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Tales from Fakfak


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#1 Nitrogen Jones

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 09:45 AM

Recently returned from Fakfak onboard the Seahorse with Diving4Images

Bubbly 2007 to all :D



Trip report:

http://www.isd.net/r...2006/Fakfak.htm
I'm jonesing for nitrogen...

#2 Drew

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 10:13 AM

Nice report YY.

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#3 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 10:21 AM

Excellent report. Brings the memories flooding back. I was there the charter before. Fantastic.

Here is the new species of Epaulette shark. Managed to get this one up and walking:
Posted Image

There is also a Wetpixel trip to the area in February.

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#4 loftus

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 11:20 AM

Thank you for a great report. Can I assume that one should add a 6-7 days for travel if I ever plan a trip there in the future?
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#5 scubamarli

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 12:20 PM

Great report! Your nudibranch appears to be Ceratasoma alleni, which is known from the Philippines and is relatively newly described. Please let Bill Rudman know about your find, as it is a range extension for the species.
http://www.seaslugfo...?base=ceraallen

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#6 bondo

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 05:31 PM

Yes, excellent report. The sounds you think you heard from the Wobegon may be related to this article:
Talking fish
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#7 Nitrogen Jones

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 05:22 PM

Marli.
thanks for the nudi ID. Its definitely the C. Alleni. I emailed Seaslug forum with the new local. Its a big jump from Mindanao to Irian Jaya, someone must have seen this nudi in Raja Ampat...

Bondo,
as for talking fish... maybe, then again maybe not :rolleyes:
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#8 jbonehoss

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 10:21 PM

Awesome report - sounds like a blast!

I am not sure the exact dates you were diving but we must have been in Raja Ampat at almost the same time (for a week). The first 2 days the viz was incredible blue, then a strange little wind blew up one night and the viz completely collapsed. I have never seen anything like it - green murk that looked just like what I saw in your pictures. The guys who having been diving there for a while had not seen it before. Then, another odd wind blew up from the south and for the last 2 days the viz cleared back out to average, but blue instead of green. I guess the point is, you never know what viz you are gonna get!

Based on what I have heard, I can't wait to get over to Fakfak.

Thanks :rolleyes:
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#9 Nitrogen Jones

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 12:12 PM

Interesting correlation Justin. I was in Fakfak Nov28 thru Dec9. I remember a couple of reports from '98, during the last big el nino event that normally crystal clear Kimbe bay in PNG turned green, and had an influx of all sorts of jelly creatures. There was a lot of jelly stuff in Fakfak waters too...
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#10 PRC

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 03:38 AM

Nice Report and super pictures - congratulations.

Seems a bit of a difficult journey though !

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#11 pmooney

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 06:05 AM

Great report on what is shaping up to be the latest "hotspot", I can't wait to get up there.

I have heard a lot of positive feedback from people who have been up in that region recently.

I am interested in the reports of this new species of Epaulette Shark , actually I am wondering what is the part that makes it so exciting ?

#12 shawnh

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 11:15 PM

I was also in Raja with Justin in late December . We were fortunate enough to have an Epaulette Shark or two residents on the house reef (about 50 feet from the sand). We are helping a fellow named Andy Minders set up an eco resort and conservation center in southern Raja Ampat on an small island called Batbitim (www.indoeco.com). The diving is flat out phenominal and the amount of potential dives sites within 0 to 30 minutes beyond comprehension.

Anyway, i captured a little HD footage of our friendly walking shark. Take a peak and enjoy...this fellow was doing the walking thing perfectly:)

Posted Image
Click below for movie:
http://www.bluespher...uletteShark.mov
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#13 pmooney

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 03:39 AM

I was also in Raja with Justin in late December . We were fortunate enough to have an Epaulette Shark or two residents on the house reef (about 50 feet from the sand). We are helping a fellow named Andy Minders set up an eco resort and conservation center in southern Raja Ampat on an small island called Batbitim (www.indoeco.com). The diving is flat out phenominal and the amount of potential dives sites within 0 to 30 minutes beyond comprehension.

Anyway, i captured a little HD footage of our friendly walking shark. Take a peak and enjoy...this fellow was doing the walking thing perfectly:)

Posted Image
Click below for movie:
http://www.bluespher...uletteShark.mov



Shawn,

Thanks for the video - will check it out in a couple of days when i get to a fast connection, at the moment I am on a borrowed machine that has a connection that is only marginally faster than carrier pigeon.

Still am trying to get hold of what makes this epaulette shark a new species ?

Is it the fact that it uses it's fins in leg like ( walking) fashion ?

#14 shawnh

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 12:12 PM

I was wondering the same thing...b/c epaulette sharks have been on the books for quite awhile...ones that look very similar to this one?
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#15 Graham Abbott

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 09:15 AM

Thanks for the great report and at last I get to see some images from the area too. So glad someone actually wrote a report about this area, saves me doing it now! You put it much better than I could have ever done as well!

Firstly regarding the viz in the area, I spoke with the guys from Misool Eco Resort on ym way back to Sorong, then to Max at Papua Diving, then Dave from Shakti, all of whom reported very poor viz, so it looks like we just had one of those times when “shit happens”! I just can’t wait to get back there at the end of this month to see how the conditions are then. Keep watching it may very well be David Doubilet who gets the amazing viz shots from this area!

So why are the Walking Sharks so special, simple really, something has to be the point of attraction when trying to protect and conserve an area. If the BBC, NatGeo or whoever had wrote about a new species of flasher wrasse, dottyback, goby or some other usual fish it wouldn't have that wow factor. OK so there are lots of divers who may have seen epaulette sharks before. These articles were not going out to the general diving public; they are going out to those who don't know about the underwater world, going to donors who can hopefully part with their cash and help to make sure this area is protected from illegal fishing. So imagine this, you have never been diving but have seen the odd video about the underwater world, then you hear about a shark that walks… Come on now think about it, it is incredible that this animal walks on it’s fins and doesn’t swim like most other sharks. I reckon if you don’t think that this is cool, you must be getting jaded by what you are seeing, the life down there is simply bizarre, much of which we still have no idea why or what!

What makes this a new species, if you take a look at the colouration it is very different from all other known epaulette sharks in any book you’ll find. If you take a look at the one I’ve posted (not my photo, it’s a friend who joined me Erwin Kodiat’s image) you’ll also notice that this is also a bit different in colouration and has different markings from any other species that you will find in books – why – this is more than likely another unknown species of epaulette shark.

Just like the Darwin finches, these walking sharks are limited in there distribution, they produce eggs which stay on reefs till they hatch into young. The young sharks do not swim off; they stay on the same reef or very close by. What this means is that each un-explored region -- those of which have yet to be fully surveyed by fish experts -- may very well have a new species of epaulette shark living on the reefs. The one shown here is a photo taken from Halmahera on a site where we found about 3 or 4 of them.

Attached Images

  • ek_epauletteshark_resize.jpg


#16 shawnh

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 10:30 AM

Graham,
Which of folks do you know at Misool Eco? Having just spent a week camping in their tents and eating out of the cumminty bowl together...we have become good chums. All great people!
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#17 Graham Abbott

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 07:30 PM

Shawn, I know Andy mostly. Though I've never actually spent a lot time with him. I know we have so much in common so I really want to be able to sit down with him at some stage. I love what he is doing and will support in any way I can. In fact we kind of supported them recently. They had no tanks on the island and had lots of divers from Thailand helping out, all of which were hnagign out to dive so we gave them some tanks for a dive and then left them with a few, their compressor was just on the way from Sorong. It worked out well as we needed a big favour on the way back.

#18 kodiat

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 10:02 PM

Graham,
I didn't know that Epaulette sharks are so special. Thanks for pointing me this fabulous fish when we were at Halmahera. I was quite shocked when it walked, if you recall. :)
Looking forward to having a trip to Fakfak with you ...

Here bigger photo from my Flickr
Posted Image


What makes this a new species, if you take a look at the colouration it is very different from all other known epaulette sharks in any book you�€™ll find. If you take a look at the one I�€™ve posted (not my photo, it�€™s a friend who joined me Erwin Kodiat�€™s image) you�€™ll also notice that this is also a bit different in colouration and has different markings from any other species that you will find in books �€“ why �€“ this is more than likely another unknown species of epaulette shark.

Just like the Darwin finches, these walking sharks are limited in there distribution, they produce eggs which stay on reefs till they hatch into young. The young sharks do not swim off; they stay on the same reef or very close by. What this means is that each un-explored region -- those of which have yet to be fully surveyed by fish experts -- may very well have a new species of epaulette shark living on the reefs. The one shown here is a photo taken from Halmahera on a site where we found about 3 or 4 of them.


Edited by kodiat, 11 January 2007 - 10:22 PM.


#19 shawnh

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 11:18 PM

Graham,
The folks in Misool Eco told us about the loaner tanks. they were so excited to get a chance to dive after working in the burning sun for months. Next best thing would have been beers ( a banned word on the island since we had no refridgeration). The compressor is up and running and we put it to good use in its first days or operation:)

Regarding helping Andy out. It would be awesome if the livaboard operators banded together and committed to supporting a special park fee in the protected area. Misool Eco has 200 square kilometers of No Take Zone that could stay prestine if enough support makes it to the locals. That size of this zone could also grow substantially if others saw the positive econimics associated with it.

Is this realistic?


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#20 davephdv

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 01:01 PM

Great story.
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