Friday, July 24, 2009

Shark Diving

Gili Trawangan, Indonesia - Today we got back in the water and went diving for the first time in 3 weeks. Our first site of the day was Shark Point which is supposedly one of the best sites on the Gili Islands. We were quite excited to see a shark for the first time or I should say I was excited to see a shark, Betsy was a little nervous, so nervous that I nicknamed her "Shark Bait".

Down we went to 22m for 52 minutes, we saw several octopi, cuttlefish, hawksbill turtles, moray eel, banded sea snakes (3 right next to each other) as well as the usual assortment of angelfish, fusiliers, bannerfish and other creatures of the deep. What we didn't see was a shark! Quite a few people on the boat saw a shark but we unfortunately did not.

Our second dive was at a site called Manta Point, here we dropped down to 22m and immediately came upon a 2m Whitetip Reef Shark that was resting on the sand. He swam around in circles and we probably got within 15-20ft of him. We also saw a large school of batfish, more cuttlefish, a baby shark, turtles and the usual assortment.

What we noticed diving here compared to Thailand are the currents. The currents are very strong whereas in Thailand we had almost no current. On our second dive there was a large surge as well so you would swim along and the surge would sway you back and forth about 10 feet. That took some getting used to. The downside with that is we had to wear extra weight. Whereas in Thailand I had only 3kg of weight here I am using almost double the amount. The currents are really strong!

It is hard to say who has the better diving. There are definitely larger pelagics (fish) here but I don't feel there is the same number of fish as Koh Tao (Betsy disagrees on that). What we do agree on is the coral is much more spectacular in Koh Tao. Years of dynamite fishing has destroyed a lot of the coral here luckily that is no longer practiced.

What is better in Gili is the visibility. We can see 20m+ whereas Koh Tao was about half that. Both areas are great and we are looking forward to our next few dives here.

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