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Thread: Coelacanth Expedition July 2012, Manado, Indonesia - Day 2 & 3

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    Coelacanth Expedition July 2012, Manado, Indonesia - Day 2 & 3

    Our first Coelacanth Expedition dive for July 2012 to 90m a day ago was a good start to check out our dive procedures and team systems. It was also a good test to make sure that all our gear was working correctly and the CCR re-breathers were also doing what they do best! Before our 2nd Coelacanth expedition dive, we also did 2 more 50m dives a day before to have some fun and re-adjust some equipment configurations.

    Dive 2: 24 July – Bunaken Island, Manado, North Sulawesi – 100m
    Units used: ISC Megalodon & Inspiration

    After a full day of preparations we were ready to go! Our 2nd Coelacanth Expedition dive was to 100m. We wanted to go back to the same spot where we did the first dive, however the weather picked up and we were forced to go to another site to explore for the elusive Coelacanth. According to local fishermen, some previous catches of Coelacanths have been (un-offically) reported to be in this area also.

    Our dive plan was immense even diving with the re-breather at a set point of 1.2. We planned a 100m dive for 20min which gave us a total run time of 171min with our last stop at 5m just over 50min long!

    The water was flat calm and beautifully clear. Our descent to 100m took us just over 5min. There were loads of caves and overhangs to investigate for Coelacanths. Unfortunately we just ran out of time and had to make our way back up after our planned 20min on the bottom. We saw so much different types of marine life that made the deco stops far from boring. In the end, including some air breaks, our dive was just over 200min long! And I was starving hungry… and really needed to pee!

    Dive 3: 24 July – Manado Tua Island, Manado, North Sulawesi – 120m
    Units used: ISC Megalodon & Inspiration

    Back to our original site to search for Coelacanths, this was going to be a great dive with a very real chance of seeing them. At least 2 reported Coelacanth catches had been reported here in the past near the island of Manado Tua. On the way out I was discussing the site with a local diver and native to the Bunaken National Marine park area. He took us to the site he thought would be likely to see some Coelacanths if they were indeed there, and not deeper than 120m. Still a large area to search, and we only had 15min to do so.

    The descent to 120m was amazing with many ledges and steps that we passed on the way down surely offered many hiding places for various marine life. In my opinion, this site offers the best opportunity so far for Coelacanth habitats. So many caves, caverns and hover hangs from depths of 50-120m plus. We investigated at least 8-9 small caverns and overhangs until we had to start making our way up… unfortunately with no sighting of any Coelacanths… this time.

    2 Things is now really clear, one, there is a great deal more to explore and two, we need diver propulsion vehicles to cover more distance during these dives!
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    Re: Coelacanth Expedition July 2012, Manado, Indonesia - Day 2 & 3

    Well done guys. Very nice pictures and it seems a very interesting scenery.... 120m on a shortie?????

    Spyros

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    Re: Coelacanth Expedition July 2012, Manado, Indonesia - Day 2 & 3

    Quote Originally Posted by Outlaw  View Original Post
    Well done guys. Very nice pictures and it seems a very interesting scenery.... 120m on a shortie?????

    Spyros
    Congratulations on the safe dives guys, but I was thinking the same thing. I've hit thermoclines down to the low 60'sF in Komodo and Alor, and that was at 10M. It was nearly paralyzing suddenly going from 78F to 64F in a 3mm full suit, I really had trouble breathing and had to go even shallower to resume normal breathing. I'd hate to think about how cold an upwelling might be at 120M and what your body would do if you hit 50F water in a shorty suit. A rapid ascent, even just 10-20M up to get past the thermocline, is not a good idea with He at those depths. Please be careful and wear more rubber! -Andy

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    Quote Originally Posted by silent running  View Original Post
    Congratulations on the safe dives guys, but I was thinking the same thing. I've hit thermoclines down to the low 60'sF in Komodo and Alor, and that was at 10M. It was nearly paralyzing suddenly going from 78F to 64F in a 3mm full suit, I really had trouble breathing and had to go even shallower to resume normal breathing. I'd hate to think about how cold an upwelling might be at 120M and what your body would do if you hit 50F water in a shorty suit. A rapid ascent, even just 10-20M up to get past the thermocline, is not a good idea with He at those depths. Please be careful and wear more rubber! -Andy

    Thanks for the feedback Andy! We did hit a thermocline at around 70m. It went from 28'C to around 23'C and was the same from there till 120m. The suit I was wearing is a custom made suit that has long arms, short legs with thigh pockets on both sides, but is 6mm thick. I chose to have it made with short legs to make it easier getting into and reduce heating up when getting geared up on the surface in 28-34'C. I usually will also wear another layer such as a rash vest underneath. It was very comfortable during the dive, I never felt cold at any point of the dive, or my lower legs ;0)

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    Re: Coelacanth Expedition July 2012, Manado, Indonesia - Day 2 & 3

    Quote Originally Posted by meagalodonshark  View Original Post
    Thanks for the feedback Andy! We did hit a thermocline at around 70m. It went from 28'C to around 23'C and was the same from there till 120m. The suit I was wearing is a custom made suit that has long arms, short legs with thigh pockets on both sides, but is 6mm thick. I chose to have it made with short legs to make it easier getting into and reduce heating up when getting geared up on the surface in 28-34'C. I usually will also wear another layer such as a rash vest underneath. It was very comfortable during the dive, I never felt cold at any point of the dive, or my lower legs ;0)
    You're welcome, glad you had on more protection than meets the eye and never got into thermal trouble. Happy Coelacanth hunting, looking forward to hearing more about future dives, -Andy

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    Re: Coelacanth Expedition July 2012, Manado, Indonesia - Day 2 & 3

    Hello again, just wondering what else you saw on your way down, and what depth did you notice the fish life start to thin out? On the few trimix dives I did in Komodo, the bigger fish and schooling fish seemed to thin out around 60M, and were mostly absent by 70M. Did you notice anything similar in Manado? Thanks, -Andy

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    Re: Coelacanth Expedition July 2012, Manado, Indonesia - Day 2 & 3

    The Water looks Amazing, Thanks for sharing and Happy Hunting..

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    Quote Originally Posted by silent running  View Original Post
    Hello again, just wondering what else you saw on your way down, and what depth did you notice the fish life start to thin out? On the few trimix dives I did in Komodo, the bigger fish and schooling fish seemed to thin out around 60M, and were mostly absent by 70M. Did you notice anything similar in Manado? Thanks, -Andy

    I would say it is very similar to what you experienced in Komodo. At around 60m most of the softer and more colorful coral kind of disappeared. There was however still many, very long whip corals and massive sponges were still present at around 90m. We did also see some large jacks and tuna. They went by so fast that I could not be exactly sure. I have also seen in the past some nautilus shell fish and 6 gill sharks cruising along the drop-offs.

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    Re: Coelacanth Expedition July 2012, Manado, Indonesia - Day 2 & 3

    Which site was this? As last year while at Manado Tua, we were not so lucky to see the pelagics.

    Planning to go back Bunaken again, maybe next year.

    Cheers


    Quote Originally Posted by meagalodonshark  View Original Post
    I would say it is very similar to what you experienced in Komodo. At around 60m most of the softer and more colorful coral kind of disappeared. There was however still many, very long whip corals and massive sponges were still present at around 90m. We did also see some large jacks and tuna. They went by so fast that I could not be exactly sure. I have also seen in the past some nautilus shell fish and 6 gill sharks cruising along the drop-offs.

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    Re: Coelacanth Expedition July 2012, Manado, Indonesia - Day 2 & 3

    Quote Originally Posted by meagalodonshark  View Original Post
    I would say it is very similar to what you experienced in Komodo. At around 60m most of the softer and more colorful coral kind of disappeared. There was however still many, very long whip corals and massive sponges were still present at around 90m. We did also see some large jacks and tuna. They went by so fast that I could not be exactly sure. I have also seen in the past some nautilus shell fish and 6 gill sharks cruising along the drop-offs.
    Yes, I remember seeing some truly giant trevally at 60+M in different parts of Indo and the Philippine Islands-all split faster than I could have imagined. It's really awesome to see a 2M tall pelagic flick it's tail and be gone. Also saw a bigger than me sized Queensland grouper at 95M in Lombok Trawangan , only big fish I saw on that dive.

    6 gill shark? How sure are you? I thought they only lived in much colder temps, closer to freezing. Very much like the idea that you saw one, more motivation to explore...
    Last edited by silent running; 12th August 2012 at 09:09.

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