Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bunaken Diving: Day 1

Aiiiight, here we go: underwater footage!! Woot!

Please excuse the shaky-cam, occasional hand-in-shot, and the general blurriness of the photos.  Some of that is due to inexperience filming underwater, and some (at least on the first day) is due to quickly changing currents (up! down! hard left!  no, no, no, hard right!), low visibility (lots of floaties, as you'll see) and whatnot.  The photos and video get better as the days go on, I promise, due to both experience and improved conditions!

Also chalk some of the camera shake up to my flappy scuba hands... while diving I have trouble preventing my arms from moving as if I am treading water.  When I saw that Colleen did the same thing, I decided it was an ex-competitive swimmer thing and felt a little less silly about my bad habit.  We could both use a lesson from Scuba Steve, who always has his hands clasped calmly in front of him.

Steep walls are what Bunaken is known for... walls of coral that start at 3 meters deep and dramatically go straight down, up to 600 meters (see how steep they are above).  They're pretty crazy. When you're floating 20 meters down and you look down at your feet floating above the blue abyss, it gives you a weird feeling like you might fall in it, but you continue to hover, neutrally buoyant. 

Our first dive was at Lekuan 3, a steep wall with lots of crevices and ledges.  The currents on this dive were a little erratic... not too too strong, but ever-changing, which was confusing at times.  Back and forth, up and down.  But we did see lots of fish... big schools red-tooth triggerfish (beautiful teal fish with funky propeller-like fins and large, pointy vampire fangs), lionfish, beautiful coral, schools of pyramid butterfly fish, sea turtles...

Our second dive was at Muka Kampung (in front of the village, literally), and was lovely.  Again, schools of triggerfish and butterfly fish, more turtles, teeny little (smaller than a quarter) orange, hairy orangutan crabs (blurry photo above), a squat lobster, regal angelfish, moorish idols, stonefish, anemone shrimp, nudibranches...

Check out the video below from our first two dives.  Highlights include: me awkwardly putting the red filter cap on halfway through (it's supposed to help show true colors underwater where the red in the color spectrum is absorbed), turtles!, me and Colleen peace sign posing, flapping triggerfish, a bannerfish in a big sponge...:

The third dive of the day was just Tim and Scuba Steve...  Colleen and I took the afternoon off to chill out (regretting it a bit I would have hit the 50 dive milestone if I joined!). They tell me the dive was pretty amazing, and the video backs up their story... it looked like an aquarium.  Massive schools of shiny blue-striped fusiliers, more triggerfish and pyramid butterfly fish, more turtles, batfish, trumpetfish, puffers, sea cucumbers...  you name it.  Video and pics below...

Video highlights include Tim torn between pointing the camera at a turtle and following two big batfish that swam into frame.  Also, the cool shot with different schools of fish (fusiliers in the background, pyramid butterfly fish and others in the foreground) swimming past each other just off the edge of the reef and then simultaneously getting freaked:


Mr. Turtle says, "More to come!"

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