3:38)
- a blue puffer (4:05)
- so, so, so many fish on top of the reef...


Self-portrait with triggerfish:

For some reason these photos reminds me of Snorks.  Does anyone remember Snorks?  I had fond memories of the show until I just Googled it.  You can't go home again.

So much pretty coral:

View from below:

I still don't really know what these things are... some sort of sponge, I assume... I also still don't know why Scuba Steve hates them:

And neither do they, apparently:

For those of you who still couldn't see him after I circled him, here's an annotated close-up.  I guess he's doing his job pretty well, eh?

Giant clam!!!  I love giant clams:

Ginormous porcupinefish:

Second dive:  Blanking on the name of the dive site, again.  Oops.  Let's just call it "Awesomesauce"
Tim was the videographer on this dive (our last... boooo) and got some great footage:

- Ornate ghost pipe fish- woot!  First time seeing this bugger.  And he's hard to see because of his camouflage, but he's the spiky "T" shaped thing in floating on the left hand side of the crinoid  (0:12)
- Fat little puffer fish and a big titan trigger fish (0:24)
- Some weird purple thing (1:05)
-  Freaking beautiful blue girdled angelfish (1:14)
- Just the gang, hanging out (1:23)
- The world's tiniest (like smaller than your pinky nail) little yellow seahorse! You can just see him float a bit in the center of the shot. (1:34)
- Us, admiring a turtle napping in a nook in the reef (1:36)
- The highlight of the highlights:  turtle square dance! (2:19)
(check out the giant barnacle on that one turtle's butt!)
- A strangely aggressive fish, lunging at the camera (3:14)
- Tons of beautiful coral and fishies
- These super cute little fish (anyone know what they are called?) that hang out in the coral, diving down into it when you approach (4:52)
- A pretty parrotfish (5:34)
- Titan triggerfish, again (6:03)
- Another doofy puffer fish, chilling on an awesome brain coral... you'll notice we have a lot of footage of these guys because they're so slow moving (6:12)
- A ginormous porcupine fish being cleaned (you can see the cleaner fish going in and out of his gills!) (7:02)
- Dance party, obvs (7:47)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bunaken Diving: Day 3

On the third day of diving we set out on a day trip to some of the more northerly, more remote islands within the Bunaken Marine Park, including Mantehage Island.

First dive: Barracuda Point

We were promised bigger fish at the current-y Barracuda Point, and promises were delivered.  

True to its name, within a few minutes of dropping down we saw a large school of sleek, silvery barracuda just off the edge of the reef (and we saw them again at the end of the dive, too, prompting several post-dive renditions of Barracuda on the boat).  You can see the shimmering cloud barracuda in the beginning of the video just to the left of our divemaster and again at the end of the video at the 2:00 mark.  Looked more impressive in real life... the camera doesn't do justice to far away things.

Other cool, big stuff spotted on this dive:  a school of big (and kinda ugly, honestly) bumphead parrot fish (I sense Tim was trying to film them just off the reef at the 0:43 minute mark, but they are just out of the camera's reach, see previously statement re: justice, far away) and a bunch of big-eyed trevally (yes, their eyes are big and bright yellow and a little creepy).

Small but awesome stuff seen on this dive: a blue ribbon eel (1:52- sticking up out of the sand and waving his head around, including his giant nostrils), a big old cuttlefish, schooling banner fish, red fire gobies hanging out and then darting back into their hole in unison (1:14), doofy-looking puffers (0:29 and 2:14), blue-headed tilefish, anemone fish (1:34), clown trigger fish (0:34).

Second dive:

I don't remember the name of this dive site, but do remember that we saw some nice stuff, including:
  • some beautiful crinoids/feather stars at 0:30 and 1:33
  • yet another blurry orangutan crab at 1:07
  • a super cool (and big) green, black and orange nudibranch at 1:23
  • a lobster: you can see his long white antennae sticking out of the rocks at 1:35
  •  a banded snake eel (or was it a highly poisonous sea snake?), which you maaaaay catch it for a hot second at minute mark 1:38, but only if you have good eyes and know where to look... that sucker was fast and my batteries were low

By the time we got to the third dive (at Banga), our camera batteries were shot, so no photo or videos, sadly.  But we did see some cool stuff:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bunaken Diving: Mandarin Fish Dive

One of the draws of diving at Bunaken is not only the amazing coral, huge schools of fish and crazy steep wall dives, but the ability to see the fascinating and beautiful mandarin fish in action...   Mandarin fish are crazily patterned and brightly colored (blue, orange, green, turquoise!), although really quite small (about 2 inches long at their largest).  They are named for their resemblance to the robes of the Imperial Chinese bureaucrats, the Mandarins

Photo courtesy of Luc Viatour at
Mandarin fish have an interesting mating ritual, described in oddly graphic detail in this National Geographic article and with pretty photos in this article, summed up as such: everyday, just before sunset, small groups of lady mandarin fish gather in one spot while the male fish swim by and try to impress them.  Once a pair is made, they latch onto each other, float up and away from the coral a few feet and then release a cloud of eggs and sperm.

Bunaken has a least one dive site where mandarin fish are plentiful and quite active, particularly around dusk, when they go into mating mode, so we signed up for a mandarin fish dive on our second day at Two Fish Divers.  We hopped on the boat, motored over to the designated spot, suited up, jumped out and sank down only about 5 meters (quite shallow), right on top of a pile of coral rubble (perhaps rubble-ized by dynamite fishing, now outlawed in the Bunaken areas?).  From there we hovered just a few feet above the ground, staring intently at the rubble in hopes of seeing the elusive (and tiny!) mandarin fish do their thang (like really do it... heh heh), while the light faded all around us, necessitating flashlights (see Scuba Steve and Colleen flashing the reef below, har har):

While waiting on the mating (no more rhymes now, I mean it!), I noticed that I was hovering just above a nice anemone whose residents were none too happy that I was loitering in their 'hood... check out their defensive posturing:

Aaaaand finally, we saw some mandarin fish action.  Basically we watched tens of these pretty but tiny fish troll the reef for a while, darting in and out of the coral rubble.  Eventually, when two of them crossed paths enough and the mood was right, they latch on to one another and float away from the reef, doing it.  When they're done they jet away from each other and back down to the rubble, lightening fast.  

Thanks to our divemaster, Sandy, for filming.  His buoyancy is much better controlled than mine, so his hand was steadier for filming this tiny sex act.  The lighting is not ideal since it's dusk, but you get the picture.  This makes me feel like those guys in Knocked Up who run a website that identifies, down to the second, nudity in movies, but here goes:  mandarin fish sex at approximately 0:30, 0:42, 1:55 and 2:05.  That should help those people with short attention spans get to the good stuff quickly. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bunaken Diving: Day 2

Second day in Bunaken, first dive of the day: Alban

Another day, another wall dive, folks.  

I love the eerie/romantic/Instagram-y feeling of this photo of Colleen and Scuba Steve:

Highlights from the video on this dive include:

1. Some crazy overhangs in the wall that we dove under/through:

2. Lots of purty coral and stuff:

3. Colleen flapping. If I weren't holding the camera, you'd see me flapping, too, but instead you get this lovely back-lit selfie:

4. Lots of funky sea sponges and stuff, including the purple and yellow ones that Steve doesn't like (Steve, I still want an explanation about why these particular undersea creatures are so offensive to you):

5. Tim + underwater peace signs (at minute mark 1:56) = comical.  Almost as comical as Tim + magic wand:

6. Me failing yet again to capture a clear shot of an orangutan crab pointed out by our divemaster (minute mark 2:00-2:04)

8. Yellow fish (which I can't ID) all up in my business, repeatedly (3:16, 4:03, 4:52, etc.)

9. Some jerk snorkelers standing on the top of the reef (the guys from our boat yelled at them) (5:34)

10. A curious crew of black fish towards the end of the dive (6:01):

Second dive of the day: Muka 2

Fewer photos and videos since our backup camera battery failed to charge correctly due to the island's intermittent power.  However, video highlights include us dropping down on some beautiful and fish-tastic reef, Tim gracing us with shots of his own face and knees, and a very pretty anemone:

Stuff seen but not captured on camera:

1. harlequin snake eel (super cool!!)
2. a moray eel
3. puffer fish
4. big schools of blue striped fusiliers
5. long nose butterfly fish
6. Christmas tree worms

Tim says that barely visible yellow stick in the middle of the fan is a trumpet fish: