Survey trip from Biak to Manokwari in northern West Papua

Feb 2006

The main trip was arranged on behalf of Conservation International to make a full survey of the Teluk Cendrawasih. During the first trip Dr. Mark Erdmann was the group organiser, we were lucky enough to have Dr. Gerry Allen aboard, Gerry is one of the worlds best ichthyologists. we had the hard coral experts Dr. Emre Turak and Dr. Lyndon Devantier. A group of local experts, Paulus Boli specialising in local village communities, Erdi Lazuardi and Defy Pada specialising in coral growth and coral cover, Seha Rizqon specialising in conservation, Ricardo Tapilatu specialising in turtle populations and Abdul Hamid Toha specialising in marine fisheries. Bruce Moore was brought in to access the tourism in this region and I helped with what ever was needed, looking for new species and helping Bruce to look for the possible dive locations.

%img|right|images/gallery/thumbnails/ga-peter_camera-mid.jpg|Image taken by Graham Abbott|Dr. Gerry Allen|javascript:bigpic(‘images/gallery/images/ga-peter_camera.jpg’)% It was like great to be able to get out diving again with Mark and bringing along none other than Gerry Allen, this was garanteed to eb a very exciting trip indeed. Gerry is one of the worlds very few true experts in Indo-Pacific reef fishes, he not only wrote the book on the Indo-Pacific reef fishes, he also named many of the fishes in there too. We also had two of the worlds best hard coral experts Lyndon Devantier and Emre Tural, we would certainly get to know all about this areas marine life potential. For me I was hoping to see new marine life I have not previously and who knows maybe even find something new myself.

I had arrived a day early to ensure all went smoothly for the groups arrival. We set off in the afternoon to check out the nearby island Owi. For Bruce and I the survey site was not so hot as a tourist dive location though it was amazing to hear the experts opionions. They really enjoyed it and had some very high fish and coral counts here. Mark and I made another dive near dusk on Owi. Mark needed to do to pick up a temperature logger (device for measuring water temperature over long periods of time). Mark went to exchange his loggers and I went off to find out more about this area. Now this was a dive site, a wall dropped down from 5m depth to 35m then sloped off into the abyss below. Here there were plenty of big fish, giant and blue fin trevallies came in to feed on the smaller fishes, schools of alsorts of fish were hanging out in this area and reef scenery in deeper area was excellent.


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