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Oceans – The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

The currents drive up nutrients from the deep, creating a feeding frenzy and a kaleidoscope of life for the diver during rush hour at Batu Bolong, Komodo. Photo Courtesy: Blue Marlin, Komodo.

2014: The Good

“Suck all the air out from your Buoyancy Control Device and when you jump off the boat swim vertically down till you are in the shadow of the sea mount,” said Maria, our dive guide from the diving outfit Blue Marlin. She was giving us instructions to a negative entry for a dive site that is visible only as a rock at the surface but whose grandeur comes into view once you’ve dived deep enough. With the strong ocean currents, it is imperative that you propel yourselves downwards as quickly as possible to avoid being swept away and missing the dive site completely. This dive site is Batu Bolong in Komodo, home to a prehistoric-looking dragon, which is also its main attraction. Numerous diving vessels operate out of Labuan Bajo, the capital city of the island of Flores, in the archipelagic country of Indonesia. Scattered around the south coast of Flores are some of the world’s finest diving sites.

I began diving in 2012 and it introduced me to a whole new world of underwater life. The ability to stay underwater for up to an hour and dive as deep as 35 m. meant that I could experience the entire spectrum of magic; from the colourful coral at the surface to the splendour of giant schools of fish in the darker depths of the ocean.

This diving trip to Indonesia was only my second visit to the country. It was only then that I realised its amazing diversity. Stretching from Sumatra to the west to Western Papua in the east, 16,000 islands constitute the world’s largest archipelago. Around and under these islands, Indonesia is a place of thriving marine life, often referred to as the incubator of life. From here, life flows east to form the Coral Triangle, the global centre for marine biodiversity… the Amazon of the oceans.

A Napolean wrasse makes a stunning image with its coral-chomping teeth, art-deco face and kajal-lined eyes. Photo Courtesy: Blue Marlin, Komodo.

2015: The Bad

I’m sitting next to Ibu Susi Pudjiastuti, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), Indonesia. She’s addressing the press, a year after taking over the Ministry. While she’s most famous for blowing illegal fishing vessels to...

 
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