We departed from Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT) at 5.30pm and headed to Batam to clear immigration in Indonesia. It was a windy crossing that made it a little unpleasant for some people. We cleared immigration and headed towards our destination, 60-70 nautical miles far south of Batam.
The wind and waves did not calm down until we were heading south between Bintan and Batam. Most people got a decent nights sleep. We arrived at the Indonesia Navy meeting point around 2am, woke around 7am and did our first dive at 8am at Flat Rock.
Flat rock was not as good as it has been in the past, unfortunately there was a mild to strong surface current that was challenging for some, but once you got below 6m the current dropped off and the viz was average at around 3-5 metres.
My group consisting of Robert and Jack spotted some flat worms and loads of small fish, at one point in the dive we came across thousands of whip coral. Linda and Isobel found the current too much and decided not to dive.
My two Dive Masters Sara and David had a decent dive with their groups too. JB and Carsten enjoyed themselves with a 50 minute dive. After the dive the Indonesian Navy arrived and gave us the all clear to head off.
The next dive site was about an hour south and we experienced much better conditions and the viz was 8-10 metres with little to no current. We dived Seafan Alley.
I have dived here a few times now and it is always a great dive. Hundreds of seafans big and small all covered and colourful seastars. There was also parrotfish, pufferfish and one huge sweetlip amongst the many spotted sweetlip.
We surfaced to find it was windy again, so we headed to a sheltered shallow reef for our next dive after lunch.
Fish Trap Reef is what I named this site last year. But because of the wind I decided to start the dive further along the reef away from the fish traps. I decided to name this site Safety Stop Reef due the fact we did not get any deeper then 6 metres. The sun was shining brightly and the viz was excellent at 8-10 metres with no current. So we lazily swam along the reef and every so often headed out over the sand to some other smaller patches of reef.
The sand is littered with shrimp gobbies mostly yellow and black. The fish life at this reef was incredible, so many fish everywhere, rabbit fish, pufferfish, parrotfish blue spotted rays, pipe fish and there are many varieties of clownfish too.
The fourth day dive was at Mini Island, named that way because you can swim around the whole island in one dive, if you swim fast enough! This was the highlight of the day. There were bigger and even more fish than the previous site. JB and Carsten saw a Turtle.
For my group, I took them out away from the island following this small reef system. It went out a fair way and was covered is varying forms of soft coral. From there we went back towards where we started the dive and completed our safety stop, then surfaced were the boat used to be. But it was around the other side collecting some divers. No worries we were collected in 10 minutes.
The night dive was back at Seafan Alley but unfortunately the dive was cut short because I aborted the dive for my group’s safety. We jumped in and the first 15 minutes was very nice and easy with no current, a few crabs, garden eels and other stuff was out and about. Then all of a sudden the current hit us like a freight train and people were going all over the place, so we ascended and got back on the boat. JB and Carsten managed to dive for another 10 minutes or so but also surfaced with an amazed look of “WT..”
The first dive Sunday morning was at a new site, I asked for some dive site names and the best I got was Cabbage Patch Reef. The name comes from one area at about 14 metres where the sand was covered with various fans, not sea fans but other varieties. Green Reef was another name, because of all the huge green hard coral. I thought of Shark Bay because you never see sharks at places with “shark” in it’s name.
We saw loads of cool stuff at this new site like nudis, squirrelfish and rabbitfish. Blue spotted rays were everywhere and a sea snake was spotted too. Groupers and sweetlips were also seen and the reef was loaded with small fish and the coral was very heathly. Definitely worth another dive next time we come this way.
The last dive of the weekend was back at Mini Island, where this time we managed to get all the way around thanks to the current on one side. The site is covered in small to medium fish and loads of soft and hard corals. We opted out of another dive due to the winds and decided to play it safe and get back to Nonsga on time and hopefully early to Singapore. All the divers washed their gear as the MV Seaborne hit top speed of 10 knots.
I have to mention that the food on the Seaborne is awesome the BBQ on Saturday is just one continuous supply of amazing food for about 2 hours. Hopefully one trip we will be able to finish all the BBQ food.
Till next time, remember that a bad day diving is better than a good day in the office. Gary