We left Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Singapore (TMFT) on time with all 14 divers and headed to Nonsga Marina, Batam, for clearance into Indonesia. This was the first time the MV Seaborne had been to Riau Islands, Indonesia.
We arrived at our destination Saturday morning to collect our Navy Escort. It was dark and gloomy overcast conditions. We completed the first dive and happily surfaced to sunshine. Luckily the sunshine and flat calm seas stayed with us all weekend, until the return leg from Batam to Singapore, where it rained like crazy.
The highlight of the weekend was around Petong where we had awesome viz of up to 10 metres. We did 4 dives around Petong and Mini Petong. We saw squid, blue spotted rays, nudi’s of every variety, cleaner shrimp, parrot fish and my previously named site Sea Fan Alley did not disappoint.
The number of sea fans in this one location is just incredible and at one point, at 20 metres, you can see nothing else but sea fans. Other sites nearby had one or two sea fans, but nothing like the cluster of fans this site has.
Over night at our mooring site, the depth sounder alarm went off and the people in the wheelhouse jumped up and witnessed something huge under the boat. We have no idea what it was, but it was big enough to set off the depth alarm. It may have been a Sail Fish, as we had seen them around Petong before, or maybe it was some alien creature :)
The visability was the best I have seen at Riau and it was equal to Tioman on an average day. There were loads of small fish everywhere. One new site I have named Parrot Fish Point. It was, as you can guess, full of Parrot Fish – small ones, big ones, medium sized ones with all sorts of sizes and colors.
We did a night dive Saturday night near a fish trap and the local fisherman were watching us closely and even rowed out in their boat to see what we were doing. The night dive was good with the usual suspect seen – crabs, squid and heathly fish numbers.