Friday, April 11, 2008

Overdued - the Lankayan Report

-wrote this in January but did not seem to have published it,. So, better late then never-

The trip is one that I would not forget. First and foremost, it is one trip where I did not even see the sun, the skies were cloudy and grey all the time. Yeah I know, it is the monsoon season but then I have been in Sipadan and Kapalai in December and january where it drizzled on days but I did not expect no sun for 5 days straight. We did get a slight peek at the sun in the early hours of day four but then when it came for us to dive the sun did a peek-a-boo.

The surface were choppy all the time but it was good experience. I bobbed up and down, swallowed mouthfuls of salt water, and panicked for a few seconds on the surface. Visibility were alright as I have dived in 2 feet of poor viz before and here it was 5 to 8 metres.

But despite all that, I was amazed. If the viz and the weather had been better it would have turned out to be one of the best trips ever. I was amazed at the underwater treasures that greeted us. It was a macro heaven with numerous species of nudibranches, crabs, shrimps, seahorses and also full of pelagics. And to me unforgettable sights were watching the bottom during each descent, numerous blue spotted stingrays glide over the sandy bottom hurrying away afraid we might do a Steve Irwin on them, it looked like the runaway of the busiest airport in the world; and the highlight of the trip watching a leopard shark in action, swimming just above my head.

The sizes of the species were amazing, almost all of the nudibranches we saw were huge, and I mean huge, the size of a fist, I did not need to use my macro lense to see the details of their gills. Thehuge giant cuttlefishes were really huge and the lobsters size spanned about 2m from the tentacles to the tail.I guess the abundace of underwater life is a testament on how conservation work is successful. Lankayan is part of the Segud Islands Marine Conservation Area (SIMCA)with its research office in the resort itself.

Lastly, I made a few friends on this trip, our local divemasters and crew, fellow divers; Anne and Thomas, the honeymooners from Norway; Jans and Marie restaurant owners from Holland; Dita and Stephan from Indonesia/Switzerland.