I am well and truly settled into the swing of diving life here at Wakatobi Dive Resort, although there have been quite a few changes since I was here last. There are many more guides than my previous stays, as the resort now offers private guiding. This allows divers to have their very own guide should they choose this service. This is also good for me, as it’s lots more pairs of eyes searching for pygmies! My active schedule is being fuelled by the amazing cuisine, which includes a combination of Indonesian, Asian and Western styles.
Week one of my time spent at Wakatobi Dive Resort in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, originally written for FiNS Online:
I have recently returned from two trips aboard the Paradise Dancer in the Raja Ampat region of Indonesia where I have been in search of the recently described and extremely elusive Satomi’s pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus satomiae). The Paradise Dancer, or Dewi Nusantara as it is also known, is a member of the Peter Hughes fleet and the crown jewel of Indonesian liveaboard diving.
Every week during my two months at Wakatobi Dive Resort between August and October 2009 I wrote a blog for FiNS online. I was at the resort conducting fieldwork for my PhD on the biology of pygmy seahorses. The blog explains what I was up to each week so just follow the links below to each week's write-up:
Week 1 - The weeks ahead
I spent a couple of weeks at Walea Dive Resort in the Togean Islands of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia conducting surveys of gorgonian-associated pygmy seahorses as well as having my first experiences with the amazing and newly named Walea pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus waleananus).
I also wrote some information for the resort's website about the reef and some creatures they habour, which you can read on the resort's website:
Neville Coleman was again kind enough to attempt IDs for some unusual creatures I have found during dives in Indonesia. This was published in issue 135 of Sport Diving.
The following article was the second in my 'Species Crash Course' series published in Asian Diver Magazine (issue 106) entitled 'Species Crash Course: The Scorpionfish of Muck Dives'.
SPECIES CRASH COURSE: Identifying Scorpionfish on Muck Dives - By Richard Smith (© Richard Smith 2012)
I have recently donated to an innovative campaign by Shark Savers and Wild Aid who have been asking for US$100 which will buy two billboards in China that aim to educate people on the plight of global shark populations. Shark finning is decimating the world's shark populations and is primarily fueled by demand from China and other Asian countries. Hitting demand at its source I consider to be the way forward!
The following article 'Sharks Demystified' was originally published in the shark issue (105) of Asian Diver Magazine:
Requiem for a Requiem- Sharks Demystified
I was lucky enough to meet Christina Ngiam, who is the founder of EcoAsia, recently whilst working at Wakatobi. It was great to meet someone who has a passion for conserving our natural resources whilst also realising that this can occur along side development and everyday living.