Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dayang Fun : 21st-24th Sept 2007

Sawasdee Kup!
I'm absolutely having lots of fun the past weekend and will be having more till the end of this week. I'm Blogging from the lobby of my Bangkok City Suite as my mates are still sleeping at this time of the day (12 noon Bangkok time). We had a little too much to eat and drink till very late last night. I'm totally relaxed after yesterday's full body massage that lasted a little more than 2 hours! We already visited the famous Suan- Lum Night Bazzar and watch some erotic and amazingly fascinating Thai Girls show with couple specials. Before I get too carried away.....
I was coaxed into the dive trip by Xiangyi as she was badly itching to dive Malaysia's waters before the Monsoon hits. The plan was to dive Tioman with The NTU but that Blur girl as sotong as she always have been, got the whole thing wrong and i eventually realised after confirmation. So we head to Dayang instead. The boat ride to the island was as usual - horrible and long. Dayang looked much more deteriorated since the last time i was there. The beach front at the little bay of the dayang resort was corroded by long shore drift right to the resort's concrete foundations. The corals were pretty much destroyed... The fish life is not as abundant.... and divers' attitude towards Marine conservation have changed. There will soon be nothing left to see in Dayang, at the rate divers and fishermen are taking from the sea.
Disappointment in locating marine life aside, I met lots of old familiar faces. Did a bit of catch up here and there. The most fruitful part was to meet new people, exchange experiences and have lots of fun. Although my dive guide Wen lie was a bit "nuah" but he and others like Ben, Jason, Ken, James, Issac, Shin, Youwen and all were abunch of fun loving and friendly guys - Like all divers do!.... we did lots of funny and crazy stuffs together and was definitely memorable.
Till I'm back from Bangkok, I'll blog more about the divesites, marine life and the fun we had in greater depth. So guys wait on for the photos and more report!
Ciao! Kup!


Friday, August 31, 2007

Bali Photos-- Upload in progress>>>>>>70% done

Upload of Photos for the 1st 11 dives from my Bali Safari is completed. You may now view them by clicking the link:

We saw Manta ray, Mola Molas and other interesting macros!!!
Please share your comments. It would be greatly appreciated.

I am still sorting through the rest of the few hundreds of photos...yes, I took more than 2000 ++ photos for this 7 day trip... phew... please bear with me. I hope to post them up by the end of next week.



Tuesday, July 31, 2007

To the realm of the Gods

The Clutches of the Octopus
I was fully embraced by the tentacles of the monster company(Octopus concepts & Franchise PL) I am working for. The past 1 month saw my brain juice sucked, physical energy drained non stop for more than 12 hours each day and having my Off days burned by the humongous Octopus.

The Octopus is relaunching Eski Bar @ Circular road after the refurbishment of its interior and facade. So I became slave to run errands on top of my already busy schedules. The Relaunch is scheduled on the 6th August 2006, just 1 day before I am freed from the Octopus's arms. For on the 7th, I will be levitating to the realm of the Gods.

Bali- The island of the Gods
It had been several months since I last dived. I am really looking forward to this trip. It was pre-planned months ahead just to coincide with the National day period, the annual Mola congregation and to take advantage of the cheap Jetstar flights(SGD$ 200 return including all taxes) . Jingwei, Daphne and I had sat down earlier to draft out a route on the road trip around the paradise island. The dive sites were carefully chosen after research and reviews. We wanted the best out of our time and of course, something of better value for money too. Thus, I emailed a handful of operators in Bali to compare and get the best deal out of them.

We have confirmed a week of fun in Bali come the 7th August. The 5 day Dive Safari of a total of 15 dives will be done with BIDP (Bali International Diving Professionals), a very experienced and established operator which offer reasonable rates. We will be off to dive the best sites, travelling and staying along the way to maximise time from the South to the North of Bali.

We will spend the remaining 2 days in the bustling towns of Kuta and Sanur, making merry shopping and drinking, surfing the famous wave beaches and other water sports. Perhaps, also travel up Gunung Agung for volcano trekking and white-water rafting. Ubud is also a good place to visit for cultural food, souvenirs and spa!

Here's the Itinerary of the Diving Safari!

7th August : Pick up from Airport on arrival (around 10pm),

Transfer to Sanur and overnight stay at Sukun Bali Cottage

8th August : Pick up and check out from hotel

3 Day Dives at Nusa Penida/Nusa Lembongan
Crystal Bay, Toyapakeh, Blue corner

Accommodation in Tanis Villa Lembongan

9th August :
3 x Day Dives Nusa Penida
Manta Point, Crystal Bay and Malibu Point

After diving transfer to Padang Bai

1 x Night Dive - Blue Lagoon

Transfer to Tulamben

Accommodation Matahari Tulamben

10th August : 3 x Day Dives at Tulamben- Seraya Secrets, USAT Liberty Ship Wreck, Dropoff

1 x Night Dive - USAT Liberty shipwreck

Overnight stay
Matahari Tulamben

11th August
: Transfer to Puri Jati

3 x day dives at Puri Jati (PJ, PJ West and Lovina)

1x Night dive at Puri Jati

Overnight stay at Aditya Lovina

12th August : Dolphin Watching In the morning at Lovina's Bay

Transfer to your Kuta

Visit Temples, Rice Terraces, Volcano scenery along the way

Free and Easy

13th August : Free and Easy

14th August : Free and Easy

Check out from hotel and transfer to airport by BIDP


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hantu Blog's 3rd Anniversary Dive Part FIVE

The light of the apricot sun vanished over world's end, signalling the start of a dark adventure beneath the waves...

25 March 2007

Dive No. 4 - Denizens of the Dark Waters
Dive Site: Western Fringing Reef (Flabellina Garden)
Location: Pulau Hantu Besar
Visibilty: 3 m
Temperature: 29°C
Maximum Depth: 13.7 m
Actual Bottom Time: 61 mins
Time In: 1912 hrs

A truely unique experience and a rare chance to brave the dark side of Pulau Hantu. Due to the challenging and limited visibility, Hantu's waters are rarely dived at night. We were one of the fortunate few who had the opportunity to explore Hantu's nocturnal reef life. The fringing reef was bustling with activities after sunset and was like a circus of crabs and shrimps! Check out some of the specimens that you don't usually find diurnally.

Red Egg Crab (Atergatis integerrimus)

We came across 2 specimens of this species resting among the reef. They do not get spooked easily with the divers' careful approach. They are usually found in intertidal regions and down to about 50 metres, on rocky, coral, or mud shores. So we actually get plenty of them on Singapore's seashores.

The Red Egg Crab is a large oval shaped crab, with a wide and long, arc-shaped front edge to the carapace. It grows to a carapace width of about 12 cm.

The front of the carapace is extremely broad compared to the rear, which is quite indistinct. Two thirds of the way around its carapace edge, a blunt bump divides the front from the very short side and rear edges. The upper surface of the carapace is convex (curving outwards) and is quite smooth, without any major spines. It has large equal-sized chelae with brown or black fingers(pincers). Its legs often have distinct crests. The males of dark-fingered crabs have the usual complement of seven abdominal segments reduced to five by having segments three to five fused together. The Red Egg Crab is uniform light brown to reddish brown in colour, with white "lace-work" mottling on the carapace and brown spotted limbs. Underneath the carapace is cream in colour. The Red Egg Crab is poisonous and should not be consumed.

Oceanids Swimming Crab (Thalamita admete)

This is a fairly common swimming crab in Singapore waters. There are alot of similar species. Thalamita admete is distinct because the females have bright blue legs. The males are just drab orange-brown with spots. This Swimming Crab is classified under the genera of Thalamita because it has four teeth on each side of the frontal edge of its carapace whereas the Charybdis species have got five teeth. Swimming crabs are very good swimmers and can move very quickly on the reef. They are defensive and can inflict considerable painful wounds so are best left alone.

Cleaner Rock Shrimp (Urocaridella sp.)

This undescribed species is strictly related to Urocaridella antonbrunii but is recognised by its very transparent body and its much sparser white and red spotting. Its behaviour is similar to U. antonbrunii which I have described in an earlier post here.

This Urocardella sp. is pregnant with eggs under its belly. Take a closer look.

Red-Scissor Slender Shrimp (Kemponia tenuipes)

Sometimes also known as a Ghost Shrimp or Carid Shrimp. It probably derived its name from "tenuipes" which means slender/thin in Latin referring to the very long & thin first pair of arms. Incidentally, this & other long-armed shrimps which were formerly known from the subfamily of "Periclimenes" have been transferred to the genus Kemponia so the new name is Kemponia tenuipes. Kemponia is probably named for the british crustacean expert S.W. Kemp who did extensive research into the classification of their genus.

K. tenuipes is a very distinct species of shrimps with a pair of very long chelipeds tipped in orange-red colour. There are usually orange/red/yellow spots at its joints along the length of its chelipeds. They are small and are difficult to spot due to their almost transparent bodies. These long-armed shrimps are mostly found among coral rubble and in crevices. I have seen alot of these in the Similans but none of them seemed to exhibit any commensalistic behaviours(unlike shrimps of the genus Periclimenes) on other sea creatures such as anemones, seastars and urchins. This could probably be one of the reasons they were extracted out of the commensalistic family of Periclimenes as K. tenuipes is discovered to be a type of free-living shrimp.

There are 2 Emerpeor Shrimps and 1 Carid Shrimp within the interior of this Barrel sponge. Can you see them? Click the photograph above or see below for magnification.

Carid Shrimp (Kemponia cf. tenuipes)

This is apparently another species variation of K. tenuipes and appears undescribed(or I can't find reference to it). I have observed it on a few occasions(in Sg and Lang Tengah) within barrel sponges like the one above or in branching colonies of hard corals. As with nominal species of Carid shrimps, it has the characteristic long chelipeds but without bright colour markings. It is generally transparent with longitudinal red line along its body.

Emperor Shrimp (Periclimenes cf. imperator)

They usually show some degree of variation in their livery, possibly in relation to their choice of host. This small shrimp is less than 1 cm. They can be easily approached without difficulties.

Minstrel Shrimp (Metapenaeopsis hilarula)

This crustacea may locally be known as a prawn due to its larger size( carapace length of > 5 cm), but it is strictly a shrimp. As per defined by scientists, families of Decapods belonging to Infraorders; PENAEIDEA and CARIDEA are separately named shrimps and prawns due to their natural habitat. Shrimps are saltwater dwelling whereas prawns thrive in freshwater. Strictly, some saltwater genus should not be called prawns because of their larger dinner table size.

The Minstrel Shrimp is distributed around the Indo-pacific region from S.E Africa to Malaya. They are often found buried in muddy substrate and at night. They can be easily located with their glimming pair of eyes when you shine your torch over them.

Overall, this night dive was a very interesting one(as usual cos I love night dives!!). It was a dive filled with all the decapods crawling around busy with their work as they started their day nocturnally. The day with the Hantu Bloggers was really fruitful with all the startling finds I'd never expect to find in Singapore waters. A message out to all: Keep preserving Singapore's reef through conservation efforts(like what Hantu Bloggers are doing) and you'll see more of the living treasures of Singapore's own!

Sorry about the long delay of this last post due to very busy work schedules. Will try to find time to post up all the interesting encounters on my Lang Tengah and Similans trip. So wait on guys!


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Hantu Blog's 3rd Anniversary Dive Part FOUR

25 March 2007

Dive No. 3 - Eyes of the Sunset Reef
Dive Site: Western Patch Reef (Cigar reef)
Location: Pulau Hantu Besar
Visibilty: 3 m
Temperature: 29°C
Maximum Depth: 13.7 m
Actual Bottom Time: 61 mins
Time In: 1712 hrs

We started on the Western Fringing reef and slowly moved north west to reach the Patch Reef. Along the way, Jimmy spotted an Octopus that swooped into a tiny crevice. Debby and I waited patiently for it to emerge but this intelligent creature just hid there motionless, only roving its eyes to check us out.

Can you tell the Octopus apart from the substrates of the reef? Look for its Eyes, it is looking directly at you!

There were lots of giant Mud Reef Gobies (Exyrias bellissimus) darting from hole to hole on the sandy reef. These fishes have large eyes above their head so they are sensitive to movements within their enhanced vision. As with other species of gobies, they are difficult to approach and will dash for the nearest hole when there's sudden advancement.

The Mud Reef Goby watched the approaching diver(me) cautiously while sifting through the muddy silt for food particles before darting off....

I came across an exposed tail of an unsuspecting fish. Curiosity got the better of me -I had to investigate. I tickled the tail of this fish to encourage it to emerge from the other side. It worked... A pair of sapphire eyes glittered and snared out at me! The fish was complete with 3 venomous spines and barbels. It grinned like an irritated cat before disappearing into a cramped crevice. That was unmistakably an Eel-tail Catfish. It was a pity that I missed capturing that crux moment when the mesmerising blue eyes interacted with me.

Tale of an Eel...... or not!

Despite their small size, Nudibranchs are among the showiest and the most interesting creatures of the reef. As I have previously introduced, Nudibranchs are sea slugs with no internal or external shell. They are so called Nudibranch because most species have a more or less evident tuft of gills on its dorsal mantle surface like the C. fidelis below. From Greek-latin to English context, Nudibranch is translated as "Naked-gills". You may be surprised to know that Nudibranchs actually have eyes! Their microscopic eyes sit deep inside the body on top of the brain. Although these slugs have eyes, these small black spheres cannot see images and colours of the reef. They are only able to distiguish light and dark which may warn the slug of predators by detecting shadows and are time keepers to help the slugs stay informed of day and night. What they lack in vision, they make up for it in ultra chemo-sensitivity. They have a pair of receptacles with tentacle-like retractable projections called the Rhinophores. Literally translated from 2 classic Greek words: "Rhino" = nose, and "Phore" = carrier. It is an organ of sensory "smell". The rhinophores can pick up scents of food, mates and even of predators.

Reliable Chromodoris (Chromodoris fidelis) "sensing" the water column for directions to its food sources and mates.

Flatworms have tentacles at the anterior end and often have brilliant colours they are occasionally mistaken for nudibranchs. But in contrast to nudibranchs, tentacles are mostly simple folds of the anterior margin. They can move along much faster than nudibranchs, are much thinner and tend to break up if handled. Furthermore, they don't have special respiratory organs (gills) as respiration is performed by diffusion through the worms entire surface. Polyclads exhibit a wide variety in colour pattern and texture. They have marginal ruffles tending to increase in number with size. Except opaque species which are black or mainly black, most species are transparent and their internal organs can be seen through the epidermis. Especially the ovaries can be bright red or deep purple and can influence the colour of the dorsal surface.
The anterior cerebrial ganglion knot and its large interneurons resemble the worm's "brain" analyzing nerve signals coming in from numerous photo- and chemosensitive cells which are concentrated mainly on head and pseudotentacles. Additionally, a high number of mechanoreceptors are dispersed throughout the epidermis. Photosensitive cells can be found in the cerebral eyespot where numerous eyes appear to form round clusters. Further eyes are located on the ventral and dorsal pseudotentacles. These eyes are not capable of forming images but are sensitive to changes in light direction and intensity. When flatworms sense bright light they usually retreat to a darker place.

Compared to vertebrates, the organization of polyclad eyes is quite simple. This type of eye, which lacks any lens, has been described as "pigment cup ocellus". Ocelli are part of the cerebral eyespot and are composed of several photosensitive cells and a concave cup. The walls of the cup contain pigments prohibiting light penetration from three sites. The light sensitive portions of the cells, microvilli, are arranged inside the opaque cup such a way that they can only be exposed by light from one single direction. Depending on the angle of incoming light, shadows fall onto the photosensitive structures. Since the cup can be actively rotated by muscles a quickly changing shadow pattern is generated. Corresponding excitatory nervous signals are sent to the cerebral ganglion where the information is analyzed and used for threedimensional orientation and appropriate behavioral reactions. -Text and Sketches of Flatworm adapted from: Anatomy of Polyclad Flatworms © Marine Flatworms of the World, Wolfgang Seifarth 1997-2002, All Rights Reserved!

A huge polyclad Flatworm (Pseudobiceros gratus)

A large Blue-spotted Fantail Stingray (Taeniura lymna) staring at me with its sinister looking eyes, warning me not to provoke it or else...... I thought of Steve Irwin for a moment and decided to ascend instead....


Fin to the top Ascend to the Surface

About Me!
Wyatt Ang Wee Leng

Common Alias
Weilong aka Ah Long

Astrological Sign

Singapore, The Sunny Island

Loves ♥
The Sun, Sand and the Sea

Highest Certification
PADI Advanced Open Water

No. Of Logged Dives

Have Dived
P.Aur, P.Dayang, P.Perhentian, P. Tioman, P. Lang Tengah

P.Sipadan, P.Mabul, P.Kapalai

Pulau Hantu, Pulau Sudong, Pulau Salu, Sudong Wreck, Pulau Jong

North Sulawesi->>
Manado Bay, Manado Tua, Bunaken and Lembeh Strait
Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, Tulamben and Puri Jati(Lovina)

Khao Lak->>
Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Boonsung Wreck

Next Diving Destination ♥

Top 10 Must See
1. Whale Shark
2. Thresher Shark
3. Harlequin Shrimp
4. Lacy Rhinopias
5. Mimic Octopus
6. Flambouyant Cuttlefish
7. Wobblegong Shark
8. Weedy Sea Dragon
9. Mobular Rays
10. Stargazer

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