Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Advance Open Water at Tioman

Just came back from Pulau Tioman for my Advance Open Water Diving Course. Initially, I was only planning to go for a leisure dive trip with CH, JH and ST, but guess a little persuasion from ST changed my mind :P

This was just my second dive trip, and thus frankly speaking, I still wasn't really good at it. Fortunately, though with a bit of problem here and there, I still managed to complete the course. Here are some of the highlights of this trip :)

One of the reef scenes at Tioman.

Somehow, there seemed to be less seafans at Tioman compared to Dayang.

At some of the dive sites, carpets of corallimorphs stretch over really huge areas.

Several organisms live among the Acropora corals, such as the Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus giganteus) above.

Found this pretty little sea anemone which I do not know the ID.

For the entire trip, I only managed to see one flatworm, probably an Acanthozoon sp. or Thysanozoon sp.

While I spotted a few nudibranchs, I only managed to photograph this phyllid nudibranch (probably Phyllidia varicosa).

Giant clams were quite common here, and I saw several species. The above are probably maxima giant clam (Tridacna maxima), since the scutes are closer and shorter.

We found lots of magnificient anemones (Heteractis magnifica) with ocellaris clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris).

Several pink anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion) were also spotted.

ST found this stonefish (probably Synanceja verrucosa) resting on the seabed, ultra well-camouflaged.

Have no idea what kind of pufferfish this is, but it was quite huge - at least 50cm long.

The crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci), probably one of the most dangerous sea stars around, being covered with venomous spines. It feeds on corals.

One of my favourite sea star - the cushion star (Culcita novaeguineae). It feeds on corals too.

A pair of commensal shrimps (Periclimenes soror) live with the cushion star, and here's one of them.

This colourful sea star is probabably Linckia multiflora. Sea stars from this genus supposedly can regenerate a new sea star from a broken arm.

This is probably a Echinaster luzonicus. Somehow, I was a little disappointed that I did not get to see new sea stars which I have not seen before. Guess the habitats are just too similar to Dayang.

There were lots of heart urchin tests on the sea bed, but I did not see any live ones.

One of the more commonly seen sea urchin at Tioman, the banded sea urchin (Echinothrix calamaris).

The most common sea urchin, however, must be the black long-spined sea urchin (Diadema setosum). I accidentally got stung by the spines when I was taking photos of a giant top shell - got washed onto one of them by the currents.

The spines of the sea urchins provide lots of hiding places and protection for little animals, such as the clingfish (Diademichthys lineatus) above.

This sea cucumber is probably Stichopus vastus.

During one of our trips, several remoras decided to hitch a ride.

And they are not exactly that choosy on where to hold on to... :P

My highlight of the trip should be this hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). Finally, I managed to take a photo of a sea turtle! :P


Neil said...

More great sightings. I had no idea remoras attached to scuba divers and the sea turtle - well theres something I'd love to see in the wild one day

Hugh said...

Yes, the friendly remoras were a surprise. The Diadema picture is great.

tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

I was rather surprised with the remoras too :P

Vyna said...

Just chanced upon your blog when looking for dive packages! Didn't you just get your OW and now already AOW? Way to go! :)

tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

Haha. Just to get it over and done with :)