Sunday, December 8, 2013

Diving Gili Air (With Chuck)

After some lounging, sunset viewing and snorkeling as well as some reassurance from Chuck that she was ready to descend the depths of the ocean again, albeit as a zombie, we headed back out for some diving with Gili Air's Manta Dive:

We were paired up with divemaster Hell, the same fellow Tim and I dove with earlier in the year, he of the butter knife.  This time the butter knife he used as his pointer for diving was literally grabbed off of someone's breakfast plate... it still had food stuck on it!

Our first dive was at Mirko's Reef, which has some lovely coral. We had a bit of a short dive because someone (ahem) ran low on air, but it was quite beautiful.  Highlights include: a couple beautiful anemone fish (Nemo), nice table coral, a blink and you'll miss it lionfish inside of the table coral (you can see Hell pointing it out to us with his trusty butter knife at 1:02), Chuck perfecting her double hand wave...    not pictured: a bright yellow trumpetfish:

Dive #2: Hann's Reef

This dive, one I had done before with Tim, was awesome.  We coached Chuck through breathing a little slower and more deliberately to save air, so the dive was much longer than our first. Plus, Hell informed us that we would be able to see the turtles only if we were able to stretch our dive out to at least 45 minutes... a good incentive to conserve air.  And turtles we saw!

Highlights from the first part of our dive at Hann's reef include:

- a blue spotted stingray in the sand that I caught sight of and then carefully maneuvered over, lest I go the way of Steve Irwin
- a giant giant clam!
- lots of fish and pretty coral
- the near invisible stonefish...  or maybe it's a scorpionfish? (Hell points it out at 1:17)
- some moorish idols
- some pretty yellow-tailed fusiliers (1:37)
- Chuck double hand waving
-  a cool, tiny, basically transparent anemone shrimp (at least that's what I think it is) at 2:30

And then, the turtles!!!  We were able to make it to turtle town, and, as promised, there were lots of turtles hanging out.  The first one was so sound asleep that he kinda looked dead, with his head hanging down.  The second and third were congregated around a large barrel sponge, one sitting in it and one next to it.  I am pretty sure they were in the same exact position when Tim and I dove that site in April.  Check out the remorae on the back of the one that swims away.  And, of course, Chuck double hand waves behind the turtles before we depart:

Post-turtle we did some swimming across a large patch of sandy bottom, punctuated by mini-reefs covered in fish.  Highlights:
- scuba selfie at 0:08!
- super aggressive Nemo guarding his lonely anemone at 0:23... check out how he lunges at me!
- a spotted boxfish munching on the coral at 0:50
- ginormous barrel sponges
- a fat, gross sea cucumber (found by Chuck) at 1:53
- double and single hand waves from Chuck

Another awesome find on this dive: two blue ribbon eels sticking their heads out of the sand, waving their flared nostrils to and fro (they're a little hard to spot in the first part of my video, but be patient, I get closer.):

Not pictured, but seen: the amazing mantis shrimp, a moray eel, a titan triggerfish, spotted garden eels!

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