Friday, September 19, 2008

My Cleaner Shrimps Spawned!!!

Look carefully, the microscopic juvenile shrimps 'snowed' in my aquarium.

It had been 2 months since I established my nano marine aquarium. A lot of busy incidents happened inside, of course. First, my bully damsel killed most of my bottom feeder fish. Then, it started to annoy my clown fish and someday later, the pair of clown fish could not take anymore and went to netherland too. It finally hit my boundary when it attacked my favourite fire goby (the cutie fish in the picture, until it hopped out from the aquarium. Furiously, I isolated the damsel and the residents in my aquarium now are only a fire goby and a pair of cleaner shrimps. I expected to loose my fire goby as I noticed that it bleeded after falling to the floor. In fact, it survived the ordeal and getting more active and happier ever since! Miracle did happen sometimes.

With the bully damsel gone, the shrimps practically felt more safe. They devoured anything I dropped in. Sometimes, they even swam upside down to catch the floating pellets! I suspected that the lady shrimp had eggs under her belly. It proved me right last night when I found that my aquarium was 'snowing romantically'. The shrimp spawned! Not eggs but juvenile microscopic shrimps! It was an interesting sighting. The happiest one should be my goby, first time ever tasted live food in aquarium. This morning, all of the baby shrimps were gone, which I have expected to be eaten or being sucked by into the filter. Nevermind, at least the shrimps are happy with their lifes and I am not a bad fish keeper afterall.... Make more babies please....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Whale Shark Smiles at Tenggol Island

The blog title speaks all - a memorable dive in Tenggol Island, close encounter with a juvenile whale shark at Tokong Timur. To feed you the details, carry on reading then…. All of the photos were captured by my fellow divers as I did not rent or bring any camera this time.

Happy divers who spotted Whale Shark at Tenggol Island!

Long journey of driving, stranded boat due to spoiled engine, cumbersome gear up etc. etc. are some of the nightmares that drive diver to the wall. Though we experienced all of these mishaps during the trip, everyone was still going home with a big smile. New friendship + good dive guide + luckiest sighting + positive attitude counterbalanced all of the unlucky events. In fact, I think this is the luckiest dive trip I ever had so far since I am still in one piece after the driving journey. Well, my fellow divers will understand what I am referring to…

Yeah, I was not to be lost thanks to the striking red wetsuit.

Tenggol Island is exclusive for divers. It does not have a breathtaking beachview nor spectacular chalet, nor tempting food, nor bikini girls. What you can do is just dive, dive and dive. I logged 6 dives in two days (5 day dives and 1 night dive) but I could only recollect 3 dives (Tokong Timur, Lost World and House Wreck at Night).

Tokong Timur
This dive site is located at the southern tip. This was the first morning dive of the 2nd day, after a torrential rain at night. Visibility was simply superb. Backrolled into the clear ocean, we were greeted by schoaling ‘DIGI’ fish, i.e. all sorts of yellowish fish such as yellow stripe snapper, yellow fusiliers etc. The sheer number of the yellow species alone would make this dive unique. I could never imagine fusiliers could grow to such an extensive size! Along the dive, I also spotted my favourite schoaling barracudas.

At the turn of the boulder, we spotted the idol of all divers – Whale Shark. I believe I was the first person who spotted the whale shark after Charlie frantically bang his tank. The moment was just sensational. First, its head emerging from far away, then its full length body appeared, with many remora fish sticking under its belly, swimming alongside was a lone king fish. If I started finning upwards, I believe I could reach the whale shark and block its direction. Too afraid to scare it away, I just watched motionless. I had a delusion that the king fish peeped at me with a despicable expression, laughing snobbishly at my fans-met-idol silliness. The whale shark had not fully grown yet, about 4 meters plus. It passed by and almost wanted to turn back to check on us, but later with a flip of tail, it vanished into the blue. Oops, forgot to mention that most of the photographers missed the sighting and, therefore, no photo to prove.

Giant puffer cleaned by a wrasse at cleaning station.

Lost World
The coralscape was something to keep you amazed. Boulders were standing tall and high, lots of bright colour seafans with transparent shrimps and fries as their residence. I spotted some monstrous-size angels, such as bluering and six-banded. I am always an angelfish fan, no matter how frequent I spot them, I will still get excited. The six-banded angels were the largest angels I had ever encountered.

Healthy table corals scattering everywhere.

House Wreck (Night Dive)
I was almost doomed by this dive. First, tangled regulator which made me difficult to grab my first stage while descending. Second, bloody virgin torch light died beneath 20 m. Third, buoyant tank and current which keep pushing me upwards. Definitely struggling not to loose my buddy. To compensate the mishaps, plenty of night creatures to spot – cuttlefish with bioluminescent signals, big banded shrimps, crocodile fish, decorator crab, puffer etc.

Banded shrimp inside the wreck.

Turtle Point, Mini Highway, Tanjung Gemuk
These were the blur dives for me. Right after descending of one dive, we saw a grouper being trapped in tangled robes. Charlie, our dive guide, rescued it by cutting off the robe mess.

Poor grouper trapped within the robes

Turtle Points - checkout dive and spotted a schoal of juvenile barracudas, batfish, giant bumphead, giant puffer at clean station.
Mini Highway - there was a sandy bottom where shrimp gobies were abundant. Also, spotted the red Spanish dancer resting on the bottom.
Tanjung Gemuk - the last dive of the trip. The visibility was crappy, strong and many thermoclines, loud clicking sound made by coral during feeding (told by Charlie).

To sum out the dives, Tenggol Island was incredible. I definitely see myself revisit it again someday sometime. Until then, take care my dearest whale sharky….