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  • White-eyed Moray Eel (Siderea thyrsoidea)
    eastern Australia It can also been found throughout the waters of Micronesia The body is whitish or pale yellow brown in colour with a dense scattering of small brown spots The head is purplish grey with the eyes being the most distinguishing feature as the iris is always coloured white Hence this is how the common name for this species is derived It can be found living in rocky and

    Original URL path: http://www.daveharasti.com/articles/speciesspotlight/whiteeyed_morayeel.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Giant Australian Cuttlefish (Sepia apama)
    will often come forward to investigate and they appear to like objects that have bright fluorescent colours such as green and pink Giant Cuttlefish have been seen following divers that wear brightly coloured fins They are a very inquisitive species and will often approach divers that venture into their cave area During the mating season the males become very territorial and can become quite aggressive towards any intruders encroaching on

    Original URL path: http://www.daveharasti.com/articles/speciesspotlight/cuttlefish.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Species Showdown -Port Jackson Shark vs Crested Horn Shark
    can be distinguished by the dark blotch pattern that it has on its body and its gill slits are laterally in front of and above its pectoral fins Its body colour is generally grey to brown and it has very high crests above its eyes Diet Benthic invertebrates such as crabs and they use their teeth to crack and crush through the shells of crustaceans Size Maximum length is 1

    Original URL path: http://www.daveharasti.com/articles/speciesspotlight/Hornsharks.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Scuba Diving at Cocotinos Dive Resort - Wori Bay - Bunaken Island - Manado - North Sulawesi
    assemble their camera equipment download photos on to the computer provided copy images to CDs and identify all the critters from the dives using the reference library There s even a compressed air gun located on the dive deck so you can remove excess water off the camera housings before opening The food was excellent ranging from Indonesian dishes to westernised meals with more food provided than anyone could possible eat and all included as part of the tariff The bar in the dining area offers all sorts of beers and cocktails the Cocotinos Cocktail is a must but save it for the last night and the drinks were reasonably priced 3 for a large Bintang Beer Another highlight for the nerds amongst us is that there is wireless internet access throughout the resort meaning we could still keep in touch with the world if we chose too Everyone in the group was in agreement that Cocotinos was the best dive resort that they had visited and the friendly staff great food and outstanding dive facilities made us feel very spoilt It was a pretty good sensation sitting on the deck overlooking the bay each evening knocking back a cold beer or cocktail after a hard day s diving And if relaxing on the deck isn t enough there is always the huge swimming pool or you could try out a traditional Indonesian massage in the spa room located on the water s edge under a beautiful 50 year old sea hibiscus tree During the course of our 12 day visit to North Sulawesi we managed 29 dives as we were generally diving 3 4 times a day Fortunately we were using Nitrox which gave us extended bottom times so dives were generally 60 to 90 mins long Most of the diving was around Bunaken Island and Lembeh even though Lembeh is on the other side of the island Cocotinos can organise overland trips across to Lembeh for a day s diving consisting of 3 dives Generally each day the Cocotinos dive boats head out to the offshore islands of Bunaken Manado Tua and Siladen however we also did several dives around the inshore Odyssea Reefs which are renowned for producing great critters such as harlequin shrimp and ghostpipefish Bunaken Island is located within the Bunaken Marine Park To dive in the park you must pay a fee of approximately 20 to obtain an annual marine park permit which is a small token that is attached to the BC The diving around Bunaken consists of huge wall dives that are generally done as a drift dive because there is normally some sort of current running The walls are covered in hard and soft coral with large barrel sponges and gorgonian fans featuring prominently and we would encounter huge schools of pyramid butterflyfish orange and purple anthias and some very large napolean wrasse and green turtles The best dive we had at Bunaken Island was on the last day at Mike

    Original URL path: http://www.daveharasti.com/articles/Cocotinos.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Scuba Diving at Fish Rock Cave at South West Rocks
    gropers it s a place where you can t help feeling overawed Fish Rock is an iconic site in Australia and is the premier location to get up close and personal with the endangered grey nurse shark The rock is located a 30 minute boat from the town of South West Rocks on the NSW north coast and is one of the most popular dive locations in NSW The fantastic thing about diving Fish Rock is that each dive will always be unique as there are so many sites around the rock that can be visited The most famous section of the rock is Fish Rock Cave Created by a fault in the island the cave runs from the deeper seaward entrance at 24 metres 125 metres through the rock emerging into the blue fish filled silhouetted shallower entrance fringed by pink gorgonian fans at 12 metres Within the cave you can find wobbegong sharks threatened black cod large rays turtles and numerous lobster species can be found cramped into the crevices The shaft section in the cave is completely pitch black and can be very eerie so a torch is essential On the southern section of Fish Rock there are numerous canyons that form the grey nurse shark gutters Grey nurse sharks can be found around at Fish Rock all year round however over winter the rock can be literally swarming with sharks and it s not uncommon to encounter 100 grey nurse on a single dive Diving the site on the full moon seems to be the best time for grey nurse as they seem to flock to the rock and pack into the gutters On the northern section of the rock there is a site known as the Pinnacle and just to the east is the appropriately

    Original URL path: http://www.daveharasti.com/articles/fishrock.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • An Underwater Odyssea in North Sulawesi - Scuba Diving with Odyssea Divers in Manado (Lembeh, Odyssea 1)
    currently under construction and when it opens in October 2007 it will offer much more reasonable accommodation prices whilst providing the same level of exceptional service Cocotinos will have 18 Duplex Villa Rooms or you can pamper yourself by staying in the fancy Grand Suite with its own spa bath Single twin sharing or triple sharing options are available to cater to groups of all sizes All the rooms are being built with air conditioning fan safe deposit boxes hot water and a large number of power points Other features of the resort include a large swimming pool dedicated camera room restaurant and bar on the waters edge and wireless internet access is to be made available The diving from Odyssea is extremely diverse and varied Odyssea run daily trips to Bunaken and Siladen Islands which are famous for the large coral wall drop offs clear water and unusual marine life They will also travel to some of the more remote divesites if there is enough interest However it was the diving around Wori Bay and the local Odyssea reefs that captivated us As we had already stayed on Bunaken Island the previous week we spent the 3 days with Odyssea diving on their local reefs and were well rewarded with some excellent critter finds These divesites are all conveniently located within a 10 min boat ride of Odyssea Divers Our favourite sites were Odyssea Points 1 2 Aba Reef and the Wori Bay House Reef Some of the fantastic marine life that that we encountered included lots of different robust and ornate ghostpipefish estuary seahorses a rare pipehorse species leaf scorpionfish and the highlight discovery was a small juvenile painted frogfish living at the base of a gorgonian fan We were so impressed with the Odyssea reefs that we ended up forgoing on the planed afternoon R R to do more diving After 3 days diving from Odyssea Divers land based resort it was time for the next part of our adventure We headed over to the busy port of Bitung located on Lembeh Strait to board the new liveaboard vessel Odyssea 1 Odyssea 1 is a purpose built liveaboard that commenced operation in April 2006 and travels around the divesites of North Sulawesi Central Sulawesi Moluccas Sea Halmahera Sea and Raja Ampat As soon as we boarded Odyssea 1 it was obvious that this was the best liveaboard we had ever set foot upon This boat has been perfectly set up for divers and the attention to detail is incredible From the dedicated camera room with its plentiful chargers and adaptors and a computer setup to download copy photos to the library room with numerous reference books everything has been considered to meet a divers needs The boat has 2 Staterooms and 6 Deluxe Cabins 2 Single Double 4 Twin Double or Triple Sharing and all cabins and staterooms have an en suite shower hot cold and toilet The other benefit is that all soft drinks snacks chocolate

    Original URL path: http://www.daveharasti.com/articles/odyssea.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Labradors of the Sea - The Grey Nurse Shark
    refer to them as the Labradors of the Sea In the past the grey nurse shark had an undeserved reputation in Australia as a man eater which led to indiscriminate killing of the species by spear and line fishers from the 1950s to 1970s The mass slaughter of thousands of grey nurse sharks led to a dramatic decline in the numbers along the east coast of Australia Divers and spearfishers reacted to this decline by voicing their concerns to all that would listen and the NSW Government protected the shark in 1984 making it the first shark to be protected in the world However the east coast population has not recovered since its protection in 1984 and there are concerns that the numbers are still declining pushing it towards extinction One of the major contributing factors to the species decline is its unusual reproductive biology Grey nurses reach sexual maturity at approximately 4 6 years for males and 6 8 years for females They are an ovoviviparous species meaning that they give birth to pups after they have hatched from eggs within the uterus This is where the reproductive system gets interesting Up to 15 embryos start developing in each of the two uteri and the two most advanced embryos in each uterus then eat all the other developing embryos and unfertilised eggs This phenomenon is known as inter uterine cannibalism So they have basically eaten all their brothers and sisters before they are born The gestation period is also very long lasting 9 12 months and the two pups are born at about 80cm to 100cm in length Females only reproduce every 2nd year therefore on average only 1 pup per female is produced per year The maximum size for the species is believed to be about 3 5 metres and it estimated they grow up to 25 years old in the wild They are considered a harmless shark and are not a threat to humans unless they are provoked The range of the east coast population is believed to extend from Wolf Rock in Queensland down to Montague Island in NSW Research on the grey nurse sharks in Australia has found that they migrate north south at certain times of the year It is believed that their migration is in relation to changing water temperatures as they are generally found in water temps from 18 24 degrees celsius and that they are also found following prey species such as the jewfish and mullet A new project is being implemented by Ms Carley Bansemer as part of her PhD research through the University of Queensland Carley is studying the distribution and abundance of grey nurse sharks in Queensland waters and as part of the project individual sharks are being photographed and with their unique spot markings they can be individually recognised The concept of using photo s for identification removes the process of having to tag the shark which can be costly and more time consuming Ms Bansemer said

    Original URL path: http://www.daveharasti.com/articles/labradors.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Scuba Diving in East Timor -
    commence with a leisurely drive through stunning coastal scenery to numerous different divesites where the car can park right at the ocean s edge The longest drive to a divesite is just over an hour however the amazing views make the time pass quickly Entry and exit is very straight forward as the fringing coral reefs start at the shoreline After the dive the surface interval can be spent resting under the trees enjoying lunch before hopping back in for a second dive at a new location On the way back from the dive a quick stop at the Mamar restaurant in Metinaro Village for a fantastic local meal is an excellent way to finish off a day s diving FreeFlow Diving provide complete hire gear for a reasonable price and an outstanding feature of service is that FreeFlow do not impose a maximum dive time you can dive as long as your air and computer safely allows or until your camera battery runs out The hiring of dive equipment should be given serious consideration as Air North is exceptionally strict with their 20kg total baggage allowance The only carry on they allow is a small briefcase size bag so if you re a photographer don t even bother trying to take your big bulky camera bags as carry on they simply don t fit in the tiny overhead compartments As well as the excellent shore divesites to the east and west of Dili there are some incredible boat dives The boat diving is conducted through Island Charters on their purpose built 40 foot dive boat the Island Lady The Island Lady is owned by skipper Jim Cato who has over 20 years of sea experience This boat can easily accommodate 10 divers has a fresh shower toilet dry area all safety equipment and is powered by 2x200hp turbo charged Volvo engines which allows a cruising speed of 25 knots It also has an excellent dive deck that makes getting in and out of the water very easy The Island Lady regularly runs dive trips with FreeFlow out of Dili across to Atauro Island Atauro Island is a one hour boat trip away and its underwater realm provides some of the best wall diving in the Indo Pacific region On the journey to the island you re almost guaranteed to see dolphins and it s not unusual to see other cetaceans such as pilot and fin whales We did a single dive at Manta Ray Cove where we dropped down to 50 m on the vertical wall and slowly made our way back up through some of the most prolific coral growth you could possibly imagine It is easily one of the best wall dives I have ever done even better than some of the walls at Uepi in the Solomon Islands and the dropoffs in the Red Sea Other divesites around Atauro Island include Big Fish the S Bend Bar Stool and Shark Point however many more sites will

    Original URL path: http://www.daveharasti.com/articles/East_Timor.htm (2016-02-15)
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