Sorry this has taken awhile! Our server was out of sorts for a bit and we’ve had to sort it out. Nonetheless, here it is at last – evidence of a superb dive at Hantu with old friends and new! (Above: Bullocki nudibranch)
As much as Hantu’s infamous visibility can hinder a divers comfort, a day of good visibility is a cause for celebration! And we don’t mean pop the bubbly, we mean spot as many critters can you can and take all the wide angles you never thought possible! This Sunday’s clear waters has been a long time coming because experience tells us that the water tends to clear up after the monsoons. But as we’re all aware, patterns in the weather have been going out of wack lately. Apart from the water being a welcome reprieve from the annoying heat we’ve been experiencing lately, it was also a tricky place to be with one of the largest jellyfish blooms we’ve ever known in 5 years! 3 divers including myself brought home a little souvenir from a brainless friend (read: jellyfish), and we’re still carrying the marks of the heated exchange 4 days later! (Above: detail of seafan)
The saying goes “there ain’t so such thing as a free lunch” so I suppose good vis and slack waters was perhaps too good to be true? In all honesty, it’s a bit of a concern the reason behind the jellyfish bloom. An excess of freshwater or higher temperatures lead to jellyfish blooms, but were these the factors that brought about a sea littered with jellyfish this weekend? Was the effluence from surrounding industries a cause? The cooling pipes in Bukom refinery have been known to be clogged with jellyfish in the past and reversing the flow of the pump was necessary to discharge the clogged jellyfish. Did something similar happen this time? Or are we looking at something larger than the immediate environment? Is it something regional? El Nino? A friend out in the northern waters of Singapore also reported a jellyfish bloom. So what’s going on? (Above: A diver photographs a nudibranch)
Because of the current works going on in Bukom with large ferries moving people too and fro the island, diving around the Hantu’s north channel seems to be disallowed. But we didn’t fret – taking advantage of the excuse to check out new diving sites that turned out to be as promising and from a whole different perspective! That said, we love diving the north channel because there’ve been some amazing things we’ve seen there like reticulated puffers, blotched sea cucumbers, the mesmerising giant hydriods with their tiny nudibranch inhabitants. Not to mention the seahorses, seasnakes and schools of rabbitfish and barracuda that see seem to encounter there and no where else. Hopefully we’d get to dive there again soon without any hassle. Every reef surrounding Hantu is precious. (Above: Damsel in carafe)
I was reminded of ReefXplore instructor Jani when I encountered this maroon-coloured crinoid. Jani used to love photographing these guys. Especially if they were red as that was her favourite colour… Check out her fantastic albeit backdated Blog on her research in Singapore waters!
Especially because we g diving in the north channel a miss this month, it’d be really good to revisit it in May or the following months to check out how things are getting on over there. I was particularly stressed that we might not be able to spot any seahorses this weekend because we didn’t dive the usual spots and were not sure where to find them, but… find them we did!
And I suppose it was good to be pushed to check out other sites, find new stuff and identify new spots to find some of our favourite critters! Check out more pix form this weekend’s dive at our Gallery, or swing by the following blogs and weblogs to read more accounts from Sunday’s dive!