Beautiful beautiful Batu Bolong

Trip Start Oct 03, 2012
Trip End Nov 28, 2013

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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Sunday, August 25, 2013

2 dives today Batu Balong and Manta Point both part of our Open Water Advanced course and superior dive sites in their own right.

Batu Balong pretty much blew us out of the water. We descended reasonably quickly because of the currents to the Arcadia of coral and life that lay in wait below us.

The variation in the myriad of different types of coral, colour and shapes was almost unbelievable. K said that the corals looked like bouquets of flowers that we could use for the wedding. There were fans of coral, flowers, petals, ferns, bulbous buds, storks and stems that gave this an out-of-this-world feeling and was utterly beautiful.

Strangely, the further we descended the corals didn't loose their bright colours at all. Normally around 30 metres and beyond reds and yellows get lost as the suns rays get filtered out. Luckily we were able to borrow an underwater camera with a decent flash that produced some amazing shots. The water was as clear as crystal and the visibility astounding. To make the dive even more of an intense experience we spotted a large white tip reef shark sleeping between a gap in the coral 37 metres down - an unusual site! All of this added up to an epically memorable dive to start the day!

Left partially stunned and on a bit of a high Manta Point was our next stop of the day. If there is anywhere in the world where you can see Manta Rays literally in their hundreds here it is. They gather at a reasonably shallow depth and get cleaned at cleaning stations by lots of little fish. Our Advanced Open Water module was chosen for this dive site too in order to test our peak buoyancy skills. The site is a drift dive and some of the forces and speeds you pick up are extremely high. It's the closets thing to feeling like superman as the flat featureless surface below you speeds past at a significant rate of knots. By breathing air into your lungs you can rise upwards and by exhaling you can descend. The peak buoyancy skill is being able to control that movement and the perfect test is to rise over the coral outcrops that speed towards you and descend down again after they have passed.

Unfortunately, this test was made a little bit easier because we didn't have any Manta Ray's to avoid. Unluckily for about 2 weeks of every year all the Manta's choose to head South of Komodo and our visit to Komodo fell nicely in the middle of that time frame. Manta Point is North of Komodo. K was not very happy and it was a bit of a downer. Not wanting to be defeated and defiant in the face of adversity we plunged into Manta Point hoping to find a group of dyslexic Manta Ray's to no avail. Maddeningly, through out the dive we were distracted by another group of beginner divers off in the distance. Their dive master insisted on tapping his tank randomly and continuously. This wasn't a place for beginners. Usually to most divers this is a signal that something of interest has been spotted or that you need to give attention. In this case we ended up racing against the prevailing current to see if a phantom manta had been discovered!!!! Hmmmmmmmm...

Frustrations aside there's plenty more opportunity to catch a glimpse of these amazing creatures albeit we thought this might have been one of the best.

Still an absolutely stunning day and we were truly knackered by the end of it.
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