Teluk Buli (Buli Bay)
N 00º47.457' E 128º19.279'
This morning we sailed into Buli and said goodbye to Rod Salm and Kent Carpenter who reluctantly left us this morning for home. Here’s a photo of the survey team before they left. A motley crew if ever I saw one – but a very happy group of scientists. Two weeks diving in the heart of the Coral Triangle is a dream come true for most of us.
They were replaced by Joanne Wilson and Sterling Zumbrunn, who were both very excited to join us. Joanne lives in Bali, while Sterling came all the way from Virginia, USA. Thank goodness the local airlines did not let us down! Flights into and out of this part of Indonesia can be a bit unreliable, but all went according to plan. Unlike last night, when we lost the ship's anchor in 33 meters of water!
We spent the morning tied up to the wharf in Buli while we arranged the changeover at the airport. The survey team took a welcome morning off. Some went off to check out the local fish markets, while others stayed behind to catch up on their data or process specimens. The survey has been very exciting, but it is tiring doing 3-4 dives a day and it was great to have a morning out the water to "de-gas" (let the nitrogen leave our system – nitrogen accumulates while diving, and too much nitrogen can lead to decompression sickness or "the bends"). We were also visited by local officials including Ibu Camat (the local Mayor – "Ibu" is a respectful name for a woman in Indonesia) and Ibu Ellen (the head of the Fisheries Department), who was very impressed to meet Gerry Allen who wrote the fish books she used as a student.
But there is no rest for the wicked, and we were back in the water this afternoon. Nurhalis (Uda) Wahidin worked in the bay a few years ago doing an environmental assessment of impacts of sediment from mining on the coral reefs. At that time, this was one of the best reefs they visited. Unfortunately since then mining activities have increased dramatically in the bay. As a result, there was a lot of silt in the water and many of the corals in the still deep water were very stressed by the sediment. Fortunately those in shallow water where there was more water movement were still okay.
After diving, we headed into town to a dinner hosted with local dignitaries hosted by Ibu Camat. The whole team went along, and we met with Ibu Camat, Ibu Ellen, Pak Rahmat (Head of Police Department – Pak is a respectful title for a man in Indonesia), and Pak Joko (the local Military Commander). The officials were interested and concerned about impacts in the bay, and recommendations for management.
– Ali & Mark
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Photo: (top) Halmahera survey team © Muhammad Erdi Lazuardi; (bottom) The reticulated butterflyfish – an old friend from the Pacific Islands. © Gerry Allen