Friday, November 9, 2007

Diving the North Sulawesi Aggressor

Sorry for the hiatus. Work caught up to me quickly upon my return, and I've been lazy about downloading all my photos!

28 dives in 6 days....hmmmm....I think I got my money's worth.

Muck diving - yes, it's muck! Black volcanic sands and the weirdest creatures I've ever seen. If you don't acknowledge evolution, you need to go to this country and dive here. Matter of fact, just snorkeling would do it. Poisonous lionfish, razor fish, nudibranchs/sea slugs, eels, sea snakes, electric clams, dolphis, turtles, rays, frogfish, cuttlefish, octopus, flat worms, sole and more anenome fish aka Nemo than you can imagine. Darn things will even bite at you if you put your face near their anenome. Can you see the fish in this picture? And no, us weirdo humans swimming around with metal tanks do not count. It changes colors like a chameleon, waddles vs swims, and is super ugly! If you see it, the official name is the Painted Frogfish. For a live viewing, go to and search 'sulawesi frogfish' or 'frogfish feeding'. Just strange is all I can say.

A little history on this trip: The Truk Aggressor (Federated States of Micronesia), which I was on back in April 2005, left for a brighter future in Indonesia at the end of that year. Luckily, many of the crew members stayed aboard. In March 2006, Just Add Water posted this trip scheduled for late September 2007. Believe it or not, I reserved a spot that long ago! Since there was an accidental double booking, the new North Sulawesi Aggressor pushed our trip back 2 weeks into playoff baseball season. But as you read from my previous blog, satellite TV and ESPN do exist outside of the US.

On to the boat - 107' long and 22' wide. A lovely ship. And I was blessed with the upper deck quad for living quarters and no roommate! Easy access to the beer cooler and the hot tub.

Sunsets were awesome, the islands are beautiful, and the locals were super nice. All the divemasters were experts at finding tiny critters in corals or in the sand (pygmy seahorses 1cm max), filling and changing your tank, washing gear, and handing out warm towels and water each time you climbed back on the skiff. And the goodness. Every time we went from skiff to main ship, there was something waiting for us to eat. Cookies, banana breads, muffins, etc. And just like Truk Lagoon, the main meals were outstanding. Pizza, pasta, sushi, thai, mexican, chicken, burgers, roasted potatoes, and dessert every night. Thankfully, I was only up 2 lbs. and I'm blaming that on the Bintang.

After 4-5 dives a day, you would think you would loose weight. Anyway, it was a great week meeting all kinds of new folks and taking in the sites. I also found time (mainly on the dang airplane) to read 3 issues of Nat'l Geographic, several Scuba Diving issues, "Into the Wild", "Shadow Divers" and 2 issues of Business Week. Rising at 5:30 am will allow time for this all this believe it or not. Why can't I do that at home? Maybe if you were waking to this sort of view....hmm.....

Well, I'm glad I went and glad I'm back home to cool fall temps, Frank, family, and friends. I've already been out twice in the kayak and taken 2 work trips. Imagine, I put in 30 hours of FLIGHT time and visited 8 different airports in 6 days!

Off to my next adventure soon, and I'll be sure to blog again. BIG backpacking trip over Thanksgiving. Might even get in some bushwacking :)