What a fantastic weekend diving on the reefs and wrecks north of Bintan, Indonesia onboard The Seaborne live-aboard!
Great visibility (20 metres on a couple of dives), little to no current and a cracking group of divers! Myself (James – Instructor and PADI DiveMaster), GS-Diving PADI DiveMaster Kelvin and our PADI DiveMaster Trainee Lucy, accompanied 7 Divers departing Friday evening from Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.
Our first dive on Saturday was at the Sarawak Maru Wreck, a 121m Japanese tanker which struck a mine and sank in 1945. She now is lying upside down in the sand at 18-28m. Almost no current and 15 metre visibility ensured we had a really good dive allowing some easy penetration emerging the other side of the boat to schooling jacks and loads of yellow fusiliers.
Having spent the first dive looking down what would have been the port (left) side of the boat we decided as the conditions were so good we, after a surface interval, would spend the next dive exploring the starboard (right). This dive equaled the first, spotting some huge red snapper underneath a lip on the bottom of the boat. Shallowing up and watching our no decompression dive limits (NDLs) we found juvenile tasseled Scorpion fish in a few nooks and crannies before ascending back up the mooring line to a sunny day.
Our third dive was at Sumpat Island, again exhibiting beautiful coral and rock structures covered in nudibranchs giving the macro photographers in the group, plenty to shoot. Out in the sea grass beds, cuttlefish, pipefish, and seahorse’s were just a few of the other things we found around this reef.
Following Sumpat we decided to try out a near by reef we hadn’t dived before. This reef shall now be known as “Staghorn Reef” due to the fact its covered in staghorn coral. At 11 metres deep and having lots of fish life as well as a dash of rarer macro for example a magnificently flamboyant Saron Shrimp! Spotted by Sara. Staghorn Reef deemed so popular, we returned for dive two on Sunday.
Our night dive was back at Sumpat Island. We saw crustaceans, cuttlefish, and a lot of Bio-luminescent phyto-plankton, such a good dive half the guests went in for a second night dive.
Kelvin never looked happier having found a “Shaun the Sheep” or Costasiella Kuroshimae nudibranch (the green one in the pictures). Followed by an ever filling Seaborne BBQ and a good laugh, we all went to bed happy with the day.
Sunday gave us a very good dive at the Valley Forge Wreck. This wreck is a 134 metre American Bulk freighter which sunk in December 1959. Striking the rocky outcrop, she now lies split near her engine room, with both parts of the ship listing to various degrees to starboard. It was decided that it would be uneconomic to salvage her despite the shallow depth, and she was written off as a total loss. Again no current but this time with 20 metre visibility, shallower depths of the dive at 4 m to 16 m allowed a full hour to be spent checking out all the cracks of this expansive wreck. There was more easy penetration and swarming with fish life made this a highlight of an already brilliant weekend. To top it all off as we ascended, we spotted a juvenile Hawksbill Turtle with a pristine shell providing the photographers with more to shoot.
A big thanks to everyone who came along and to everyone who provided the photos, as shown below. Cheers, James