Xplore! Program, Pilot dive @ Hantu!
Graduates and trainees from the Reef Xplore Program took to their first dive this weekend at Hantu. Hopefully this will be the first of many more dives to come! The Hantu Blog is very excited about enlisting their help and experiences on our trips, and those who are joining us for our Anniversary Dive on the 25th and 26th might get to meet some of them! Here, Xplore guide Howard Lee gives a safety briefing. Incidentally, Howard was the safety marshall for the SIF BLE expedition, so he's an apt person to be learning safety skills from!
Gorgeous weather, gorgeous water. Only bum is that the reefs were a little crowded that weekend - evidence that Hantu continues to be a popular and necessary location for dive businesses and recreationists in Singapore!
Xplore guide Gina Tan, with guest Chay Hoon (middle), and Xplore trainee Brenden Chua.
Super-charged Xplore guide Marco Perrig all rigged and ready to go! Marco is also a volunteer with the BWV and is a marine biologist from Switzerland.
Goin' down... Check the vis! Sweeeet!
Long-beaked or Copper-banded Butterfly fish
Butterfly whiptail. Different from the Paradise whiptail, this is the best shot I've got of this fish in all my dives at Hantu! So I'm very pleased! :)
Stoic cardinal fishes.
I took this picture, because 2 years ago, i shot 2 mushroom corals growing in a similar way. I'm going to go through my files and see if the location and specimens match. It is quite unlikely its the same one I saw 2 years ago because there are significantly larger than they were, but it'd be interesting to find out nonetheless! Stay tuned!
A goatfish speeds away. Another pleased shot :) Not David Doubilet material but hey!
A pretty head of coral...
And a HUGE seacucumber! Do you actually see how BIG this is!? It's massive! Seldom see seacucumbers on the reefs at Hantu and this is certainly the first time I've seen this species here. The Blotched Seacucumber is more common at Hantu's reefs.
We got to witness the barge coming into the channel between Bukom and Hantu to fill in the area. You can notice that the level of the barge is shallow when it comes into the channel but increases suddenly, probably when the sediment is being dumped into the area. This is what we can only assume, so if someone knows clearly what's going on here, we'd love to hear from you.
The barge reverses into the channel before heading back out towards the north.
Derricks erected and flags demarcate the zone between Ular, Bukom and Hantu - areas that are out of bounds for the time being for safety reasons.