Day 2 of diving at Riau Islands
The new day dawned bright and early, leaving us with sunny weather and clear skies – perfect for diving! Our fifth dive was to be another exploration dive. We headed to an area which looked on the charts to be an underwater land mass extending from as deep as 45m to 5m from the surface. We were hoping that it was a pinnacle of sorts with corals all around.
However, we were surprised to descend into a vast area of sand! We swam around for a bit hoping to spot some marine life, but all we got was the Sahara desert of the ocean, with sand dunes as far as the eye could see. We aborted the dive soon after as we were only seeing sand going deeper.
On the plus side, this is the deepest site we’ve explored at the Riau Islands so far. I guess sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose – we cant possibly expect every exploration dive to produce a cave of wonders. We did learn something from this dive though; the sea is unpredictable. Sometimes you find what you are looking for but sometimes it is never what you expected. All in all, it was a humbling lesson learned by all the divers on board.
Finally, it was time for the final dive of the trip. We came across an area in Riau called Pengelap. It looked really beautiful with a bay area and sandy beaches, a cave like rock formation on the surface and interestingly blue waters closer to the bay. There were a few broken kelongs (wooden structure used for fishing) around the area which sparked further interest because as you know if there’s a person wanting to fish there then there is something to fish for.
At the surface we noticed a bit of current flowing towards the left of the reef so we decided this would be another drift dive too. We did a surface swim towards the cave-like rock formation where we snapped a few photos before descending into the blue.
Much to our delight, the site had a huge variety of healthy coral which formed in steps (similar to terraced hills) descending to the average depth of 10m, followed by a mainly sandy slowly sloping bottom. Although sandy, the bottom still had a lot of coral and rock formations to offer, making cruising around the bottom very enjoyable lots of life to gaze upon.
There was a large variety of both soft and hard corals, which have grown to monstrous proportions in this pristine environment, lending home to lots of reef fishes. We spotted a puffer fish, a small school of barracudas, butterfly fish, angel fish, an array of nudibranchs and some flatworms. At shallower depths, we saw large colonies of anemones spread out like blankets – sometimes almost covering the whole upper part of the reef – it was truly a spectacle to behold.
We had some time before the boat had to leave for Singapore, so we took the dinghy out to the beach for some fun in the sun!
And so, the weekend of diving ended off with an awesome new dive site that we will certainly be visiting again. Afterwards, it was an almost-unanimous decision amongst the crew and guests to name the dive site Coral Aquarium.
The journey back to Singapore was not lacking any fun either. After everyone had a quick rest we had more fun mingling, playing games and joking around. It really was an excellent trip with great company. We hope our guests had as much fun with us as we had.
The diving in Riau is truly different from any in the region. The coral life was so healthy and lush; there wasn’t any signs of human-caused damage.
Spending our time on MV Nautica was a super plus point to the whole trip; we spent our time mainly diving, eating, mingling, laughing and basically having a ball. It was relaxing to laze at the lounging area or our cozy rooms, getting up only to dine at the upper deck or dive. Overall, it was a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Are you envious of our trip yet? Why not join us in our next LOB trip on board MV Nautica to experience the raw, untamed beauty of Riau Islands? We sail every weekend!
About the writer:
Andhi is a divemaster at Eko Divers, and he was one of the executors of the MV Nautica Spooktacular event. When he’s not in the sea or keeping the shop open, he spends his time knitting and hugging cats.