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Ken Kurtis

Sulawesi, Indonesia pix & trip report

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Well, I've finally got the pix from our fabulous trip to Indonesia posted. You can find them here:

 

INDO PIX: Sulawesi, Indonesia - September, 2008

 

In case you missed the trip report (it was the entirety of the October newsletter), here's another whack at it:

 

INDO TRIP REPORT: Indonesia trip report - September, 2008

 

Enjoy!!!

 

- Ken

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That is an excellent report Ken and ties up entirely with my impressions of the area. We have stayed a couple of times at Tasik Ria - a bit west of Murex I think - and dived Bunaken extensively. We didn't do the local muck dives you mention but Tasik Ria had others locally that we visited and found A1 photographically.

 

A couple of points you make regarding fish life in Bunaken interested me particularly. Firstly, the sheer quantity of fish. That I can agree with totally but I would make a qualification based on our experiences. The fish on both our trips were generally small; we saw few decent sized fish and very few pelagics other than some occasional decent tuna/jacks. What medium sized fish we saw were very skittish and hard to photograph which was frustrating in the extreme. Maybe diving too often in Bonaire has spoilt us! The skittishness was explained, I think, because on several occasions as we moved around the islands we saw quite a lot of people swimming along the reef edges towing inner tubes with them. I asked the boat crew what they were doing & they explained they were spearfishing! I must admit I was quite stunned by this but it was explained to me that, although Bunaken is a National Park, locals are allowed to spearfish where they like but only for subsistance - ie they are not allowed to catch fish to sell. Don't know if this is policed but it certainly explained why we found a lot of the fish to be photographically difficult to approach.

 

I talked to the dive centre about the lack of large fish and they said that like many other places, there had been much unregulated fishing in the area in the last few years with inevitable consequences. Which leads me to my second point concerning red-toothed triggerfish. I noticed a lot of them in Bunaken too but I have seen far, far more in a trip to the Madives last month. So many in fact they were a seriously distracting nuisance on many dives. They seemed to be constantly raining down in clouds from mid-water onto the reefs - it never stopped during 60 minute dives - and every hole or slot that you looked in had one of these jokers lying inside. Other small fish that you might expect to be in these holes just weren't there and neither were many more which you would expect to see perching on the coral. I don't know what red-toothed triggerfish feed on but I rather assume other fish were intimidated by their sheer numbers. The dive centre staff told me there was far too much commercial fishing going on - fully authorized by the Maldives govenment - which had removed whole layers of predators such a tuna to the "benefit" of others such as the red-toothed triggerfish which had become a huge nuisance and a real detriment to other fish life. Where will it end? But to get to my point - is the same thing happening in Bunaken for the same reasons? I don't know but it looks kind of ominous.

 

Nice pics by the way!

Edited by JimG

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