Batu Abah 2004

And then there was light'.no'.no'.no'. sorry'.. shadow. And then there was this shadow. Hazy, blurry in the distance though, the visibility was more than twenty meters. It must have been more than twenty meters then. The sea creature that most divers are longing to see: the Tropical Sunfish, Mola mola. But be careful, do not be mislead by the term Tropical because the water that we swam in at Batu Abah, Nusa Penida was 17'C. My teeth were gritting. It was really a torture for my comfo-bite mouthpiece.

It was huge, 2.5 meters I believe from the tip of its dorsal fin to the tip of its pectoral or rather abdominal. It moved majestically in the serene blue water on its journey to only God knows where. I missed the really close encounter though for some astonishing nudibranch, Chromodoris kaname. Thea the luckiest one who was approached by the Mola mola, David, Lala, Hengky, Erwin, Mul, Rizal, Ulin, Armando, Ottie, Wolfie, and Romon were more fortunate. They were as close as two meters. Mul said he could even see the details of its gills and melancholic eye.

It was meant for us to meet and definitely a consolation after what happened three hours before.

We arrived at Sanur beach at 7 a.m finding that one of our chartered boats was still stranded on the sand because of ebb tide. Some funny guy moved it last night from deeper water, our boat man tried his best to convince us. Darn, we had to wait for more than an hour for the water to rush in again. Then after the boat (with Erwin, Rizal, Mul, Armando, Ulin, Romon, and I on it) managed to speed up to Batu Abah passing Crystal Bay and the Southern tip of Nusa Penida, the other boat (with David, Hengky, Lala, Ottie, Wolfie, and Thea on it) was delayed because of engine problem. We waited for forty five minutes at Batu Abah before they finally arrived. It pays''

After the encounter, the rest of the dive was merely the quest for warmer water. Even 24°C sensed like a snug warm feeling under the blanket on a nice cozy bed. Well next time, I should try to dive at Gili Mimpang near the legendary Gili Tepekong where David said Mola mola can be spotted in a 28°C water. Or if I want to increase the odd of spotting them and catch their eye and gills, I should try their cleaning station at Crystal Bay in Nusa Penida but this time I am going to wear at least a 7 mm or bring down some electric blanket.

Our second dive of the day was at Karang Sari. Ten to fifteen minutes speed boat ride to the North from Batu Abah on the East side of Nusa Penida. This side of Nusa Penida is hardly offered to novice diver because it is widely exposed to the mighty Indian Ocean with its unpredictable current. Careless enough you will be able to ride on in the WAC, meeting Dory and Nemo's father. To those who are wondering what is WAC, it is the opposite of EAC. Still confused? Just watch 'Finding Nemo'.

We dove after having our cuisine of the day Nasi bungkus and Lala's jello for dessert. It was delicious or rather because I was starving after diving in the freezing water. Enough for the lunch and surface interval, Karang Sari is a steep sloped dive site. The coral is evenly healthy for Bali's standard. We spotted Octopus, Octopus cyanea , a vigilant Banded Boxer Shrimp, Stenopus hispidus, who relentlessly fought the Lala's magic wand, a Yellow Scorpion Leaf Fish Taenianotus triacanthus, Nudibranch, Hypselodoris bulockii, a pair of Phylidia varicosa were spotted by Rizal's envious eye because his half was in some other part of the globe. The highlight of the dive was a new giant nudibranch species found by Lala. However, with all due respect, I took the liberty to name it, Chromodoris sandaleae or simply Human sandal.

The aura of Mola mola still overwhelmed me, making the dive at Karang Sari a so so dive. We resurface after 47 minutes.

Our third dive was at Batu Nunggul, another ten to fifteen minutes speed boat ride to the North of Karang Sari, still on the East side of Nusa Penida. We spent almost an hour in this dive site. The coral are more various than Karang Sari, the best of the day I think. The highlights of the dive were nudibranch, Chromodoris annae, Huge Spiny Lobster, Panulirus ornatus, Porcelain crab, Neopetrolisthes oshimai, lots of Big Spine-cheek Anemonefish, Premnas biocelatus.

Bali Scuba was our place to exchange chatter and blabber after THE FINE day of Mola-mola and Shiny blue sky, kind, current-less, flat East Nusa Penida. The thirteen of us was joined by another four, making it a record for Bali Scuba to host a chatter blabber session after a dive. It was really really an excellent evening though the menu was only Super Supreme Stuffed Crust Piza with something absolute to drink with and the topic of the evening were from Mola mola to the origin of Sunrise Attack. Alright Thea?